Reading Challenge Update #6

I recently finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This was a book that it seemed like everyone had read except me. Even my mom read it and she reads about 3 books a year. I picked this book based on her recommendation. I don’t read much modern literature, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much coming into this novel. I was pleasantly surprised, though.

the art of racing in the rain

At first the narration style got on my nerves a bit. The wording was often simple, but repetitive. I had to keep telling myself that the style was like that because the narrator is a dog. This dog is no ordinary dog though, and he soon won me over completely. Enzo has a child-like spirit and marvels at small things that we often take for granted, like opposable thumbs. At times he is brutally honest, but his wisdom shines through.

The novel focuses a lot on racing and cars, so I thought I wouldn’t enjoy that emphasis much, since I don’t really have a strong interest in cars, but the metaphors were well written throughout the novel, helping, rather than hindering the narrative. Enzo’s master is Denny Swift, a racing enthusiast, so it makes sense that Enzo loves racing just as much as he loves Denny. I loved seeing their relationship develop, because like human relationships, there are ups and downs.

Maybe I enjoyed this novel so much because I have a puppy of my own. In some ways, Enzo is every dog, loyal, loving, and pure-hearted. But because I have a puppy, the emotional parts of the novel were likely even more emotional than they would be if I had never had a pet of my own. Overall, I think this is a must-read novel for any dog-lover, or animal-lover, for that matter.

I will say that the story progression is a bit predictable. If the narrator were anyone but a dog, I would have put the book down after the first chapter or so. The story is more remarkable because of the canine narrator. Even with the mostly predictable story line, it’s still a cute novel. I can’t really give much of a summary without spoilers, but it’s a quick read.

2016 Reading Challenge

I’ve seen a lot of different posts about yearly reading challenges, the most popular by far is the MMD (Modern Mrs. Darcy) Reading Challenge . The goal is 12 books in 12 months. It’s a great challenge that exposes new readers to great books and even longtime readers to new genres.

I always go a little over the top with these sorts of things, so I created my own version of a 2016 reading challenge that is considerably more substantial. I used the 2016 MMD Reading Challenge as a starting point as well as the 2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge.

  • A book based on a fairy tale
  • A National Book award winner
  • A YA best seller
  • A book you haven’t read since high school/ A book you were supposed to read in high school (but didn’t)
  • A book set in your home state
  • A book translated into English
  • A romance set in the future
  • A book set in Europe
  • A book that is less than 150 pages
  • A NY Times best-seller
  • A book that is becoming a movie this year
  • A book with a protagonist who has the same occupation as you/ a protagonist that has your dream occupation
  • A book that takes place in the summer
  • A book and its prequel / A book and its sequel
  • A murder mystery
  •  A book written by a comedian
  • A dystopian novel
  • A book with a blue cover
  • A book of poetry
  • The first book you see in a bookstore / the first book you see in your home library
  • A classic from the 20th century
  • A book from the library
  • An autobiography (can be a fictionalized autobiography)
  • A book recommended by a friend
  • A self-improvement book
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book written by a celebrity (or someone you consider to be a celebrity)
  • A political memoir
  • A book more than 100 years older than you
  • A book that is more than 600 pages
  • A book from Oprah’s Book Club
  • A science fiction novel
  • A book recommended by a family member
  • A graphic novel
  • A book published in 2016
  • A non-fiction book
  • A book about a road trip / voyage
  • A book about an unfamiliar culture
  • A satirical book
  • A book that takes place on an island
  • A book that is guaranteed to bring you joy
  • A book you chose because of the cover
  • A book with magic
  • A banned book
  • A book that was published the year you were born
  • A book you started and never finished (or a book you have always wanted to read, if the first does not apply)
  • A book by an author you have never read
  • A book of short stories

48 books, 12 months. Although not a small task by any means, this is my 2016 reading challenge. Happy reading!

2016 reading challenge