It’s almost half way through the year.

If you’re like me, you also have no idea how the year has flown by so quickly! I meant to check in with our 2021 Book Challenge list after the first quarter, and yet here we are…

So far this year, I’ve completed 106 out of my personal 150-book Goodreads goal. But Amy, Aubrie, & I made our 2021 Book Challenge list obscure on purpose to try to stretch our reading this year. Here’s how I’m stacking up to the challenge so far:

1) Lights, Camera, Action: Read a book that was made into a movie NOT Done

I’ve read tons of books this year that I think would make good movies, but none that is already a movie. Does it count if it was made into a Netflix series? I read the Bridgerton books this year. However, I feel like I ought to go looking specifically for a book that was made into a movie to meet this criteria.

2) Blast from the past: Read something written before you were born DONE

One of my very first reads of the year was a collection of Agatha Christie short stories called Midwinter Murder. I even reviewed it for this blog.

3) Shelf control: Finally get to a book you’ve had on your bookshelf, unread, the longest DONE

I had a book called Tiger Queen on my Goodreads “reading” shelf from Oct 12, 2019 until I finally migrated it to one of my January TBR lists, and finished reading it in January of this year. Though I have books that have physically been on my bookshelves for longer, this feels like a good fit because it languished on my nightstand, bookmarked at page 60, for literally years.

4) Get ‘er done!: Finish a series DONE

I discovered and then blasted my way through all 16-ish books of the Vorkosigan Saga this year, and I would totally read them all again. If you like space-opera-type sci fi, you should give them a try!

5) Be the change: Read a non-fiction book about social justice NOT Done

As my tastes run to dragon-based fantasy, this is a type of book that I am going to have to seek out. If you have a good one to recommend, please do so in the comments!

6) A is for Apple: Read a book whose title starts with the first letter of your name DONE

I thought this one would be harder as there aren’t a ton of books starting with J, but I read , Jo & Laurie, Margaret Stohl & Melissa De La Cruz’s reimagined Little Women story, based on Aubrie’s positive review. Some people (in Goodreads comments) wouldn’t pick it up because they were upset that these authors ‘changed the story,’ but I highly recommend reading the actual book before deciding you don’t like the idea — they were very clever with the framing, and I had fun reading it.

7) Man’s best friend(s): Check out a book that involves animals of some kind NOT Done

I’ve read a few books that had animals in them, but not really as a key part of the story, so I’m going to have to seek something out to fit this category.

8) This one, too: Pick a book you’ve never read by an author you already like DONE

I’ve read tons of ‘next book in a series,’ but I’m not going to count those here as it feels to easy. However, I still have a few to choose from for this category. This year I finally read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, set in the same world as one of my all-time favorite books, The Hero and the Crown. For something totally and completely different, I also read Game Changer, a standalone by Neal Shusterman who wrote the Arc of a Scythe trilogy (Amy introduced me to these, and they are amazing!).

9) Spread your wings: Get a book with a dragon NOT Done

I’m almost embarrassed to say that, other than The Hero and the Crown (which was a re-read), I don’t think I’ve read anything with a dragon yet this year. I’ll have to remedy this immediately! I’ve already read quite a lot of dragon books, so let me know if you have a suggestion for something new.

10) Open your mind: Read a book about someone who has a different background from you DONE

One book I read this year where I definitely felt I was learning a great deal about the way someone different from me lives (and that isn’t set in a fantasy world) was Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali. I picked it up because it’s a contemporary romance, but it was very different from what I’m used to in a contemporary romance because the main character is a Muslim girl, and in the book she and her friends adhere to rules I didn’t even know about. Though a bit slow compared to other contemporary romances I’ve read, it was very interesting from the perspective that she was acting and reacting in ways I wouldn’t expect based on my own background.

11) Visit the past: Read a book considered to be a “classic” that you’ve always meant to read but never have NOT Done

Almost any of the Agatha Christie books I’ve been reading could probably fit this category, but I don’t think they usually teach her books in school, which is what comes to mind when people usually say ‘classic.’ Is this the year I finally read The Portrait of Dorian Gray?

12) Judge a book by its cover: Pick a book with a beautiful cover without knowing what the story is about DONE

I definitely picked The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett based on the cover. It was not at all what I expected, but a fun story anyway. Other books that could just as easily fit this category for me so far this year are Fable by Adrienne Young, Witchmark by C.L. Polk, and The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. So many beautiful covers!


Looks like I’ve got 5 categories still to go in the second half of the year.

How about you? Are you taking our reading challenge this year? Let us know in the comments which books you’ve read that fit the categories, and share some recommendations!

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