As a writer, there is one task that matters more than most – reading. Reading the work of other writers can only improve our vocabulary, sentence structure and knowledge of the craft.
I have always been an avid reader, as a child I could be found nestled in between my bed and the radiator, with a stack of books at my feet. My tastes changed as I grew up; moving on from Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Jill Murphy, I began my teen years stealing my dad’s Wilbur Smith books and my mum’s Mills and Boon.
In my late teens and early twenties, I went through a horror phase and devoured everything by James Herbert and Stephen King. My thriller stage swiftly followed, where I enjoyed reading Dean Koontz and John Grisham. As I approached my thirties and forties, I turned to the Young Adult genre and found the fantasy works of Maggie Stiefvater, Cassandra Clare, Sarah J. Maas and Jana Oliver, to name but a few of my favourites.
My passion for fantasy was rooted in my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – that girl got me through some tough days!
So when I read about Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.
They have put together a list of books to read over the course of a year – not genre specific, or leaning towards a particular author – no, this list is a bit different!
As we are halfway through the year, I thought I’d share my progress with you and ask for some suggestions to help me finish the challenge. The full list is available to view on Pop Sugar’s website so I won’t add the entire list here; I will concentrate on what I’ve managed to achieve.
- A Book That Became a Movie – The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
I did this the wrong way round as I watched the movie before reading the book (I never normally do that). However, I did enjoy watching the motion picture with my two boys. The book is amazing.
- A Book Published This Year – Eternal by Helen Boswell (Indie Author)
This was the third book in Helen’s Mythology Trilogy, and one I had been waiting for with excitement. It’s packed full of angels, demons and romance – right up my street.
- A Book with a Number in the Title – The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
I believe this book is also about to be made into a movie so it would fit into my first category. The book is young adult sci-fi – think War of the Worlds meets Falling Skies. I thought it took a while to get going but then it exploded on the page, and I couldn’t put it down – I hope the Hollywood types make a good job of converting it.
This book choice also covers the A Book with Non-Human Characters category.
- A Book Written By Someone under 30 – Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas.
Heir of Fire is book three in the Crown of Midnight Series. Sarah is twenty-nine and from New York. I met her recently when she was on her UK tour. She is such a wonderful lady and one of my most favourite authors. Her young adult books are full of sexy faeries and fast-paced action.
- A Book by a Female Author – Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff
This book was off the wall weird. I loved Brenna’s style of writing in the Replacement and Smoulder, but this book was a struggle for me. I did finish it, and I was glad I persevered as the final part is fast paced. Not my favourite.
- A Non-Fiction Book – Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall.
I find Rayne’s Writer’s Craft Series to be a valuable writing source. I have several of her books and like an avid Twitter fan it was an easy decision to add this to my list. I knew a fair amount of the content (I wish I’d read this year’s ago!) through making my own mistakes. What I love is how Rayne uses the mistakes she made as a newbie tweeter to teach us what not to do. Clearly written without any techno jargon to scare a beginner, there is a handy summary at the back on the most common abbreviations. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on ‘weird reasons I was unfollowed’, hilarious!
- A Book You Can Finish In a Day – Guardians of the Dead by Shelley Wilson.
Yes, I’ve included my own creation here, only because it does fit the category. It was also something I kept hearing over and over from my readers – they enjoyed it so much that they couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day. At just over 50,000 words, it is a quick and easy read – I loved reading it as much as I loved writing it!
- A Book with Bad Reviews – Fury by Elizabeth Miles.
I didn’t read the reviews until after I’d finished this book, but I agreed with all of them. I detested the main characters – passionately. Words failed me when I closed the last page on this one.
This book choice also covers the A Book with a One-Word Title.
- A Book with a Colour in the Title – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
Another book destined to become a movie (please don’t massacre it, Hollywood). I loved this book so much, and it was left wide open for the next instalment. Young adult at its best.
- A Book with Magic – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.
A new young adult series from my favourite author, and this time we find faeries and humans having to fight together. Plenty of magic to keep me turning the pages. Loved it.
This is just a small section of the challenge, over the next six months I need to read:
- A Book with More than 500 Pages.
- A Book Based on a True Story.
- A Classic Romance.
- A Book that Scares You.
- A Pulitzer-Prize Winning Book.
- A Book That Came Out the Year You Were Born (1972)
- A Book with Antonyms in the Title.
- A Book of Short Stories.
- A Funny Book.
- A Book from Your Childhood. (Happy to re-read Folk of the Faraway Tree!)
- A Book Set in the Future.
- A Graphic Novel.
- A Book You Started But Never Finished (Oh Dear! That’s a long list)
If you have any suggestions to help me finish my 2015 challenge, then please let me know in the comments below. If you fancy giving the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge a go for yourself then pop (no pun intended) over to their website.
Image courtesy of Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net