Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Wrapping Up 2018: Reading Challenges (Part 1)

I know December is just getting started, but it's such a busy month, I really don't know how much time I can expect to have for reading. So I'm going to go ahead and wrap up a few of the reading challenges I've had going in 2018. As usual, I didn't do as well as I'd hoped -- I did get some reading done but didn't get a lot of reviews written. I could go into all the reasons, but that would drain years from all our lives. So, without further ado....

1. 2018 European Reading Challenge.

This was hosted by Gilion @ Rose City Reader, and I signed up for a total of three books (the "Business Traveler" level). Here's what I read, with links to a couple of reviews:
1. United Kingdom: How to Be Human. Paula Cocozza
2. Ireland / Irish Author: The Dead House. Billy O'Callaghan
3. Italy: A Long Time Coming. Aaron Elkins (set in Milan)
If I had to choose a favorite from these three, I think it would be How to Be Human. A real surprise and not at all what I was expecting. Actually, all of the authors were new to me, and I enjoyed them all. That's one of the things I like about these reading challenges -- the little nudge they give me to try new things.

2. 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Hosted by Amy @ Passages to the Past. My goal was five books ("Victorian Reader"), and I managed to get six read, but didn't review them all. My list:
  1. Holmes Entangled. Gordon McAlpine (2018; set in early 20th Century)
  2. The Cottingley Secret. Hazel Gaynor (2017; set in early 20th Century)
  3. Pale Horse, Pale Rider: Three Short Novels. Katherine Anne Porter (1939; pre-WWI setting)
  4. When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead (2009; set in 1970s) 
  5. A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael #1). Ellis Peters (1977; set in Medieval Wales)
  6. A Shadow on the Wall. Jonathan Aycliffe (2000; set in Victorian England)
Of the group, I'd probably pick A Shadow on the Wall as my favorite (nice and spooky), but I enjoyed all the others too. Hard to believe I've gone this long without reading one of the Brother Cadfael books, but now I've got another mystery series started.

3. 2018 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

This annual challenge is hosted by Bev @ My Reader's Block. I signed up at the first level ("Pike's Peak") and wanted to read at least 12 books from my various must-read stacks and shelves. I did pretty well, and actually read 15 books, although I didn't get them all reviewed. What I read:
  1. Five Children and It. E. Nesbit 
  2. Just Kids. Patti Smith 
  3. A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple #5). Agatha Christie  
  4. Vintage Murder (Roderick Alleyn #5). Ngaio Marsh 
  5. Time Out of Joint. Philip K. Dick 
  6. The Cottingley Secret. Hazel Gaynor 
  7. The Quiet American. Graham Greene  
  8. Pale Horse, Pale Rider: Three Short Novels. Katherine Anne Porter 
  9. At the Mountains of Madness. H.P. Lovecraft 
  10. When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead 
  11. The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot #6). Agatha Christie 
  12. A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael #1). Ellis Peters 
  13. The Night She Died (Inspector Thanet #1). Dorothy Simpson 
  14. Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse #1). Colin Dexter 
  15. Last Seen Wearing (Inspector Morse #2). Colin Dexter 
Some really good stuff there, and it would be hard to pick a favorite. I'm very happy the challenge gave me the push I needed to get back to the Inspector Thanet and Inspector Morse books, a couple of the mystery series I've read and enjoyed in the past.


I have a few more challenges I need to wrap up, but I'll save that for a later post. Thanks so much to all the hosts for keeping these going, and to all the other participants for giving me lots of great ideas about what to read next.


  1. I see you enjoy reading fiction set in Victorian England; me too. My favorite author, Anthony Trollope, lived then and his novels were set in that period. A Shadow on the Wall sounds intriguing. I always read 2 or 3 or 4 books at a time, it is such a joy, isn't it?

    1. Hi, Terra. Yes, I've always got several books going. And Trollope is one of my favorites too, although I haven't read any of his work in recent years. Hoping to get back to reading a little more Victorian lit in 2019. Thanks for the visit!

  2. Hi Joy! Congratulations on all your challenges! If you like, please post a link to your wrap up post on the 2018 European Reading Challenge wrap up page: https://www.rosecityreader.com/2017/12/2018-european-reading-challenge-wrap-up.html

    Share your success story!

    1. Hi, Gilion! Thanks for the reminder -- I'll add my post to the link-up today. Also looking forward to the 2019 Challenge.


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