Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 GJR Challenge Round-Up

For the 2012 GJR Challenge, each of us picked 3 books that all of us had to read and then we reviewed together. Based on our reviews, we can say that The Night Circus was the top read for 2012 out of these 9 books.

Alice's Thoughts:  It was very interesting to see what each of us chose to read.  I wasn’t expecting Jenn’s list to be so Chick-Lit heavy, Julie’s list consisted of mostly Classic Literature and mine didn’t even include one single Memoir.  Even in choosing books for each other, we stepped out of our usually genre comfort zones.  I’m a little sad we won’t be doing this again but I can totally understand Jenn’s point below.  With such great things we actually want to read and our TBR piles growing every day, it makes sense to forgo this challenge in the future.

Overall, I really enjoyed this challenge.  I like to occasionally step out of my reading comfort zone. I’m really glad I participated in this challenge because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have discovered the literary classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which I had never read; Ruth Galloway (and her sexy cop friend Harry Nelson) in The Crossing Places; The Night Circus which was one of my favorite books this year; and lastly, the fabulous PK in The Power of One.  I’m not quite finished with The Power of One yet.  Because of Hurricane Sandy, I am no longer able to read during my commute to work.  I am listening to PK’s adventures instead.  It is quite interesting hearing instead of reading a novel.   

Jenn's Thoughts:  This has been a difficult challenge for me because I don't read the same genres as my co-bloggers. That's not to say that there aren't books outside my reading comfort zone that I find enjoyable -I loved The Night Circus and might never have read it without this challenge- but it started me thinking about how there is a reason that we are attracted to certain genres. I love the puzzle of a crime novel and being swept up in the details. I love paranormal reads because it's feels good to add a little magic to life. 

While I don't mind expanding my tastes, pushing boundaries, and discovering new authors, I did not find that I accomplished that with this challenge.  I have books piled up all over the house (my poor family will attest to that) and hundreds more on my e-reader that I don't have time to read. I have a hard time justifying reading something I'm not enjoying with all those other titles calling my name.  I don't have enough reading time to include books of which I'm not fond... plus I find myself dragging my way through them, so they take even more time to read. So I'm afraid it's my fault that Girls Just Reading will not be doing our challenge again next year. There is so much to read and so little time.

Julie's Thoughts:  I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. It made me think about the books that I wanted to read and how the other girls would react to them. I also liked the way it pulled me out of my comfort zone on a couple. The one that really comes to mind is Graveminder by Melissa Marr. I would have never picked up a paranormal book on my own. While every book wasn't a home run, I can't say that I'm upset that I read any of them. Of course, some I liked more than others but that's normal.

I like how I did read some that were out of my genre but for the most part they were in genres I normally read. I did have to buy most of the books in the challenge so my only change would be that we pick books out of our TBR pile or maybe use the library.

My favorite books that I read were The Night Circus, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Power of One.

Here are the books we read and reviewed during the year:

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides review
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern review
Joy for Beginners by Erica Baumeister review
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott review
The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate review
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee review
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths review
Graveminder by Melissa Marr review
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (Jenn did not read this one) Julie's review
& Alice's Review (Coming Soon)

We hope you've enjoyed our group reviews and the book we chose.

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