It occurred to me the other day that I actually signed up for the Lucky No. 14 challenge in January and then promptly forgot all about it. As in, I read a couple of books that didn't fit and then sort of forgot about checking back at the categories after that. Before we barrel straight into Christmas and other end of the year shenanigans, I figured a recap was in order in the vain hope that I have inadvertently read my way to success. While we’re at it, I’m going to wave two fabulous read-alongs in your face so that you can get all signed up too. Challenges and read-alongs seem to fit well together in my head for some reason so let’s go with it.
[UPDATE: I just finished writing about the Lucky No. 14 challenge and this post was looking kind of long. The read-alongs in question deserve more than me just scrappily copying and pasting text into an already lengthy ramble so we’ll pick those up tomorrow. Or at some other point this week]
1. Visit The Country: Read a book that has setting in a country that you really want to visit in real life. Make sure the setting has a big role in the book and it can make you know a little bit more about your dream destination.
I’ve done an appalling job of reading outside of the UK/the USA this year. Shame on me. I do want to fix this but the difficulty is in choosing somewhere that I actually really want to visit in real life and that features heavily in a book, since it’s impossible to know that until you’ve read it (I’m a lawyer – I can’t help but follow the letter of the law). I really want to visit Japan though and am hoping to fix that when I turn 30, which is in a not very long amount of time so I think I’ll fix this with Nagasaki by Eric Faye. I bought it after Ellie Bookworm reviewed it but I’ve still not read it. I have no idea whether the setting has a big role in the book so I suppose we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed!
2. Cover Lust: Pick a book from your shelf that you bought because you fell in love with the cover. Is the content as good as the cover?
This was always going to be tricky. I don’t really tend to buy books just because of their cover, especially seeing as I read a lot of ebooks and therefore don’t even really see the cover. There might be some that I picked up because of the cover but I would never pick something up because it was pretty and then buy it without reading the blurb or having a nosey through to see if I’m interested in the content. And can I remember which books are in my house because I thought “Ooh, pretty”? Not even a little bit. So I’m just going to pick something that I own in hard copy that has a nice cover and that I haven’t seen online on the basis that it will be a reasonably safe bet for this one.
3. Blame it on Bloggers: Read a book because you’ve read the sparkling reviews from other bloggers. Don’t forget to mention the blogger’s names too!
This happens with SO MANY books. I am one of the easiest people to influence when it comes to things to read. Most recently, I picked up World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. This definitely qualifies because if Laura hadn’t reviewed it so glowingly, I would almost certainly never have read it (because zombies are horrifying). Let’s put aside the fact that I didn’t like it and instead revel in it being a tick for this challenge.
4. Bargain All The Way: Ever buying a book because it’s so cheap you don’t really care about the content? Now it’s time to open the book and find out whether it’s really worth your cents.
I bought Life After Life by Kate Atkinson in a mad Kindle rampage after I acquired my new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas because it was 99p. I adored it and it was more than worth the lowly 99 pence that I paid for it.
5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Do you remember you bought/got a new released book last year but never had a chance to read it? Dig it from your pile and bring back the 2013.
I was all ready to write out an excuse for this one and then I remembered that I bought Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas last year not long after the latter was released, intending to get to them right away. Then I ignored them until the third one was due out and only managed to get to Crown of Midnight in July this year, which was foolish because the series is OUTSTANDING but has the hidden benefit of being able to do another tick.
6. First Letter’s Rule: Read a book which title begins with the same letter as your name (for me, Astrid means A, and I can read anything that started with the letter A). Remember: Articles like “a”, “an” or “the” doesn’t count.
Ah ha! Another one done! I was aiming for a C (for Charlotte) and finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein in early September. Winning (both because of this and because it’s brilliant).
7. Once Upon a Time: Choose a book that’s been published for the first time before you were born (not necessarily has to be a classic book, just something a little bit older than you is okay. You can read the most recent edition if you want to)
DONE! We could allocate any number of books to this one because I’ve focussed a lot more on reading classics this year. I think my favourite one has been Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne and, since I was born after 1873, it conveniently knocks off this part of the challenge. Actually, maybe Villette by Charlotte Bronte is my favourite classic for the year. And it was published in 1853 so all is safe and well on that front.
