My 2018 PopSugar Challenge

I have a year in reading post in the works, but I’ve been knocked out for several days by the traditional holiday family cold, so that will have to wait a bit. Here instead is an overview of my PopSugar 2018 challenge reading, which I managed to finish a couple of days ago. I wrote a little something about most of these at Goodreads, but I am afraid I’m way too  lazy to link each book. I stretched some categories, and I used two books I’d read before (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and A Murder of Quality). So a little cheating, but not bad.

Thanks to the challenge, I got to some TBR books I wouldn’t otherwise have dug out so soon–or maybe at all. I found some interesting things I wouldn’t otherwise have read. But by the third quarter of the year, I was tired of it; I felt obligated to finish but it mostly wasn’t stretching my reading in ways I cared about. So I won’t do a challenge like this again.

  • Book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
  • True crime: Carys Cragg, Dead Reckoning 
  • The next book in a series: Peter Lovesey, Beau Death
  • Book involving a heist: Tamara Morgan, Stealing Mr. Right
  • Nordic noir: Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died
  • Novel based on a real person: Lily King, Euphoria (Margaret Mead)
  • Book set in a country that fascinates you: Alexievitch, Second-hand Time
  • Book with a time of day in the title: Freeman Wills Crofts, 12:30 From Croydon
  • Book about a villain or anti-hero: LeCarré, A Murder of Quality
  • Book about death or grief: Joanna Cannon, Three Things About Elsie
  • Book with your favorite color in the title: Penelope Lively, The Purple Swamp Hen
  • Book with alliteration in title: Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Homicide
  • Book about time travel: Stuart Turton, Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  • Book with a weather element in the title: Rebecca Stott, In the Days of Rain
  • Book set on a different planet: Martha Wells, All Systems Red
  • Book with song lyrics in title: Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars
  • Book about or set on Halloween: Ann Cleeves, A Lesson in Dying
  • Book with characters who are twins: Tamara Morgan, In the Clear
  • Book with a female author using a male pseudonym: Anthony Gilbert, Snake in the Grass
  • Book with an LGBTQ protagonist: Kai Cheng Thom, A Place Called No Homeland (this is poetry, so stretching the definition of “protagonist”)
  • Book that is also a stage play/musical: TS Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
  • Book by an author of different ethnicity: David Chariandy, Brother
  • Book about feminism: Patricia Bell-Scott, The Firebrand and the First Lady
  • Book about mental health: Muriel Spark, The Comforters
  • Book you borrowed/got as a gift: Hartley Lin, Young Frances
  • Book by 2 authors: Kinder and Kalmoe, Neither Liberal nor Conservative
  • Book about/involving a sport: Gwen Oxenham, Under the Lights and in the Dark
  • Book by a local author: WH New, YVR 
  • Book mentioned in another book: Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Emily Wilson
  • Book from a celebrity book club (Richard and Judy): Susie Steiner, Missing, Presumed
  • Childhood classic you never read: Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth
  • Book published in 2018: Jamie Quatro, Fire Sermon
  • Past Goodreads Choice winner:  Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
  • Book set in the decade you were born: Faith Martin, A Fatal Obsession
  • Book you meant to read in 2017: Dorothy Dunnett, Queen’s Play (I read about half in summer 2017 and finished this summer, actually, but whatever)
  • Book with an ugly cover: Kevin Young, Brown (blah cover for some great poems)
  • Book that involves a bookstore or library: Elizabeth Fair, A Winter Away
  • Favorite prompt from 2015-17 Challenges (I chose Book you loved in childhood): Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Book set at sea: Ruth Ware, The Woman in Cabin 10
  • Book with an animal in the title: Jeannie Lin, Butterfly Swords (stretching it)

Advanced categories (advanced only as in “more,” as far as I can tell:

  • Bestseller from year you graduated HS: Dick Francis, Proof
  • Cyberpunk book: Pad Cadigan, Tea From an Empty Cup
  • Book being read by a stranger in public (do you know how hard it is to see the titles?! And then people turn out to be reading textbooks or Ann Coulter. Finally spotted someone carrying this on the street): Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach
  • Book tied to your ancestry: Judith Ridner, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania (I took this category very literally!)
  • Book with fruit or veg in the title: Song Ying, Apricot’s Revenge (it’s a character’s nickname, but oh well)
  • An allegory: Aminata Forna, Happiness (I wouldn’t have called this an allegory, but a back-cover blurb did!)
  • Book by an author with your first or last name (easy for me, but kind of dumb): Elizabeth Alexander, American Sublime
  • Microhistory: Ben Austen, High-Risers (about Cabrini-Green in Chicago so I think it more or less fits the technical definition of a microhistory)
  • Book about a problem facing society today: Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers
  • Book recommended by someone else taking the challenge: Rowena MacDonald, The Threat Level Remains Severe (thanks, Sunita!)

It looks pretty good, all typed up like that. Some of these were great!

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2 Responses to My 2018 PopSugar Challenge

  1. Sunita says:

    Oh, well done you! And you are most welcome, I’m glad you liked the MacDonald. We have a few overlaps: the Spark, the Martha Wells (for the same categories, heh), the Chariandy, the Lin, and le Carre and Dick Francis but with different books.

    I cheated at about the level you did. Some of those categories just weren’t going to come through for me if I followed the directions to the letter (as I read them). You had Apricot the person, I had Cherry as in Cherry Blossoms (but hey, cherry *is* a fruit, right)?

    I do feel a sense of accomplishment at having finished, which is why it’s so hard to throw in the towel, I think.

  2. BookerTalk says:

    I’ve not come across that Pop Sugar challenge before but it does seem challenging so well done for getting through it. I know what you mean though about losing interest in a challenge. I often feel that way when confronted by challenges that involve reading from a list….most of the fun comes in creating the list but once the book is listed, I seem to lose interest in reading it

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