Introducing the 2015 Reading Challenge!
Happy New Year!
With a new year comes new goals, and for me those goals are generally wrapped around creative pursuits. As usual, I’m challenging myself to write more, at least once per day for 30 minutes, to post once a day at All Geek to Me, and to read both more, and more diversely.
I started setting reading goals for myself two years ago, when I realized I’d stopped reading much at all. In 2013, I set the goal for 30 books over the course of the year. I read 28. Last year, I again set a goal of 30 books, but upped the ante by forcing myself to read one book for each letter of the alphabet. This time, through shear stubbornness and a refusal to write a “success and failures” post, I not only read the alphabet, but actually ended up reading 40 books overall. I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of myself. There will be a self-congratulatory post on that a bit later in the week. This year, we’re upping the ante again: 40 books in a series of categories, the point of which is to force myself to read more diversely, books I may not have picked up otherwise.
So, without further ado, a short description of said categories:
One book I …
- Didn’t Read in High School: I dare any one of you to say you ready all the assigned books from when you were in school. I admit, I read very few, and over the years have come to wonder what all the fuss was about. Likely candidates: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Wuthering Heights, Snow Falling on Cedars.
- Already Hate: A book I refuse to read outright or hate quit in the middle. Likely candidates: Wuthering Heights, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey.
- Am a Bit Afraid Of: I have a stack of books that I’d love to be able to say I actually read. These are long, or difficult. Trophy books, basically. Likely candidates: Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, Les Miserables.
- The Classic: A classic book with many modern adaptations or interpretations. Likely candidates: Little Women, The Bell Jar.
- The Modern: A corresponding modern adaptation or interpretation. Likely candidates: Little Women and Me, The Revelation of Louisa May, Belzhar.
Best Books of 2014 (10 books)
10 books that have been named the best of the year. Mostly, I’m pulling from Book Riot’s list, but I might narrow my list based on correlation from other sources. Likely candidates: The Martian, The Girl With All the Gifts, The Bone Clocks, My Salinger Year, Guy in Real Life, The Book of Strange New Things, Everything I Never Told You, The Three Body Problem, Station Eleven, The Angel of Losses, Jackaby, Anihilation, etc.
One book by each of these five classic authors. I’m extremely lacking in my reading of what many consider “classics,” so this is the year I at least give it a shot. Criteria: Only authors I have never read, but that people seem to consider “essential reading.”
- Jane Austen: I have an extremely strange relationship with Austen. Seen tons of movies, read none of the books. Likely candidates: Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion.
- James Joyce: When I discovered I liked Faulkner in high school, my English teacher suggested James Joyce. I have yet to take her up on it. Likely candidates: Ulysses, The Dubliners.
- Virginia Woolf: I needed another woman, and as you can tell, I wasn’t a fan of Bronte. Plus, The Hours was a good movie. Likely candidates: Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse.
- Ernest Hemmingway: Probably one of the early names on this list. Not entirely sure why, but it makes sense, right? Likely candidates: The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms.
- Charles Dickens: I tried reading A Tale of Two Cities when I was 12. Got five pages in and immediately forgot every word I read. Never went back. Likely candidates: Oliver Twist, David Copperfield.
Non-fiction Section (5 books)
Five books of non-fiction. Can be anything from memoir to science to history, etc. I’ve started to realize that I actually really enjoy non-fiction, so this will be one of the easier sections to complete. Likely candidates: Girl Sleuth, Hell’s Angels, Chronicles, #Newsfail, Dark Alliance.
Going in Blind (5 books)
Five books I know nothing about. Books I read on recommendation, or that I judge by their cover. Either recommended by friends, or acquaintances, or librarians, or just because I walked by something interesting in the bookstore. Likely candidates: I have no idea. That’s the point.
Pick Your Poison (10 books)
Pretty self-explanatory. Ten books of my choosing. Don’t have to fit any of the previous categories. It’s mostly a way to keep my sanity while sifting through my already too long TBR. Likely candidates: A Long Way Down, Atonement, The Inventor of Everything, Landscape Painted with Tea, Ready Player One, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.
Assuming I make it through the rest of this list, I have a bonus round of 10 books in two categories. Books already sorted into previous categories can be shifted to the new lists to make room, or I can just read 10 new books that only fit these categories.
Script-to-Screen (5 books)
Five books that have been turned into movies. This one I’ll probably do without even trying. I have an inability to watch a movie with a literary counterpart and NOT read the book. It’s a sickness. Likely candidates: Wild, The Maze Runner, Divergent, Serena.
Essays and Short Stories (5 books)
Pretty self-explanatory. Collections of shorter works, either anthologies or essays or short fiction. Likely candidates: Dark Alliance, Bad Feminist, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
What would you add to the list?