It’s that time of year – when the New Year challenge call goes out to those of us in blogger land.
Will we, or won’t we join up? How many challenges? Will I keep to my plan? Or is simply something else to fail at?
So far I’ve avoided yearly challenges in my 5 years of blogging.
I love a read-along or a special event, like Austen in August or Pym reading week.
I adore The Classics Club with it’s five year, open-ended plan to read 50 classics (or in my case 75). It’s something I would have done anyway, but the CC actually gives me a purpose and reason for those times I might feel a little unmotivated.
Given how much I’ve enjoyed the CC, I decided it was time to join in a few of the 2014 challenges on offer that might help me stay focused and give me a structure to fall back on.
Firstly, Adam @Roof Beam Reader is hosting The Official 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. His challenge is simple and goes like this…
This challenge was started after I realized I had such an issue buying books but never reading them (not because I don’t read – but because I have such a book buying problem!). So, year after year, books would sit on my shelf, untouched, and I would end up reading newer ones first. I realized I was missing out on a lot of great books because I let them sit there gathering dust instead of reading them as I bought them.
The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).
Obviously, to anyone who has seen the pile of unread books by my bed, this challenge and I are a match made in heaven.
But because I like to make simple things difficult, I’ve decided to combine more than one challenge!
The idea is to read 12 books, one from each category listed below. I figured I had enough books in my TBR pile to cover the first 11 categories easily!
* You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 31st 2014 to be eligible for the prize drawing.
3. Romantic Comedy
4. Alternate History Fiction
5. Graphic Novel
6. Cosy Mystery Fiction
7. Gothic Fiction
8. War/Military Fiction
10. Medical Thriller Fiction
11. Travel (Non Fiction)
But to make life REALLY interesting, I discovered that Shannon @Giraffe Days is hosting an Around the World Challenge for 2014.
The idea is to read books set in “a specific country or region with a noticeable attention to location of environment.”
The list below makes me a Wayfarer, but I’m sure I will read more books from around the world as the year progresses.
My list is beginning to look a little something like this…
2. Jerilderee Letter by Ned Kelly (True Crime, TBR & Australia)
4. 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Alt History & TBR)
5. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman (Graphic Novel & TBR)
8. Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford (War, TBR & Classics Club)
9. The Philosophy of Food edited by David Kaplan (Anthology, TBR)
10. Next by Michael Crichton (this is the tricky one – Medical Thriller – my least favourite genre! This book is officially on Mr Books TBR pile and not mine, but it’s in the house, unread by me, and as close as I’ll probably get !)
11. Thin Paths by Julia Blackburn (Travel, TBR & Italy)
12. TBA in 2014!
Adam wisely suggested having a couple of back up titles in case one or two of the above turn out to be duds or not do-able.
1. The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov (War, TBR, Russia & Classics Club)
2. Sherlock Holmes (Cosy Mystery, TBR, Britain)
3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Award Winning, TBR, France)
4. Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk (Award, TBR, Turkey)
All the books in the challenges below are also titles from my TBR piles! I’m hoping to really put a dint in it this year (as long as I resist the urge to keep adding to it!!)
The idea is to read a book that fits into the categories creatively designed by the host.
This year, the categories are (with some of my possibilities in brackets):
1. A Reference to Time (11/22/63, Parade’s End and Next)
2. A Position of Royalty (Winter King, The Sun King, Children of the King)
3. A Number Written in Letters (Ninety-Three, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness)
5. A Type or Element of Weather (Cold Spring Harbor, Summer Lies, Winter Journal)
Books must be at least 50 years old and fit the categories below:
- A 20th Century Classic ( To the Lighthouse, Olive Kitteridge )
- A 19th Century Classic (The Jerilderee Letters, Eugenie Grandet, Sherlock Holmes, No Name)
- A Classic by a Woman Author (Villette)
- A Classic in Translation If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable. You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so. (something by Dostoyevski, Balzac (Eugenie Grandet) Proust, Emilé Zola (Nana) or Mikhail Bulgakov)
- A Wartime Classic 2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Any book relating to a war is fine — WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds — your choice. (Parade’s End, Ninety-Three, Regeneration)
- A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an author you’ve never heard of. (The Chateau by William Maxwell, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath)
There are a number of other 2014 challenges around that my reading list above (& remaining TBR piles around the house) could also apply to.
Fanda @Classiclit who is hosting the History Reading Challenge (London by Peter Ackroyd, Culture & Imperialism by Edward W Said, The Boy: A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat, 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow by Adam Zamoyski, Marie Curie).
There’s always the Chunkster Reading Challenge (The Luminaries, The Brothers Karamazov, No Name by Wilkie Collins, A Place of Greater Safety, Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee)
Words and Peace’s Books on France Reading Challenge (Father Gariot, Eugenie Grandet, The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, Paris at the End of the World, The Chateau, Chronicles of Old Paris, The Flaneur, The Devil’s Pool, Indiana, The Reef, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Louise de la Valliere, Swann’s Way, Parisians by Graham Robb).
The Foodie’s Read (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Cooked & Season to Taste)
Or the Colour Coded Reading Challenge (The White Earth, Olive Kitteridge, The Colour Purple, The Red Necklace, The Silver Blade, The Blue Castle) to keep me going!
Am I crazy? Have I been too ambitious? Or will it be a fun way to get through some of the books on my TBR pile in 2014?
Wish me luck !