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Having embarked on the 2015 PopSugar challenge, I’m unlikely, I hope, ever again to try a challenge which is ‘random’, in terms of categories without a clear literary focus – for example, the randomness of ‘a book with a one word title’ ‘a book written by an author with your initials’ and the like. I must admit, although I started well, reading exactly what I would normally read, and then seeing if it fitted into categories, pretty quickly the bizarre/’fun’ nature of this challenge began, I’m afraid, to irritate this rather serious reader.

Those wanting to see the categories can re-route to the post where I said I was going to do it.

It meant 100 books – not a problem, I’m normally reading a couple of books a week, depending on length and intensity. But categories such as ‘a book with a colour in the title’ began to lose appeal, very quickly.

Paperback, hardback, eread, the books kept arriving and mysteriously downloading…..

However……………..I doubt if the long term challenge I’ve set myself would have materialised without the PopSugar, as doing it let me see that this year there have been some big gaps in my reading:

I was a little shocked to see, for example, that until the idea of MY challenge presented, I had read no books in 2015 which were more than 100 years old. My reading of books in translation and non-fiction were a bit under-represented.

Abandoned books hope...all ye who enter here. Dante's Inferno illustration from Mapsinchoate, Pinterest

Abandoned books hope…all ye who enter here. Dante’s Inferno illustration from Mapsinchoate, Pinterest

Regrettably, there were a lot of books in the category ‘books you didn’t finish’. Only ONE of these made the ‘books read in 2015’ total, as it was a book which originally I didn’t finish, only because I’d started it at the wrong time and headspace, and it was seriously a-lurking on the TBR for that better time. So it properly earned it’s place in that particular PopSugar niche as it turned out to be one of my Top Ten of this year. The 7 or 8 other ‘books you didn’t finish’ represent books so not to my taste that abandonment was achieved quite rapidly, and without qualms

baby gifThere were a couple of unfilled categories – what a voracious reader I have always been – I must confess there was NO book which I ‘should have read in high school, but didn’t’ – I did think about stretching it to include the COMPLETE Canterbury Tales, Prologue and All Tales, which I SHOULD have read for my Chaucer Paper whilst at University, and, quite frankly, had a huge aversion to – the original Middle English, don’t you know. But, well, it wasn’t in the category of ‘high school’ and seemed to be too much of a dreadful punishment now.

reading glare gif

I also ploughed ‘an author with my initials’ – curiously, there do not appear to be any who have books reasonably accessible, there is one with the same first initial and last name, but he inserts another middle name, so it isn’t quite a match anyway. He at least is an author who I might be interested in reading, and might be able to get hold of a book by, but it won’t be before the end of the challenge

So, failures for high school, and failures for initial

Anyway…………….pertinent to blog world, for the category ‘a book recommended by a friend’ it’s perhaps unsurprising that bloggers have been more responsible for reccs than ‘real’ friends – certainly, a couple of bloggers have pressed me numerically into more reccs than the one or two reads specific ‘reallies’ did

reading film gif

Top reccer of the year honours are shared, equally, by Fiction Fan and Jane, now blogging at Beyond Eden Rock. 6 a-piece. Well done both.

I suspect next year that the challenge for ‘most tempting blogger of the year on Lady Fancifull’s TBR’ will be quite fiercely contested in 2016, as I started following three bloggers late this year who are rapidly looking like making inroads on 2016’s TBR, particularly as they read a lot of classics, often from other countries (it’s all going to serve my Reading the Twentieth) Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings, Shoshi’s Book Blog and JacquiWine look like giving me RSI of the 1-Click finger

And, more thanks due to Jane. Looking at those endlessly fascinating (to the blog author, if to no-one else) stats I see that she has soared ahead of others in driving her readers to pop over to look at my site. Thanks, Jane, for the great books and the helpful posted diversion signs!

And thanks to PopSugar for pointing up where I want to be heading in my reading over the next several years, and into making me design a seriously exciting as well as alarming little project for myself.

I shall keep a weather eye out for people doing odd challenges like ‘1924’ ‘German reading month’ etc, as some of these sound interesting little ideas for a book or two, every now and again, but with my own Everest of a challenge, I take myself out of commission from anyone else’s!

As far as categories which I WAS interested in (as they had some literary point, for me)

I read 117* books Not all of which were reviewed, and some of this year’s reads will be reviewed next year, for various reasons

reading balancing gif

Of these:
38 books published this year
53 books written by women
2 books of short stories (fewer than normal, it illustrates that I’m not really drawn to short stories, which seems to be the preface to every book of short stories I DO read and review!)
62 books set in a different country – perhaps predictably, the bulk of these were American or European, and this is something I want to redress, and roam a little wider next year
18 non-fiction – pretty woeful!
4 books more than 100 years old (see what I mean, my challenge will improve that one, for sure)
55 books by an author I had never read before
9 books originally written in another language (woeful, again my challenge will include this)

Okay………time to refine the nominations for books of 2015 before all you bloggers mass your ranks and get serious on building my 2016 TBR pile

Book pile

*Number might be a little more than that, as I may well finish another one or two between the posting of this and the end of the year