Tag Archives: reading challenge

The Year I Became a Reader

3 Jan

reading challenge

2017 was many things, not all of them good. One of the good things to come out of 2017 was that it was the year I became a reader. The year I learned that reading could take me away from my life and into fascinating new worlds.

Back in February, when I decided to challenge myself to read more, I set my goal at 17 books. #17in2017. At the time it seemed like a lofty goal since I usually only read five books a year if I’m lucky. It didn’t take long before I realized that 17 books was selling myself short. Halfway through the year I had already finished 16 books, I needed a new goal. I went with #37in2017 since this is my 37th year. As it turns out I was able to exceed that goal as well finishing 2017 with 40 books. 13,051 pages!

Below I will share my reading list from the second half of 2017. You can find my first 16 books HERE.

  • Emory’s Gift by W. Bruce Cameron. I’ve enjoyed a few books by Cameron, I think of him as the Nicholas Sparks of the animal world. This was a quick read with a heartwarming story.
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I didn’t realize just how violent World War II was until I read this book. This is the true story of an American olympian and his struggle to survive the war.
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I really liked this one, it kept me guessing until the very end. I started to watch the HBO series and it sucked in comparison. If you liked the show, you’ll love the book.
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle. If you’ve looked through the first half of my booklist, you know that I have a thing for Navy SEALs. I had to read this story. The book was in it’s final stages of preparation when Chris was killed. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around reading his words when I knew he was no longer with us.
  • Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. This came to me as a recommendation from a friend. The books was written in the 60’s but the story was still gripping.
  • The Keeper Of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. I loved this book!
  • Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham. If you’re a Lauren Graham and/or Gilmore Girls fan, you NEED to read this book. She is such a doll.
  • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven. This was a super fast read and it teaches an important lesson.
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. This wasn’t my favorite book by a long shot. By the time I reached the end I was so happy it was over.
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. Full of suspense! I was guessing until the very end.
  • A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron. Think the incredible journey. Another heartwarming dog story from Cameron. This was a page turner that had it’s share of excitement.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I loved this book! It seemed like if I wasn’t reading about Navy SEALs I was reading about WWII. I liked how this book flipped between the past and the present without giving away who survived. Lots of strong women in this book.
  • From Cradle To Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl. This was a great behind the scenes look into the lives of famous musicians from all genres. The best part is that it showcases the love mothers have for their children.
  • American Gun by Chris Kyle. A look at American History through the stories of ten different firearms. I don’t know a lot about guns but it was interesting to see how they shaped our country from the very beginning.
  • Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. A fantastic work of fiction by our favorite Gilmore Girl.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir. Just another case of the book being so much better than the movie, which says a lot since we got to see Matt Damon’s bare ass. Even though I knew how it ended (since I had seen the movie), the book kept my attention.
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was so well written. I was reaching for the tissues at the end.
  • The Scent Of Rain And Lightning by Nancy Pickard. I could not put this book down.
  • I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart. I was kind of disappointed in this one. I usually think Kevin Hart is a pretty funny guy so I expected to be laughing my ass off from start to finish. That was not the case.
  • Everything Is Awful by Matt Bellassai. I enjoy Matt’s Whine About It videos which it what lead me to read his book. It did not disappoint.
  • She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. This was an interesting book that took a look at mental health. It was an easy read that went fast and left me wanting more at the end.
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. I find that Nicholas Sparks books tend to follow a similar pattern. Even still this was a really nice, well written love story that bridged generations. Who doesn’t like sexy cowboys?
  • Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade. This was a fascinating read. It’s was amazing to read about Washington’s spy ring during the Revolutionary War. The things they did with no technology were nothing short of amazing. We owe a lot of our freedom to those six people.
  • Resilience by Eric Greitens. This might have been the most important book I read all year. Who doesn’t want to live a better life?

40 books may not seem like all that many to some but I’m proud of the accomplishment. I feel like after all these years I’ve finally become a reader. I enjoy reading now, I used to think of it as a chore. I look forward to starting a new book and I’ve already compiled a nice reading list for 2018.

Stay tuned as I challenge myself to read 45 books this year. Oh, and let me know if you have any good books I should add to my list.