8. Chunky Brick: Take a deep breath, and read a book that has more than 500 pages. Yep, the one that you’ve always been afraid of!
Boom – we’re on a roll! This one isn’t actually too much of an achievement since I tend to read a lot of epic fantasy so a book topping 500 pages doesn’t tend to put me off. I finished Allegiant by Veronica Roth on January 26 so this was an early (and unintended) score, coming in as it does at a weighty 526 pages. Shame it wasn’t that great…
9. Favourite Author: You like their books, but there are too many titles. This is your chance, choose a book that’s been written by your fave author but you haven’t got time to read it before.
I never know what to say when someone asks me who my favourite author is. I’d almost definitely (maybe) include Agatha Christie though seeing as I always turn to her books when I’m in need of a banker of a book. Something that I can pick up and settle into knowing that I’ll love it. I turned to Murder on the Orient Express when we were on holiday recently because I’ve never read this even though I knew it was an utter classic AND I had managed to make it 28 years without having the ending spoiled. It was everything I’d hoped it would be.
10. It’s Been There Forever: Pick up a book that has been there on your shelf for more than a year, clean up the dust and start to read it now
This applies to an appalling amount of the books in my house. More shame on me. Even worse, it doesn’t seem as though I’ve read anything that I had owned for longer than a year at the time that I read it. How awful! In fact, it looks like I’ve been well and truly distracted by shiny new things this year and hadn’t even noticed. Something to focus on before the end of this year, I think! From a quick scan of my Goodreads ‘To Read’ list, it seems as though I’ve had Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor since July 2012. Hanna recently made me want to dig it out so I guess that might end up being my pick for this one.
11. Movies vs Books: You’ve seen the movie adaptation (or planned to see it soon) but never had time to read the book. It’s time to read it now, so you can compare the book vs the movie
And we were doing so well! Another one not tackled. I do both want to read and want to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky though so that combo could see me win out the day here. And the book comes highly recommended by Blonde Ellie so there is no cause for this dawdling.
12. Freebies Time: What’s the LAST free book you’ve got? Whether it’s from giveaway, a birthday gift or a surprise from someone special, don’t hold back any longer. Open the book and start reading it now
This is kind of a weird one to interpret because obviously the LAST free book that I got will change at various points in the year (and given the proximity of Christmas to the end of the year means that I will almost definitely not have read the last free book that I got as at 23:59 on 31 December). So I’m going to read it as meaning that it was the last free book that I had acquired at the time that I read it. Confused? Me too. I could be over-thinking this. Regardless, Hanna bought me Parasite by Mira Grant for my birthday on 16 August and I finished reading it on 27 August so at the time I finished it, it qualified. Hurrah.
13. Not My Cup of Tea: Reach out to a genre that you’ve never tried (or probably just disliked) before. Whether it’s a romance, horror or non fiction, maybe you will find a hidden gem!
I…did not want to do this one. I’ve read at least a few books from every genre that I have even a vague interest in and am pretty clear on what I don’t like. BUT I’ve read two sports memoirs this year, which I have never even been vaguely interested in reading before so lets say that’s a genre. I loved one (Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley) and was utterly infuriated by the other one (Running Away: A Memoir by Robert Andrew Powell). You can’t win ‘em all.
14. Walking Down The Memory Lane: Ever had a book that you loved so much as a kid? Or a book that you wish you could read when you were just a child? Grab it now and prepare for a wonderful journey to the past. Comic books or graphic novels are allowed!
I never thought I’d do this one since I never re-read. Like, never. Too many books, too little time, blah blah. Then I bought the final instalment in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and realised that I couldn’t even quite remember where I’d read up to and could remember even less of the intricate epic plot. On a day when I was in dire need of comfort, I picked up my very battered, very well loved and loaned out copy of The Eye of the World, which is the first book in the series. I’m reading it now and I adore it. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and I just love getting back to the characters that I left drifted away from so many years ago. So very shortly I’ll have knocked this one off to.
So that’s 9 complete, 1 under way and a mere 4 to go! Not at all the train wreck that I’d been anticipating when I started typing! Does it count if it’s been largely accidental? Of course it counts! Did anybody else sign up for this and completely forget to keep track? Just me?!