2016 Reading Challenge Progress Update

A few months ago, we talked about how I was 9 books behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and how it was giving me serious anxiety. I’m happy to report that I’m FINALLY on track…even slightly ahead of schedule.

 

sept-statusAnd yes, that took a lot of reading, and a few really short books to catch me up, but I’m not at all ashamed of that. A book is a book is a book.

It’s been a while since we talked books, so I thought an update was in order, along with some insight into how I rate and review books. Last week I posted a review of Mhairi McFarlane’s newest, Who’s That Girl, and while I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it either. I just had some major issues with the ending, and frankly, thought the main character was horrid. But I didn’t emphasize enough that I actually did enjoy the book – it kept me entertained, and that’s pretty much all I ask for.

Which brings me to my point about my ratings and reviews. I’m kind of harsh when it comes to books, simply because I read so many of them. There are a lot of good books, a lot of bad books, and just a handful of really great books. That’s why I’m so critical – if I rated every book I enjoyed as 5 stars, how would you know which ones were the cream of the crop?

Let’s revisit my handy-dandy ratings chart, shall we?

Ratings

So while many people (and probably, many authors) will think a 3-star rating is bad, I don’t. To me, 3 stars means you wrote a decent book that served its purpose – to entertain. I liked it, and if asked, I’d say yes, that was a good book.

But a book I give 5 stars? You’d better believe I’m telling everyone I know to READITRIGHTNOW. And before you get all snooty, let me point out that while I don’t give out 5-star ratings often, there’s no rhyme or reason to them. Yes, many of them have been award-winners, but I’ve also given 5 stars to kids books and cozy mysteries.

But enough about my ratings. Let’s talk about where we are so far, since our last update in May.

 

I’m at 70 read for the year – which means I’ve read almost 50 books since May – and am only at 3 5-star books. Here are a couple that stand out….As always, you can see all of my ratings on my Goodreads page.

Books I’ve Loved
Maybe in Another Life

No surprise here, another winner from Taylor Jenkins Reid. I like her books because they’re different – and because they’re kinda easy to relate to. I’ve read three of them now, and while they are somewhat similar, I’ve enjoyed them all equally.

 

 

Books I Should Have Loved but Couldn’t Stand

 

Between the World and MeI know. This is another one that makes me feel like a jerk for not liking, but it was so boring. I also think I’m not the right audience, and I’m sure I’d have felt more for this book if I’d discussed it with someone. But I didn’t, so I didn’t enjoy it. Sorry, folks.

 

Books that Surprised Me

Modern LoversSalvage the Bones

I can’t figure out why Emma Straub gets such bad reviews. I’ve read two of hers, and both of them got 4 stars from me. Her characters are generally difficult to like, but there’s something about her writing that just draws me in. Maybe it’s that everyone is so flawed, and yet, so real. I mean, people aren’t perfect, and we screw up, and we love each other anyway. Emma Straub is one of the few authors where I’ll say ignore the Goodreads ratings – usually they’re pretty spot on, but in my opinion, hers are way too low.

Salvage the Bones….oh man. This book probably deserves 5 stars, honestly, so I may go back and change it. It’s such a dark, gritty, uplifting, horrific story. Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but if you read it, you’ll get what I mean. It follows a family in the 11 or so days before Katrina, and the ending is just heartbreaking. It’s another book I never ever want to read again, but one I haven’t been able to forget.