Friday, January 4, 2013

The Reading Challenge Redux

The beginning of a new year is often the catalyst for resolutions: to eat better, to exercise more, to learn a language or (one that we're familiar with here at the Reader) to read more. Two years ago, I first became aware of the growing popularity of reading challenges: where you set yourself a reading task and commit to achieving it over the course of the year. I'm sure these have always been popular on some level, but the rise of the internet, its online reading communities (like GoodReads and LibraryThing among others) and popular book blogs have given them a very public face.

In 2011, I committed to the To Be Read reading challenge, as proposed by an American book blog called The Roof Beam Reader. The challenge: to commit to reading 12 books that had been on your "To Be Read" pile for more than a year. Here's what I picked and here's how I did.

I took 2012 off from reading challenges, but heading into 2013, I'm feeling the urge to once again make a list and check something off of it. This year, I'm making my own, modified, version of the To Be Read Challenge and proposing to stick to it. It has long been something I've noted about myself that even when I really love a book by an author, I rarely go off and read other books by that author. Outside of authors I would have read in school, I can only think of a few authors -- Zadie Smith, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, come to mind -- where I've made a concerted effort to read multiple books by them.

So for 2013, I have picked 12 books where I have read only 1 previous book by the author and committed to reading another title by them. Most of them are authors whose other book I loved (although one of them is from an author whose book I actually hated) and in all cases I've been wanting to read something else by that author for more than a year (including one that is a long awaited second novel that won't be released until August). I'll blog about each of them here once I've read them.

Here are the 12:
The Moonstone
by Wilkie Collins (M)

by Patrick Dewitt (M)

The Monsters of Templeton
by Lauren Groff (M)

The Vanishers
by Heidi Julavits (M)

This Side of Brightness
by Colum McCann (M)

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
by David Mitchell (M)

A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry (M)

Night Film
by Marisha Pessl (M)

The Wanderers
by Richard Price (M)

The Cashier
by Gabrielle Roy (M)

The St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
by Karen Russell (M)
Apex Hides the Hurt
by Colson Whitehead (M)
Are you participating in a reading challenge this year? We'd love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below!

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