Reading Plans for 2019

I mentioned on last year’s list of books read that I like to find balance in my reading: some intention, but some flexibility; some classics, but some modern; some already on my shelves, but some new-to-me. It seems that these particular challenges have helped me find that best balance, plus they are fun to do together. They can overlap with each other, thankfully – otherwise I could only choose one or two.

So here are my reading plans for this year.

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeCarrie hosts an annual Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge in January. I’m reading Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy. I was wary of it when I first heard of it, but then I read that the LMM estate was wary, too, yet liked it in the end. So I am reading out of curiosity but hoping it’s good.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge is hosted right here during the month of February! More information is here as well as an extended book list. On Feb. 1 I’ll post a sign-up post and share then what I’ll be reading.

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Tarissa at In the Bookcase hosts the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge in June, so I will share at that time what I will read for that challenge.

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Tarissa also hosts the Literary Christmas Challenge for the last two months of the year. The main rule: read Christmas books!

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Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts the Back to the Classics Challenge. She comes up with categories and we come up with a classic at least 50 years old to fit each category. She also gives away a prize – a $30 gift card to Amazon.com or The Book Depository. You get one entry for the prize drawing for six categories completed, two entries for nine categories completed, and three entries if you complete all twelve. We don’t have to name the books, but it helps me to do so, and we are allowed to change during the course of the year. As with each of these challenges, more information is provided at the links above. So the classics I am considering for this year include:

  1. 19th Century Classic: Probably The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  2. 20th Century Classic (published between 1900 to 1969): How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
  3. Classic by a Woman Author. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  4. Classic in Translation (written originally in a language different from your own): Possibly Anna Karenina by Tolstoy after Carol’s review reassured me that it’s not what I had thought it was.
  5. Classic Comic Novel. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  6. Classic Tragic Novel. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  7. Very Long Classic (500 or more pages): I’m considering Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
  8. Classic Novella (250 or fewer pages): Possibly Sir Gibbie by George MacDonald. My copy has 192 pages.
  9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). I may finally tackle The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzergerald or maybe The Last of the Mohicans by Janes Fenimore Cooper.
  10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). I don’t know of anything offhand for this category, so I may borrow Karen’s idea of Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge.
  11. Classic From a Place You’ve Lived. Not sure about this one yet, but my choices are TX, SC, GA, and TN. Any suggestions?
  12. Classic Play. Probably either The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde or Our Town by Thornton Wilder.

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Adam at Roof Beam Reader hosts the TBR Pile Challenge to encourage us to get to those books on our shelves, Kindles, or TBR lists. For this one we have to name the books we are going to read, along with two alternates (in case we can’t get through a couple on our list). The books for this challenge have to have been published 2017 and earlier. And! Adam offers a prize: a drawing for a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository! Tempting for any book lover! So here is what I plan to read for this challenge:

  1. How to Understand and Apply the New Testament by Andrew David Naselli
  2. There’s a Reason They Call It GRANDparenting by Michele Howe
  3. The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright.
  4. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Just received recently, but on my TBR list for a while now.
  5. Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior
  6. On Writing Well by William Zinsser. On my TBR list for a very long time.
  7. Katie’s Dream by Leisha Kelly. Loved her first two books and am eager to read this one.
  8. If I Run by Terri Blackstock
  9. Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
  10. Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa (2016)(Finished 1/13.19)
  11. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
  12. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

My alternates will be Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohkle and Close to Home by Deborah Raney

As I finish them, I’ll come back and link the title to my review. I’m including the publication dates as well to make it easier to make sure they qualify for the challnge.

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Bev hosts the Mount TBR Challenge to also encourage us to read the books we already own, but with a few differences. Every 12 books read is another level or “mountain” climbed. We don’t have to list the books yet (although some books for the above TBR challenge will count for this one as well), but we do have to commit to a level. I am committing to Mount Blanc (24 books). The one main rule here is that the books have to have been owned by us before January 1, 2019. But that means every book in my house and Kindle app on Jan. 1, even the ones I just got for Christmas, count! I appreciate that because too often I push my newer books back behind the ones that have been sitting there for a while.

