30 Day Challenge Results for May

For May, my goal was to read a book a week for a total of four books by the end of the 30 days. With a full time job and taking care of two little girls, I get very little free time in my day, so this was a particularly challenging goal. Maybe a little too challenging? The books I chose were ones that I had wanted to read for quite some time.

Since it worked so nicely last month, I chose to keep track of my progress throughout the month. I charted what I read each day. When I completed a book, I marked it in the far right column. So, the big question is did I meet my goal?

YES! NO! Maybe???

30 Day Challenge – May

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thurs Fri Sat Book Completed

Drowned City

pg. 1-96



The Boy in the Striped Pajamas pg. 1-34


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

pg. 35-58


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

pg. 36-94


1st Book Club Meeting






Drowned City

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

pg. 95-158


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

pg. 159-192


2nd Book Club Meeting

pg. 193-215


13 Reasons Why

pg. 1-28


13 Reasons Why

pg. 29-53






13 Reasons Why

pg. 54-60

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

13 Reasons Why

pg. 61-136


13 Reasons Why

pg. 137-182


13 Reasons Why

pg. 183-194


Fault in Our Stars

pg. 1-11










13 Reasons Why

Pg. 195-250


13 Reasons Why

Pg. 250-288



Fault in Our Stars

Pg. 12-44


















Fault in Our Stars

pg. 45-55



Fault in Our Stars

pg. 56-94


13 Reasons Why

Fault in Our Stars

Pg. 95-120


Fault in Our Stars

Pg. 131-144


Fault in Our Stars

Pg. 145-242


Fault in Our Stars

Pg. 243-313

Fault in Our Stars

The Answer: NO

I did not meet my goal, technically. I fell short by a day! It ended up being 31 days instead of 30. However, I finished in the month of May and that makes me happy. Not to make excuses because clearly you can see some gaps in my month where I did not read at all, but I lost possession of one of the books while I was reading it–it needed to be returned to a coworker. I also, have been grading essays–like crazy–for the last four days. That alone is eating up ALL of my freetime and is a second source of reading. On the bright side, I have 40 essays read (only another 100 to go…lol). There is an end in sight with only a week and a half left of this marathon marking an end to the 2016-2017 school year.

I wrote a little review on each book below and discussed my struggles through this particularly difficult challenge. These were all great book choices. Perhaps you will take a peek and maybe even be inspired to read one of my 30 Day Challenge books.

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown2017-04-29_10-47-36_715.jpeg

With my previous New Orleans trip in mind, I wanted to understand the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. It has been twelve years since this storm flooded this iconic city, but I noticed the natives in New Orleans prefered not to discuss it. Needing to know more, I chose to read the graphic novel: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown. This was a particularly quick read considering I finished it in an hour–a half hour before Better Call Saul started and in between commercials. Brimming with facts, I found this nonfiction piece to be a very realistic illustration of the destruction in New Orleans during and after the storm. Nearly, two thousand people lost their lives, animals were abandoned, property was stolen and destroyed, all because help did not come fast enough. Now in some cases, people chose to stay, but there were so many that had nowhere to go. I couldn’t believe some of the information in this book since much of what was on the news didn’t cover the whole story. I found myself rereading the text on many occasions just to really comprehend the vast numbers that were affected from this storm. Even though this is a short piece, this would be a great read for anyone looking to learn more about this historic event.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne 

Wanting to keep the momentum going, I chose to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne for my second book, and I offered it as a book club to my seventh grade students. Happily, I had five who were interested enough to A. give up their recess and B. read a 200 page book in a week; I was thrilled. Looking from a different perspective of a nine year old boy, Bruno, whose father is a Natzi commander, I found this historical fiction piece to be different than other Holocaust literature out there. At first the little boy’s perspective frustrated me due to his naive nature, but as I read, I also realized the lengths his parents went to also keep the realities of what was going on a secret. In the beginning, Bruno’s family moves from their bustling home in Berlin to a remote rundown house. Bruno is frustrated and insist the family moves back, but what he observes with the people in stripes located just outside his window, makes him question a lot about what is really going on not only in his house, but in the world. Heartbreaking, this novel did a great job making the reader think from a different perspective and included the realities of history repeating.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I got a copy! I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to locate a copy of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. With all the hype–especially by my students– from the new release of this adaptation on Netflix, I wanted to be able to make my own judgement about this book. So, I did replace one of my original book choices, Gone Girl, with this book. It was a good choice. 13 Reasons Why gives a raw, memorable description of a teen’s perspective and interpretation of how one’s actions can affect another’s life as well as it shows the trickledown effect of these actions. It also deals with the topic of suicide, and although many reviewers are upset about how the Netflix series hollywoodized the event, the book is more focused on the message presented by the theme. This is one memorable book. Next, I plan to watch the Netflix Series to compare the two stories and form my own opinions as well as be informed on what my students are exposed to through the media. As you can see from my calendar, I had to stop this book until I could get a second copy. Luckily, I was able to get the second copy and finish this read.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green2017-04-29_10-47-53_218

I’ve been putting this one off since it deals with a tough topic: childhood cancer. It is raw and shows the struggles a teen goes through just to stay alive knowing that her cancer is terminal. I did like the book. Considering it is a quick read at 300 pages, it is not easy to get through mentally. The storyline does remind me to really live in the moment. While reading this, I hugged my own children a little longer and took a few more deep breaths relishing in some of the smaller moments. I’m reminded to be a kinder, more understanding person. And will never think of champagne bubbles the same again.

Overall, I’m still pleased with my ability to read these well-written books in such a short time frame, and I do feel accomplished! The timing of the challenge was tough; it was a tough challenge in general, but through the process I’ve cleared some of my night stand to make way for my summer reading. Stay tuned for next month’s 30 day challenge. Plus if you have any suggestions, I’m still up in the air. I’d love to hear your ideas.


3 thoughts on “30 Day Challenge Results for May

  1. Good job on meeting your goal, Amanda. (I say, eh…close enough!) 🙂 I miss booktalking for you and your classes. Right now, I’m reading All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. It’s a good one. It was recommended to me by a student who told me I must also read The Warden’s Daughter. Thank goodness for summer and a bit more time to read!! Take care!


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