As I announced a couple weeks ago, despite knowing how busy I am, I decided I needed to participate in The Reading Rush again this summer because I had a lot of fun with it last year and … well? I just wanted to. And I’m glad I did, because even though I knew it would be a lot when doubled with my studying and work being busy but… you know? Sometimes you gotta treat yourself.
And I’m glad I did because this is my only major readathon this year (Start On Your Shelfathon is more of a reading challenge) and I think I needed this. 🙂
So here’s how it went!
#1. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The Bad Beginning is the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events and a series I remember always enjoying. The funny thing for this reread was…. coming back to Olaf, particularly the way Tim Curry read it, just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I really didn’t enjoy this reading experience and I am a little horrified about the way he treats the kids… and anyway, I have feelings.
I read this for the “read a book where you’ve seen the movie” challenge. I’ve seen both the older film with Jim Carrey (which I actually didn’t hate) as well as the Neil Patrick Harris-led Netflix series (which I thought I was fantastic). I do recommend the Netflix show – I feel like it’s general true to the book, but less disturbing.
>> Read: Day 1.
>> Challenge(s): Read a Book That Inspired A Movie You’ve Already Seen, Read a Book That Stars With the Word “The”..
#2. Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
I really want to read more poetry because there aren’t a lot of poets that I enjoy and I feel like I haven’t exposed myself to enough poetry to find new favorites. The last poetry book I read was Milk & Honey a few years ago… it was high time I tried again, right?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about Wild Embers either, even though it came highly recommended by a dear friend… I think I’m earning that most contemporary poetry is not for me.
>> Read: Day 1.
>> Challenges: Participated in a Read In Live Show, Read a Book in a Genre You’ve Always Wanted to Read More Of.
#3. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
I’m just honestly super super delighted to have read this book. I know a lot of people probably consider comic collections to be cheating, but whatever this is my life and I read what I want. And what I wanted was a book with a mostly white cover (for opal, my October birthstone) and that was short and would bring me joy. And true to the comic strip genre, Adulthood is a Myth brought me joy.
I was already familiar with Sarah Andersen’s work before reading this collection, but it’s been a while since I really delved it and I’m just super glad I did because there were some much needed chuckles on these pages.
>> Read: Day 1.
>> Challenges: Read a Book With the Color of Your Birthstone on the Cover, Read a Five Star Book.
#4. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
Wow, wow, wow.
I know that Sylvain Neuvel was impressive when I listened to Sleeping Giants, but I don’t really think I fully appreciated his writing until now. At only 108 page, The Test is a testament to the value of a psychological twist while you’re reading. I don’t want to give too much away because this book was both super short and super powerful, but it was an incredibly good read. Not fluffy and delightful, but good. I would have no qualms recommending this novella to literally anybody.
>> Read: Day 2.
>> Challenges: Read a Book That Starts With the Word “The”, Read a Five Star Book, Read a Book With Your Birthstone on the Cover..
#5. Night by Elie Wiesel
Night understandably shattered me.
It’s been a while since I read a memoir like this one – I lean toward celebrity memoirs. Actresses are my favorite. I have several more impactful ones on my list… but I don’t think my heart was ready for Night. It’s so easy to “forget”… to compartmentalize the pain humanity causes one the grounds of racism. Many other things too, but the Holocaust is a heavy chain around our next – how could we have let something like that happen? Reading Wiesel’s firsthand memories – despite the simplicity of the book itself – is absolutely horrifying. And I think this book is necessary reading for everyone.
>> Read: Day 2.
>> Challenges: Read a Book Completely Outside Your House, Read a Five Star Book.
#6. The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette
For the Reading Rush, I tend to pick books on my TBR that I don’t already own, or audiobooks I’ve collected on Audible over the years and want to process through. Because of that, picking “the first book I touch” was tricksy. I went with a scroll with my eyes closed aaaaand managed to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list and there was The Spaceship Next Door. But that’s okay, because I really liked it!
This is definitely an underappreciated book if you’re in the mood for a little light sci-fi… I recommend it!
