Uncategorized · Wrap Up

Our 2020 Challenges Wrap Up

Hey everyone!  Today, we are talking about 2020 Challenges that we participated in and what we accomplished (and didn’t accomplish 😬 ) as part of those. We’ve made two posts already this year talking about these challenges, first this one at the beginning of the year announcing what we were taking part in and then this one around the middle of the year giving an update on our progress.  Thankfully, we’ve made some more progress since then!  So settle in and we’ll catch you up on what we’ve achieved!

VERA:

So um, I didn’t do particularly well on my reading challenges this year? Okay, so I did ace the goodreads reading challenge – I read over 160 books, even though my original goal was 100 books. That being said, this was to be expected. I don’t like stressing myself out over the number of books I read, so I always set myself a goal I know I will be able to complete without a breaking a sweat. Still kind of proud of myself, though.

Which is good, because other than that, I really don’t have a lot to be proud of when it comes to my challenges, haha. I signed up for The Book Blog Discussion Challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction, but I completely failed at keeping track of my discussion posts in the past couple of month. That being said, I know I completed my original goal, as I already did so towards the middle of the year, when we summarized our progress for a challenge check in post. I guess that’s something to be proud of? But I do mind that I fully stopped keeping track of my discussions and stopped linking them at the hosts’ blogs. In any case, here our two discussions I’m really proud of:

The other readathon I participated in is Start On Your Shelf, hosted by The Quiet Pond, and boy, did I fail this one. Technically, Start On Your Shelf is about reading the books you own, no matter their format, but I struggle way more with getting to physical copies than ebook, so I decided to use this challenge to curb my physical tbr… and I didn’t do well. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t set myself a goal – I simply wanted to read as many of my physical novels as possible, and I managed eight during the first half of the year. (You can check them out in our first challenge check in, because I’m too lazy to write about them again.)

That failure made me realize that not having a goal might not have been a good choice, as all it meant was that I had nothing to work towards. So I set myself a rather ambitious goal: 20 books, not counting the 8 I had already read by that point, and I failed. In any case, I’ll take the fact that I managed to read 10 physical books during the second half of the year as a win. (Actually, it was more than that, but I cannot – and wouldn’t want to – count newly purchased books for this challenge.)

This challenge wasn’t a complete failure, though! Firstly, I was able to get 18 books off my physical to-read list, which is not horrible. Secondly, some of these books proved to be disappointing, which is especially true for titles that I purchased because of the hype and then promptly lost interest in – like Red Rising and The Martian. This made me realize that I really shouldn’t be buying books without thinking my purchases through, and I think this challenge ultimately helped me get better at not purchasing too many physical books. This year, the majority of the physical purchases I made were for books I immediately read when they arrived, or that I have already read and wanted to own a copy of for rereading purposes. I’ll take that as progress.

SABRINA:

Before this year, I had never participated in a reading challenge before aside from the Goodreads challenge, and this year I participated in two others!  Granted, I did fail amazingly at one of them, but I did try for a while, so I am impressed with myself to some extent!


To quickly cover the Goodreads Challenge, I’ll tell you that I set myself a goal of reading 52 books for the year, and as of writing this post I have read 102!  Can’t be mad about that!  It’s more books than I have ever read in a single year before, and more pages too, so I am actually quite happy with it.  I think next year I will be cutting down a little bit, but we’ll see what happens!


Next, I’ll cover the challenge I failed at: the Start On Your Shelfathon, hosted by The Quiet PondI planned to read 10 books that I owned but hadn’t read yet, and I particularly wanted to read Ruin And Rising + Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  I did neither of those things, but I did read two other books that I owned and had not read.  Yep, just two.  I’ve learnt from this that I need to really make a point to read the books that I already own, and just start them even if I think I need to prioritise library books.  Because I can always renew my loans on library books or even return them and pick them up again another time.


Last, I want to talk about the Out of Your Comfort Zone 2020 Reading Challenge hosted by Caro @ Bookcheshirecat!  This challenge was a lot of fun and I completed it!  Even though I could have done a little better with a couple of my goals for it (and at some point suddenly forgot all about adding my reads to the Google Form – sorry Caro!), I did achieve a lot and learnt a lot about my reading taste too!

