2015 Reading Challenge

My brother challenged me to complete the Goodwill Librarian's reading challenge in 2015.  A few other friends are joining in as well, and we decided that a) audiobooks count and b) books can be listed for more than one category.  This is where I am going to keep track of the books I've read (and give a bit of a review) because it was too hard to do so on Facebook!

Most of my "reading" this day is done via audiobooks because then I can either listen while I stitch, or listen while I drive, and since I do a lot of both, this is very handy.  I tend to purchase my audiobooks through audible.com.au or audible.co.uk (from when I used to live in the UK).  I'm annoyed that there are some audiobooks availble on audible.com that aren't available in the Australian library - all to do with international commisions and what not, but that's another story.  I've also purchased audiobooks through iTunes and own quite a number on CD, particularly Doctor Who and Agatha Christie, which I tend to pick up through the ABC shop.  However, I recently discovered that my local library is linked to an app, Borrow Box, which means I am able to borrow audiobooks from the library directly to my phone!  I used to (when I was in highschool) visit the library and borrow out CDs, but with work this became more difficult.  However with the app I can visit the library at 11pm or 6pm on a Sunday and find a new audiobook to listen to.  They also do eBooks.  Best. App. Ever.  Check it out. 

A book from your childhood
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
I am, and always have been, a fearce reader.  I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.  Not all of it was great literature (The Baby-Sitters Club springs to mind!) and I didn't necessarily read the widest range of books (see again The Baby-Sitters Club), but I read it.  I remember scouring Mum and Dad's bookshelves to find new books to read.  "A book from my childhood" leads to a massive, wide range of options for books to re-read, but I went for the first book I remember reading (well, remember hearding stories about reading).  For about 18 months (so the story goes) this was my favourite bedtime story book.  It got to the stage that my father could read it with his eyes closed - he says the hardest part was remembering to turn the page at the right point!  I bought this book as a gift for a friend's new baby, and had to read it (out loud to my cats) before I wrapped it up to post to her.  A true classic children's story book.

A book you can finish in a day
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Read below for how I was introduced to this series.  Bek had bought the second book in the series, but hadn't had a chance to read it.  She was off on holidays to Afrcia, so loaned it to me to read since she wasn't going to take it with her.  I finished it in a day.  Admittaly the day was Saturday, and I went to bed at about midnight, but I still read it in a day.  Which meant I was able to return the book to Bek before she left.  Now I have to wait for her to get back and buy the rest of the series so I can read them too!  To be fair, I'll probably end up purchasing this series so I can read it again, but at the moment I'm broke.  Oh, I've also created a Divergent-themed cross stitch pattern - keep yours eyes open for that in the near future!

A book that became a movie
Divergent by Veronica Roth
I avoided this series for a long time, book and film.  Some people were describing it as "the new Twilight" (which I refuse to read) and others were describing it as a poor copy of The Hunger Games (which I loved, so I didn't want to read a poor copy of it).  My housemate Bek had bought the book earlier this year and was telling me how much she'd enjoyed reading it.  Note: Bek doesn't read.  She just doesn't.  I can probably count the number of books she's read on my fingers.  For her to a) have actually read the book and b) enjoyed it made me think "I have to read this book".  I borrowed it off her and read it in about two days.  Great concept - a bit Hunger Games meets Brave New World.  The rest of the series has been added to my 'to read' list.

A book with more than 500 pages
Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
This book has sat on my bookshelf for about 5 years I think, and I've never read it.  Not once.  I originally bought it because it was listed in Dymock's Top 101 Books list and I decided I wanted to read the whole list (this was before Twilight and other 'popular-now' books were added to the list).  So I bought this one, started to read the first page, and then it just sat there unread as the story didn't grab me - not my normal style of book.  So for this challenge I decided that I would finally read the darn book.  In the end I decided to audiobook it as that way I might stay interested in the story.  And I did - I actually really enjoyed it.  Like Red Ice (below) it is an American-millitary-based (Marines or something - I don't understand the different types of Australian forces, let alone American) thriller, written by an Australian.  It's non-stop action with a possible alien twist.  The next couple of books in the series are now on my iphone ready to listen to.

A book with a colour in the title
Red Ice by James Phelan
I borrowed this book by accident.  I think I was looking for another book that someone had recommended, or was just scrolling through the list of mystery/thrillers in the Borrow Box app, I can't remember!  At any rate this one was suddenly in my loans list.  So I listened to it.  It took me a bit to work out what was going on but I eventually got the concept and quite enjoyed the story... and then found out that the reason it had been hard to work out what on earth was going on in the story was because this wasn't the first book in the series... it was the sixth!  No wonder I was confused.  Now to go back and read/listen to the first five.  At least I'll know who survives the stories.

A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
The Water Diviner by Andrew Anastasios and Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios
One of the goals on my bucket list is to visit Gallipoli for ANZAC Day.  ANZAC Day is the day Australians and New Zealanders commemorate the various wars we've taken part in, and the lives of those lost.  The 25th April is the day ANZAC troups landed at Gallipoli for what was probably our biggest disaster of the First World War.  Visiting Gallipoli has become a bit of a pilgrim trip for many young Australians, and this is where the book is set.  Well, all over Turkey really.  It is about a father whose three sons were "missing, presumed dead" at Gallipoli.  He decides to go there and try to find them.  The Water Diviner movie was released earlier this year.  Interestingly enough, the movie came first.  Andrew and his wife Meaghan felt there was more to the story than they could put in the film script, so decided to write a book to tell the full story.

