Picture Books Reading Challenges & Marathons Reading Ruminations

[Saturday Reads] On Reading Challenges and Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson


Fats here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


Two-thirds of the year has already gone by. I think it’s about time I give an update on my reading challenges this year: Goodreads Reading Challenge and Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.



I finished reading my 83rd book last night – Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky – and I will talk about that later. I am confident that I will be able to reach my goal this year. I think it’s easier to meet a certain number of books to read than it is to be specific about the topic, as you will see in Book Riot Read Harder Challenge below.


While it doesn’t seem to bad to read only 24 books for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, it’s not a feat that’s quite easy to achieve when: 1) I have books to read for our bimonthly themes; and 2) I am distracted by new books. Here are the tasks that I have accomplished so far. You’ll notice that there were books I decided to drop for this challenge. I figured, if I’m gonna do this challenge, I want to read books that I’m interested in right now. So there you go. Haha!

Task 1: A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25


The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi – This is the first book I’ve read by Helen Oyeyemi. To summarize what I said in my Poetry Friday post five months ago, it gave me the creeps.

Task 3: A collection of short stories


[I dropped The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne Valente and replaced it with] Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman – It’s always tricky reading a short story collection because there are stories you’ll like and stories you won’t like. I felt the same way about this book, although it was a great read in general. Another fantastic delivery by Gaiman.

Task 4: A book published by an indie press


The Wilds by Julia Elliott – This book was published by Tin House books, and Tin House books is one of the publishers suggested by Book Riot. This is another short story collection. Some of the stories in this are really bizarre. I do like Elliott’s writing style, though.

Task 5: A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – I loved it! It’s a graphic memoir depicting the author’s life and relationship with her father who she found out was also gay.

Task 11: A YA novel


[I dropped Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and replaced it with] Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed – Another book I enjoyed tremendously. I read this upon the recommendation of my friend. She let me borrow her copy. It was intense. Definitely a page-turner!

Task 12: A sci-fi novel


Mr g by Alan Lightman – I read this before reading Einstein’s Dreams. It wasn’t too bad. I prefer Einstein’s Dreams over this one.

Task 15: A book that is a retelling of a classic story


Briar Rose by Jane Yolen – I’m trying to remember what this was about… [Googles book online] Ah. Rebecca and her grandmother. It’s alright.

Task 16: An audiobook


Naked by David Sedaris – This was my first encounter with David Sedaris. I have three, maybe four, of his books but I have not read any of them. Shame on me! I love David Sedaris. He is so hilarious! This book on CD kept me company during my drive to and from work for about a week. David Sedaris is awesome!

Task 17: A collection of poetry


Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni – A beautiful and tender collection of poems.

Task 18: A book that someone else has recommended to you


[I dropped The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry and replaced it with] Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson – This space is not enough. Read our review here.

Task 20: A graphic novel


Blankets by Craig Thompson – Oh, this was a terrific read! Craig Thompson is brilliant! I’m so happy I discovered his writing.

Task 23: A book published in 2015

finding audrey

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella – It’s so cute! This is my first Kinsella novel, and from what I’ve heard this is her first dive into YA. It’s awesome. Audrey and Linus are so adorable! Also, watch out for our review of this book. Coming soon! *wink*

Task 24: A self-improvement book


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – This book speaks to my soul. It’s a book about me. Love. Love. Love.

SO… 13/24 books. That’s not so bad. I still have four months to work on the remaining 11 tasks. I just started Task 10: A microhistory with Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Hopefully, I’ll be able to accomplish more tasks this month.



I’m happy that I finally finished reading Gracefully Grayson last night – while cooking dinner! Haha! Gracefully Grayson is a short tween fiction read that has only 243 pages. I discovered it while browsing for LGBT books online. Below are some of my favorite lines from the book.

I stand in a fog. I am Cinderella. I follow my evil step-brother to the dining room, wearing a golden gown that only I can see.

Well, I think to be brave you have to be scared at the same time. To be brave means there’s something important you have to do and you’re scared, but you do it anyway.

I know it may feel like there are people who are against you, but I want you to remember that most people in the world are good. Look for the people who extend a hand to you. And when they do, take it.

And here are my thoughts about the book as posted on Goodreads:

Gracefully Grayson is a bittersweet story of a twelve-year-old transgender named Grayson. Grayson knows that he is a girl inside. As he navigates through school life, Grayson realizes that trying to make people see the way he’s supposed to be seen – the way he really is – is a lot harder than it looks. With the help of a few friends, his Humanities teacher, and a school play on Greek mythology, Grayson learns to fully embrace himself and show the pink T-shirt with a sequined heart hiding underneath his boy clothes. In her debut novel, Ami Polonsky reminds us all how to be brave.


2 comments on “[Saturday Reads] On Reading Challenges and Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson

  1. That Book Riot reading challenge looks riotous indeed – I should try that one for next year!! 🙂 Wait… do you need any help for this year. Anything you’d like me to cover for you?


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