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The period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year is typically a good time to wind down, but if you’ve got a big reading challenge to finish up it doesn’t alway feel that way.
My grandma and I are going on a cruise next week, and, not unusually, my suitcase is packed with more books than bathing suits.
For most of the challenge, I just sort of picked books up and looked to see if they fit any category on the list, but as the year draws to a close, I decided to pick out all the books so that I knew what I was going to get myself into.
This is the list of books I’m trying to finish by the end of the year to complete the advanced Popsugar reading challenge:
The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
For the category of “book with a season in the title.” I haven’t read this late Shakespeare play, and it’s one of the few digital books I’m bringing on my trip.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
I’ve been saving this book for the “book about food” category all year, and now it’s finally time to read it.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Everyone in my book club loved this book that they read the year before I joined. Since it was made into a movie this year, it seemed like the perfect choice for that particular category.
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The category of “books mentioned in other books” was a really interesting category, but it was kind of difficult to pick a book for it. Shakespeare would have been a no-brainer, but I really wanted to choose a novel. Jane Austen’s heroine in Northanger Abbey is a self-proclaimed connoisseur of gothic literature and mentions this book.
Unnatural Creatures edited by Neil Gaiman
I don’t have a lot of books with cats on the cover, so I chose to interpret this cat as any animal in the cat family. My edition of this book has a lion on the cover.
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
It’s probably no secret that I love Margaret Atwood and really admire her ability to write well in a number of different ways—across genres. This book will be fulfilling the category of “a book written by someone you admire.”
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
This classic is “a book recommended by an author I love.” I wanted to finish this book I started reading aloud with Paul, and pretty much every fantasy writer was influenced by Tolkien. I picked George RR Martin as the particular author I love, in case anyone is interested.
Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
I try to fit in the books in this Naomi Novik series wherever I can, but “a book involving a mythical creature” seemed too perfect to pass up.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
I buy books on pretty much all of my trips, so that category was a no brainer, but I wanted to save it for a book purchased on the ultimate trip—our honeymoon. This is one of the (probably too many) books I bought. I couldn’t help it—I didn’t find anything much in the used bookstores, but the new ones were filled with beautiful covers. Books are probably the cheapest souvenir you can bring back from London.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while, and reading the back made me think it might work for a book about an immigrant/refugee, which was one of the categories I hadn’t filled yet.
Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie
For a book that follows a character’s life span, I decided to pick a biography instead of a novel. I haven’t read a lot of nonfiction this year, so I wanted to read at least one more before December comes to a close.
Over to you—is there a book you’re dying to read by the end of the year? Do you pick out your reading list in advance or do you prefer to play it by ear? Let me know in the comments.