2014 Reading ChallengeApril was a challenging month for me, in several areas. I made some progress on my reading challenge, but I had some difficulties meeting my target with a few of my reading goals. Read on to find out what happened!

Goal 1: Read 100 books

I caught up a little on this, but I cheated some by reading two YA books—Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh and Don’t Care High by Gordon Korman. Harriet the Spy was a long-ago Kindle purchase, and I was happy to cross another purchased book off my to-read shelf, even if it was a short one. And Don’t Care High was a more recent buy, purchased to replace a paper copy. I have a small stash of paper fiction I periodically check for in the Kindle store, and this one was at last available, and inexpensively, so I pounced and used a little more of my gift card balance. That’s one more paper book I can donate to make room for other things! I hadn’t planned to read two YA titles, but there you go.

Goal 2: Do a thematic reading project

I struggled a little with my goal to read one Jewish-themed book, and here’s why: I think I picked the ones I was most excited about to read first, and now we are far enough into the year that those are done. So I was left with some I was less excited about. And I also find that many of the themes for Jewish books can be a little heavy. If you don’t want to read a Holocaust book, there isn’t much else to choose from!

I did not complete a Jewish-themed book this month, but I attempted—and gave up on—two of them. First, I started Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. This highly regarded, and quirkily narrated book started out great, but then got a little too Magic Realist for me. I may go back to it, but I may not.

Then I went on to Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and I enjoyed it at first. But it has an absolutely horrifying plot twist that even days later I shudder to think about, and when I realized that the book was supposed to have accents on some of the French words and didn’t, I gave up.

I’ve started a third book, and it’s a survey title which presents summaries and commentary on 100 Jewish books. I think that will be my book for May, and hopefully, it will give me some ideas for the rest of the year.

Goal 3: Read a book of daily essays

Success on this one. I continue to plod my way through The Book of Jewish Values by Joseph Telushkin, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I have another daily essay book by him which I found absurdly dull, so I am glad this one is going well!

Goal 4: Read more French

A qualified success on this one—I’m doing it, just not every day. As I suspected, my Reading A-Z.com subscription has been useful and I am enjoying checking out their books. I discovered that I can read a book in on-screen projectable format and be able to cut and paste from it if I want to, so I have been doing this reading on the computer with a Google Translate window open in the other tab. This makes it easy to get a closer look at some of those verb tenses! But it also limits my reading to times when I am at my desk, so I haven’t managed it every day.

Goal 5: Spend less money

Another qualified success—I bought the Korman book, and a Kindle daily deal, with my Amazon gift card balance. Still have not spent actual dollars of my own, though!

Goals for May? Well, I am hoping for a device upgrade! My sister has a spare Kindle Paperwhite she might manage to send my way, and I am hoping it will help me catch up with my reading progress. I like using my Kobo Glo and prefer the more open ePub format, but I loathe their iOS app so I find it hard to keep my reading synced across devices. A move back to Kindle—on eInk and iOS both—will allow me to progress through my books a little faster.