Reading Challenge, The Great American Read

PBS’s The Great American Read

american read

So if you saw my post about the National Book Festival, then you know I found out all about the Great American Read there. I had heard of it before, but didn’t really know what it was, and I can’t believe it took me this long to check it out.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, you’re going to want to check it out: https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/home/

PBS hosts the event. The first show aired in May, and there will be seven more shows starting on Septemeber 11th. PBS created a list of the top 100 books Americans love after conducting surveys.

There are so many great books on the list! Some I’ve read, some are on my TBR list, and a few were books I’d never heard of.  Each day until the end of October, you can cast one vote for your favorite book(s).

If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram, then you’ve may have guessed my first vote went to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This book has been a great inspiration in my life, so I had to cast my first vote for this novel. But there are a few other books I’ll have to vote for too – The Outsiders, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, Frankenstein, and Charlotte’s Web – to name a few.

Also, since I’ve only read 30 of the 100 books, I’m planning to read several more before the finale airs. I’m starting with books in the YA genre since that’s my favored genre, both to read and write.

Here are the books I’m starting with:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Hachet by Gary Paulsen

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

What about you? Are you participating in the Great Read? What book(s) are you voting for? Are you reading any books from the 100? Let me know in the comments!

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Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge Check-in – #unreadshelfproject2018

shelf update

So since we are halfway through the year (hard to believe, isn’t it?) I decided to do a check-in to see how I’m doing with the #unreadshelfproject2018. If you haven’t heard about this challenge or missed my first post about it, you can check it out here.

I have read 86 books this year, and 23 of them were my own unread books. My original goal was to read 120 of my unread books, so I have a lot of work left to get to that goal. I love my local library, and every time I go, I find more books to read. I’m going to have to limit library visits so I can finish more of my own unread books! 🙂

These are the 23 books of mine I’ve read so far:

  1. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
  2. Finding my Edge by Karen Chen
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  5. In Her Skin by Kim Savage
  6. Veronica Mars: The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
  7. Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
  8. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  9. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  10. Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
  11. Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  12. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  13. Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
  14. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  15. The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
  16. Private by James Patterson
  17. War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes
  18. Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  19. Ferdinand and the Bullies by Walt Disney Company
  20. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  21. Cress by Marissa Meyer
  22. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  23. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

How about you? How are you doing on your challenges for this year? Let me know in the comments.

Reading Challenge

Fairytale Bingo Reading Challenge

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With National Fairy Tale Day coming up tomorrow (February 26th), I felt it appropriate to share one of the other reading challenges I’m doing this year to help me get through the #unreadshelfchallenge2018.

This is a bingo challenge, and it’s the second bingo challenge I’ve done. There are two ways to complete the challenge. You can either choose to get a BINGO (five squares in a row- horizontally, vertically or diagonally), or you can choose to complete the whole board.
fairytale bingo

I’m going to focus on completing a BINGO for the next month or so, but am aiming to complete the whole board by the end of the year. I have already read Spindle by Shonna Slayton (and loved it 🙂 ), but that’s the only square I’ve filled in so far.

The Fairytale Forum facebook group (ran by Ashlee Willis and Shonna Slayton) is hosting this challenge. If you love fairytales, you should definitely check this group out.

And tomorrow, I will be posting an original fairy tale to my blog. Be sure to check it out! 🙂

How will you be celebrating National Fairy Tale Day? Let me know in the comments.

 

diyMFA book club, For Writers

A Writer’s Reading List – diyMFA book club

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Today I’m doing my final post for the diyMFA book club. (If this is the first time you’ve heard about diyMFA, you can find out all about it here.) One of the prompts was to share your reading list.  I enjoyed the reading section of the book, and I loved the way Gabriela broke the writer’s reading list down into three categories. The great thing about it – you tailor it to your genre. The three categories are:

Craft Books: These are the books that deal with the craft of writing –  books that help you improve your writing.  Currently, these are the craft books I have on my TBR list (some of them I’ve read parts of, but I haven’t read any of them in their entirety):

    1.  diyMFA by Gabriela Pereira

    2.  Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin

    3.  Story Genius by Lisa Cron

    4.  Self-Editing For Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King

    5.  Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine 

(You can add me as a friend on Goodreads, where I have a bookshelf full of these books 🙂 )

 

The Classics: These are the books that are classics in your genre. I write YA – which doesn’t have as many classics as some other genres. Widely considered the first YA book, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, was published in 1967. I’ve already read this classic and loved it! Here are some more YA classics on my TBR list:

1. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Ursula Le Guin

3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

4. Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (Written in 1942, some people considered this to be the first YA book, as opposed to The Outsiders, so I’ll have to give it a look)

5. The Grey King by Susan Cooper

Comp. Titles: These are books that are comparable to the book you are writing. I write YA fantasy with a fairytale twist (some are retellings, some are just stylized like fairytales), so I read a lot of fantasy, especially retellings. I don’t have a specific list for this group, because I am always on the lookout for these books and am continually adding to my TBR list. This month I have selected several books to read for the #fantasticfeb reading challenge, and several of them fall into this category. You can see my #fantasticfeb list here.

