Taking Stock — An End-of-Year Post

Hello reading lovelies!

As Christmas nears and New Year’s looms, I’m left reflecting on the year’s reading.

I started 2017, as I always do, with a very ambitious reading goal of 50 books + finishing the 2017 Read Harder Challenge. And, as I always do, I gave up somewhere along the way. Ah, well! 😀

In November, ten books behind, I decided to change my goal to 40 books — much more manageable. But now I’m looking at this Read Harder list. I was supposed to read 24 books, each with a different, potentially challenging, requirement. Here’s the list:

  1. Read a book about sports.
  2. Read a debut novel.
  3. Read a book about books.
  4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
  5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
  6. Read an all-ages comic.
  7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
  8. Read a travel memoir.
  9. Read a book you’ve read before.
  10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
  11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
  12. Read a fantasy novel.
  13. Read a nonfiction book about technology.
  14. Read a book about war.
  15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
  16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
  17. Read a classic by an author of color.
  18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
  19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey.
  20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel.
  21. Read a book published by a micropress.
  22. Read a collection of stories by a woman.
  23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
  24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.


It’s quite an ambitious list — especially that micropress one. I didn’t even know what that was before this challenge. Anyhoo, as it always does, the Read Harder Challenge got me out of my comfort zone. I typically read A LOT of YA and fantasy, and while the list did allow me to read in those genres, I mostly had to read things I would never have picked up otherwise. Which, of course, is the whole point! I managed to read 17 of the 24 (one of those was a double-up, which, per the rules, is acceptable. Thanks, Harry!).

zac effron thank you

I just could not get through that sports book. Blech! I was ridiculously bored from page one. I’m sad I didn’t get to a few of my other choices, especially Lizard Radio and Interpreter of Maladies. I simply ran out of time. I know there are a couple of weeks left in December, but I have two indie novels I need to finish up and review, so it is unlikely I will have time to finish the challenge books in 2017. Maybe next year.

Probably for the first time in my life, I’m not mad at myself for not finishing this thing I set out to do. I did what I could, and I got to read a lot of really great books I probably would have passed over if it weren’t for this challenge. I don’t know if it’s the whole being-in-my-thirties thing or if I’ve finally accepted I’m not superhuman, or what, but I’m giving myself a pass for not being able to do it all.

I’m excited to see what Book Riot comes up with for the about the 2018 challenge. I may participate, I may not. I haven’t decided yet. What I do know, is I will be reading a ton of books next year, and enjoying every minute of it.

Life is so short you guys! Don’t waste it doing things you don’t love, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always finish the things you set out to do.

Much love to you all, and, as always, happy reading!

xoxo, Raeleigh


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