General Reading Challenges

This post is for general and/or miscellaneous reading challenges. If I include any lists here, they’re for my own reference.


Off the Shelf Reading Challenge 2012

Read books that you already own! If you acquire it in 2012, it doesn’t count. I’m going to sign up for the Trying level, which is to read 15 books from your shelves. Hopefully I will read more, but again, I don’t use reading challenges to force/pressure myself. :) (See also the Unread Book Challenge for essentially the same thing.)


The 2012 Short Story Challenge

Simple – read at least twelve short stories in 2012! I meant to read more short stories last year, so hopefully this will give me  a good kick in the pants. First on my list is Lady with the Little Dog by Chekov.

1) The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (1/7/12) – First, just go read it so we can talk about it like civilized people. I mean it, young person! It’s less than 4000 words so it won’t take long. Okay. You’ve read it, right? I really don’t want to spoil it for you. Alright. I don’t actually have a lot to say about it. The creepiest thing is that there’s absolutely no reason given for the lottery. My friend, Leah, who linked it to me, mentioned the Hunger Games, so I didn’t have a growing realization that the lottery wasn’t a happy thing – I pretty much knew it all along. But still. No justification. No religious fertility rite, no making the masses compliant. Just nothing. The Wikipedia page on the story is worthwhile – go read that, too. :P

2) Kolkata Sea by Indrapramit Das (1/10/12) – This story is very short, just over a thousand words, so there’s not a lot for me to say. This future could easily be a dystopia, right? But Das just shows people getting on, which is, imho, how it’s all going to go down. People get on.


I Want More 2012 Book Challenge

This challenge is all about reading more by authors you’ve read and loved but have more books for you to enjoy! Like normal, I will sign up for the lowest level, Waited Too Long, which bids me to read 2-4 books. My authors include – Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Austen, Octavia Butler (though maybe she and Austen shouldn’t count as I’ve actually read almost everything by them…), Vernor Vinge, Justine Larbalestier, Elizabeth Bear,


1001 Books 2012 Edition

I’m going to go for the “Got to Trials” level, meaning I’ll read (hopefully) five books from this list. I find lists like these interesting – they show the biases of the creator. With 1001 books, though, I’m sure I can find a ton of great ones.

Possibilities (either I have access or am particularly keen) – Never Let Me Go or Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, On Beauty or White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, something by Murakami, something by Rushdie, Cat’s Eye or something else by Margaret Atwood, Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg, The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, Neuromancer by William Gibson, Ragtime or something else by E.L. Doctorow, Sula by Toni Morrison, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Cat’s Cradle or something else by Kurt Vonnegut, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, Foundation by Isaac Asimov, The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz, Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Thin Man or something else by Dashiell Hammett, The Waves or something else by Virginia Woolf, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Brothers Karamazov or something else by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anna Karenina or something else by Leo Tolstoy, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Moonstone or something else by Wilkie Collins, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Dead Souls by Nikolay Gogol, Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, Evelina by Fanny Burney, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Have Already Read (which doesn’t mean I can’t reread!) – The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, Jazz by Toni Morrison, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Watchmen by Alan Moore & David Gibbons, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell,  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Emma by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen,

OMG SO MANY BOOKS I AM FULL OF REGRET AUUUUGH

8 Comments

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8 responses to “General Reading Challenges

  1. rubybastille

    Holy book list, Batman! I’m going to sign up for a couple of those challenges – I’m already doing one challenge that doesn’t really have a name, but covers a good spread: http://rubybastille.wordpress.com/reading-goals-for-2012/

    • Yeah, 1001 books turns out to be a crap ton. It was important for me to go through the list, though, to pick out the minority that I’ve been wanting to read!

  2. MaryB

    That list is so terrifying– In an exercise in making myself feel like an idiot, I counted exactly how many I’ve read– a whopping 85. Less than 10%. I’m especially weak in the last like 30 years of publication. It really throws into the light how little six years studying English and eighteen years obsessively reading can get someone towards reading everything that’s out there that’s awesome.

    Also, I saw the list a few days ago… and I have a few problems with it. First, it’s so heavily weighted to the 1900s. I mean, I know the novel is a relatively new genre, but still. Also– why is there no poetry on it? Loads of short stories, but no poetry (except for, ovid and a few others before the rise of the novel). :( I mean I know the subtitle says it’s about the novel, but then why include short stories? (“The Nose” is not a novel). Last complaint is that while YA / Fantasy / Sci-Fi have great books, none are represented on that list in the 2000s and few are in the 1900s. Where’s Terry Pratchett? Harry Potter? Pullman? Or, A Song of Ice and Fire? Bums me out man. The novel definitely shouldn’t be all about high discourse with a few other genres thrown in (Lord of the Rings, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I, Robot)

    • Don’t feel too bad – I’ve only read 37 of them! And I agree, all lists of this sort show intense personal bias, just like I said above. Have you read The Yellow Wallpaper? That’s another singular short story. Not even a short story collection! What the heck, dude? There are plenty of books on the list that I do want to read, though, which is why I signed up for the challenge.

  3. Pingback: Short Story Wednesday | Nisaba Be Praised

  4. if you’re up for the 1001 books challenge, you might also be interested in the spreadsheet or iPhone app which help you track your progress with the list

    Head on over to my book blog for more.

  5. Pingback: 2012 Challenges Summary: BA’s Off the Shelf Reading Challenge « Bookish Ardour

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