Joining The “My Own Books” Reading Challenge

I am joining Anne Bennett of the blog My Head Is Full of Books for a reading challenge: the “My Own Books” Reading Challenge, which starts this coming Friday, March 15, 2019 and runs through Wednesday, May 15, 2019. The goal, according to her sign-up blog post, is to read one to 10 books that you own by May 15. They can be ebooks, audiobooks, or print. From there, you write the titles of your 10 books on slip of paper and draw one slip at a time to create your reading order. Publish the list on your blog or on Facebook, link back to the sign-up post, sign up on the linky there. For more on the challenge, visit Anne’s original post.

Instead of 10, I am planning on reading eight books for the challenge over the approximate eight weeks (one a week) and two others: Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor, which I’m reading every Sunday during Lent, and Now and Then: The Poet’s Choice Columns, 1997-2000, by Robert Hass, that I am planning to periodically over the two months. The other eight, in the order I selected at random, are:

  1. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
  2. The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle
  3. Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham
  4. Death in Disguise by Caroline Graham
  5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  6. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
  7. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  8. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matters Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandela, with a foreword by Angela Davis.

The interesting thing to me about the order that I randomly chose them is that my second, third, and fourth choices are all from books recommended to me or given to me by a friend John. Or, in all three cases, maybe both. He was a neighbor of ours when we lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia more than a decade ago and he and I have continued a literary conversation every few months via phone.

My fifth, seventh, and eight choices I have had on my TBR for more than a year, and in the case of Astrophysics and Hawk, I have started them but not finished yet. My first choice is one that we have at our library, but that I bought so that I could read when I wanted. I guess that time is now.

Today’s plan is to read blog posts from many of you and Leaving Church as mentioned earlier. Later today, I will be going over to a neighbor’s to watch NASCAR. This coming Friday, which just happens to coincide with the start of the aforementioned reading challenge, I happen to be off from work, so you know what I will be doing…

Reading, y’all!

You want to join in? You still got time. Go to the links above and join us.

How has your reading week been? What do you have lined up next?

Update (10:22 a.m., March 10, 2019): In the comments below, about an hour ago, Heather of the blog Froodian Slip mentioned that Alexie “is one of THOSE guys…”. My initial response was “I didn’t hear about him being one of THOSE guys, but sadly so many.” I didn’t mean it as flippantly as it sounds and then proceeded to Google Sherman Alexie and #metoo. Boom! ‘It Just Felt Very Wrong’: Sherman’s Alexie’s Accusers Go On Record Based on that article, with stories corroborated by NPR, I decided to choose When They Call You A Terrorist. It also feels right, especially in light of my just watching The Hate U Give last night. I didn’t rewrite the books on strips of papers and choose again. I just went with the order I already had.

40 thoughts on “Joining The “My Own Books” Reading Challenge

  1. I hadn’t heard about Sherman Alexie but since I’ve never read anything by him or have anything on my to-read list, even if I had I sadly probably wouldn’t have noticed.
    Looks like a good list. I enjoyed Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, even if it was a bit sad to me.


  2. I first heard about Alexie when I was reading There, There. My advanced reader copy has a quote from Alexie on the cover, but the finished book does not. I was curious about that, and I learned about the stir around this author.

    I’ve been saddened by the accusations, but I think I have to draw a line for myself: I can’t condemn Dr. Seuss for his racist drawings, as we were in war, and Seuss was a product of his times. I won’t condemn George Washington for owning slaves. I won’t condemn Sherman Alexie for the accusations against him, but I hope he will speak to them, and apologize, and not continue to do those things. I don’t think I should sit in judgment of anyone until I am perfect myself, but I will (try to) speak up about those things that bother me. I didn’t do it yesterday, sadly, when a man I was speaking to at a funeral (!) told me how glad he was that his DNA was Scots-Irish and was without African blood. I was so astonished that I didn’t know what to say. Honestly I’m not sure what a good response is. I simply ignored the remark and started speaking to someone else.

    Whew. I’ve ranted about this a bit too long, I think. Apologies.

    I’m hoping to do the read-your-own-books challenge, too. I think I’ll work on that today.

