The last half of the 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge is painful. I’ve picked all of the low hanging fruit. Now, I’m working my way through the more difficult requirements. It’s like running uphill. Fulfilling the 600 page requirement took a week of my life, but it all doesn’t count if I don’t put it on the internet. So, just to make it official, here is the third installment of my 2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge.
A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School: To Kill a Mockingbird-5 out of 5 ðŸ—ðŸ—ðŸ—ðŸ—ðŸ—
Every year, with my students, I read To Kill a Mockingbird and every year, I fall more in love with the novel. I look forward to Burris Ewell calling Miss Caroline a “snot-nosed slut of teacher.” I look forward to the grotesque description of Mrs. Dubose’s spittle. I find new things each year. I especially love the moment when kids figure out that Scout is a girl. It truly is the gift that keeps giving.
A Book That’s Under 150 Pages: Best State Ever - 4 out of 5 ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™ðŸ‘™
Fun Fact: I accidentally requested the large print version of this text and just assumed that is is under 150 pages. Well, it’s not. But it was a quick read so I’m going to make it count. Best State Ever is Dave Berry’s attempt to rehab America’s perception of Florida. He describes Florida as the place where all the “dumb rats” of America get stuck in the peninsula. It’s a fun read, but he does get in some low blows for Kentucky, but luckily Illinois gets the most of his ire.
A Book That’s Becoming A Movie This Year - The Light Between Oceans - 4 out of 5 ðŸ‘¶ðŸ¼ðŸ‘¶ðŸ¼ðŸ‘¶ðŸ¼ðŸ‘¶ðŸ¼
I’m afraid to watch the film adaptation of this movie because I liked it so much. The story follows Tom and Isabel as they live on a remote island on the tip of Australia. Isabel wants a child desperately and miraculously one washes up on shore. Tom and Isabel have to decide what to do with their “gift from God.” Hopefully, I’ll get to see the movie soon. I hear the sweaters and tights are amazing, what more could you want?
A Book Recommended By Someone You Just Met - The Girls - 2 out of âœŒï¸âœŒï¸
I didn’t technically meet this person, but a stranger did recommend this book to me. Reese Witherspoon has a book club and she stays instagramming pictures of her latest read. Since I liked Wild, I figured Witherspoon could be trusted. In reality, however, I’m a little disappointed. The Girls is about Evie, a teenager in the 1960s who joins a cult (sortof.) I’m still unsure if I didn’t like the book or I didn’t like Evie. Odds are, this book will be made into a movie and I will have an visual depiction to help me decide.
A Self-Improvement Book - The Energy Bus - 3 out of 5 ðŸšŒðŸšŒðŸšŒ
Self-improvement books can be cheesy. The Energy Bus was as cheesy as a big yellow school bus is yellow but, that doesn’t make it unreadable. The book is helpful identifying ways to channel your positive energy and rid your life of "energy vampires." It is a nice reminder of how negative thinking can slow you down.
A Book that’s More Than 600 pages - Gone with the Wind - 5 out of 5 ðŸ‘—ðŸ‘—ðŸ‘—ðŸ‘—ðŸ‘—
Nobody warned me. I’m so upset. I read hundreds and hundreds of pages waiting for Scarlett to have something nice happen to her. Poor girl, all she got was a bunch of kiddos and an ambiguous ending. I’m so salty.
Here’s a thought: HBO needs to turn the book into a limited series so that they can spends tons of money on elaborate costumes. I’m sure once Baz Luhrmann is done with The Get Down, he would be the perfect fit as director.
A Book Written By A Comedian - Grunt - 4 out of 5 ðŸ˜·ðŸ˜·ðŸ˜·ðŸ˜·
I know Mary Roach isn’t technically a comedian, but her writing makes me laugh more than anyone. I love her perspective. I just imagine that her day-to-day job is going on quirky field trips for whimsical writing experiences. She is living the dream. For example, in Grunt she investigates the science of humans at war. She hangs out with maggots, smells terrible smells and talks A LOT about diarrhea. Once again, Mary Roach is living the feces-smelling dream.
A Book From The Library - Dispatches from Pluto - 4 out of 5 ðŸ—ðŸ—ðŸ—ðŸ—
Richard Grant moved from his tiny apartment in New York City to live in the Mississippi Delta. In Dispatches from Pluto, he helps describe the disconnect between two cultures. I wish I could assign the chapter about the education system in Mississippi as required reading to everyone. America has broken pieces and we first have to stop ignoring them before we can fix them. I appreciate that Grant mires himself in a different culture to help explain and understand the differences. Dispatches from Pluto covers distressing content, but because its goal is to connect, it doesn't feel so soul-crushingly insurmountable.
A Book About A Road Trip - Utopia Drive - 3 out of 5 ðŸš—ðŸš—ðŸš—
For this book, Erik Reece hopped into his pick-up truck and visited ten different attempts at "Utopian communities." Each different community has its own perspective on what it means to live in the perfect place. Since I had Reece as a professor, there were moments during the reading where I felt like I needed to take notes on the material. The book made me want to write an essay, just so I could incorporate this quote in the perfect introductory paragraph, "Americans live in a world we are too ready to accept. We acquiesce too easily to the inevitability
of the way things are." Goodness, that kind of literary fire is going to melt some poor freshman's mind.
A Romance Set In The Future - First Comes Love - 2 out of 5 ðŸ’œðŸ’œ
This requirement is an evil, evil joke from the masterminds at the Popsugar reading challenge headquarters. I can’t think of any romance stories that are set in the future. Online, I did see some suggestions for the Divergent series, but I’m just going to assume that I’m better than that.
I have noticed a lot of ads for this book. First Comes Love is about a family who is reeling from a distant tragedy. Sisters, Josie and Meredith are extremely different and can never see eye-to-eye. I kept waiting for the romance part of the story to kick in, but in the future, I’ll just steer clear of Emily Giffin’s writing.
29 books down, 11 to go!