Reading Challenge – Update #1

Do you ever get in a reading funk? There are some times I just get bored with a series or a writing style or can’t handle escapism fiction or another nonfiction book. I graduated with an English minor and remember needing a reset after college but now I fear I’ve veered too far off course yet again.

Enter the #BustleReads Challenge. It’s just 20 books across a variety of categories so you can choose what fits your personality while reading more diverse books. I’m more than halfway through the challenge and I thought I’d give a preview of what I’ve been reading.

bustle reads challenge

1. Read a Book in Translation:

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

The writing style of this book is unlike others I’ve read but it really drew me in. I recognize it’s a translation and I’m not sure if I gained or lost something in translation but I found the writing style enhanced my reading of the plot. At times I found the plot confusing jumping between times but in the end I think it served a purpose. The book covers a transition to adulthood from adolescence in a quick way physically but it takes the long way round on the emotional shift. The book made me think about my own friendships and how they drift apart and how sometimes you’re not fully ready to move on. I think the bigger lesson about emotional availability and being tied to the past made me question if it’s worth it to dwell in the past or more important to process it and move on. The writing was nice, the plot at times a little confusing, but it was the kind of book I couldn’t stop thinking about when I put it down each night.  4/5 stars

2. Read a Young Adult Book by an Author of Color:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I’m not typically into contemporary young adult romances but I read this book as part of a reading challenge and found myself pleasantly surprised. At times I found the characters a little immature but it’s a young adult book so my expectations are adjusted accordingly. I liked Jenny Han’s attempt at discussing culture and the connections with it but at times they fell a little short. I think the part of this book that surprised me was that it was a romance but the real love story involved that of a family. The book is fun and a little whimsical while bringing back some nostalgia. 3.5/5 stars

3. Read a Work of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Written by a Woman:

Station Eleven

This wasn’t so much a post-apocalyptic book as it was a tale of those before and those after. I felt the idea of basing these stories around one man’s life made the book far richer. Tie in the other media references like King Lear and “Survival is insufficient” and you realize how rich the text really is. You can survive a crisis but you must learn how to live again and how to go on and this book isn’t afraid to touch the many ways people respond in crisis. I tend to only read post-apocalyptic fiction written by women (as opposed to men) so this book felt similar in tone to the others I’ve read.  4.5/5 stars

4. Read a Book About an Indigenous Culture:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I was very emotionally invested in this book nearly from the beginning. I feel like it’s the kind of book I would have been forced to read in school and hated but reading it now with the knowledge I’ve gained since school really enhanced the experience. This is a good book, a little preachy at times, and kids in school might hate that. As an adult who has read other works by Sherman Alexie, I enjoyed it and could connect it to other writings I’ve enjoyed. I felt like it really covered the feeling of being immersed in the Native American culture and what it meant to the narrator. 3.5/5 stars

5. Read a Book Before You See the Movie:

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

I went into this book thinking it was just a book about a serial killer and came out realizing this was almost 2 books in one. The book is very heavily focused on the 1893 World’s Fair and Larson managed to splice in the stories about H.H. Holmes in a very informative way. Unfortunately I felt like the storylines were too separate and didn’t parallel as I had hoped once I got into the concept. It was still intriguing and well informed but unfortunately I wanted more. This book was optioned for a movie but still very early in pre-production so I may have jumped the gun in reading it for this challenge. 3/5 stars

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About julie

I'm Julie and I live in St. Louis. I've gone from living in a 1940s house I renovated to living in an 1890s house that needs a lot of love. I tend to bounce between projects, whether it be decor, cooking, DIY, renovation, or enjoying STL. This blog is about doing it all and the attitude needed to get it all done. You can reach me at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments.
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  1. Pingback: Reading Challenge – Update #2 | The Hyper House

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