- Novel with food in the title: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley
- Mythopoeic award winner: A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett
- Book a friend recommended NOT reading: Divergent, by Veronica Roth
- Hugo award winner: Redshirts, by John Scalzi
- Morris award winner: A Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
- Book from a beloved childhood series: The Mystery at the Ski Jump, by Carolyn Keene
- Book from a best of 2013 list: These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (seen on BuzzFeed's Top YA)
- Book with a terrible trailer: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer
- Book whose author you've met: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
- Book that teaches you how to do something: The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer, by Gretchen Reynolds
- Booker prize listed book: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce
- Printz award winner: Looking for Alaska, by John Green
And now to the analysis. Pretend we are Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, but talking about our own performances.
Susan: This game is now officially one that Alyssa cannot lose. She has at least one in every line and every row.
Alyssa: Well, I think it would be more accurate to say that you cannot win. I, on the other hand, can still lose! Stalemates count as losses in reading bingo, right? I actually think you have the better strategy--see what row I'm going for and when I get close to completion, neatly block it with a single book. Let me burn myself out on reading!
Susan: Let's talk about your close-to-Bingos in the last month. After January, I started to see that you were heading to Bingo in Row 5, but I had NO IDEA you would fill in two more squares seemingly within a day. I panicked and raced to find the easiest Booker listed book possible. I feared that you were going to grab the incredibly short Testament of Mary and finish the Booker category within the next hour, or race through Room or Life of Pi. I spent a few days reading Harold Fry, and each morning I would check our GoogleDoc to see if I still had a shot at getting the square.
Alyssa: Haha, the Booker square is one that I've been avoiding. It didn't even occur to me that there might be a short one in the category! I found out quite by accident that These Broken Stars, which I read in January, was on some Best of 2013 lists. (How exactly did it make it there? I'm not sure.) So when I discovered that in the course of some Pinterest browsing, I hurried to add it to bingo in case one of the books from your library YA pile was a Best of 2013. And as for my friend Nancy Drew...I downloaded that from my library's digital collection on a whim, and finished it in 3 hours. I seemed to remember them taking so much longer to read when I was younger!
Susan: The other close-to-Bingo was in Column 1. That one completely took me by surprise. I had finished The Art of Fielding and was trying to match it to a category on our Bingo card when I saw you had suddenly read half of Column 1, and you had casually mentioned reading a John Green book at jury duty. I wasn't totally worried because I thought Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz winner, and it was sitting next to my bed. When I realized I was wrong and that the roads were snowed in (yet again), I resorted to my library's digital collection and found an available copy of Looking for Alaska, which I managed to finish slightly before you.
Alyssa: Wasn't there another book you read that you thought fit in a category and then it didn't? Yes, Column 1 was meant to be my power play. I rue the day I texted you from jury duty to help me decide which book to read!! On the plus side, since you finished Looking for Alaska before I did, I now don't feel compelled to finish it any time soon. I know it was John Green's debut, but I was still surprised by how less tight it is than Paper Towns.
Susan: I'm a little disappointed with your being able to find a book with a terrible trailer! I thought books with quotes by Jonathan Franzen on the cover would have terrible trailers (based on this), and I had read TWO of those recently only to find that one had a brilliant trailer and the other had none. But I acknowledge that Scarlet's trailer was worse than I could have imagined.
Alyssa: I loved the trailer for Where'd You Go, Bernadette! The bad trailer square got filled in belated when I saw you making a move on some of my squares and I started to panic a bit. I looked at the list of books I'd read so far in 2014 and started seeing which ones might fit in which squares, and lucky for me, the trailer for Scarlet was truly abysmal. If I had seen before I read it...I probably wouldn't have read it. XD
Susan: Moving onto our controversial reads this month, I am on the fence about Relish counting as a novel, when basically EVERY review on Goodreads says it is a memoir.
Alyssa: Well, we know how reliable Goodreads is, don't we? It's a memoir in the format of a graphic novel. Graphic NOVEL. The word novel is there, so I say it counts! Those rows were already out of the running for you anyway. ;-) And what about this 20 Minutes book? Was it really a how-to book?
Susan: But The First 20 Minutes really did teach me HOW to do something! It taught me how to train so I don't injure myself as I try to improve my 5K time. It had advice on how to warm up and cool down (I particularly liked that it told me there is no real advantage to a slow cool down), and on how to feel at yoga as I struggle to stretch (vindicated; some bodies are just not flexible, and the more research participants stretched, the worse their running became). See, LOTS of "how" in those sentences. ;-)
Alyssa: Yours involved the word "how," mine involved the word "novel." We'll call it even. :)
Susan: So I've already admitted to you that I'm working on a published fanfic (Longbourn), and we're both racing to see someone reading in public and read a book inspired by a TV Show. Let's see if I can finish Elizabeth and Mary!
Alyssa: What makes you think I'll share my master plan with you? ;-)