Summer 2006 Reading Challenge Recap

At the start of the year, I gave myself a book challenge–at least 50 books, with most of them from the backlog at home, instead of new purchases or library whims. At the start of the summer, I gave myself a challenge within a challenge, since I thrive so well on these arbitrary goals. I joined the forum at Amanda’s Weekly Zen, though I was too late to join the official group on her site, fantasized about a big goal, then whittled that down to a more realistic one that centered on young adult novels, and I started to read.

Between June 1 and August 31, I read 28 books. I read the twenty books on my original list, plus eight extra. I learned a few things from this summer challenge. If I set a reasonable goal, I can stick to it and keep focused. Without it, I would have gone down different reading paths. That wouldn’t have been bad, but it wouldn’t have contributed to my dual hopes of reading some of my home library and reading a lot of YA. In the end, I read twenty children’s/YA novels, and eight adult novels. I found that good children’s and YA books differ mainly from their adult counterparts in length and vocabulary. Bad YA is poorly written, or plotted, or has a contrived or unearned ending. There’s a publishing boom in YA right now, and I think the prevalence of trashy, poorly written,or even just slightly sloppy, books contributes to the incorrect perception of YA as an inferior subcategory of novels. I also learned that while it’s fun and interesting to join in different online book discussions, it takes up time and diverts me from my goal of reading more of the unread books gathering dust on my shelves.

Post summer, I’m going to cut back on the YA, and I’m going to re-commit to reading things already on my shelf. I’m also going on some of the reading tangents I wanted to this summer, like Jane Eyre-related books. At bat: re-reading Bangkok 8 by John Burdett. On deck: Bangkok Tattoo, the sequel. In the hole: Persuasion by Jane Austen. Pinch hitter: The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez.

Here is the Summer 2006 list. All have reviews listed in the 2006 Book Challenge link at right. I have starred my favorites. The two I disliked most were The Finishing School and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

*King Dork by Frank Portman
Sense and Sensibility by Austen
Catcher in the Rye by Salinger
Scott Pilgrim, Vols. 1-3 by Bryan O’Malley
The Abbess of Crewe, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and The Finishing School by Muriel Sparks
*The Prop by Pete Hautman
I Am the Cheese, and We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Because of Winn Dixie, *The Tiger Rising, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
*Magic or Madness, and Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier
Baby by Patricia Maclachlan
*Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Intuition by Allegra Goodman
Monkey Island by Paula Fox
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky
Satellite Down by Rob Thomas
Sloppy Firsts, and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Comments are closed.