I moved back to the US from Scotland in December 2014, and found that despite studying literature, I had forgotten how to read for fun, or why I had even loved to read in the first place. While in a transition period, I decided to give myself some structure by setting a goal to read 100 books in 2015; I read over 130. In 2016 I decided to reach higher and set a goal of 150, which I met on New Year’s Eve.
The goal was not about volume, but about training myself to read again as a matter of habit – not because something was assigned to me. I tracked the journey of both years by documenting my progress on Instagram, writing mini-reviews when they felt warranted, but mostly reflections on why I felt drawn to particular titles, whether old favorites or new discoveries. These are categorized under the following hashtags: #bookfeet #read2016 #fortheloveofthepage #100bookchallenge #100books
Reach out at anytime for a recommendation, or head over to Instagram to browse my reading selection. While no longer aggressively pursuing a reading challenge other than a personal goal set on Goodreads, I am still an avid reader. I am also in the process of writing about this experience in an series of essays.
99/150 (Oct 14, 2016) “Unexpected Magic” by Diana Wynne Jones. The novella is exceptional, possibly one of her best. No one writes like Jones. This was likely my last #librarybook before vacation comes, but maybe I’ll squeeze in one more read before the plane takes off… As much as I horde books like Smaug with Dwarfish treasure, I really do rely on and am so grateful to have access to an amazing #publiclibrary system in #Connecticut. #useitorloseit #bookfeet #fortheloveofthepage #read2016 #loveyourlibrary #library
100/100 (Nov 12, 2015) “Loaded Words” by Marjorie Garber. #goalmet First, let me say that this woman’s mind is phenomenal; if I could learn half as much as she disseminates here alone, I’d be on my way to feeling accomplished. Also, there is something fitting in that I ended this challenge with an author who was really my first university professor thanks to a #harvardextensionschool course, and set me on the path I now work towards. #requiredreading: “Loaded Words,” “Mad Lib,” “Our Genius Problem,” “Good to Think With,” “The Gypsy Scholar and the Scholar Gypsy,” “Radical Numbers,” and “After the Humanities.” #100books #100bookchallenge #bookfeet #fortheloveofthepage
25/100 (Jun 13, 2015) “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke. It may have taken a few false starts to get here, but after attempting since its publication in 2004, I have finally completed this text. It is somehow fitting that this marks #quarterwaythere for my goal. Enjoyable as it was, I think I’ve earned a foray into #Hogwarts next to bring me up to 1/3 of the way through. #bookfeet #100books #100bookchallenge #fortheloveofthepage #782pages #bucketlist #jonathanstrangeandmrnorrell
119/150 (Dec 4, 2016) “When the Moon was Ours” by Anna-Marie McLemore. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up but it turned out to be one of the best contemporary pieces of YA magical realism I’ve come across, with so many relevant themes including community and the search for self and identity. It’s also an extremely unique reimagining of La Llorona. Definitely worth the read. #bookfeet #read2016 #fortheloveofthepage #yaliterature #magicalrealism #yalit
14/100 (Mar 7, 2015) “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey. This one took quite a while but i savored every word and languished in every drop of desert warmth that spilled from the page. Abbey’s Arches National Park may have been destroyed, but he still managed to save a part of it here. #100books #trainreads #fortheloveofthepage #bookfeet #mustread
136/100 (Dec 25, 2015) “The Lives of Christopher Chant” by Diana Wynne Jones. Rescued from a library sale for .50¢. Gotta love the 80s cover art. #100books #100bookchallenge #fortheloveofthepage #bookfeet
107/150 (Nov 6, 2016) “Shaking Hands with Death” by Terry Pratchett. “…you can run and you can hide, but every man has his inevitable appointment… It’s that much heralded thing, the quality of life, that is important. How you live your life, what you get out of it, what put into it and what you leave behind after it. We should aim for a good and rich life well lived and, at the end of it, in the comfort of our own home, in the company of those who love us, have a death worth doing for.” Terry Pratchett’s BBC Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2010 — it’s been a pragmatically morbid night. #bookfeet #fortheloveofthepage #read2016 #terrypratchett
106/100 (Nov 21, 2015) “And Both Were Young” by Madeleine L’Engle (1983 re-issue). The most wonderfully human thing I’ve read in a long time, with a beautiful introduction by the author’s granddaughter. L’Engle certainly does not talk down to children, handles the impossibly harsh world with grace, and should be taught far more than she is in schools. Especially this edition of this book. #100books #100bookchallenge #fortheloveofthepage #bookfeet
76/150 (Aug 24, 2016) “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco. “It wasn’t that he refused to bow to the lust for power; he refused to bow to nonmeaning. He somehow knew that, fragile as our existence may be, however ineffectual our interrogation of the world, there is nevertheless something that has more meaning than the rest.” This was everything Dan Brown wishes he could have written, but didn’t have the depth of knowledge or the command of language to ever attempt. I began this book in March because I had never read any of Eco’s novels, and it is now almost September. I am both mentally exhausted and oddly satisfied, and though I might not try another Eco novel for a few years at least, I am glad I finally checked it off the list. Read this book to understand how to write, and know that not only is the author phenomenal, but his translator, William Weaver, is phenomenal. #read2016 #fortheloveofthepage #bookfeet #booksintranslation #umbertoeco
88/150 (Sep 22, 2016) “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Andrews Edwards. “All you have to know is that your greatest weapons are reason and a lack of fear”. Should be read by every family. I find Julie Andrews to be far more the inheritor of George MacDonald and Edith Nesbit in this book than Edward Eager, for all his emulation. And yes I do read this in her voice in my head. Pax amor et lepos in iocando (peace love and a sense of fun). #bookfeet #fortheloveofthepage #read2016 #readingthoughts #childrensliterature #childrenslit #requiredreading