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Challenge Yourself

I’m usually not one who does reading challenges. I tend to go through phases of reading where I will read a bunch of books, then not read anything for a few months. This means I usually don’t meet challenges that require you to read a certain amount. This year, however, I decided I wanted to change things up a little bit by giving myself my own challenge. I tend to read books from the same categories. They are typically teen books that are either fantasy, mystery, or romance. While there is certainly nothing wrong with sticking to similar styles of books, I wanted to change things up. I decided my challenge this year would be to focus on reading books that I wouldn’t typically read. This means pretty much anything in adult fiction or non-fiction. So far, I have read four books and am currently reading number five. A couple have been in genres I know I already like, mystery and fantasy, but I have also read a couple historical fictions and discovered that is another genre I enjoy. Below are some of the books I have read. I have been tracking them on Goodreads, which is a great site for looking up books and tracking what you have read or want to read.

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

This is my favorite book of 2022 so far. The story follows Cassandra as she tries to

cover of book titled The Forgotten Garden

unravel the mystery surrounding her grandmother, Nell, who was found alone on a ship in Australia when she was 4. She had no memory of who she was, so she was adopted by the local family who found her. She doesn’t learn she was adopted until adulthood and was then determined to discover who she is. Unfortunately, she passes before she can solve the mystery. After inheriting an unexpected cottage from her grandmother, Cassandra decides to travel to Australia to investigate the mystery surrounding her family. The story shifts perspectives as the reader learns what happened in the past that led up to Nell being on the ship, and the present where Cassandra solves the mystery. The book offers many twists and turns ad the reader tries to guess who Nell's family actually is.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

I just recently finished this book after talking about the series with my family. I always meant to read it, but never got around to it until now. It’s a historical fiction surrounding the protagonist, Lale Sokolov a Jew from Slokavia, who is sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942 to work in the camps in attempt to protect his family. He is put to work as the tattooist, or Tätowierer in German, who tattoos the numbers onto the prisoners. After arriving, and seeing the cruel treatment the prisoners faced, he becomes determined to stay alive and one day escape. He meets a woman named Gita and she strengthens his determination as they form a relationship. Through Lale, the reader experiences some of the harsh treatment and cruelty the prisoners faced. Two more books are a part of this series, Cilka’s Journey, and Three Sisters.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

A big reason I chose The Kite Runner was because I was unsure if I would like it or not.

cover of book titled The Kite Runner

It was the opposite of what I would normally read, so I decided I needed to read it. It did not disappoint. The story follows Amir throughout his life, from childhood to middle-aged adulthood. A big part of the book is him reflecting on how his life went and how he could have done things differently. The first half of the book largely focuses on his relationship with the two closest people in his life, his father, and the family servant Hassan, whom Amir befriends and the mistakes that were made. It shows his way of life in Afghanistan, and how that changes after they have to flee when the Soviet Union invades. I enjoyed the book and plan on reading more of his books.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tann

I am currently reading this book and it’s very hard to put down. It’s loosely based off the Chinese Legend of Chang’e, a woman whose husband shot down 9 out of 10 suns,

cover of book titled Daughter of the Moon Goddess

and was rewarded with an elixir of immortality, but there was only enough for one. He decided not to drink it so that he could stay with his wife, but Chang’e ended up drinking it in secret and was then sent to the moon. There are several versions of why she drank it and if she was banished or went to the moon willingly, but the core elements stay the same. Daughter of the Moon Goddess follows her daughter, Xingyin, who lives on the moon after Chang’e was banished for drinking the elixir. No one knew Chang’e was pregnant, so Xingyin’s existence was kept secret. After being forced to flee the Moon without her mother, due to the threat of the Celestial Kingdom discovering her existence and punishing her mother, she begins living in the Celestial Kingdom without revealing who she is. She becomes determined to somehow find a way to free her mother an earn a pardon from the Celestial Emperor. I am about half-way through the book as of right now, but so far it has been worth the read.

Are you wanting to do your own reading challenge? Try reading something different and see how you like it. Also check out Laure's blog post on different reading challenges, including ones staff are participating in. Also be sure to check out the year long Ultimate Book Nerd Challenge going on at the library.

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