Bev is also hosting the Virtual TBR Reading Challenge, like the Mount TBR except that the first one requires you to own the books you’re reading. The virtual one can include borrowed books. I am not sure about this one yet.

A new-to-me challenge that I have heard of but not participated in before is Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge. The categories appealed to me, plus some of them overlap with my other challenges. I couldn’t quite tell if she had a graphic for participants to use for the challenge. My picks for this one:

A book you’ve been meaning to read: I could fill pages with this category. I’ve had The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright on my shelf for a few years. Since it’s supposed to be love letters, I’ll probably plan to read it in February around Valentine’s Day
A book about a topic that fascinates you: I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel
A book in the backlist of a favorite author: On Writing Well by William Zinsser is recommended by just about every book on writing that I have read.
A book recommended by someone with great taste: On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior, recommended by Michele. Many on my TBR list are from Michele.
Three books by the same author: I loved two books by Leisha Kelly last year, so I plan to read her next three: Katie’s Dream, Rorie’s Secret, and Rachel’s Prayer.
A book you chose for the cover: This is not something I usually do, so I’ll have o see if any covers catch my eye this year.
A book by an author who is new to you:There’s a Reason They Call It GRANDparenting by Michele Howe, after seeing it on Michele’s review.
A book in translation: Possibly Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
A book outside your (genre) comfort zone: Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa. It’s described as a “fast-paced thriller” and looks a little scary. I don’t remember who recommended it to me, but something they said inclined me to get it.
A book published before you were born: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

So – I think that will keep me busy for quite a while. I’m excited to get started!

Do you have any reading plans for the year?

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Literary Christmas Wrap-Up

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Here’s what I finished reading for Tarissa’s Literary Christmas Challenge this year (each title links back to my review):

I enjoyed them all, but my hands-down favorite was The Christmas Hirelings.

I didn’t end up reading everything on my original list. However, I did add a couple not on my original list that I received for free this month (can’t beat that!) I tended to read more from my Kindle app and listened to a couple on audiobook. My paper book reading was taken up by trying to finish a non-Christmas library book. I did start Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Susan May Warren and will finish, but probably after the end of the year. Everything else I’ll save for next December.

Thanks, Tarissa, for hosting the challenge! I like to read a few Christmas books in December anyway, but it’s nice to link up with others doing the same thing and see what they’re reading.

 

Mount TBR Reading Challenge Wrap-up 2018

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I’ve already posted the books I read this year and my favorite books of 2018, but I wanted to share this final wrap-up of the Mount TBR Challenge.

Bev hosts the Mount TBR Challenge to encourage us to read what we already have on our shelves, and every twelve books is one more level.

I had only committed to to Mount Blanc (24 books). But I made it past the next level at Mt. Vancouver (36 books), with a grand total of 39.

Bev also proposes taking the first part of some well-known sayings and pairing them with titles of some of the books we read:

A stitch in time…[keeps] The Pattern Artist in business.
Don’t count your chickens..[in] The Secret Garden.
A penny saved is…. Emma’s Gift.
All good things must comeWhen the Morning Glory Blooms.
When in Rome… [I long to come] Back Home Again.
All that glitters is not…[is not] Julia’s Hope.
A picture is worth a… [a] Journey to the Center of the Earth.
When the going gets tough, the tough getTea With Emma.
Two wrongs don’t make…[a] Mountain Between Us.
The pen is mightier than.Invincible Louisa.
The squeaky wheel getsSomeday Home.
Hope for the best, but prepare forScrapping Plans.
Birds of a feather flock…[at] My Father’s House.

Here are the already-owned books I finished, listed on order of completion.