    BTW, if you think you might like to read Desert Fathers, I’d be happy to send it off to you. Send me your mailing info via my e-mail, if you think you might like it. My email is debnance at google dot com.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just happen to be seeing this right after you posted so why the quick response.

      First, I didn’t find your response a rant. I think it sounds like you are trying to figure out what works best for you. I don’t think that’s a rant.

      Second, for myself, I think unlike Dr. Seuss and George Washington, Alexie is still alive and can be, should be, and has been, called out for what he has done. He has apologized in general but not directly. As for not continuing to do those things, it sounds like it is a pattern and not one he is going to break easily. All that said, for my part, at this time, I am choosing not to read his book and read something else.

      Third, I think especially at a funeral, it would be hard to respond to the man’s remark.

      Fourth, I will send you my email for the book. 🙂


  3. Thanks for joining my challenge and good luck. I’ve read the Sherman Alexie book and really found it impactful. I also read H is For Hawk. The sub story about the author of the Once and Future King is an interesting twist. You asked if you have to blog your reviews on my site…of course not. You are welcome to link to your Goodreads page, or not link at all. The point is to read the books. Make the challenge fit for you! Good luck!


    1. Anne, I am sorry that I responded so short to your comments. I’m not mad – yes, saddened about hearing about an author whose work I liked, but at this time I am choosing not to read his work. Maybe another time.


  4. What???? The author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian????? Oh man…that pisses me off!!!! I love that book!!!! Why do SO MANY MEN have to be total scum like this? Why???? Ugh.

    And that brings up the question, again. Do we have to boycott the art after we find out the artist is one of THEM, the scum of the Earth? I definitely don’t want to support them by BUYING their books, music, painting, or paying to see their first run movies, but is it ok to read the book if you already own it or borrow the book from the library? Can we watch their movies on Netflix, Hulu, HBO? Can we listen to their music on Spotify? Can we separate the artist from the art? I guess it’s a personal decision but I’d be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts.

    As for the challenge, sounds totally fun and I may have to sign up for it, even though I suck at challenges.

    Enjoy your NASCAR. I’m an Indycar fan myself and am watching the race from St. Pete as I type this.


    1. Jinjer,

      It’s definitely up to you whether or not you boycott an artist (or whomever) after finding out they might be a terrible person. I agree with not wanting to support them by buying whatever it is they’re selling. With some authors I find I can still read their books as long as I’m reading them for free, and with others I just can’t. I have been a fan of Alexie for so long that it was a GINORMOUS disappointment to find out he’s not the awesome person I thought he was. So I’m personally having a hard time with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kim and I loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Kim and I were supposed to go see him in Elmira, but it was canceled then we never got a notification about the order rescheduled event so missed that too. Then the next year was canceled because of weather. Maybe it was for the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like a good challenge and one that I might join, too. I wasn’t fond of H is for Hawk, but as always, YMMV.

    (Thanks for the comments on the blog woes, too, Bryan. I don’t know what the hell is going on with my feed.)


  6. I went to a book signing in Pittsburgh with Elin for the Sherman Alexie book…met him, got the book signed. He was a great speaker and a really nice guy. I really enjoyed it. Then it came out that he is one of THOSE guys…and I never read the book. I’m still torn about reading it. I’m so disappointed. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t know… maybe it’s like someone was saying this week about Michael Jackson (Oprah or someone, I can’t remember). Essentially it was that he made great music but may have also been a horrible person with children so he was two things at once. The question we have to ask ourselves is if that horrible part of him negates all his art as well. Unfortunately, you’ll be reading and listening to very little if you really start delving into the past (or present lives) of your favorite actors, artists, musicians and authors. I hate to quote Pete Davidson (why I even know who he is is beyond me) but this weekend he said unfortunately many of the most talented people we know are also sick. But, I still refuse to watch Woody Allen movies and gag every time anyone praises him at one of those award shows but flips at politicians or church leaders doing the same thing. Hypocritical much? To them, I mean …


      1. You know, it is a pity that Sherman Alexie was accused of sexual misconduct, but it doesn’t eliminate the excellence of his book and if you read it, perhaps you will gain some insight into what happened. His parents were so screwed up and so was his childhood. A pity indeed but perhaps and understandable pity.

        Liked by 1 person

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