On December 7th, 2014 (a day that will go down in infamy and a not-that-important day), I made a Facebook post requesting that my friends/acquaintances/enemies-that-I-keep-close/family recommend their favorite book to me. I promised to read all book recommendations, no questions asked.
Turns out, I’m not doing any of that. First of all, a couple of people recommended over ten books. No. But I took most of the recommendations and turned them into a list. Since it’s been over six months, I figured I’d give an update about how I’m doing with this particular challenge. Hint: POORLY.
Here is the list, as well as notes I’ve made in regards to the progress made on each book:
- Never Have I Ever: My Life So Far Without a Date by Katie Heaney – OK, to my benefit, I actually purchased this book. It’s sitting on my bookshelf, being crushingly unread.
- The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin – I downloaded this book onto my iPad, and promptly erased it off my iPad. I started read it, but it was weird and confusing and I’m just a simple girl. I don’t know what you people want from me. Don’t recommend that I read dense science fiction, my brain cannot stomach it.
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – I made zero efforts to read this book. Wait, that’s a lie. I downloaded it onto my iPad, and then made zero efforts to read it. So, in all, I made like 5% effort to read it.
- Angels by Marian Keyes – I read about 55% of the way through this book. Progress! But then I realized that it was a romance novel. Why did it take me so long to realize this?! Then I stopped reading it, on principal.
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I saw the entire movie. Does that count?
- Lamb by Christopher Moore – LOOK, ONE I ACTUALLY READ. I really enjoyed this book. It was delightful, and funny, and I’m glad I read it.
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – I’ve heard of the movie. Does that count?
- Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut – I LOVE Vonnegut, but I have to be “in a mood” to adequately enjoy his fiction and apparently I haven’t been in that mood in the past six months.
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – I am currently reading this, kind of, but I lost it. Does anyone have the last 65% of this book I can borrow?
- Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark by Deborah Diesen – Not yet, but it seems riveting.
- True Names by Cory Doctorow – Oh man, I really wanted to get into this book. I have mad respect for the individual who recommended it to me, and figured we’d have similar tastes in literature. NOPE. I got about five pages in, thought to myself, “What, wait, why? What the, who?” and was all like, “Nah.”
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – I don’t know if I want to read a book that features Robert Pattinson. I’ve been itching to pick it up because I’ve seen it at every single Value Village I’ve visited in the past six months, but doesn’t that say something about the quality of the book?
- Fallout Equestria – In the list that I made for myself, I put in parenthesis next to this title “(ABSOLUTELY NOT HAPPENING)”. It absolutely did not happen. I’m pretty sure it’s about My Little Pony. So no.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madelyn L’Engle – Here’s another one I started! And stopped!
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman – I made significant progress in this book. It was a classic story of girl goes on impromptu family vacation, girl’s family dies, girl is stuck in limbo, other girl reading the story stops reading it because it was boring.
- The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry – The Giver #1 is one of my all-time favorite books of all time. However, I loved the ambiguity of the ending so much I’m afraid of reading the other books, lest the purity of the original book is tarnished. Like with the movie.
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I loved this book a lot. AND I READ THE WHOLE THING.
- Perdido Street Station by China Meiville – I had a hard time finding this book, and an even harder time continuing to look for it after I forgot about its existence until right now.
- Being you, Changing The World by Dr. Dain Heer – This book was $27.99 on Amazon. I’m taking donations.
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Steine – Officially now one of my favorite books of all time. During the last maybe 10% of the book I had a steady stream of tears falling out of my face, but you know, in a good way.
- Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – I was afraid that it would be about planes. No progress.
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – I have owned this book multiple times, and have tried reading it once but it starts to get me thinking about mortality and the inevitability of death and I’m all like, whoa, that sucks.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Leonardo DiCaprio read this book to me in movie form.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I made some significant progress in this book, but it scared me so I hid it under the couch for three months.
- Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman – Every time I go to search for this book, I think that it’s written by Benedict Cumberbatch, get excited, realize it’s not written by him, get disappointed, forget what I was doing, do something else. Not my fault.
- Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh – I’m not going to lie, I think this suggestion was a joke and I had never planned on actually read it.
- Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – AMAZING. This was the first (and let’s get real, one of the only) books I finished from this whole list, and I loved it. I recommend it to everyone on a constant basis, even people I don’t know.
- 12 years a slave by Solomon Northup – I’ve heard the movie was really, really, really sad. I still want to read it, but in more of a theoretical sense than an actual sense.
- Salem Street by Anna Jacobs, Zorba the Greek – I’m not going to lie, these two books were really low on the list (literally, not emotionally), and I was too busy not reading the other books to buy/pursue these ones.
- A Long Way Gone by Ishmal Beah – I actually still want to read this one.
So that’s that. I finished a total of FOUR books out of thirty-two. But I did realize an important lesson from this experience: My friends and family have a wide, diverse variety of genres and tastes. They are fascinating, dynamic, and so much can be learned from their differing perspectives. But at a certain point, you just gotta be like, “well, that’s super cool, but I’m gonna do my own thing over here and just keep reading whatever I want.”