2016 Reading Challenge – Midyear Update

At the beginning of the year (almost six months ago already?!) I set reading goals for 2016 and gave myself some structure by joining the Goodreads and Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenges. My goal was to read 40 books this year, and so far I’ve read 30 books. Most months I’ve been finishing 5 books, so I’m on track to read about 60 books in 2016. I’m really happy with my progress. It feels great to be chugging along with a hobby that’s enjoyable, good for my brain, and free (at least when I use the library and don’t rack up fines).

Some of my favorites thus far:

Although I’ve been reading at a good clip, I haven’t been keeping up with my monthly plan for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. It was a little too structured for my ever-changing to-read list, and I’ve decided to switch up some of my book choices. I’m allowed to do that, right? Here are the categories I’ve checked off so far and my new, less-structured plan for completing the remaining categories.

Completed Categories

√  A BOOK THAT WAS BANNED AT SOME POINT: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Read this one in January back when I was sticking to the plan.

√  A BOOK PUBLISHED THIS YEAR: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Read this one in February.

√  A BOOK YOU CAN FINISH IN A DAY: The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner. Read this one early on too.

√  A BOOK YOU PREVIOUSLY ABANDONED: Originally I planned to read A World Made New by Mary Ann Glennon. Instead, this book was a delightful way to complete the category: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. People rave about the audio version of this book, FYI.

√  A BOOK RECOMMENDED BY YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIAN OR BOOKSELLER: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin was a staff pick at my local library and one of my favorites.

A BOOK YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ: Still Life by Louise Penny. This is the first book in the Inspector Gamache series, and I’d been meaning to read it for a while and finally picked it up. While I wasn’t wowed, I’ve been convinced by the reading powers that be to stick with the series for a big payoff and recently placed book #2 on hold.

6 Categories To Go …

A BOOK THAT INTIMIDATES YOU: Although I did find a copy of Finnegan’s Wake at a used bookstore in Brooklyn, I’ve decided that I don’t really want to read it. Does anyone really want to read Finnegan’s Wake? Instead, I’m going to dive into Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Russian literature is intimidating but worth the effort.

A BOOK YOU’VE ALREADY READ AT LEAST ONCE: I’m sticking with my original pick, Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and a great re-read.

A BOOK YOU SHOULD HAVE READ IN SCHOOL: Instead of reading Crime and Punishment, I’m going to tackle George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which I was supposed to read in my Victorian literature class when I studied abroad in Ireland in 2001. I’m not sure how I managed to get away with not reading it then, but …  better 15 years late than never?

A BOOK CHOSEN BY YOUR SPOUSE, PARTNER, SIBLING, CHILD, OR BFF: I’m sticking with It by Stephen King, recommended by my husband Dave.

A BOOK PUBLISHED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN: Ever since we watched a TV special about the 1950s that highlighted the interesting, sad story of Grace Metalious and Peyton Place, I’ve been wanting to read the book. Plus, I’m a New Hampshire housewife, so I could pretty much write a 21st century version of this book.

A BOOK YOU OWN BUT HAVE NEVER READ: Couldn’t Keep It To Myself, a compilation of stories written by the women Wally Lamb works with at the York Correctional Institution, has been on my shelf for a long time. I am inspired by Lamb’s work with, as he calls them, our imprisoned sisters.


That’s the plan. I might make more changes as I go, but I’m determined to meet my 2016 reading goals. What have been your favorite books of 2016 so far? What are you excited to read in the second half of the year?






10 thoughts on “2016 Reading Challenge – Midyear Update

  1. I read Anna Karenina almost two years ago and loved it! As long as you are working with a good translation, the only intimidating thing about it is its length.

  2. I love the Louise Penny books, but didn’t start at the beginning. I recently read Still Life, and though it was enjoyable, I didn’t swoon over it. So keep going–they get better, and you get to know the people of Three Pines and their secrets, which is what makes this series so enjoyable. Plus it’s a great chance to get to know more about literature, art, and the things we hide away. Love them.

  3. I finally read Anna Karenina 3 years ago I think? (Yes, pretty sure it was part of my “Catch Up On Classics” challenge in 2013, which I ruthlessly abandoned when pregnancy got to me. Haha. Way to quit my own challenge. 😉 Anyway, it was loooong, but worth it! Good luck!

  4. I am rereading the entire series of the Louise Penny books about Chief Inspector Gamache. I am up to The Nature of the Beast. The second time through I am enjoying and appreciating them even more; finding more gems in her writing style and more connections I missed in the first reading. The author’s personal history adds depth to her rendering of the characters’problems.
    I will be sorry when I finish the series- again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s