  1. Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His own Body by Martin Pistorious (Copyright 2013, Finished 1/8/18)
  2. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (1908)(Finished 1/17/18)
  3. Conscience: What It Is, How To Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andrew David Naselli and J. D. Crowley (2016)(Finished 1/24/18)
  4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)(Finished 1/26/18)
  5. Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser (2006)(Finished 1/28/18)
  6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Finished 2/3/17)
  7. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay (2017)(Finished 2/5/18)
  8. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Finished 2/17/18)
  9. Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment by Lydia Brownback (2008)(Finished 2/28/18)
  10. Sins of the Past by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Easton (2016)(Finished 3/28/18)
  11. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903)(Finished 3/31/18)
  12. Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel (2017)(Finished 4/5/18)
  13. He Fell in Love With His Wife by Edward Payson Roe (1866)(Finished 4/8/18)
  14. Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin (2016)(Finished 5/6/18)
  15. Drawing Near to the Heart of God by Cynthia Heald (2012)(Finished 5/16/17)
  16. Adam Bede by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)(1859)(Finished 5/19/18)
  17. The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron (2017)(Finished 5/22/18)
  18. The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin (2011)(Finished 6/3/18)
  19. Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs (1933) (Finished 6/25/18)
  20. Looking Into You by Chris Fabry (2017)(Finished 7/10/18)
  21. My Father’s House by Rose Chandler Johnson (2016)(Finished 7/7/18)
  22. When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti (2013)(Finished 7/23/18)
  23. The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser (2016)(Finished 8/4/18)
  24. Back Home Again: Tales of the Grace Chapel Inn by Melody Carlson (2008)(Finished 8/5/18)
  25. Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness by Candace Cameron Bure (2011)(Finished 8/18/18)
  26. Full Assurance by H. A. Ironside (1968)(Finished 8/11/18)
  27. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (2017)(Finished 8/23/18)
  28. Tea With Emma by Diane Moody (2013)(Finished 9/19/18)
  29. Julia’s Hope by Leisha Kelly (2002)(Finished 9/23/18)
  30. Emma’s Gift by Leisha Kelly (2003) (Finished 9/29/18)
  31. Hidden Places by Lynn Austin (2001)(Finished 11/5/18)
  32. Coming Unglued by Rebeca Seitz (2008)(Finished around 10/20/28)
  33. Scrapping Plans by Rebeca Seitz (2009)(Finished 10/30/18)
  34. Perfect Piece by Rebeca Seitz (2009)(Finished 11/3/18)
  35. Someday Home by Lauraine Snelling (2015)(Finished 11/10/18)
  36. Florian’s Gate by T. Davis Bunn (1992)(Finished 11/24/18)
  37. Come Back, Barbara by C. John Miller and Barbara Miller Juliani (1988)(Finished 11/30/18)
  38. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Lenora Worth, Belle Calhoune, Jill Kemerer, and Allie Pleiter. (2017)(Finished 12/12/18)
  39. A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day by Joni Eareckson Tada (2016)(Finished 12/29/18)

Thanks, Bev, for this fun motivation to finish off those books in our stacks and Kindles. I look forward to the challenge next year, too!

Two Reading Challenge Wrap-ups

I have been finished with these two challenges for months, but just have not written the wrap-up posts for them until now.

Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts the Back to the Classics Challenge for reading classics at least 50 years old.

I enjoy this challenge because I was not exposed to many classics as I grew up, and this challenge inspires me to expand my horizons and explore books I might not otherwise read. I’m happy to report that I have read all 12 classics on my list (I actually read 13, but no extra points for extra books. 🙂 ). The titles link back to my reviews:

  • A 19th century classic. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)(Finished 6/30/18)
  • A 20th century classic (published before 1968). The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903)(Finished 3/31/18)
  • A classic by a woman author. Adam Bede by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)(1859)(Finished 5/19/18)
  • A classic in translation (Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language.) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)(Finished 1/26/18)
  • A children’s classic. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)(Finished 2/3/18)
  • A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction, which she goes on to say can be a detective or spy novel. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton. (1908)(Finished 1/18/18)
  • A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Finished 2/17/18)
  • A classic with a single-word title (no articles). Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Finished 3/12/18)
  • A classic with a color in the title. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)(Finished 3/17/18)
  • A classic by an author that’s new to you. He Fell in Love With His Wife by Edward Payson Roe (1866)(Finished 4/8/18) and Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs (1933) (Finished 6/25/18)
  • A classic that scares you (due to its length or it intimidates you in some way). The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. (1831)(Finished 8/4/18).
  • Re-read a favorite classic. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace, (1880)(Finished 4/17/18)

Karen allows for three children’s classics, and I am counting Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, and Journey to the Center of the Earth for those. I’m not counting 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea because nothing I read about it indicated it was written for children.

