Hi fellow readers and bookworms! We’re well into July now, and how time flies! School and work have kept me pretty busy, but I’m grateful for all the reading opportunities I’ve had this year. Since it’s summer, I think this is a good time to pause for a moment and reflect on my progress.

I’m working through a category reading challenge with an added twist: in January I promised myself that I would read harder. This year that means reading more books by women and/or people of color (POC), and being mindful of how those specific voices are presented (or not) in every day life (i.e., trips to the bookstore, what people around me are reading, etc.).

So far I’ve read 21 out of 52 books, meaning I’m about 40% through the challenge. I’ll admit that I’m not where I expected to be, but I’m optimistic that I’ll catch up by the end of the summer.

When it comes to books written by women and/or POC, I’m also a little more behind than I want to be. So far I’ve read 10 books by women and 11 by men. Of those, only 4 are by WOC and 5 are by MOC, respectively. Moving forward, I want to be more intentional in the books I choose, which may mean doing a little more digging since they also have to fit specific categories.

The books I’ve read this year are:

  1. Lady Susan by Jane Austen
  2. Shit Town by Brian Reed
  3. You Can’t Touch My Hair, and Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
  4. The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat by Enid Blyton
  5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  6. Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag
  7. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
  8. Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, From Kansas City to Cuzco by Calvin Trillin
  9. Do Cool Sh*t by Mika Agrawal
  10. The Lady Matador’s Hotel by Cristina Garcia
  11. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
  12. I, the Divine by Rabih Alameddine
  13. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
  14. Nelly’s Version by Eva Figes
  15. Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart
  16. Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
  17. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  18. Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey
  19. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  20. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
  21. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

In about five months I’ll be wrapping up this year’s reading challenge and diving into a new one (I already have some ideas as to what that might be, which is exciting!). If you’re doing a challenge, how’s that going? What are you currently reading?