One of the challenges I did during 2019 was the PopSugar Challenge. It had forty categories, plus an additional ten advanced ones – a couple of which I managed to check off, and I filled most of the main categories, some with multiple books. It was a good challenge, but one thing I think lets it down is that it is overly prescriptive – and I think this made it too hard to fill in – almost impossible for some, in fact.
One was an author with the same first or last name as you – and this could let many people down, as there will be many names, not just mine, that do not appear as any part of an author’s name. Some I didn’t fill due to lack of time, but there were some that relied on accessibility as well – being able to get the book, or something being available in a library, bookstore or your collection. The point of a challenge is to challenge you and your reading – but perhaps not in a way that lets you down when you find you can’t fill a category.
Still, it was a fun challenge and I’ll be doing it again this year – but I feel that the categories get too prescriptive and specific each year, and rely too much on the accessibility of books – just because you can find a title in a Google search does not mean that book will be readily available for you – and my plan is to fill as many as I can with what I have.
A book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Victoria and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu Victoria and Abdul (2017)
True crime: Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington
The next book in a series you started: Mayan Mendacity by L.J.M. Owen, The Silver Horse by Kate Forsyth (Chain of Charms #2)
A book involving a heist: The Book of Answers: The Ateban Cipher Book 2 by A.L. Tait, Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes (Mitford Murders #2)
A novel based on a real person: Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
A book set in a country that fascinates you:
Book: The Last Train by Sue Lawrence
Book: The Silver Horse by Kate Forsyth (Chain of Charms #2)
A book with the time of day in the title: early – Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
A book about a villain or anti-hero: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutschner, The Ship that Never Was by Adam Courtenay
A book about death or grief: Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer, Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbitt
A book with your favourite colour in the title: Bluebottle by Belinda Castles
A book with alliteration in the title: Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Hounds and Hauntings by Janine Beacham
Olmec Obituary by LJM Owen
Mayan Mendacity by LJM Owen
A book about time travel: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas, Time Jumpers: Stealing the Sword by Wendy Mass
A book with a weather element in the title: Draigon Weather: The Legends of Arnan – Book One by Paige L Christie, Dragon Masters: Search for the Lightning Dragon by Tracey West
A book set at sea: The Passengers by Eleanor Limprecht, Bluebottle by Belinda Castles, Captain Cook’s Apprentice by Anthony Hill
A book with an animal in the title: The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson, The Opal Dragonfly by Julian Leatherdale
A book set on a different planet: Graevale by Lynette Noni
A book with song lyrics in the title: The Last Train by Sue Lawrence (Last Train Out of Sydney)
A book about or set on Halloween: Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
A book with characters who are twins: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester, Other Worlds: Beast World by George Ivanoff
A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin, Tin Man by Sarah Winman
A book that is also a stage play or musical:
A book by an author of a different ethnicity to you: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Grandpa, Me and Poetry by Sally Morgan
A book about feminism: Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen, No Country Woman by Zoya Patel
A book about mental health: Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson (mental disabilities, dealing with grief and loneliness)
A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift: The Enchanted Places by Christopher Milne, Goodbye, Christopher Robin by Anne Thwaite
A book by two authors: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A book about or involving sport: Surf Rider’s Club #2: Bronte’s Big Sister Problem by Mary van Reyk
A book by a local author: The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier (AU author), Grandpa, Me and Poetry by Sally Morgan, Olmec Obituary by LJM Owen, Mayan Mendacity by LJM Owen, Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband by Barbara Toner
A book mentioned in another book: Heidi by Johanna Spyri, mentioned in Little Gods.
A book from a celebrity book club:
A childhood classic you’ve never read: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
A book that’s published in 2018: Four Respectable Ladies Seek Part-time Husband by Barbara Toner
A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner: Talking as Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
A book set in the decade you were born: Little Gods by Jenny Ackland
A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to: Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies by Jackie French
A book with an ugly cover: Skin in the Game: The Pleasure and Pain of Telling True Stories by Sonya Voumard
A book that involves a bookstore or library: Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles
Your favourite prompt from the 2015, 2016 or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges:
2015: A book with a one-word title: Thunderwith by Libby Hathorn, Lovesome by Sally Seltmann.
2016: A book based on a fairy tale: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross
2017: A novel set during wartime: Eventual Poppy Day by Libby Hathorn
TOTAL READ: 61 in 37 categories
A bestseller from the year you graduated high school (2004):
A cyberpunk book:
A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place:
A book tied to your ancestry (Scottish):
A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title: Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon
An allegory: Munmun by Jesse Andrews
A book by an author with the same first or last name as you:
A microhistory: Spinning Tops & Gum Drops: A Portrait of Colonial Childhood by Edwin Barnard
A book about a problem facing society today: When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth – poaching. No Country Woman by Zoya Patel – Racism.
A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge:
TOTAL READ: 5
As you can see, some categories were easier to fill than others, some I didn’t manage to find anything for aforementioned reasons, and some had multiple entries. Some were filled in with a stretch – perhaps this is why I like looser themes, rather than ones that dictate what must be in a title or part of the authors name – you still get the challenge of finding a book that fills it, without causing panic because nothing fits in – this takes the fun out of it. So in 2019, my goal is to fill whatever categories I can. And if there are some where I don’t find a book, or a book does not appeal to me, I will give it a miss – and just let it happen as it happens.
In my mind, a challenge like this whilst fun, can also be inhibiting, which is why in the group that does this challenge, I’ve suggested a list of other challenges in case others want to take those on as well as this one or instead of – something I might do, or tweak them for my individual needs.
So ends another year of reading challenges.