Reading Challenge Wrap-Ups

It’s that time of year–time to close and report the results of the different reading challenges I participated in this year.

I finished the the Back to the Classics Challenge early this year! I completed all twelve categories, and I posted what I read for each here.

The Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted by Shelly Rae at Book’d Out encourages us to read nonfiction in particular categories. The categories and the books I read for them:

1.Biography: Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn
2. Travel: EPIC: An Around-the-World Journey Through Christian History by Tim Challies
3. Self-help: Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
4. Essay Collection: Christian Reflections by C. S. Lewis
5. Disease
6. Oceanography: Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
7. Hobbies: How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
8. Indigenous Cultures
9. Food
10. Wartime Experiences: Woman Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood
11.Inventions: The Secret War of Charles Fraser-Smith, the “Q” Gadget Wizard of World War II by Charles Fraser-Smith.
12. Published in 2021: Ten Words to Live By: Delighting In and Doing What God Commands by Jen Wilkin.

My post listing all the book I read this year shows I competed 38 nonfiction books. But they didn’t all fit these categories, so I only reached “Nonfiction nibbler” status as far as this challenge goes.

Bev at My Reader’s Block hosts the Mount TBR Challenge to encourage us to read the books we already own.. Every 12 books read is another level or “mountain” climbed.

The Backlist Reader Challenge hosted by The Bookwyrm’s Hoard has the same idea as Mt. TBR.

I used to list all of the previously-owned books I read for this challenge, but that’s not a requirement, and seems redundant after listing all the titles I read this year. But I completed 48 books from my own shelves and Kindle app, reaching Mt. Ararat for the Mount TBR challenge. That feels like an accomplishment!

I enjoy reading Christmas books after Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Tarissa at In the Bookcase hosts a Literary Christmas Reading Challenge for that purpose each year. This year, my Christmas reading included:

  • Expecting Christmas, a 40-day devotional by multiple authors
  • A Quilt for Christmas by Sandra Dallas, a Civil war-era novel. A woman makes a quilt for her soldier husband. When he dies, she assumes the quilt was buried with him. But the quilt shows up again in a surprising way. Meanwhile, she has to determine how far her beliefs go when she is asked to shelter a runaway slave wanted for murder.
  • Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. An epistolary novel set during WWI. Four friends plan to meet in Paris for Christmas the year WWI starts, thinking it will be over by then. Obviously, it wasn’t, and they don’t make that date. The last of them goes to Paris for Christmas in the 1960s to read the last unopened letter. So good.
  • A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson. A woman and her son travel to the beach house she has inherited. She plans to fix it up and sell it to replenish their resources after her husband’s long illness. But her son thrives in the new town and wants to stay.
  • The Yuletide Angel by Sandra Ardoin. A Victorian-era novel in which an anonymous donor, dubbed the Yuletide Angel, gifts needy families with supplies in the middle of the night. Only one person knows the benefactor’s identity is female, and he follows her unseen to insure her safety. But soon someone else stalks her in the darkness.
  • The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson. A woman unpacks the special ornaments her husband has given her each of their twenty years together. But now they have separated due to festering anger and unforgiveness. Can they find their way back to each other before it’s too late?
  • Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien wrote letters to his children as Father Christmas for several years, complete with disasters set off by the kind but bumbling North Polar Bear. Delightful.

Letters from Father Christmas and Last Christmas in Paris weren’t on my radar when I started the challenge, but I am so glad I found them. Otherwise, I did read all I set out to read for the challenge this year.

I also listened to a Christmas story laid out as a podcast series by Audible, The Cinnamon Bear: A Holiday Adventure. It was styled like a modern version of old radio serials. It was a little bizarre in places, kind of a conflation of Candy Land and Oz. But it had some clever writing here and there.

We watched a couple of Christmas movies, but not our usual White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. We saw A Castle for Christmas, in which an author running from her problems visits a castle in Scotland where her father worked as a child. She learns the castle is for sale, but the curmudgeonly owner doesn’t really want to let go of it. It’s a pretty cute movie. One not-good part, but nothing explicit is shown. And we also watched Elf, which was a lot of fun.

And that wraps up for reading challenges for this year! I’ll hammer out my reading plans for next year next week. I’ll probably participate in each of these again. They all enhance my reading and broaden my horizons.

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