2017 Book Challenge

Mike's sister, Kelly, is doing the Popsugar reading challenge for 2017, which had 40 books to read in 2017.  I really liked the challenge, but the more I thought about it, 40 books was seeming a little daunting, so I set a goal of 30 books this year, which is definitely doable.  I know I could read more if I really pushed myself, but I'm not sure what life will look like after the baby arrives, so I wanted to allow a little wiggle room.  I found this reading challenge which has 26 books, so I have room for 4 extras that I just want to read for fun. Sounds like just the right fit for me!  I've tried to kind of plan out what books to read for each challenge, based on books that have been on my to-read list or books that have been recommended to me.

The 26-book 2017 reading challenge

A non-fiction book The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee 
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(February)- SO GOOD! Gave me some weird pregnancy dreams, but was fascinating and provided such good insight into the logistics and emotions that surround North Koreans

A book written by a male author Learn Me Good by John Pearson 
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(February)- Hilarious! This guy nailed what it's like to be an elementary school classroom, but both teachers and others would enjoy!  I'll definitely be reading his sequel Learn Me Gooder

A book that became/is becoming a film: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
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(January) I wasn't a huge fan.  I felt that it was too out there.  I think people who like fantasy/artsy type books would enjoy it, but it wasn't my favorite. 

A book with a number in the title  The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman 
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(January)  This was good, but not great. I enjoyed the plot, but felt that it was a little long at times.  I definitely didn't see the surprise at the end, though which made it well worth the read!

A book you can finish in a day For the Love by Jen Hatmaker 
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(January)- It took me two days, but it's definitely doable in a day.  It's short, easy to read and she's funny at times.  It was definitely out of my comfort zone and sometimes got a little too preach-y for my taste, but a good, quick read. 

An award-winning book The Color Purple by Alice Walker  
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(March) This was the first book this year that I had a hard time getting into, but by the end, found myself back to my normal habit of just wanting to read nonstop.  My only regret with this book is that I didn't have a book club or a literature class to discuss some of the more deeper themes addressed throughout.  If anyone wants to have a little discussion, hit me up!

A book published in the last year The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

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(April) I think I must have found this book on sale on Amazon because I didn't know anything about it before I began.   That being said, it was fantastic.  The author provides such honest and deep insight into the emotional struggles an entire family faces when one member struggles with an illness such as anorexia.  Told from the perspective of the mother, I found myself emotionally connected with every single one of the characters.  

A book written by a female author 
Glory over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (I loved The Kitchen House so I'm excited for this one!)

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(July) Another great one by Kathleen Grissom! I love love LOVED The Kitchen House and this sequel didn't disappoint. It took me a long time to finish because of our newest addition, but I kept staying up later than I should just to squeeze in another chapter. 

A book someone else recommended to you Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

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(July) This book kept getting recommended to me and popping up throughout the election season because it sheds light onto problems of the poor white class in America, a population that is often overlooked.  I found this book fascinating.  I'm so used to discussing and thinking about how to solve the problems of the inner city, but this population face a unique set of challenges.  Vance does a great job providing insight into this population, probably because he grew up with them!

A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon
(July)  I read this book poolside and it was the perfect trashy summer romance novel to keep me occupied while I was getting my tan on.  It's definitely not going to win any awards, but it was fun, especially since we'll be moving to Mystic this fall. If I'm ever in need of another easy summer read, I'll look into Hannah McKinnon.

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A book by someone who isn’t a writer  Who Thought This was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco 

My fascination with the behind the scenes of the White House was the motivation for reading this book.  I thought it was interesting and funny at times, but didn't live up to the hype that some people had given it.  It was good, but I'm not sure I would buy it on my Kindle.  Definitely a library book.

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A book with someone’s name in the title The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

This book took me FOREVER to read, not because it wasn't good but because I have an infant who requires a lot of attention and drains me of all energy so I go to bed significantly earlier than  I used to.  The book felt slow at times, but I did think it was a worthwhile read, especially if you like WWI and WWII historical fiction. The end was a little anticlimactic, but overall I thought it was really good. 

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A book published in the 20th Century The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (I was supposed to read this in high school and couldn't get into it, but I want to give it a second chance because everyone raves about it)

A book set in your hometown/region Home Street Home - The Virginia Beach Chronicles by Georgia Saunders

A book you read in school Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
A book from your childhood Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling
A book with a character with your first name Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
A book published over 100 years ago Pride and Prejudice Jane Eyre
A previously banned book Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
A memoir or journal 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Phillip Done
A book written by someone younger than you Happy to be Alive, Because by Chelsea Jacobs (I read her blog and she's only 25!)
A book that will improve a specific area of your life Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

A book with over 500 pages
A self-published book
A book with a one-word title
A book translated from another language
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (it won the Pulitzer Prize!)
    Learn Me Gooder by John Pearson (the sequel to Learn Me Good)
    (May) Just as good as the first one!  Definitely recommend, even if you aren't a teacher!

    If you have any suggestions, especially for the ones that I don't have books for, let me know! I would love to hear from you!