Reading Challenge 2021

Bookish Jay and the Reading Mermaid challenge list:

1. It’s the end of the world as we know it…—an apocalyptic tome, dystopian nightmare, or something set in/about the year 2020.

2. Choose a book from an independent book store.

The Hidden Palace | Helene Wecker

3. Reclaim her name—choose from a multitude of titles which feature generic pronouns; “girl”, “woman”, “wife”, “lady”, or “she”, and discover the true story of the character. Or, select from the sponsored list by the Women’s Prize for Fiction of 25 authors who used male pseudonyms to publish.

The Burning Girls | C. J. Tudor ★★★☆☆

4. Shelf control—pick up a dusty, neglected book that’s already sitting unread on your shelf.

It may have taken months, but I thoroughly enjoyed this big book.

5. Big Book Energy;) —level up with an 750+ pager.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell | Susanna Clarke ★★★★☆

6. Bright lights, big city—get lost in a Metropolis, real or fictional.

The Bronze Horseman | Paullina Simons ★★☆☆☆

7. Small town vibes— find yourself in a cozy village setting, where everybody knows your name.

8. Don’t you, forget about me— relive the 80s, whether it was your glory days or decade of excess, choose a throwback book from that time, either set in the 80’s or published in the 80’s.

We Ride Upon Sticks | Quan Barry ★★★★☆

9. Embrace your elemental—align with a fiery, earth, air or water feature in title/on cover.

Be Water, My Friend | Shannon Lee ★★★★★

10. Rule of 3—three main characters, a friendly trio, love triangle or 3 objects on the cover.

11. Font geek—if an appealing typeface catches your eye, give the book a try.

Exit West | Moshin Hamid ★★★☆☆

12. Book that bites—snakes, bones or teeth on the cover or the title.

13. Go to the dark side—villains, rogues, bad bois or anti-heroines–pick your reading poison.

The Wise Man’s Fear | Patrick Rothfuss ★★★1/2☆

14. Note your improvement—read up on your favorite hobby, or new interest.

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing–What Birds Are Doing, and Why | David Allen Sibley ★★★★☆ *I went full #birdnerd this year!

15. Book with a map.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI | David Grann ★★★★☆

16. Story set in, or written during the 1920s.

A Gentleman in Moscow | Amor Towles

17. Comfort read—need a feel-good story right now, who doesn’t? The cozier, the better.

The Midnight Library | Matt Haig ★★★★☆

18. 2021 is the Year of the Ox, read a story with themes of hard work or manual labor. “Without labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom can accomplish much.”

A Promised Land | Barack Obama ★★★★☆

* I found President Obama’s early years, campaign victories, setbacks, and whirlwind presidential run fascinating. And then, the real challenging work began.

19. The UN declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables- pick a book that has a cover ripe with edible plants.

Real food all year : eating seasonal whole foods for optimal health & all-day energy | Nishanga Bliss ★★★☆☆

20. Choose a book with regency couples- the art of smoldering eyes while maintaining social distancing.

Touching, emotional, humbling, inventive, loved!

21. Space Force, astronauts back on the moon and missions to Mars- read something out of this world.

Project Hail Mary | Andy Weir ★★★★★

22. Social Justice- read a book to provide more perspective.*

A Love Song, a Death Rattle, a Battle Cry | Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre *

23. Animated film adaptation.

The House in the Cerulean Sea | TJ Klune ★★★☆☆

*not an adaptation, yet, but it should be.

24. Cooking up something more than just food in the kitchen: a chef-inspired tale.

This absolute gut-punch of a collection by two-time National Slam Poet winner, Guante, satisfied the social justice/poetry challenge prompts.

25. Poetry: Lyrical limericks, buried metaphors and big feelings. Dive right on in.

A Love Song, a Death Rattle, a Battle Cry | Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre ★★★★★

26. Find small moments of adventure with some short stories.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes | Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★☆☆

27. Christmas in July anyone? Find a holiday centric story to read out of season.

28. Brush up on a Native American tribe or historical event involving Native Americans.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI | David Grann ★★★★☆

29. Pick a candy read, a fluff read, a junk food read. You know the kind. The guilty pleasure you can fly through in a day or two that makes you smile and reminds you that not every book has to be top shelf literature to be enjoyed.

Sub Par Parks: America’s most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors | Amber Share ★★★★☆

30. Royalty reading: monarchies of the past, present or fantastical times.

31. Thinning of the veil- tales involving ghosts, spirits or spectral phenomena.

The Whispering Dead | Darcy Coates ★1/2☆☆☆

Note that we added a bonus prompt this year, but as a reminder, this is a no-pressure challenge. Whether you join us for all, a handful, or one or two, our hope is to inspire you to pick up a book and remember to share it with us! Julie and I felt in tune with each other for this year’s choices and I am looking forward to all the discoveries a new book challenge brings.

Share your reads here, over at The Redolent Mermaid or find me on Instagram @the_scented_library ❤

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