A book based on or turned into a TV Show
Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
This is the second Veronica Mars book.  They follow on from the movie, based on the TV show.  I've really enjoyed this series - the book is an easy read and brings back all my favourite characters from the TV show.  Except Piz.  I miss Piz.  Although Logan does get referred to as "Not Piz" so that's a start.  I've mentioned before how much I love Veronica Mars here and here.

A book with magic
Queen of the Tearling by Erica Johansen
It's not magic in the traditional sense, but it's still magic.  I listened to the audiobook for this one, so I'm not sure if that is what made it difficult to follow initially (I kept getting the characters confused), but once I got my head around who everyone was I enjoyed it.  It's not my favourite fantasy novel, and has a confusing mix of historical and future elements, but I enjoy it enough that I'll read/listen to the sequel when it comes out.

A book a friend recommended
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
Brilliant.  Utterly brilliant.  I've since recommended it to at least 2 friends. It opens with the line "Dear You.  The body you are wearing used to be mine."  If you love science-fiction, spy thrillers, mysteries, action, intrigue, magic, or just a good read, read this NOW.  Similar vein to the Rivers of London series.

A memoir
Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry
So far, Stephen Fry has written 3 memoirs.  This is the first one.  I read the second one first, the third one second and the first one third.  Because that makes sense.  I love his style of writing and the way that he flicks between events and time-periods.

A book by a female author
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor,
Followed by A Symphony of Echos, A Second Chance and A Trail through Time
I think the first one was a free book from Audible.  It was suddenly in my Audible library and I didn't remember purchasing it.  So I listened to it.  And then listened to the other three in the series.  I really enjoyed them.  I thought it was a clever take on an old concept: a research organisation attached to a University has the ability to time-travel.  The Historians travel into the past to observe important events and time periods in order to gain new information and answer unknown questions.  Of course, it is never that straight forward and disaster inevitabley befells them.  I particularly enjoyed the slightly different take on some of the more well-known historical events - what we think we all know happened isn't what 'actually' happened.  A semi-light, enjoyable read

A book by an author you've never read before
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I'd vaguely heard of this book before, but not really what it was about or anything really.  It came in a free bundle from Audible.com.au at Christmas time, along with three other Australian books, so I got it and listened to it.  Pretty much the whole way through in one sitting.  Given my profession, I couldn't believe I hadn't heard more about it.  A professor in genetics, with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome (believe me, I work in the profession), decides he needs a wife and sets about trying to find one online using a very very detailed questionnaire.  Rosie, a woman, approaches him for help to find her unknown father.  But more important to me is the detail given to the precision with which this man lives out his life, his inability to relate to people or to make friends, the way is day is planned out to the second, and what happens when someone comes along who completely messes with the system.  The best book about undiagnosed autism I have read since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Look Me In The Eye (both of which are worth a read)

A book set in a different country
Death of an Outsider by M.C. Beaton
A gentle mystery about a Scottish policeman, set in the Scottish Highlands.  I love M.C. Beaton's writing - the murder/mystery in her stories are always second to the characters, the detail of their day-to-day lives.  I'm annoyed that more of M.C. Beaton's books aren't available on Audible or iTunes.  There are quite a number of books in both the Agatha Raisin and Hamish McBeth series, and a lot of them used to be available on Audible but then they disappeared.  They also aren't available as eBooks through my local library.  Guess I'm going to have to search online.

A Mystery
The Corinna Chapman mysteries (all 6 books read in January) by Kerry Greenwood
The series is about Corinna, a baker and reluctant investigator.  Although she's becoming a lot less reluctant as the series progresses.  It's also a lot about her cats.  And her neighbours cats.  And food.  Lots of really good food that makes me very hungry and makes me want to bake a lot of things.  So, not a good book for the waist line.  Like M.C. Beaton's books, I love the character descriptions, and the descriptions of ordinary life.  The mystery always runs as a secondary story line to the descriptions of people, cats and food.  Kerry Greenwood is the author of the Phrynie Fisher novels that were turned into a television show on the ABC. 
A book set during Christmas
Forbidden Fruit By Kerry Greenwood
From the series listed above, this one is set during Christmas.  Corinna hates Christmas, particularly Christmas songs.  Her hate of songs about snow I completely agree with.  Her distaste of repetative tinny-sounding songs in the shopping centres I understand.  Her distaste of all Christmas songs... no.  That's my brother G.

Still to go...
  • A classic romance
  • A book published this year (2015)
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with nonhuman characters
  • A funny book
  • A book with a one word title
  • A book of short stories (Dragons at Crumbling Castle)
  • A nonfiction book
  • A popular author's first book
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (The Long Mars)
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  • A book your mum loves (Anne of Green Gables)
  • A book that scares you
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't (To Kill a Mocking Bird)
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that came out the year you were born (1985)
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book set in the future
  • A book set in high school
  • A book that made you cry
  • A graphic novel
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book that was originally written in a different language
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book (Perks of being a wall flower)
  • A book you started but never finished (Rosie Effect or Cross Stitch)


  1. I'm doing this challenge too. I working on #9 right now.

    1. Ooo awesome! :) It's hard finding titles for some of the options