Karen likes for us to let her know how many entries we earned for her drawing: I earned three. She also requests an email here: mine is barbarah06 (at) gmail (dot) com.

I enjoyed all of these except Journey to the Center of the Earth, but I think my favorite is He Fell in Love With His Wife. Adam Bede would be a close second. Frankenstein was the biggest surprise.

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Adam at Roof Beam Reader hosts the TBR Pile Challenge to encourage us to get to those books on our shelves, Kindles, or TBR lists. For this one we had to name the books we were going to read, along with two alternates (in case we couldn’t get through a couple on our list). The books for this challenge had to have been published 2016 and earlier.

I read thirteen books altogether. Titles link back to my reviews.

  1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Finished 2/3/18)
  2. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (Finished 1/18/18)
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Finished 3/12/18)
  4. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Finished 3/17/18)
  5. Adam Bede by George Eliot (1859)(Finished 5/19/18)
  6. He Fell in Love With His Wife by Edward Payson Roe (1866, Finished 4/8/18)
  7. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870, Finished 1/26/18)
  8. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Finished 2/17/18)
  9. Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His own Body by Martin Pistorious (2013, Finished 1/8/18)
  10. Going Like Sixty by Richard Armour. Set this one aside, disappointed in the content.
  11. Sins of the Past by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Easton (2016, Finished 3/28/18)
  12. Another Way Home by Deborah Raney (2015, Finished 4/16/18)

Alternates: Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin (2016, Finished 5/7/18) and Mozart’s Sister by Nancy Moser (2006)(Finished 1/28/18)

I enjoy both of these challenges and plan to participate in them again next year. Karen already has the 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge categories here.

I’m still working on the Mount TBR Challenge and the Literary Christmas Challenge.

Literary Christmas Reading Challenge

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Tarissa hosts the Literary Christmas Challenge in December: actually, it started in November, but I like to hold off on Christmas reading til after Thanksgiving. The main rule: read Christmas books! And link up your posts about them (via a blog, Goodreads review, etc.).

Here’s what I am planning to read this month:

Finding Christ in Christmas by A. W. Tozer (99 cents for the Kindle app as of this writing. Tozer always makes one think.)

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Homeless for the Holidays by P. S. Wells and Marsha Wright.

Homeless

Christmas Stitches by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson. I’ve read many of Judith and Nancy’s books, so I am looking forward to this Christmas collection.

Stitches

Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

Cold Outside

I’ll Be Home For Christmas: Four Inspirational Holiday Novellas by Lenora Worth, Belle Calhoune, Jill Kemerer, and Allie Pleiter. This is not showing up on Amazon anymore, but you can read more about it on Goodreads here. I’ve not read any of these authors, but I used to follow a blog that Lenora contributed to, so that’s probably what prompted this purchase.

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If I should finish all these and I’m not tired of Christmas stories at that point, I’d love to get Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas and Michelle Griep’s Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series, Twelve Days at Bleakly Manor and A Tale of Two Hearts. I’m trying to read what I have already accumulated through sales before I add any more.

And that’s it for this year! Do you plan to do any Christmas-themed reading this month?

Back to the Classics Challenge Mid-year Check-in

Karen at Books and Chocolate hosts the Back to the Classics Challenge for reading classics at least 50 years old. She’s holding a mid-year check-in for the challenge – and a giveaway!