 My plan was to read five books from each of these six genres/categories: 

– New Adult
– Classics
– Horror
– Nonfiction
– Romance
– Historical Fiction

I was being pretty loose when it came to rules – for example, I didn’t mind if horror was a secondary genre and if a book was a classic romance, I would count it toward my goal for both categories.  So, in saying that, I completed my goal for six out of six categories, which I think is a pretty great effort! 😛 

I’m actually surprised to find this out, because I know I gave up on reading specifically New Adult books during the year, because it was impossible for me to figure out which books counted as a part of this category.  I know a lot of people have written posts about NA and there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there!  Either way, I’ve got it listed on my reading spreadsheet that I read exactly five possible New Adult books, and I really enjoyed almost all of them: 

–  Imprudence by Gail Carriger
–  Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
–  Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
–  The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
–  Gods of Jade and Shadow by Sylvia Moreno Garcia


I also manage to finish reading five classics, despite one DNF.  I really enjoyed only two out of these five books, which was a bit of a disappointment, but I am still glad to have had the experience of reading them all.  I’ve learnt that classics often take a lot longer to read than I am expecting, and that writing styles can differ greatly – especially because, of course, there are so many different time periods that they could have been published in!  The books I read were:

–  Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
–  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
–  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
–  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
–  The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


I surprised myself by picking up nine horror books this year.  Most of them were not for me, but I have two new favourite books from this list as well, so I can’t write off the horror genre as a whole!  I do however have a better idea of the sort of horror that I am more likely to enjoy and the kind that I should stay away from.  Here are the ones that I read:

–  Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
–  The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
–  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
–  I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
–  The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
–  The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
–  The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
–  The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates
–  Monstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu


I read a total of six nonfiction books this year, which isn’t bad but could be better!  I was hoping to get to some watercolour books this year, but the one I did get was quite obviously for small children and I ended up DNFing it.  Still, I had two new favourite books from this category which is great!  I think the main thing I learnt by reading nonfiction is that there should be something for everyone out there, you just need to find a topic and an author that click with you.

–  Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
–  We Should All Be Feminists
–  Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart
–  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
–  Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc
–  Consider the Platypus: Evolution Through Biology’s Most Baffling Beasts by Maggie Ryan Sandford


Romance was by far my biggest success from this challenge, because I somehow decided to read 27 of those.  So, I have definitely discovered that I do in fact love romance books, especially when I connect with the characters and enjoy the writing style.  I especially enjoy companion books!  For your sake (and mine), I’m only listing those where romance was the main genre here:

–  Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
–  New Uses For Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick
–  Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger
–  Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
–  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
–  Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
–  The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert
–  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
–  A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
–  Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
–  Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
–  If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
–  Headliners by Lucy Parker
–  Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
–  The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole
–  A Princess In Theory by Alyssa Cole
–  A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi


Finally, I read 13 historical fiction books.  My thoughts toward these were varied though mostly positive, and considering there were a range of secondary genres that doesn’t surprise me much.  I have learnt though, that I prefer historical fiction that is light-hearted, and while I might rate the hard-hitting books highly, they’re not something I can cope with reading all that often.

–  Imprudence by Gail Carriger
–  Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
–  Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger
–  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
–  The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
–  Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams
–  Goldie Vance Volume 2 by Hope Larson, Brittney Williams
–  Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim
–  The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
–  The Moment of Tenderness by Madeleine L’Engle
–  Laurinda by Alice Pung
–  The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
–  Gods of Jade and Shadow by Syliva Moreno Garcia


And even more finally – I earned some badges for this challenge too! I made it all the way up to “Adventurer” level by reading over 40 books out of my comfort zone this year. I also earned “The Favourite” by finding a new favourite – I actually found several new favourites! – and “Tome”, by reading a book over 500 pages.

What do you think?

Did you participate in any challenges in 2020? Did you reach your goals? And, do you think you’ll participate in any challenges in 2021? Let us know!

