Brittany’s Summer Reading Challenge Conclusion

September 19, 2023

Okay, so, not all challenges are meant to be completed successfully. If you failed to hit one or five of our summer reading challenges, know that you are not alone!! I, too, fell short. 

At first it was pretty easy to feel shame about this. After all, Sara was done like a month ago! But here’s the thing – failure really isn’t the horrible monster so many of us make it out to be. Failure, after all, means you tried. It means you completed a lot of things along the way. And, of course, it also means you can try again! So, if you too didn’t quite finish your list by the time that the pumpkin spice signs started going up, it’s 100% okay. This was meant to be fun, and if it got you reading even a little bit more than you might otherwise have, then, really, it was a success!

Here’s where I wound up – 

Finish a Book You Started and Liked, But Somehow Keep Drifting Away From and Never Finishing – I finally finished the absolutely lovely Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley. I was definitely super interested in this book when I started it, but I somehow never got swept up enough to finish it. After we read the graphic novel Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg for book club, I remembered this one… and, this time, I totally fell in love. The hint of folkloric shadow about the whole thing is just *chef’s kiss*! It made me really want to work on a story about the Brontës that Sara and I dreamed up a while ago too. 

Read a Feminist Fairy-Tale Retelling – I too read Veronica Schanoes’ brilliant collection of very feminist and very awesome fairy-tale retellings, Burning Girls. Sara already wrote about this one in her conclusion post, but I’ll just add my stamp to reiterate that it is 100% worth picking up.

Read a Book Mentioned on the Carterhaugh Blog – Burning Girls counts here too! Woo! 

Read a Book in Translation – I read the sweet novella The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, which has also been on my list for a while and somehow remained unread. It’s absolutely charming (and I hope they make it into an anime someday!)

Read a Book You’re Embarrassed to Read in Public – I’m going to go with Momfluenced: Inside the Maddening, Picture-Perfect World of Mommy Influencer Culture by Sara Petersen, which was WILD. I felt a little weird reading it in public just because I’m not a Mom or anything, but the work the book does about existing in online spaces (and trying to make some kind of a business doing that) was actually super relevant and fascinating.

Puzzle Through a Book That Challenges You – This is a little unconventional, but I’m going to go with Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing by Emily Lynn Paulson. This book was even crazier than Momfluenced, but actually talked about a lot of the same kinds of things. This one challenged me in ways that I wasn’t expecting though. For one thing, the narrator can be a bit hard to get behind sometimes. There are a lot of moments where she’s like “I knew this was bad” but she does it anyway, justifying it right and left. I felt challenged to see things from her perspective and give her the compassion I knew she deserved (that all people caught up in MLMs deserve, really.) It was an interesting read for sure.

Read a Book You Own but Have Never Read – Worlds of Ink and Shadow fits here too, woo! Actually, so does The Cat Who Saved Books

Here are the three that I missed: “Read a Book by an Academic Authority on a Folkloric Subject” (this was meant to be Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell, which I still really want to read!), “Read a Book You Pretend to Have Read but Haven’t Actually Read (Yet)” (someday, Ursula), “Read Your Best Friend’s Favorite Book” (this is obviously the one I feel worst about!! NEXT ON THE LIST!! I did read A Theory of Haunting by Sarah Monette though, the latest in the Kyle Murchison Booth stories, which Sara does ALSO love, so I am not 100% terrible?)

La. To next year!

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