September 30, 2014

Summer Reading Bingo Recap

Now that I've caught up on posting about all my summer reads, it's time to see how I did on the summer reading bingo challenge. For this fun project, created by the hosts of the podcast Books on the Nightstand, I generated a bingo card with a random set of book categories, and then I organized most of my summer reading around filling in as many squares as possible.

I ended up covering 17 out of 25 squares, representing 16 books and a film (the free square). Some of these were books I would have read this summer anyway. But many of the bingo squares inspired me to pick up books that I theoretically wanted to read someday but kept not getting around to. I enjoy undertaking periodic reading challenges because they provide that push to expand and mix up my reading, and I'm pleased with how this one worked out for me.

Here's a look at my finished card, followed by a list of all the completed categories and books, with links to my reviews.

BOTNS Bingo - September

With an animal on the cover: GOLDEN STATE by Michelle Richmond. It was only once I'd finished reading this book and was checking whether it qualified for any squares that I noticed the flock of birds. (Review)

Fantasy: THE KILLING MOON by N.K. Jemisin. I don't read much fantasy, so this category provided a useful nudge toward this book I'd been curious about. (Review)

Currently on the bestseller list: CALIFORNIA by Edan Lepucki. Thanks to a significant Colbert bump, this debut made the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list the week of its release. (Review)

Has been on your TBR for longer than two years: THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta. A great many items on my TBR (to-be-read list) qualify, but I chose this one because I was interested in the new TV series. (Review)

Recommended by a librarian or bookseller: INTERPRETER OF MALADIES by Jhumpa Lahiri. Using this category for this book is a bit of a cheat, because it was most prominently and repeatedly recommended to me by my mother, but I did also spot it as a staff pick while shopping at Books Inc. (Review)

Set in the place where you live: BLUE SKY DREAM by David Beers. This memoir of Silicon Valley was one of the sparks of inspiration for my own novel, and I reread it this summer to pick up additional historical details. (Review)

Part of a series: MESSENGER by Lois Lowry. I read the whole Giver quartet this spring and summer. (Review)

Science fiction: ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie. I'm sure this category pushed some bingo participants out of their comfort zone, but it was an easy one for me. (Review)

Movie adaptation (free square): The BOTNS hosts suggested a free square requirement of watching a movie or TV adaptation. I saw the movie of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green, which I read earlier this year. It was a good, faithful adaptation that left me with similar feelings as the book. (Review of book)

That "everyone" but you has read: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell. While not "everyone" reads young adult books, a great many people do, and it seemed like they'd all read this book before I did. (Review)

Nonfiction: BAD FEMINIST by Roxane Gay. I don't tend to read nonfiction unless it's for research purposes, but I'm fairly interested in collections of essays that provide some sort of thematic cultural criticism. And I'm interested in anything by Roxane Gay. (Review)

By a small press: FROM THE STANDARD CYCLOPEDIA OF RECIPES by B.C. Edwards. This is a collection of poetry from the independent publisher Black Lawrence Press, which really isn't the sort of thing I usually read, but it's by an old friend of mine. (Review)

Recommended in a BOTNS episode: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. At the end of Books on the Nightstand podcasts, the hosts usually each recommend one book, but in this case, they both raved about the same one. (Review)

Recommended by a family member: AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I'd heard about this book from many sources, but what really drove me to read it was that my mom had read it recently. (Review)

Biography or memoir: WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN by Esmeralda Santiago. For purposes of research, I had some interest in Puerto Rico, which led to me reading this memoir. (Review)

Thriller/Suspense: DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn. I'd been meaning to read another Flynn book for a while, and this category reminded me of that. (Review)

Published before 1970: INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison. This is another book I'd owned and intended to read for quite some time, and realizing it filled this category provided the necessary prompt. (Review)

One unfilled square that deserves a mention is Translation. I didn't quite have time to get to it during the timeframe of the challenge, but shortly afterward, I read AFTER THE QUAKE by Haruki Murakami because of the category suggestion. (Review)

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Andrea Blythe shares great advice on How to Dig Yourself Out of a Creative Slump: "I recently set a daily goal of writing for 10 minutes a day -- barely enough time to get a paragraph or two down. But once I finish those 10 minutes I know I've accomplished something: I put words on the page. And, more often than not, I find myself writing past the 10 minutes and putting down more words than expected."

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