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Halfway Through My Reading Challenge

2 Jul

At the beginning of the year¬†I decided to challenge myself to read 17 books. For a non-reader like me, 17 books seemed like a lot and a number that I’d have to work to reach. I soon found that 17 wasn’t going to be as difficult as I originally thought so I decided that since this is my 37th year that I would read 37 books in 2017.

#37in2017 was born.

Since we’re now halfway through the year, I thought I’d share with you the books I’ve read so far. I’ve had a few people ask for my book list so today I’ll tell you about the books I’ve read so far and at the end of the year I’ll tell you about the rest.

setting the example

  • A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson. This is the sometimes hilarious tale of two men who take on parts of the Appalachian Trail. I really enjoyed this book. In fact I liked it so much that I added hiking (part) of the Appalachian Trail to my bucket list.
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I decided to read this after I saw it featured on the Gilmore Girls revival. I loved it from start to finish and think everyone should give it a read.
  • Into This Air by Jon Krakauer. I couldn’t put this book down! The true story of the (then) deadliest year on Everest. So much action and adventure!
  • The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson. I loved A Walk In The Woods so much that I decided to give another Bryson book a try and when I finished I realized I should have quit while I was ahead. The book was terrible! Clearly after living in Europe so long he thinks of Americans as fat, lazy, rude and stupid. I had to really fight to get through this one.book challenge
  • Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. Another true story of life and death in nature. Much like the other Krakauer book I read, I couldn’t put this one down. Does it look like I have a type? First five books, all about the great outdoors and all true stories.
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Cameron inspired me to read this book when he asked to see the movie. I was fascinated from page one through to the end. I found myself wondering how I never knew these brilliant woman existed? How was this never taught in any of my history classes?
  • Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. This was BY FAR my very favorite book. A true story about the failure of operation Red Wing (and also a movie staring Mark Wahlberg). A look into why those 19 men died and the amazing story of how one made it, against all odds. This book started my love affair with the Navy SEALs.book challenge 2
  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I am probably one of the least religious people you will meet so I was a bit apprehensive when I heard what this book was all about but I gave it a shot anyway and it really made think. I don’t know if it made me any more or less religious than I was before but it certainly gave me some food for thought. My first work of fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill & Pam Farrel. This book came as a recommendation from Cameron’s teacher as a way that I might understand what’s going on in his little man brain. It was definitely insightful to see how differently men and women’s brains work and give me a greater understanding on how to communicate with the men of the house.
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I laughed. I cried. I was fascinated yet again. Still Alice is a quick read that takes you inside the mind of someone with Alhzlmers. I’m sure you can guess that there isn’t a fairy tale ending here but don’t let that scare you off from reading it.
  • The Great Whale of Kansas by Richard W. Jennings. This book came as a recommendation from Cameron. This is more of a children’s book but I still enjoyed it and found it to be an uplifting story about a young boy. If you have a 4-7th grader in your house, they might enjoy this one.book challenge 3
  • Service: A Navy SEAL At War by Marcus Luttrell. After reading Lone Survivor I needed more. Service offers more stories about the toughest our military has to offer. Read Lone Survivor then read Service.
  • Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. A recommendation from my Mother in Law. After the first chapter I wasn’t sure I’d ever look at her the same way. Russian prostitutes and a bachelor party gone wrong, I’ll leave it at that. The book was slow to start but I eventually got into the story.
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. This is a true story that read like a novel. Set in Warsaw, Poland during World War II, this book takes you through the “Underground Railroad” that saved so many Jewish lives. A fantastic summer read.
  • Code Name: Johnny Walker by “Johnny Walker” and Jim DeFelice. This is the true story of an Iraqi who risked everything to work with the SEALs. OK, I think it’s clear that I have a crush on the SEALs since this is my third book involving them and not the last one I have on my reading list.
  • 10% Happpier by Dan Harris. I’m a fan of Good Morning America so when weekend anchor Dan Harris wrote a book about how he overcame the voices in his head to become 10% happier I figured I should read it. Who wouldn’t want to be 10% happier?

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So far I’ve picked some great books. Out of the first sixteen, I’d ¬†strongly recommend 12 of them and recommend 14.

I’ve got a little catching up to do since I’m halfway through the year and I still have 21 books left to read, but I’m confident I’ll make it.

Do you have any books you think I should add to my reading list? Tell me about them!

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