I enjoy this challenge because I was not exposed to many classics as I grew up, and this challenge inspires me to expand my horizons and explore books I might not otherwise read. I’m happy to report that I have read 11 of the 12 classics on my list, and I am now reading (or listening to) the 12th. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

My unfinished one is a classic that scares you (due to its length or it intimidates you in some way), and for that I chose The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. I’m working on it now.

Karen allows for three children’s classics, and I am counting Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, and Journey to the Center of the Earth for those. I’m not counting 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea because nothing I read about it indicated it was written for children.

I enjoyed all of these except Journey to the Center of the Earth, but I think my favorite is He Fell in Love With His Wife. Adam Bede would be a close second. Frankenstein was the biggest surprise.

Have you read any classics lately?

Louisa May Alcott Challenge Wrap-up

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The Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge hosted by Tarissa at In the Bookcase hosts this month has ended. I read two books for the challenge:

I watched the recent Masterpiece Theatre remake of Little Women and enjoyed it quite a bit – I think it aired last month. But I enjoyed watching several of the behind-the-scenes videos of the show. I didn’t know the Alcott home, Orchard House, was still preserved today with many of its originals furnishings, Louisa’s desk, and even May’s (Amy’s counterpart) sketchings on the walls. I learned, also, that one of May’s art students sculpted the sitting Lincoln Memorial.

I also listened to several of the podcasts Tarissa linked to for us.

It was fun to spend so much time reading and thinking about Alcott this month. I already have at least one book planned for next year’s challenge.

Thank you for hosting, Tarissa! It was fun!

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

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Tarissa at In the Bookcase hosts the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge this month. You can find details and prize information here.

I’d like to read at least two books for the challenge.

  • A biography,  Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs
  •  A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa. This was one of her “sensational novels” that she, like Jo in Little Women, wrote for quick money. It was recently rediscovered and printed. It will be interesting to see that side of Alcott.

I may also try to listen to Little Women again. I have read it several times and listened an audiobook of it at least once. I recently watched the new PBS remake, and I know they arranged some parts out of order, but for others I am not sure if I am remembering the book or the 1994 film. At any rate, I am hankering to go through the book again. I am making good time on my Back to the Classics challenge, so I think I have time for a detour. 🙂 But we’ll see.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2018 Winner

Congratulations to Rebekah for winning the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge this year! Thanks to all of those who participated. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! I already have plans for next year!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge 2018 Sign-up

It’s time for the Laura Ingalls Wilder reading Challenge for 2018! The basic idea is to read anything by, about, or relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder during February, the month of her birth and death. I have an extensive book list here if you’d like some ideas beyond the Little House series, but if course the Little House series is delightful to read or reread.

In the comments below let us know what you’re planning to read. On Feb. 28 I’ll have a wrap-up post where you can tell us how you did and what you thought, either in the comments or with a link back to your posts. You don’t have to have a blog to participate, but if you do I’d appreciate your linking back here.

Sometimes participants have done projects or made recipes from the series as well. If you do so, please do share with us! Annette at Little House Companion has some activities and other resources.

I like to have some sort of drawing to offer a prize concluding the challenge, and I decided to once again offer one winner the choice of:

The Little House Cookbook compiled by Barbara M. Walker

OR

Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

If neither of those suits you, I can substitute a similarly-priced Laura book of your choice. To be eligible, leave a comment on the wrap-up post at the end of the month telling us what you read for this challenge. I’ll choose a name through random.org. a week from then to give everyone time to get their last books and posts finished.

This year I am planning to read:

  • The First Four Years, the last in the Little House series
  • Death On the Prairie by Kathleen Ernst, a modern mystery set around some of the places Laura lived.
  • Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell. I had not heard of this, but it happened to catch my eye while I was in the library. It’s about a modern family with problems going to a “Camp Frontier.”
  • Last year I bought a set of My First Little House Books, after reading Rebekah’s wonderful review. I haven’t even opened them yet, but I want to look through them and hopefully see if Timothy might sit still long enough to look at one or two.

How about you? Will you be joining us this year? What will you be reading?

(Sharing with Literary Musing Monday)