Challenges

Countdown to 2014 #1: Reading Challenges

ImageThis is the first of four posts in which I wrap up 2013 and look to 2014.  See below for a list of 2014 reading challenges you can sign up for.

In 2013, I participated in four challenges.  Here’s how I did:

  Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge: completed!  I had to make a list at the beginning of the year with 14 books I’ve been meaning to read for over a year.  I had to complete and review 12 of the 14, and Huck Finn was #12.  This is my favorite reading challenge because it really gets me to read older literary fiction instead of what’s hot off the presses.

  1. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  2. The Tortilla Curtain – TC Boyle
  3. Daniel Deronda – George Eliot
  4. Gillespie and I – Jane Harris
  5. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  6. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  7. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  8. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
  9. Please Look After Mom — Kyung-sook Shin
  10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  11. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  12. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  13. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark (alternate)
  14. Caleb’s Crossing — Geraldine Brooks (alternate)

Giraffe Days‘ Around the World in 12 Books Challenge: This is another favorite even though I didn’t do so well.  I read other novels set in different countries, like The Collection of Heng Souk (Vietnam) and Maya’s Notebook (Chile) but those weren’t specifically for the challenge.

  • February: The What is The What (Sudan)
  • March: Over Sea Under Stone (Wales)
  • June: Please Look After Mom (South Korea)
  • July: The People of Forever are Not Afraid (Israel)

Historical Tapestry’s Historical Fiction Challenge: I successfully read 10 books that might be called historical fiction, although what I learned this year is that I’m not sure how to categorize most of what I read.  I generally don’t read “straight” historical fiction like the works of Phillipa Gregory or Sharon Kay Penman.  I tend to read books set in the past like Gillespie and I or The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.  Also, how long ago is historical?  Is a book set in the 50’s or 60’s historical?  I should think so but I’m not sure.

  1. At Drake’s Command by David Wesley Hill
  2. How Angels Die by David-Michael Harding
  3. When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris
  4. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
  5. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  6. A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn
  7. The Jeeptown Sock Hop
  8. The Remains of the Day
  9. A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd
  10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  11. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  12. The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher

The Classics Club Challenge: I have a list of 50 classics to be read from 2012 to 2017.  Two years in, I’ve read 15, reviewed 13, and gave up on 1.  I’d like to be farther along than that. I read and reviewed 10 of those this year.  I’m most proud of completing Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.

Here’s a round-up of challenges I know about for 2014 with links to their sign-up posts (if you have others, please add in the comments).  No endorsements, this is just a list of challenges that look interesting.

And here are two sites where you can find a lot of different challenges:

I’m not sure what I’m signing up for, except I do want to repeat the ones I did this year.  I’m intrigued by the idea of a “finish the series” challenge or a first-time novelist challenge.  On the other hand, I don’t need a challenge just to read a certain number of books in the year.  I read a lot as is.  I don’t want to sign up for too many because I won’t really participate.

Here’s my list for the TBR Pile Challenge (12 books plus two alternates):

  1. Skippy Dies – Paul Murray
  2. Flight Behavior — Barbara Kingsolver
  3. Astray — Emma Donoghue
  4. Kindred – Octavia Butler
  5. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter — Tom Franklin
  6. San Miguel — T.C. Boyle
  7. Tell the Wolves I’m Home — Carol Rifka Brunt
  8. The Dovekeepers – Alice Hoffman
  9. Number the Stars — Lois Lowry
  10. The Haunting of Hill House — Shirley Jackson
  11. The Portrait of a Lady — Henry James
  12. The Good Earth — Pearl S. Buck
  13. Far From the Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy
  14. The Awakening — Kate Chopin

For the Around the World in 12 Books Challenge, I’m signing up as a “Casual Tourist”, which means I read 6 books set in different countries (not specified although I’m supposed to try to cover South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe).

And, I’ll keep working on my Classics Club list.

Did you find anything on this list that sounds good?  What challenges will you be joining in 2014?

12 thoughts on “Countdown to 2014 #1: Reading Challenges

  1. Nice post, and congratulations on being so together during the crazy festive period. I’ve taken a blogging break over Christmas as it’s my birthday and anniversary too and I’ve got a few looming deadlines. But I love the TBR pile challenge and will be putting my list together for the New Year.
    I’ve read 4 of yours and they were all great, so you’ll have a happy reading year 🙂

    • I’m glad to hear my list has some good ones… happy holidays and birthday and anniversary! I’ve been blogging a ton lately but I love it. My life actually slowed down a lot in December, unlike most people.

  2. Thanks for putting this altogether! This is the challenge motherload. I’m doing the TBR pile challenge, too — and I’ll have to take a look at some of the other ones you posted.

    Good luck!

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