Like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, completing the PopSugar Reading Challenge is an accomplishment that doesn’t seem like a worthy ambition. Like Mr. Chestnut, I’m not competing for the notoriety, but for the love of the game. Last March, I listed my first nine books from the PopSugar Reading challenge. Here are the next entries from their reading challenge requirements.
A YA Bestseller: Everything Everything — 5 out of 5 ðŸ’–ðŸ’–ðŸ’–ðŸ’–ðŸ’–
Billed as the next Eleanor & Park, Nicola Yoon’s first novel is lovely. Maddy is a girl who is forced to live in a “bubble.” She is comfortable with her secluded life until she falls in love with the boy next door. The book made me want to travel to Hawaii and re-watch Jake Gyllenhaal’s comedy classic, Bubble Boy.
A New York Times Best Seller — When Breath Becomes Air — 4 out of 5 ðŸ’”ðŸ’”ðŸ’”ðŸ’”
This memoir tells the story of Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s battle with stage four cancer. When it was recommended to me, the person said that the last paragraph would rip your heart out. That was a true statement. If you don’t want to read the whole story, an article written about the same topic can be found here.
A Book Written By A Celebrity – Love, Loss and What We Ate 2 out of 5 ðŸðŸ
On Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi is drop dead gorgeous–emphasis on the word “dead” because her lifeless voice drives me nuts. I certainly hope she doesn’t read the audiobook of her memoir. There is not enough emphasis on the important words in her speech patterns. I fear if you would listen to her read the book while driving, you would be put to sleep with her musings on food, the difficulties of being pretty and tips on how to date older men. If a chef presented her with something this bland, she would dismiss them while still looking fierce.
A Political Memoir — The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics 3 out of 5 ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸
Technically, this book isn’t a memoir. Barton Swain changed the names of characters, changed the places and created a totally new storyline, but for my purposes, this story fulfills the political memoir. Barton Swain was the speechwriter for Mark Sanford when he went on his walkabout on the “Appalachian Trail.” The Speechwriter is meant to capture what it is like to work for a politician like Mark Sanford. It also helped fill that Veep-sized hole in my heart (just a little bit.)
A Book Recommended By A Family Member — The Remaining 3 out of 5 ðŸ˜±ðŸ˜±ðŸ˜±
My husband recommended this end-of-the-world thriller. In the book, Captain Lee Harden is one of fifty people in America who can help save the country. The book is like what The Walking Dead would be like if the show had an endpoint and focused on a story that went somewhere.
A Graphic Novel — Calling Dr. Laura 2 out of 5 â˜Žï¸â˜Žï¸
The illustrations for this graphic novel are gorgeous. Calling Dr. Laura follows the writer’s quest to find out who is her real dad. The problem I had was with the structure of the book. I had a difficult time figuring out what I was supposed to be focusing on and what was tangential information. I struggled with wondering if this structure was overly charming or overly annoying.
A Book That Takes Place In The Summer — The Great American Whatever 3 out of 5 ðŸŽ¬ðŸŽ¬ðŸŽ¬
Not going to lie, I picked this book out because I liked the cover. This YA novel follows Quinn as he tries to recover from the death of his sister, dating and just the overall traumas that come with being a teenager. An Amazon reviewer said Quinn is 2016’s Holden Caufield. I’m not ready to go there yet, but I did pick up on some anti-phony vibes from Quinn.
A Murder Mystery — Pretty Girls 4 out of 5 ðŸ”ªðŸ”ªðŸ”ªðŸ”ª
This novel is not for readers with weak stomachs or an inability to suspend reality. There are a few moments in the book where I highly doubted that this was a feasible plot, I was along for the ride. In the book, Julia’s family members are still dealing with her loss even though she disappeared many years ago.
I’m calling it now, it’s the next Gone Girl.
An Autobiography — It Was Me All Along — 3 out of 5 ðŸ°ðŸ°ðŸ°
Andie Mitchell is a food blogger and she makes the worlds best wonton lasagna (recipe here, you’re welcome.) Her autobiography talks about her food addiction and body image issues. I’d like for her to come out with a sequel about why she is never looking into the camera in her pictures in her cookbook. This is another area where I have difficulty deciding if it is charming or annoying.
A Book That Takes Place On An Island — The Island 4 out of 5 ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™
Elin Hilderbrand lives to write about people with waspy names and Nantucket and its neighboring communities. The Island isn’t any different. Birdie Cousins brings her daughter and her sister to their family home on the island. Birdie, Chess, Tate and India all learn more about themselves and their family members from the trip. (See I told you about the names!)
Nineteen down! Twenty-One to go!