2017 Reading Challenge



Wild: A book with a one word title


Samantha, Daughter


One Hundred Years of Solitude: A book that was originally written in another language

Samantha, Daughter


Madam Secretary: A book that is more than 500 pages

It took a while to read it but I finished Madeleine Albright’s memoir 20 years, to the day, after Madeleine K. Albright was sworn in as the first female Secretary of State–what a day to finish this book! A great read for anyone interested in foreign affairs or #WomenWhoLead!

“Women have to be active listeners and interrupters – but when you interrupt, you have to know what you are talking about.”

“I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.”

What an accomplished life and this is a woman who was a two time refugee! She is my hero. It makes me want to name my daughter Madeleine.


Samantha, Daughter



The Rainmaker: A book set in Tennessee

I have never read John Grisham, until now. Well, I started reading Skipping Christmas (more commonly known as Christmas with the Kranks) twice, but I never got very far into it. The Rainmaker, which became a 1997 Matt Damon + Danny DeVito blockbuster, was my first Grisham read.

First of all, the fact that the movie came out nearly twenty years ago makes me kind of sad. 1997 was almost twenty years ago! I still remember seeing the soundtrack to this movie on those Columbia Records 18-compact-discs-for-one-penny promotions.

I read some of it at The Whitney a couple weekends ago while taking a lunch break from my intensive morning-afternoon art exploration. It probably isn’t the type of book most people read at The Whitney but it wasn’t bad. I like watching legal/financial thrillers and that’s basically what this was in book form. And I use the term “book form” loosely because it felt like reading a movie. It was very cinematic.

I liked the Memphis, TN setting. I’m a sucker for the South. Think: Hart of Dixie. This was a curious setting for a legal thriller but I think that’s what I liked about it.

I watched the movie on the weekend after I finished this book and even though the book was very much written like a movie it was still a lot better than the movie. The movie started about halfway through the book. But it wasn’t bad. The trailer basically covers the entire movie in two and half minutes so if you don’t have two and a half hours to watch the whole movie, just watch this trailer and say you did!


Samantha, Daughter


The Catcher in the Rye: A book by a late author

J.D. Salinger died only a few years ago in 2010 at age 91. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time but it feels good to finally get around to getting to it. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard references to this novel and there’s even an excessive number of people who have tattooed artifacts from this novel on their bodies.

I wasn’t that moved by it but I didn’t read it at the most applicable time in my life. Maybe if you read it in high school while trying to figure out “who you are” and “what you want to do.” Those identity struggles of a coming-of-age story like this might be more powerful if I was younger.

I like the unreliable narrator. I always like a story where I need to question the information and consider the perspective. Though, as far as Holden Caulfield goes, it was a little hard to really like him. There was a lot of angst. Everything “depressed” him. He didn’t take ownership of anything. Everything negative in his life was the fault of someone or something else. Though he came from incredible privilege he wasn’t able to see any of his advantages as the opportunities they were. That was a little discouraging to me, but given the general level of disillusionment, pretentious notion that independent thinking is devoid of its own set of pretensions (“people clap for all the wrong reasons”), and angst this novel seems to play into the anti-mainstream hipster culture taking over the world. I think I understand why it’s so popular. There’s a universality in the identity struggle and certainly in the struggle for independence, but I can’t imagine a hipster in the world who wouldn’t feel like it was written for them.

And I can’t finish this post without saying Amory Blaine. Doesn’t Holden Caulfield seem like a carbon copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Amory Blaine?

Last year when Mom read and didn’t really like I figured as The Catcher in the Rye states, “Mothers are all slightly insane.” Yet I couldn’t get as excited about it as I would have liked to either. It wasn’t what I expected but I think that’s the trouble with hype. You can’t read something as it is, you can only go into it expecting what it should be.

Samantha, Daughter


2016 Reading Challenge

1. A book your mother/daughter doesn’t like

2. A book that is more than 500 pages

3. A beach read

4. A book that is based on a true story

5. A book of poetry

6. An International best seller

7. A book with a one word title

8. A book by an author who has won the National Book Award

9. A book published this year

10. A book set in the future

11. A book that was originally written in another language

12. A book that has a color in the title

13. A book that was based on or turned into a TV show

14. A book about the holidays

15. A book by a late author

16. A book set on an island

17. The last novel of your favorite author

18. A book set in Tennessee

19. A book that has a place in the title

20. A book about a family