Here & Back Again

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Literary Dumpsite has been neglected. My Read Harder Challenge abandoned. And yet, here I am again promising myself to keep this site updated and hoping to take on a new reading challenge.

It wasn’t that I had not read anything in 2016, rather my leisure reading had to take a step back as I found my footing as a new teacher. I didn’t expect teaching to eat up a lot of my time, but it did. I had to study what I was teaching, check papers, and adjust my teaching methods to fit my high school students. Hence, as the year ends, rather than my average of 60 books a year, I found myself having read only 31 books this year. I could, if I wanted feel terrible about this sad state of my reading life, but there is nothing to wallow about this. I can only say despite the 31 books, I read well, whatever I read in 2016, I enjoyed.

In celebration of surviving 2016 and all the arrows it shot, I welcome 2017 with hopefulness both for my life in general, and my reading life. In good faith I enter Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge. The challenge was recommended by my friend Blue (My Bookish Reverie) and caught my attention as it felt more feasible than the other reading challenges I have entered.

MMD’s Reading Challenge offer two tracks: Reading for Fun and Reading for Growth. I chose the latter. Keeping up with the idea of feasible (therefore simple) I tried to fill out the challenge with books in my TBR pile. Without further ado, here’s my Reading for Growth List.

  • A Newberry Award Winner or Honor Book: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • A Book in Translation: Sanshiro by Natsume Soeseki
  • A Book that’s more than 600 pages: Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky ( While I started this a few eyars back, I haven’t made progress)
  • A Book of Poetry, a play or an essay collection: Upstream by Mary Oliver
  • A Book of any Genre that addresses current events: I am Malala by Malala
  • An Immigrant Story: Inside out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • A Book published before you were born: The Once and Future King by E.B. White
  • Three Books by the same Author: Ransom Riggs/ Murakami or Stroud (still undecided)
  • A Book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author: If I was a Girl by Meredith Russo
  • A Book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Book nominated for an award in 2017: Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Nominated for Cybils)
  • A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Since this challenge only requires me to read 14 books, I hope to keep you updated on my progress for each book and my thoughts and reviews on each of the books I have read.  I’m crossing my finger that 2017 will be kinder to me and I once again find myself reading an average of 6o books, otherwise I’ll be happy enough to have read all 14 books on this challenge.

Are you joining in any reading challenges for 2017? How many books have you read this year?

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7 Comments

  1. Good luck on your reading challenge! I appreciate how even though you may not have read as many books this year as you wanted, you are forgiving of yourself and are ready to take on the New Year’s reading challenge with renewed vigor. Out of the books you listed, I loved the Handmaid’s Tale and had mixed feelings about I Am Malala (she’s an amazing, inspirational human, but I felt meh about the book.) And I am curious to see what you think of Jennifer Niven’s book, because her debut made me pretty frustrated in its problematic portrayal of mental illness.

    Hope you are having a fabulous New Year! I’m going to try and find some great fiction to read this year. After reading A Little Life in 2015, so much fiction has felt just kinda average after that… but here’s hoping some of the incoming releases from stellar authors (e.g. Roxane Gay, Adam Silvera, etc.) will change that.

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    1. Hi Thomas,
      Thanks for dropping by. Handmaid’s Tale has been on my TBR for such a long time, but for one reason or another I never got to it. I hope to be able to read it soon. I didn’t even realize Holding up the Universe was on mental illness, now I’m curious given your reaction to it. This would be my first Niven book.
      I haven’t tried reading A Little Life just because I know how heavy it is. It can take a lot and I’m not sure whether or not I’m ready to face that dark part of me, but I do know its such a complex read. I could only imagine how hard to follow that up with anything.
      I also hope you have a wonderful 2017 and may you find good books this year!

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  2. I say take it one day at a time. Or, in this case, one page at a time! I started reading The Handmaid’s Tale last year but I never finished it. I have to go back to reading it again sometime this year. Same with Holding Up the Universe! I may have sent it back to the owning library. I can’t remember xD Good luck to our reading challenge this year! =)

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    1. True. The Mary Oliver essay is fairly short, but I’m not speeding through. I’m pretty scared about the books on my list. I am not 100% certain if I will enjoy them. Good luck indeed!

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      1. I suppose you can view it as expanding your reading choices? Or something like it! Haha! Not even a month into the challenge and I already thought of switching from Murakami’s 1Q84 to Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I forgot I have a copy of it!

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