Another diyMFA book club prompt was to share a picture of your writing space.

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I write a lot of different places, but I do have a desk where I do a fair amount of that writing. There’s a window on the left side which lets in lots of natural light. I find this energizing and motivating.  Also, I’ve hung a lot of inspirational pictures above it. 🙂

writing space

I love this desk! I’ve had since I graduated from college. One day, my grandpa (the same grandpa who helped inspire me to become a writer by telling me his stories) and my dad helped me comb through garage sales to find a sturdy desk. We found this one for a dollar.  It needed some cleaning, a little sanding, and a new coat of stain, and then it was ready to go. Pretty awesome, right?

 

So how about you -What’s on your reading list? Do you have a favorite craft book? Where do you write? Let me know in the comments.

Reading Challenge

Fantastic February

The first smaller reading challenge I’m doing this year is a monthly (February) book challenge. If you missed my previous post about the yearly reading challenge I’m doing  you can check it out here.

The Fantastic February reading challenge is hosted by Kathy, author of the Books and Munches blog, and you can find all the details here.

Basically, this is a challenge that focuses on reading fantasy/paranormal books. Since I have a bunch of those on my unread bookcase, this is perfect!

Here is my TBR list for February:

fantastic february books

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine- I started this series awhile back and only have four books left in this series, so I’ll be finishing the series this month – Black Dawn, Bitter Blood, Fall of Night (not pictured), and Daylighters. 

The Queen of Hearts series by Colleen Oakes – I loved the first book and can’t wait to read the last two in this trilogy – Blood of Wonderland, and War of the Cards.

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz – This books sounded so good I pre-ordered it, and just haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – I’ve heard so many good things about this book,  it had to be added to the list.

After Alice by Gregory Maguire – I’ve actually never read a book by Maguire before, but have heard many good things about him, I decided to give this book a try. Also, this is an audiobook. (Audiobooks are one way I up my book count for the year.)

If you couldn’t tell, I love fairytale retellings, and am psyched to be doing a fantasy-themed challenge. I realize this is an ambitious list, but I will be trying to fit them all in. Like I said in my previous post, challenges motivate me. 🙂

What’s on your TBR list for February? Are you participating in Fantastic February or any other reading challenge for the month? Let me know in the comments.

 

Reading Challenge

The #unreadshelfproject2018 Reading Challenge

unread shelf

This year, I’m focusing on my reading by having more specific goals, and with that comes the reading challenges. I love a good challenge. I’m a bit competitive, so challenges really motivate me. 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram (@charityrau), then you know I’m participating in the #unreadshelfproject2018. What is that, you ask?  It is a reading challenge hosted by @theunreadshelf,  @katereadsbooks_, and @calsreads on Instagram.

The objective of the challenge – to focus on reading your own unread books. I have a ton of books that I haven’t read yet, and had been contemplating doing something like this for 2018 when I found this challenge. It’s the perfect motivation! The hosts will be posting weekly, and sometimes monthly, challenges throughout the year which will help me stay motivated and stick to my goal.

One of the first challenges was to count your unread books. Now, when I say I have a ton of unread books, I’m not exaggerating. Some are in boxes and others are scattered among books I have already read. I started with the one bookcase I know contains mostly unread books.

unread bookshelf

There are 120 unread books on that shelf, so that’s my goal for the year – to read 120 of my unread books.  I read 140 books last year, so this is doable for me. I will read a few library books as well, but only ones that qualify as highly anticipated reads for this year.

First I’ll be reading series – there are several series I’ve started, but haven’t finished. I’m currently finishing up the Lunar Chronicles.  I’m also planning to finish The Queen of Heart series, The Morganville Vampire series, the Beautiful Creatures series, and The Throne of Glass series.

This is my big reading challenge for the year, but I’ll also be doing some smaller challenges to help me stay motivated. I’ll be posting about some of those a little later. 🙂

What are your reading goals for 2018? Are you participating in any challenges? Let me know in the comments!