February Recap and Looking Ahead

So, with the end of another month, time to milk another post out of the ongoing process of monitoring my progress on all these reading challenges. (One, two, three.) As with January, I’m going to do a small snapshot report on where I stand in regards to my initial reading plan, and where there’s been changes.

And, in light of the new diagnosis and research project I have going on, I’m also going to be putting some thought into a change of direction for the rest of 2019.

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100 Books Bucket List

Somewhere in that series of posts setting the context for my 2019 reading challenges, I mentioned an extra twist I was using to “level up” the complexity of my reading plans: a crosswalk with my “Bucket List Poster” to see if I could check off a few of those boxes along the way.

The poster is actually one of a set of three posters I purchased last spring: one for books, one for movies, one for music albums. I’m not entirely sure about the methodology of choosing what made the list—okay, I don’t have any idea what the methodology was. Some mix of legit Anglo-American classics, with some other titles tossed in to represent different genres (e.g., non-fiction, fantasy epic, kids lit, murder mystery), international perspectives, and titles that represent their zeitgeist.

My guess is that the company making these posters is British, both because of some of the inclusions (Dodie Smith? Kenneth Grahame?) and, more importantly, because of the absolute erasure of African-American and post-colonial titles. All of which is to say I wouldn’t want this to be the only source of new titles for me to choose and read,  but I’m happy enough to include it as a piece of a broader landscape.

Besides, having these hanging above my desk at home is a decor choice that is just so me, and I can’t deny the fun of scratching off a new title once I’ve read/viewed/listened to it.

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January Recap

When I first shared my plans for the 3 reading challenges I’m working on, I think I mentioned something about how I could milk tons of post topics out of these lists by doing individual book reviews, monthly recaps, and so on.

Well, here I am at the end of Month 1, and I’m trying to figure out exactly how I want to arrange this recap. As expected, I’ve already started swapping some “bonus reads” into categories where I had sketchy choices, so the lists as originally posted are no longer quite accurate. Still, it seems way excessive to post the lists in their entirety every darn month, just for the sake of capturing a few changes here and there.

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The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

  • Started as a Bonus Read
  • SWAPPING IN: Book Riot #5: By a journalist or about journalism

If I’d been a tiny bit more on the ball, I could have swapped this into my list before I posted my review of Alyssa Mastromonaco. Oh well: hindsight is eagle-eyed, but my foresight is sometimes more akin to a bat wearing a blindfold. C’est la vie.

Anyhoo, Michael Lewis’s journalistic bonafides look a lot more, well, journalistic than Mastromonaco’s, so I’m glad to have a better choice for a weak category so quickly.

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Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco

  • ATY #2: One of the 5 W’s in the title
  • PopSugar #16: Question in the title
  • Book Riot #5: By a journalist or about journalism (reaching)

And just like that, I’m caught up again! (At least for now.) As I predicted, the memoir I had lined up for Week 2 did go quickly, so I’m back on schedule, a status I predict will be maintained till the wheels fall off the cart in March.*

But hey, might as well celebrate being on track for whatever window of time I can claim that virtuous status.

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The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart

  • ATY #1: Nominated for or won an award in a genre I enjoy
  • Book Riot #3: Book by a woman or AOC that won a literary award in 2018

I expect it’ll take me a few go-rounds to figure out exactly how I want to format this year’s “book reviews,” but I’m pretty sure I’ll keep using the same primary components:

  1. a reminder about what challenge category(ies) the title checks off–or if it’s a bonus read
  2. my thoughts/opinions about the book itself
  3. any personally relevant stories or anecdotes about choosing the book or why it speaks to me

That last element is the least traditional, but I can’t see myself completely eschewing those sorts of stories. Especially when this first book has already gifted me with that kind of story: one about the power of unintended consequences.

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