Thoughts on 2015 Reading Challenges

I think I was a little too hopeful in attempting to complete two challenges in one year. However, that being said, I really liked doing the challenges. I didn’t finish them, but I had fun. I have never done a reading challenge before and it really helped me expand my reading selections. It also helped me read some books that I had been intending to read but never got around to reading. The only thing I didn’t like about the challenges was that I found books that I normally would have just picked up and read, but since they didn’t fit on my challenge list anywhere I placed them aside for later. I think in 2016 I’m only going to do one challenge so that I can read these books as well. Also, for some of the challenges, I just could not find a book I liked for it at all. Therefore, there were certain challenges I just decided not to complete because I was not going to force myself to read something I didn’t enjoy or even like.

Top Five Books I Read for the Challenges:

Books I read that I ended up not liking:

  1. When the Wind Blows by James Patterson
  2. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  4. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  5. Jane Slayre by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin

Book I was surprised by:

  1. However Long the Night by Aimee Molloy
  2. The Hobbit: Graphic Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, Adapted by Charles Dixon and Sean Deming, Illustrated by David Wenzel
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
  5. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  6. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
  7. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
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The Hobbit: Graphic Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, Adapted by Charles Dixon with Sean Deming, Illustrated by David Wenzel

This was the first graphic novel I’ve ever read so I’d like to talk about that first. I was very impressed with the artwork. I was glad to have bought an actual copy  of the novel instead of the Kindle version because the artwork was so good. The characters were neat to see and the different clothes and colors were fun. I had a little trouble with the text bubbles, non-spoken text I mean, which changed color depending on the colors of the artwork. I liked the font as well since it was easy to read. What I had issues with was I either followed the pictures or the words. I would find myself reading and then having to go back and look at the pictures because I had ignored them when I focused on the text. Also, I felt there were sections of the book missing. Not parts that mattered to the main story line, but the details you get of the background and feelings and extra happenings that you get from reading a book. Overall I didn’t mind the graphic novel at all, but I don’t think I’ll read a lot of them unless I am looking for a different way to read a familiar story or some really interesting or good artwork.

Now for the story. Like I mentioned, because I read it as a graphic novel, I feel there were details and other things I missed. However, the overall story was pretty interesting. I’ve tried to read The Hobbit several time, but I always seem to get bored. This method of reading it allowed me to get through the whole book and not be bored. It has actually produced some interest in me to read the actual book. The story line was interesting in that you got to see what a homebody was like on his first adventure – his fears, hopes, homesickness, and why he was helping everyone. You cheered for the dwarves as they tried to reclaim their land. You worried about the dragon and got to see the battle that helps when greed rules lives. The story moved along well and there was plenty of action to be had. I can see how it would draw a lot of people, especially men, to the story line. Bilbo is a very relateable character and the other characters were sketched out well.

I think this is a great book and that graphic novels, for others I suspect, is a fabulous and interesting way to read a book and appreciate art. The story was appropriate for all ages that can follow it, probably about 10 and up I’d say on the lower end. If you have someone that young, I would definitely start with this graphic novel as a way to get them involved in the book and interested in reading the full book. If you want to try out a graphic novel, this is a great one to start with as it follows a familiar story and has great art work.

My rating:

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I have a friend who absolutely LOVES Alice in Wonderland. I’ve never seen the animated movie and I’ve watched snippets of the Sy-Fy Channel’s Alice movie. So when I saw the audiobook on sale in the iTunes store, I thought “Why not?”.

Let me begin by saying the audiobook I downloaded was actually done extremely well. It was made by an acting group – the Wizard Academy Press , so each character had a different voice actor. I loved the narrator and the woman who played Alice. There was music and sound effects as well. For an audiobook, it was very engaging.

I knew it was going to be a little strange going in, but I was quite surprised by how strange. Science Fiction is usually not my thing, not that this is exactly science fiction, but neither is it fantasy. I usually like fantasy, but this book was just not my cup of tea. I do give the author credit for creating a very vivid and crazy world that created a comprehensive story line though. It was well written and to most people probably quite interesting. It did grow on me some the longer I read it, especially once Alice got out of the hallway and to the White Rabbit’s house.

The story follows Alice after she falls down a rabbit hole. She goes through many adventures and meets numerous characters. She initially meets the White Rabbit, following him down the rabbit hole. Then she meets a few animals as she is swimming in the Pool of Tears. There is also the Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, and the members of the pack of cards, with the King and Queen of Hearts as their leaders. Throughout it all, Alice is constantly growing and shrinking to fit the needs of the different environments and situations she ends up in.

If I were to listen or read it again, I would probably go with the written book just to make sure. However, I’m not sure I’m likely to read it again. Like I said, it wasn’t really my version of an interesting book, just strange. Also, the majority of the time I spent criticizing Alice for being idiotic in my opinion. So like I said, not my thing, but I’m sure others really enjoy this book. I don’t think I’d really let children under probably 12 or 13 read it because there are drug references, violence, and some more advanced topics, such as a philosophical discussion on time, that are scattered throughout the book.

My rating:

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