It's been quite awhile since I updated on my book challenges. I've been steadily updating the page on the top bar, but I haven't actually given a real update for a bit.

To catch up those who aren't aware, I challenged myself to do some way cool book challenges this year. I've been a lifelong reader, but noticed over the past years, especially while going through college, that reading for the sake of reading was happening very sparingly. I set out to change that starting last year by just setting a number goal on Goodreads and reading that amount of books. I hit my goal of 50 books by the end of the year, so I decided that this year I'd amp it up with some bookish challenges to include the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, the 2017 Better World Books Reading Challenge, 2017 Audiobook Challenge put on by Hot Listens & Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the 2017 Beat the Backlist Challenge, and, of course, the general Goodreads challenge to just read a certain amount of books within a year.

A quick overview of each challenge - the Book Riot and Better World Books are themed challenges, or you need to find books to fit each specific theme listed, the Audiobook challenge is to listen to a certain amount of audiobooks throughout the year, and Beat the Backlist is to read books that have been sitting on your shelf/to be read pile for a long time. I decided to roll with all of these because I'm constantly bouncing between books , audiobooks, and graphic novels that could fit each of these. Additionally, these challenges are introducing me to works that I might not have read otherwise. For example, just below you'll find the book that I discovered thanks to Book Riot's Graphic Novel suggestions for their challenge. This one was a suggestion for the category of reading a book published by a micropress.

A post shared by Mandie (@mystickah) on

With that said, it's been a pretty interesting year so far. I, originally, had my book goal on Goodreads set to 52 (one a week), but, around mid-May, I upped that to 104 as I've been flying through quite a bit of material. I've been reading tons of graphic novels/comic books, but many of them don't fit into the challenge other than adding on to the grand total of books for the year. That number, by the way, is sitting at 85 as of today.

As for the Book Riot and Better World Books challenges, I have 9 books and 7 books left, respectively. I've been scouring that <a href=">great article by the Book Riot Comics folks, as I stated above, to fill in some for that, as well as corresponding Better World Books categories. I found quite a few graphic novels that I want to read for those, but unfortunately, Hoopla (a fantastic e-content app through my local library) doesn't have most of the ones that I need for these categories. Needless to say, I have quite a few holds at the library that I need to pick up over the next few days.

Aside from those, I'm on par with where I thought I would be in both Beat the Backlist and Audiobooks. I'm sitting at about 13 audiobooks, only two away from that 15-20 goal, and 7 off my TBR shelf. I just started After Alice by Gregory Maguire and I'm re-reading the original Alice by Lewis Carroll, so those will help that backlist number which I set at 20. I'm sure once I get through the few graphic novels for the themed challenges that I'll get back to concentrating on the backlist again.

I'm a firm believer that slow and steady wins the race. This year's book challenges have definitely kept me there, especially while I was reading America's First Daughter and American Gods. I'm not sure why those books took me so long, especially Neil Gaiman, as I typically fly through his stuff. I'm hoping my latest choice of a chapter book doesn't do the same, so I can continue on this great flow of knocking out challenge after challenge.

Current Books in Progress:
Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century - Hasia R. Diner
Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
Nature's Allies: Eight Conservationists That Changed Our World - Larry Nielsen
After Alice - Gregory Maguire
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll

Current Comics/TPBs in Progress
Secret Empire - Nick Spencer
Torchwood, Volume 2: Station Zero - John and Carole Barrowman
America, Volume 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez - Gabby Rivera
Secret Empire: Brave New World - Paul Allor and Jeremy Whitley
Secret Warriors, Volume 1: Secret Empire - Matthew Rosenberg
The Mighty Captain Marvel, Volume 2 - Margaret Stohl
I Am Groot - Christopher Hastings
Ultimates 2 Volume 2: Eternity War - Al Ewing
She-Hulk, Volume 2: Let Them Eat Cake - Mariko Tamaki