We no sooner post our favorite books or reading challenge wrap-ups from last year, and it is time to plan new ones for the new year. Such is the life of a book lover. 🙂
I like reading challenges for spurring me on to read things I might not or to be a little more intentional in my reading, but I’ve found I have to have some breathing space in my reading plans to pick up something else along the way if I feel so led. Too many reading plans or challenges leave me feeling constricted and constrained. The two that seemed to work best for me last year were the Back to the Classics Challenge and the Mount TBR (To Be Read) Challenge. Sometimes there are one or two more small ones through the year, but these are the major ones for me.
First, though, I’ll be hosting the Laura Ingalls Wilder reading challenge in February. I’m especially looking forward to it this year since this Feb. 7 is her 150th birthday. Hope you can join in!
Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts the Back to the Classics Challenge, in which she comes up with different categories for us to choose from, and we earn prize entries for completing six, nine, or twelve categories. This will be my fourth year participating in this challenge, and I really enjoy it. I’ve mentioned before that somehow I was not exposed to many classics growing up, and I’ve been trying to rectify that as an adult. It’s nice, after reading one, to think, “So that’s what that one was all about.”
As it stand now, my choices for this year are:
1. A 19th Century Classic. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
2. A 20th Century Classic. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
3. A classic by a woman author. Middlemarch by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written or published in a language other than your native language. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
5. A classic published before 1800. Either Don Quixote (1600s) or The Confessions of St. Augustine (400s).
6. A romance classic. Lavender and Old Lace by Myrtle Read
7. A Gothic or horror classic. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
8. A classic with a number in the title. 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
9. A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. No Name by Wilkie Collins. I don’t have a burning desire to visit any place, but if I did, it would probably be England or Ireland. I do have a desire to read more of Collins.
11. An award-winning classic.Possibly either The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Newberry Medal, 1962) or A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (Pulitzer, 1945)
12. A Russian Classic.Either Resurrection or The Death of Ivan Ilych, both by Tolstoy
The purpose of the Mount TBR Challenge is to have us read as many books as we already owned before 2017. There are various levels to strive for, in 12 book increments. Last year, my first to participate, I only committed myself to the first level of 12 (Pike’s Peak) and got to the third (36 books, or Mt. Vancouver) without much trouble. But I think I am just going to commit to the second level (24 books, Mount Blanc) just to be safe and may add more later. Bev posts a monthly place for reviews and optional checkpoints once a quarter. More information, rules, and a sign-up page are here.
I’m not going to post a list of planned books this year like I did last year, preferring to just tally as I go. But I’ll show you my TBR stack, compiled of Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and Mother’s Day gifts from the last year (and before!). In addition to these, I have a handful in my Audible library (mostly classics bought on sale in anticipation of the above challenge) and who knows how many in my Kindle app.
Some of you who have been reading here a while have seen some of these before – which underscores just how much I need to work on them! 🙂
Are you participating in these or any other reading challenges?
(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books)