The 15 in 31 Reading Challenge – Completed

Disclaimer : I received free copies of Dear Mrs. Bird, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore (Scribner), and How to Love a Jamaican (Random House) from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Yes, I might have temporarily lost my reading mind friends but on the final day of July I’d managed to read 15 books. If you want to read what motivated me to do this check out my post, July TBR + goal update + a reading challenge.

As summer is soon ending, I thought it would be a good idea to just write something here on the blog that’s not a review. I’m so dreadfully behind but still reading my eyes out because I have acquired a few more classics to add to my TBR stack. I’ve unintentionally been putting too much pressure on myself, trying to find a good balance of WHEN to post and WHAT to post.

I’ve been tired but let’s face it, reading is an enjoyable reprieve from real life. So when I pick up a book these days I try to stay lost in it for a long as possible. When I resurface to real-life I find I’m a bit unmotivated sometimes for the routine of day to day adulting, with the exception of tea time. Maybe a vacation will remedy this and help me reset soon.

What I read:

  1. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith – 5⭐️
  2. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – 5⭐️
  3. Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce – 4⭐️
  4. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym – 4⭐️
  5. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – 4⭐️
  6. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith – 4⭐️
  7. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor – 3⭐️
  8. If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t) by Betty White -3.5⭐️
  9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -3.5⭐️
  10. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan – 2⭐️
  11. How to Love a Jamaican (Stories) by Alexia Arthurs – 2.5⭐️
  12. Villette by Charlotte Brontë – 3⭐️
  13. The Pearl by John Steinbeck – 3.5⭐️
  14. 47 by Walter Mosley -2.5⭐️
  15. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster -3.5⭐️

How I managed

Audiobooks– for lengthy classics, I will often times switch back and forth between the hard copy and the audiobook to keep pace with the story. So if I’m out shopping, audiobook is downloaded to my phone and earbuds are in as I tune everyone out and take care of adult responsibilities.

Sometimes if I’m reading in the evenings after work, I’ll pick up the physical book and follow along with the audio. #AUDIOBOOKSAREAMAZING

Convince a friend – to join you in reading more books. One of my book besties who often buddy reads with me thought I was crazy to try this. She cheered me on but guess what, she read 15 books too. So if I’m crazy, what does that say about my her?

Read in the car– audiobooks if I’m driving but if I’m not you read some of this book and some of that one.

There was a road trip one weekend in the month which meant a LOT of reading time. I finished 4 books, one of which was a long classic, Villette (did I tell you whispersync is AMAZING) and packed a few books I knew I could pick up and read quickly.

Short stories- I received a free copy of How to Love a Jamaican from the publisher, although I didn’t love all the stories in the book, it provided a nice change of pace.

Fun day read- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series has become my favorite go to books when I need something lighter and guaranteed to make me laugh, something fun. I love the characters and find their humor and ponderings endearing.

Lessons learned

  • Set a goal for the season and not one month.
  • Craving classics – include some shorter classics. I enjoyed Excellent Women and A Room with a View as buddy reads. In Excellent Women Pym entertained while giving the reader much to think about (review coming soon). Pym was ahead of her time so was Forster in A Room with a View.
  • Expand & diversify options – read what I feel like and if it’s not working move to something else. I’ll be sure to include some short stories and maybe a few more

I had several books from my own bookshelves I wanted to read as part of #shopyourshelf but some of them weren’t holding my attention or I wasn’t mentally connecting with the story. This meant picking something else to read, which included a few books from my public library.

So overall, it’s been a great summer of reading, with the majority of the books read in the month of July.

What great books did you read over the summer and highly recommend? Have you read any of these books? Do you have any advice or recommendations for fall reads?


Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

9 thoughts on “The 15 in 31 Reading Challenge – Completed

  1. I’ve actually read quite a few books on your list, which is amazing! I do love Barbara Pym and agree with you about the No.1 Detective series, they are such life affirming stories! What about the 44 Scotland Street series? I love those just as much do you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is amazing we’ve read some of the same. One thing that has mtovaged me with the No. 1 Ladies series is that I purchased book 10 & 11 (I think) with the intention to read the rest up to those but it’s taken me a while, I should be ready after I finish a few of my current reads.

      I haven’t read 44 Scotland Street but maybe I will pick one up to see how I like it. I find I sometimes I forget to stick with the series. 🙈

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Zora Neale Hurston and read her newest book, Barracoon, this summer. I enjoyed Fat Angie (I believe you read that review). April Sinclair was a new-to-me author who writes about sexuality and race in the 1970s. I also had this who baking ridiculousness that happened after I read Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done! I have read Excellent Women, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Room with a View, and Purple Hibiscus – all excellent. I like your observations at the end – especially the one about setting books aside if you’re not connecting. I’ve also read a few of the Scotland Street books and really liked them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Putting books aside was helpful. I never used to do that before but have been more inclined to do so over this past year. I will have to try a few of the Scotland Street series. I’ll add them to my library list. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so happy that you enjoyed TEWWG; it’s a favorite of mine. In the way of a short classic, you could try The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo or The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. My favorite novel I read this summer was Little Women, which is now a favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

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