Because I don’t believe in relaxing or free time, I took on a reading challenge inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas” in which I wanted to read 12 books between December 25th and January 5th. I got pretty close to 12, reading nine.
First, let’s start off with the list. I did a better job balancing the length of the works and my expectations.
- Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
- The Tengu’s Game of Go (Tale of the Shikanoko, #4) by Lian Hearn
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
- Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown
- Disaster Falls: A Family Story by Stefane Gerson (ARC; 1/24/2017)
- Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
- The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab
- Every Man a Menace by Patrick Hoffman
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Tip: Keep Some Kind of Theme
Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I wanted to do a bit of a “series completer.” I was only a dozen pages into Vassa in the Night, so I counted that as the first book. But the rest are in order of completion. They are all catch-up books from Owlcrate or the last books of series I started a bit ago. Then in the New Year, it’d be all new series and stories. I tried, I really did. But I was so engrossed and connected with Crooked Kingdom that I wanted to take my time and finished it after the New Year. Worth it.
Tip: Save the Heavy Ones for Later
I read The Vegetarian and, truth be told, brace yourself. I wish I did. Be in a comfortable place with comfortable things and a calming tea to drink. It’s intense and harrowing. One of my friends told me she fainted at the end of the Man Booker International Award Winner. I have to say that I get that level of impact. Upon finishing, I needed to take a walk outdoors for a little bit and couldn’t pick up the next book. A breather is okay. But save those intense tomes towards the end of the challenge.
Tip: Don’t Read the Most Anticipated One in the Middle
Somwhat related to the previous tip. This was where I shot myself in the foot. I devoured the Red Rising trilogy as if my scholarly and writerly career depended on it. I was up at 4:30AM (I think) for a flight to Chicago and skipped the sleeping on board part because I needed to know the end. Perhaps it was the beautiful combination of sleep deprivation, plot whiplash, and flabbergast with the quality of craft that I was dizzy after reading the last page. It took me a while to recover from that book high to the point that I looked at other books and thought, “Nope, maybe later.”
“Later” came in the form of trying to power through an entire book two hours before going out for New Year’s Eve. I can’t read at that speed. Wasn’t going to happen.
I definitely did better this time around at going for shorter books or mixing up the lengths. Picking works that you’ve been anticipating also helps the reading go faster. I don’t know when the next reading challenge will be, but if any come up, I’ll be glad to do another post.
Until then, it’s back to revisions and the graduate school life.
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