If you’ve been following Grab the Lapels for at least a year, you know that I quit my eleven-year career as an adjunct professor, volunteered at a community theater, got a job at that community theater, quit the theater job, and now work at a public library. I love the work that I do, and helping the public get important tasks done brings me joy.
A bonus is our library hosted a summer reading program for patrons and a parallel challenge for staff. Although the goal of bingo is to, well, get a bingo, I got it into my head that I wanted to fill every box on the card. Don’t know why, didn’t care about winning. I just set a challenge for myself and went at it whole hog.
In case you aren’t a bingo type, cards typically have TWENTY-FIVE boxes. The summer reading challenge was TWO MONTHS long. I mean, this is more arduous than Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer challenge, which lasts the entire summer season! I’ve attempted her challenge twice and only finished once, so what was going on in my head? I have yet to analyze deeply enough to come up with a satisfactory answer.
To even think of finishing, I read trade editions of a a few comic books for a few boxes, but with little thought put into it, the novels I chose were chunkier than I typically read, not with the ambition of reading more, but simply trying to fill the requirements of each box!
I fell short of filling in all twenty-five boxes by a mere 170 pages (I was on the last book but didn’t finish). Here’s what I read:
- Freebie: Faith: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser
- Freebie: Faith: California Scheming by Jody Houser
- Freebie: Faith: Superstar by Jody Houser
- Freebie: Faith: The Faithless by Jody Houser
- Book that is 400+ pages: Winds of Fury by Mercedes Lackey
- Short Story Collection: Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
- Book Set in Another Country: Porno by Irvine Welsh
- Audiobook or ebook: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Taplay Takemori, read by Nancy Wu
- Book published in 2019: No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder
- Book set in space: The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
- Book by a person of color: What Are You Doing Here? by Laina Dawes
- Freebie: Storm Warning by Mercedes Lackey
- Book Made into a Movie: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, read by Simon Vance
- Book Published the Year I was Born (1985): The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
- Book I Once Started but Never Finished: Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
- Book Made into a TV Show: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, read by the author
- A Biography: Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography by Robert E. Hemenway
- Freebie: We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, edited by Yael Kohen
- Young Adult Novel: Dust Bath Revival by Marianne Kirby
- Poetry Collection: Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley
- Book Recommended by a Co-worker: The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum
- Book Made Into a Movie: Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
- Book Published the Year I Started Working @ the Library (2019): Man-eaters by Chelsea Cain
- Book About Space: Venus on Mars by Jan Millisapps
The one book I did not finish was Venus on Mars. The deadline came and went, and I was bummed — because I was so close! I had ten bingos overall, meaning I got ten raffle tickets, which I promptly stuck in the “coffee lovers” prize basket. I did not win the drawing, but that wasn’t even foremost on my mind. I had challenge myself to finish twenty-five works and got pretty darn close.
A problem I encountered is that I was reading instead of watching movies or hanging out with my husband or doing outdoor activities (unless I could sit and read, which we did, along the shore of Lake Michigan). Next year, I’m going to set a goal of getting a certain number of bingos instead. Setting a ridiculous goal burned me out and made me read less carefully than usual, and I haven’t read much since the August 1st deadline. I mean, I completed 6,218 pages and 27.5 hours of audiobooks in 62 days, so can you blame me? Slowing down as I start Storm Rising for #ReadingValdemar feels delicious, so that’s the pace I’ll keep in the future.