Thursday, February 2, 2017

January 2017 Reading Challenges Wrap-Up Post

Here is my wrap up post for reading challenges for this month:
All the lists of books for these various challenges are maintained here.

1. Short Story Reading Challenge - Deal Me in 2017 - Really enjoying this challenge so far, and definitely an easy one for me to work on, and the best part is, I am reading authors and styles I do not normally read.


For this month, I read:
Week 1: 'The Old Demon' by Pearl S Buck
Week 2:  'The Cherry Tree' by Ruskin Bond
Week 3: 'The Lottery' by Shirley Jackson
Week 4: 'We Should All be Feminists' by Chimamanda Adichie
Week 5: YTR - 'Among the Paths to Eden' by Truman Capote (My 2 of Clubs per Random.org's card shuffler)



2. What's in a Name 2017 - With a number in the title - Overlap between challenges - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
For this challenge, I hope to pick another book over the year for 'number in the title' without an overlap with another challenges, but just in case, I do not end up doing that, here is my first book for this challenge!
Review at the end of this post
3. Full House Reading Challenge 2017 -On TBR for 2+ years: - Overlap between challenges - A Wrinkle in Time
Review at the end of this post 

 
4. Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge - January: Award winners: - Overlap between challenges - A Wrinkle in Time
Review at the end of this post 
5. Monthly Keyword Reading Challenge 2017 - January: Thousand Overlap between challenges - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Review at the end of this post
6. 2017 NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge - Almost completed the level I chose initially, so will up the level now!
My reviews for NetGalley/Edelweiss books can be found here, here, and here 



Reviews for Challenges Above:

This was a book on my TBR for a long time, I never read this book as a child growing up in India, and do not recall hearing about it as well. But when my son had to read it in school a few years ago (4th grade, I think), I thought I need to read it too, and so it was added to my TBR. At that time, however, I did read another book which references ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and did like that book when I read it – that book is ‘When you Reach me’ by Rebecca Stead (maybe I need to read it again)
What did I like about this book: Well, the premise of time travel (the wrinkle,as the title suggests) as described in this book must have been really cool when this book was first published. The book starts off with the one of the coolest first lines ‘It was a dark and stormy night’! At the start of the book, I liked Meg, really thought Charles was adorable, and enjoyed reading about Mrs.Murry; overall, I also liked the family dynamics of the Murrys.
What I did not enjoy as much: While I am not an atheist, nor am I deeply religious or anti-spiritual. But this book irked with its random references to Christianity that seemingly spring out of nowhere. While references to worship or to god in any culture or religion in books is not always avoidable and sometimes needed and/or apt for the story, the references in this book seemed random, a bit preachy, and at most times at complete odds with the bits and pieces of story around it that include tesserations, mind-control, and travel between times and worlds. The characters that started off strong seemed to wrinkle with time as the book progressed (for me).
Rating: C (for me)
Reading Level: 8+



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - by Jules Verne 
My thoughts: This was a childhood read I picked up again. Jules Verne was my first favorite science fiction author; and I read many of his other books as well including ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, ‘The Mysterious Island’, and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’. I do recall enjoying reading all his books as a kid, and I ended up with ‘The Mysterious Island’ as my favorite at that time.
 Rereading ‘20000…’ again now showed me why I enjoyed his books, though I admit I did not have the same patience for some of the longer descriptions of marine life, I still found myself reluctant to skip them, since they were just long, not boring!
So what is the book about? The fascinating adventures of M.Arronax, a professor of all things marine, his faithful manservant Conseil, and the effusive Ned Land (who loves to harpoon above all else) on board the Nautilus captained by the mysterious Captain Nemo. And what is the Nautilus, you ask? It was a futuristic underwater vehicle (well, yes, submarine!) of that time when the book was written, and based on some of its features, maybe today too, in the comfortable belly of which, the three adventurers (marooned survivors) travelled 20,000 leagues of distance around the earth (underwater, of course!).
So, (re)discover for yourself, the magic of Jules Verne (though it is not all science-fiction anymore, it is still a good read) while I try to figure out who is my favorite character in this book – it is a close call between Captain Nemo and Ned Land. 
Note: The version of the book I read was online on Gutenberg
Rating: B+
Reading Level: 10+
Reread Level: 4/5 (this is a reread for me)


2 comments:

  1. So glad to hear you are enjoying the Deal Me In challenge so far. And "the best part" of the challenge that you mention is one of my favorite aspects as well - getting to read authors or styles I don't usually explore. A short story is not such a big commitment to either of those, and at least if you don't like them, it's over quick and "little harm done." :-)

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  2. The other advantage of short stories is that when you are travelling they can give you a taste or a tease about the place you are visiting - at least that's what I found :-)

    brona's books

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