11 thoughts on “Our 2020 Challenges Wrap Up

  1. I did participate in a few readathons this year, a Shakespeare-centered challenge and Latinx Book Bingo. Latinx Book Bingo was the challenge I excelled the most at. I was able to read an abundance of Latinx books that I would have never discovered before had I not joined the challenge. This year, maybe I’ll join a classics challenge?? I am notorious for hating classics, but I am willing to see what’s out there.

    Like

  2. Vera – Me too when it comes to physical books. I look at them and never pick them up. I did read the e-version of many of them (via the library). Good job reading 160 books. Even if you “failed” at your challenges, you read a lot.
    Sabrina – Wow! You about doubled your reading challenge. *high five* I don’t reading outside my comfort zone, but good for you making such an effort.

    Like

  3. @ Veronika:

    “I signed up for The Book Blog Discussion Challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction, but I completely failed at keeping track of my discussion posts in the past couple of month. That being said, I know I completed my original goal”
    You wrote a lot more discussion posts than I did LOL. Seriously, I did contribute to TMST with a few prompts, but in a way it seems easier for me to occasionally participate in a meme (even when the topic is of my creation) than coming up with OffbeatYA™ discussions…because without a frame of reference (or a deadline), I can’t seem to write discussion posts at all.

    “I think this challenge ultimately helped me get better at not purchasing too many physical books. This year, the majority of the physical purchases I made were for books I immediately read when they arrived, or that I have already read and wanted to own a copy of for rereading purposes. I’ll take that as progress.”
    And it is! Physical books are keepers (except when we spectacularly fail at choosing one LOL), and take up space and resources (wood, etc.), besides being more expensive…so it’s great when one learns to buy them responsibly.

    **********

    @ Sabrina:

    First off, it’s great that you were able to stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone and to double up your GR challenge numbers without it feeling like a chore!

    “I know I gave up on reading specifically New Adult books during the year, because it was impossible for me to figure out which books counted as a part of this category.”
    Ah, the age-old problem. Of course, I consider NA all the books where the protagonists are over 18, but where does it end? and where does “adult” start? Once, NA used to be the category where girls went to college and had sex 😂. Now…there’s a lot of confusion.

    “– We Should All Be Feminists”
    Ha! I know why you didn’t mention the author neither linked to the book. To think that, even if I had never read it, I used to have a quote from that book in my GR quote collection (I “stole” it from someone else), and then the “JKR syndrome” reared its ugly head.

    Happy reading in 2021 girls!

    Like

  4. I’m impressed with your progress in all of your challenges! 2020 was a difficult year, so I consider any effort made to be a win!

    For me, I only participated in the Goodreads challenge, which I originally set to 50 books, and I exceeded that. I ideally wanted to read 100 books, and that didn’t happen, but I’m okay with that. In terms of blogging, I also participated in the Discussion Challenge, but since discussions are my very favorite kind of posts to write, that wasn’t too difficult for me to take part in!

    For 2021, I’m being a lot more ambitious even though I have my hardest semester coming up! I want to read 100 books, even though at this point Goodreads still thinks I only want to read 50. And I want to read 20/40 books that I already owned pre-2021. So I don’t care how many new books I buy, although I’ll be tracking that to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand, but I really want to finally read the titles that have been on my shelves for YEARS!

    Also, Sabrina I’m so happy that you discovered your reading preferences for so many new genres! I’m especially happy to see that you’re now a fellow romance lover! For me the genre that I dipped my toe in this past year was manga, and I’m hoping that I read some more from the genre this year!

    I hope you both have a wonderful 2021 and accomplish all your future goals!

    Like

  5. I think you guys did way better with your challenges than I did. I continually plan to clear my TBR and the books I own off of the shelves and every year I fail. 2020 was worse because I went through so many reading slumps and didn’t set specific goals so it was way too difficult to keep track. What I’ve learnt is I need to be specific and keep track otherwise there is no hope.

    Like

  6. I loved seeing your reading challenge wrapup! ❤ I also failed spectacularly at StartOnYourShelfathon, I barely read from my TBR and while I’m happy I used my library so much I definitely want to read more owned books again this year!

    So happy to see you do so well with the OOCZ Challenge, Sabrina! It’s great that you found some favorite new books 💗 For my nonfiction category I mostly read autobiographies as they tend to interest me the most 😊

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.