Reading Challenges

After taking a look at several reading related blogs, I’ve seen that many blogging readers participate in “reading challenges.” The main prize seems to be the pride of checking a book off your list, and the joy of reading something new or different from your usual selection. But I still might have more to learn about readerly ‘street cred.’ I’ve decided to undertake a few (when the blog goes live, I’ll sign up officially).

One is “TBR Challenge 2008”, in which you assemble a list of twelve books that have been on your “to be read” list and plan on finishing them over the course of the year. Readers also select up to twelve ‘alternates,’ in case they decide that one of their first selections isn’t quite their cup of tea. I’ve included my list, and throughout the year, as I complete books, I’ll be updating you on my progress.

1. Middlemarch by George Eliot

2. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

3. Saturday by Ian McEwan

4. The Dower House by Annabel Davis Goff

5. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro

6. Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

7. Still Life by A.S. Byatt

8. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

10. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

11. The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch

12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

My Alternates:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

The Ambassadors by Henry James

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

(Some of these are books that I’ve received as gifts over the years, all are available through NUCat, and if they’re checked out, try reserving through NExpress).

Have any of you ever undertaken either organized or impulsive reading challenges? How did they go? And have you read any of the books? (Not too many spoilers, please!)

8 thoughts on “Reading Challenges”

  1. There’s a zillion books on my To Be Read list. Many are from the so-called “Western canon” that I just somehow managed never to have been assigned in English classes. (Since I wasn’t an English major, that’s not all that surprising.) You *were* an English major, right, Emily? Some of the not-yet-reads on your list shock me a little as a result. 🙂 I didn’t think it was possible to complete *high school* in this country without reading Lord of the Flies and Fahrenheit 451.

    I thought Catch-22 was terrific. That was one I’d never read for school and decided I needed to have read. Finished it one summer during college, I believe the same summer I checked Watership Down (also excellent) off my to-read list. As for your others, I adore the entire 5-part Hitchhiker’s Guide “trilogy.” If you don’t at least find some amusement in that first book in the series, I’m pretty sure we can never really be friends. 😉

    I’ve got A Streetcar Named Desire checked out of Snell right now from my To-Be-Read list, though I haven’t started it yet. Next from that list might be something by Faulkner or Hemingway, two authors I’ve never read at all. (Shameful, eh?) Anyone have any title recommendations for either of those?

  2. I am embarrassed to say as well read as I think I am I have only read one on that list. Better get to it I guess.

  3. Farenheit 451 is one of my favorite books. I think if you love books, it’s hard not to react strongly to it. Give yourself plenty of time for Wings of the Dove. It’s good but dense.

  4. “Have any of you ever undertaken either organized or impulsive reading challenges? How did they go? And have you read any of the books?”

    Does “English major” count as an organized reading challenge? 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever participated in any online reading challenge of any sort – not something that appeals to me.

    I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Gregory Maguire, and the same goes for Douglas Adams.

  5. I was indeed an English major! I actually was assigned Middlemarch in college but mainly read pieces of it, not cover to cover. I’ve always had trouble finishing George Eliot (I didn’t make it through either Daniel Deronda or Adam Bede), so hopefully I’ll have better luck this time.
    Many of these are additional books by authors I’ve read before and enjoyed, and some are those that have been suggested by friends, or books that I feel I ‘should’ read.
    I think I might have gone to a high school with a slightly alternative canon.
    I’m not a huge Hemingway or Faulkner fan, but I did find Absalom, Absalom interesting.
    I’ve read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, Lost and Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was my favorite, and the one that had the most lasting impression on me.
    And hopefully I’ll laugh at The Hitchhiker’s Guide, Rebecca! 🙂

  6. Pingback: ” Saturday at Snell Snippets - Snell Snippets

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