Tuesday, December 23, 2014

History Reading Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up

And this is the one I have failed.

I hate failure.  Failure is one of my least-favorite things ever.  

I hate not finishing something I start.  Bugs me a lot.  

But I failed this challenge.

I did read two of the three books I set out to read:  Shakespeare's Restless World by Neil MacGregor and Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins.  But I'm only 47 pages into A Decent, Orderly Lynching:  The Montana Vigilantes by Frederick Allen, and I know I'm not going to finish it before the end of the year.

The reason I failed this challenge is that I had to choose what books I would read right from the get-go, I couldn't read what history I felt like in the moment.  I chose Lynching for the third book because it's research I need to do for my next novel, and I figured I would be ready to begin that novel before the end of the year.  But I'm not, I'm rewriting the ending of my last novel right now and working on other revisions for it.  The time has not been right for me to read Lynching, and I plan to dig back into it in a couple of months.  If I had been able to just read whatever history book I felt like reading at the moment for this challenge, I would have been fine.

So what did I learn from this?  Don't do challenges that make me keep to a strict, predetermined list.  I don't read that way.

I do thank Fanda of Fanda Classiclit for hosting this, as I love history and anything that encourages people to learn about it is a good thing!


  1. Oh, I know what you mean about a strict list or strict rules! I really sympathize with your plight! I don't read that way either. Yet I think a little structure is good, so I chose one challenge per year with rules and so far it's been the TBR Pile Challenge. I completely expect to fail at it (I did this year, reading only 10 of my 12 books), but since keeping to a list is something I'm terrible at, I figure it's a skill that should be worked on a little. But just a little!

    Don't worry about not reaching your goal with this challenge. You've learned something and you can move on. Did it make you want to read more history perhaps?

    In any case, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. I do like structure -- for instance, in 2012, I challenged myself to read all 6 of Jane Austen's major novels in a year, and in 2013, I challenged myself to read the entire Holmes canon in 12 months. And I met both of those goals. I do like setting goals for the year, to some extent. I think if I'd chosen a different book than Lynching, I would have been fine, but because that was tied to my novel prep, it didn't work out.

      I do love reading history -- I did a double "concentration" in college (not quite as exhaustive/exhausting is a minor) in English and History, and this served to remind me that I should read more history books than I do, as I definitely enjoy them.

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. You're not a failure b/c you completed 2 of your 3 proposed books. No way! Notice I used the word "proposed." I always use that word when it comes to challenges b/c hey! life happens.

    And btw, I love your new header. Is that what it's called? I think it's great!!!

    See you next year for Persuasion read-along.

    1. Not a *complete* failure, anyway :-)

      Thanks! I really like it too. I very much enjoyed the portrayals of Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the movie Midnight in Paris and decided to reflect that with my header.

      Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Catch you on the flip side with Persuasion :-)

  3. Ah...Hem in Midnight in Paris! I have just watched it for the second time while reading The Paris Wife (historical fiction on Hem's first wife, Hadley). Sorry...I just couldn't resist commenting your header--love it, by the way!

    Now about the challenge...I don't think it's a total failure to read only 2-3 books. Its main purpose is to encourage us to read (and love) more history books. I think you have reached this goal, and will go on reading it in the future.

    Thanks a lot for participating, and good luck on the giveaway! ;)

    1. Almost forgot to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

    2. How are you liking The Paris Wife? I thought it was very well done. And thanks! I like my header too :-)

      And you're right, it's not a total failure -- I DID read two books and learn a lot from them. I just failed to meet my goal.

      Merry Christmas to you too! And a happy New Year :-)


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