I saw this challenge on my friend Maya’s blog, and it looked like so much fun. After asking for permission to use the idea, I dove right into our home library to find as many books as I could out of the 20 categories. Let’s see what I came up with…
1. A book with tattered edges: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams’ classic sci-fi book has been in my family for a long time. We bought it from someone secondhand, which is probably why it’s so beat-up. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy about an Englishman named Arthur Dent, an Alpha Centaurian named Ford Prefect, the world ending, a stolen spaceship…you name it. It’s an eccentric book and one of my favorites.
2. A book with 3+ people on the cover: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero is the first in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. The cover shows the three main characters and points of view: Leo Valdez, Jason Grace, and Piper McLean. I acquired this book in hardcover format secondhand, so the jacket (with the three characters) was horribly tattered and had to be thrown away eventually. However, The Lost Hero is my top favorite Rick Riordan book, full of action, comedy, and romance.
3. A book based on another fictional story: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted is the story of a girl named Ella (obviously) who had a curse placed on her at birth so that she would always be obedient. It took me four rereads to realize that this book was based on Cinderella. Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time favorite books, poignantly told with emotion and grace.
4. A book with a 10-letter-long title: Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson
In Call Me Hope, Hope Elliot struggles to break away from her verbally abusive mother. She creates an ingenious point system and a safe haven in her closet, and finds comfort in the book Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Call Me Hope is an amazing book for readers over ten (there’s a bit of language in it).
5. A book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter: Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
Ruby Holler details the lives of two “trouble twins,” Dallas and Florida. They’re adopted from a horrible “orphanage” (notice the quotes) and sent to live with two amazingly kind, sweet people, Tiller and Sairy, who need their help on their respective journeys. Ruby Holler has a lot going on in just 310 pages, but the beauty of it? It all ties together in the end.
6. A mass market paperback: The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis
I’m pretty sure you all know The Magician’s Nephew. I actually have the whole series as mass market paperbacks, but the little-known first one is my favorite.
7. A book by an author using a pen name: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
Turns out J. K. Rowling’s real name is Joanne! Who knew, right? Anyway, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the widely-known, seven-book Harry Potter series. The gist of it: Harry survived a Killing Curse as a baby and is famed in the Wizarding world because of it. I’m a big fan of these books.
8. A book with a character’s name in the title: Ava and Pip by Carol Weston
Ava and Pip is written in a diary format from the point of view of a fifth-grader named Ava. Ava’s sister, Pip, is terribly shy, and Ava’s parents tend to pay a lot of attention to Pip. Ava turns to her diary for comfort, journaling this honest story. I thought it was a really creative book.
9. A book with two maps: Dragonlance: The Annotated Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
This book is the compilation of the three Dragonlance books, and it’s been annotated by the authors (as you can probably tell). This makes it weigh in at a hefty 1,312 pages. Dragonlance was actually based off the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, and from what I’ve heard, it’s similar to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Be aware, though, that there is some…mature content in this book.
10. A book that’s been turned into a TV show: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
I did not realize that Anne of Green Gables was an animated TV show until this was the last one on my list and I was frantically Googling books to see if I could fill this category. (Is that cheating? I don’t think so…) Anyway, L. M. Mongomery’s classic series chronicles the life of a lively young girl named Anne–with an e, of course. I haven’t read it in a while… *adds to extensive to-read list*
11. A book by an author famous for something other than or in addition to writing: The Tuttle Twins and the Little Pink House by Connor Boyack
Connor Boyack is the president of Libertas Institute, a “public policy think tank in Utah.” He’s written the Tuttle Twins series so kids can understand economics in simpler terms. He’s also written three choose-your-own-adventure books for teens. We’re studying economics this year, and his books have been so helpful when I don’t want an hour-long lecture from my dad.
12. A book with a clock on its cover: The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
You totally saw that coming, didn’t you? It was the only one I could find. The Secret of the Old Clock is the first in Carolyn Keene’s classic Nancy Drew series about a girl detective. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to give you an original synopsis for this one either, because I haven’t read the Nancy Drew series in a while. Guess I’ll have to reread those too.
13. A book of poetry: The Best Loved Poems of the American People compiled by Hazel Fellman
It was hard to find a good picture of this one. This poetry anthology was first published in 1936 and has been passed down through my mom’s side of the family since then, and I haven’t read it all the way through yet, but there are definitely some iconic poems in there. It’s a family heirloom, and I plan to take good care of it in the years to come.
14. A book with an award stamp on the cover: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach Me won the Newbery Medal in 2010, and for a good reason. It’s been classified as science fiction and mystery, but the beauty of this novel is it could be anything. Romance, realistic fiction, mystery… The story follows Miranda Sinclair, who’s receiving cryptic notes from an unknown sender. It’s a complicated and detailed story, but somehow every small detail matters to the plot in some way.
15. A book whose author has the same initials as you: The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Lynne Reid Banks actually shares all my initials: LRB! I thought that was cool, but we’re here to talk about the books, not the authors. The Indian in the Cupboard tells the story of a boy who finds a magical cupboard that has the power to bring plastic figurines to life. This book was outside my usual genre, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
16. A short story collection: Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories compiled by Classical Conversations
We used this one for school last year. Hey, it counts! It’s full of classic short stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and “The Necklace” by Henri Guy de Maupassant. It’s kind of a hit-or-miss book–some stories I enjoyed, some I…didn’t.
17. A book that is 500-510 pages long: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Ah yes, the long-awaited prequel to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy. Ballad was a ridiculously long read, but worth it nonetheless. The story is told from President Snow’s point of view as a young man, displaying a rather masterfully told negative character arc. The only issue was that the story moved a little slowly at some points, but other than that, it was well-told.
18. A book that’s been turned into a movie: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I remember when I first read this book, picking it up while at my best friend’s house and refusing to put it down. Eventually, she just gave me the copy. Let me just tell you: Stargirl is one of the best books of all time (according to me, of course). Let me tell you something else: They completely ruined the movie. But when you’re so devoted to the book, of course you hate the movie. But Stargirl has one of the most well-rounded, three-dimensional main characters I’ve ever read. I cannot sing enough praise about this book.
19. A graphic novel: El Deafo by Cece Bell
El Deafo is the autobiography of a girl who goes deaf at the ripe old age of four. It effortlessly wields metaphors and imagery (obviously, it’s a graphic novel) to show the author’s emotions through comic book-style illustrations. I read this for a literature class, thinking it was an odd choice–who reads “comic books” for class? But I can see now why my teacher chose it. *waves at Mrs. M*
Almost done! Last one:
20. A book by two or more authors: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Allison McGhee
Maybe a Fox is told from two points of view: a grieving daughter, Jules, and a fox. Jules and Sylvie are sisters, sticking together always. Sylvie loves to run, and Jules has always been left in her dust. But they learn to stick together after their mom dies–until something happens to Sylvie… For some reason, I’m a sucker for books with foxes. I don’t know why, but this book is an amazing example of the bond between sisters and between humans and animals.
That’s it! I managed to scrape up a book from each of the twenty categories. If you’re interested in doing this challenge, you’re more than welcome to! The categories are:
a book with tattered edges | a book with 3+ people on the cover | a book based on another fictional story | a book with a 10-letter-long title | a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter | a mass market paperback | a book by an author using a pen name | a book with a character’s name in the title | a book with 2 maps | a book that’s been turned into a TV show | a book by an author famous for something other than or in addition to writing | a book with a clock on its cover | a book of poetry | a book with an award stamp on its cover | a book whose author has the same initials as you | a short story collection | a book that is 500-510 pages long | a book that’s been turned into a movie | a graphic novel