>> Read: Day 3.
>> Challenges: Read the First Book You Touch, Read a Five Star Book, Read Over 1000 Pages, Read a Book That Starts With the Word “The”.
#7. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I’ve been wanting to reread Peter Pan for a while, because it’s a soft classic favorite of mine. I have to be honest – I was a bit disappointed in the reread. I knew there would be racist elements because I have a pretty good awareness of the story… but I was extra disappointed because of those things.
Cut out those things, though, and this is a magical adventure. Buuuut cut out the problematic stuff, and you lose half the book. Es no bueno. Still, I generally had a good experience visiting this world again, and I’ll be dropping a review with more specifics in a few days.
>> Read: Day 5.
>> Challenges: Read a Book That Takes Place on a Different Continent Than Where You Live & Read Seven Books.
#8. Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
Wasn’t even sort of maybe planning to read this one, it just happened because it was a colorful book I randomly pulled off my shelf for my bookstagram, then I was captioning it on Tuesday the week of the Reading Rush and was all like, you know? I kind of want to read this again?
Glad I did, because rereading it push it up another star in the rating. I like Jane’s messy complicatedness a lot more now than I did back in 2018. Maybe I’m more jaded now and can related better? No idea. Still think, though, that this book is tragically underrated. Also it takes place in Canada, and the only other book I know of that takes place in Canada is Anne of Green Gables. Two “contemporary” books that couldn’t be more different.
>> Read: Day 5.
>> Challenges: Read a Five-Star Book, Made a Bookstagram.
#9. Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka
This book has such a gorgeous cover, doesn’t it?
This is an ARC Candlewick Press sent me in June – the actual book doesn’t come out until October. I have a few different feelings about it, which I’ll outline more in my review when it drops in September, but it short… it has an interesting concept, following a teen who has a heart transplant. It explores the concept of cellular memory and talks at length about surfing. I feel there were a lot of stereotypes going, and stretches. One of the downsides of having an ARC is that the author’s comments and acknowledgements were missing – I would have liked to get a better understanding of the research (if any) that happened here? It’s not a bad book, not offensive or anything, but nor was it particularly memorable?
>> Read: Day 7.
>> Challenges: Participate in a Twitter Sprint, Participated in a Read In Live Show.
#10. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Full confession – I power-listened my way through this one at 3x speed, the fasted I have every listened to an audiobook, because I wanted to finish it on Sunday so I could say I ultimately read the same amount of books I read the year before. Worth it!
Doubly worth it… because I didn’t really like this book. At all. There are some problematic bits worth talking about here, one of the most glaring being Sue Monk Kidd’s need to stay in her lane. While I like The Secret Life of Bees and don’t begrudge her that one, I don’t think we needed another white woman writing from the perspective of a Black slave. Ingenuine, unnecessary, and failed to tell a meaningful story. Which is probably a controversial opinion, considering how many people enjoyed this one.
>> Read: Day 7.
>> Challenges: Read a Book That Starts With the Word “The”
This year, I was well-ready to read all the books I planned to for the readathon and didn’t really have any flow-over on one side or the other. The only book I didn’t complete during the readathon was Foreshadow, an upcoming collection of short story compiled and edited by Emily X. R. Pan (The Astonishing Color of After). Which is really good so far, by the way… I just didn’t have the bandwidth to finish it. I’ll be working through it for a couple weeks, just ’cause that’s how I do short story collections.
Altogether, I call this readathon a roaring success. I danced around whether or not I was going to do it given the timing (I take my Series 99 exam in six days and have essentially thrown away a week of study at a crucial time, ack!). Still, I think that taking this time to read, especially so many different books was really good for me. I feel a lot better than I did two weeks ago, as though this was the breath of fresh air I needed.
Also, that prompt about reading outside? Amazing! Even though Night is not the most cheerful of books, I enjoyed every moment of reading in the hammock on my back deck and am going to make better efforts to keep it up.
Did you participate in the Reading Rush? If so, did you meet all your goals? If not, is it something you may want to do next year?