Note: I’m keeping track of progress on these challenge on the “2014 Reading Challenges” page at the top of the blog.
I think I’ve got my final list of long-term reading challenges chosen for 2014, barring any new ones popping up that are simply so perfectly suited to my tastes that I can’t not join in. There are so many wonderful challenges being hosted for the year that one could easily sign up for dozens. I tend to bite off far more than I can chew in this respect, so I’m trying to be sane this year.
I’ll be playing along in 3 year-long challenges, 2 of which are nearly identical and will thus have the same books list. (I just enjoy both host blogs so much that I really want to support both by getting involved!) In addition, there are occasional read-a-thons and shorter-term periodic events, of course, but I only know of a few of these at this early date. Now, let’s get down to challenge-joining business!
Full year challenges:
Roof Beam Reader is hosting the 5th annual TBR Pile Challenge. The aim of this challenge is to choose 12 books (with 2 alternates allowed for can’t-finish emergencies) that have been on our to-read pile or list for at least one full year (and which have an original publishing date prior to January 1, 2013) and commit to reading them within the year. I am excited about this challenge not only because I have the same problem of backed-up books that most avid readers do, but also because the challenge decrees we must choose our books ahead of time. This will force me to actually stick to my list! Normally, if I’m involved in a challenge such as “read 10 books that have been on your list for a long time,” I will change the list throughout the year, and by December 31, several of the books I had originally intended to read when I first made my list will still remain unread. This challenge nips that tendency of mine right in the bud. Here’s my list, which I will (must!) stick to doggedly:
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (2000)
- The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (1986)
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns (1954)
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861)
- Stone Junction by Jim Dodge (1990)
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (2007) Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (1986) Houdini Heart by Ki Longfellow (2011)
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002)
- Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin (1968)
Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong (2004)
- White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000)
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (1927)
Epitaph of a Small Winner by Machado de Assis (1880)
These two challenges are nearly identical, but I want to play along with both, so I’ll simply list them in the order I became aware of them.
The Read It Again, Sam Challenge, hosted by My Reader’s Block, challenges us to re-read books during 2014. I am not a re-reader. I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read more than once in the past 20 years. But there are books I’d like to spend more time with, either to revisit them with older eyes or simply because I really loved them the first go-around. I’ll be starting with the level Déjà vu: Reread 4 books.
A Year of Re-Reading, hosted by caffeinatedlife.net, is similar, although the challenge levels are set up a bit differently. I will start with the first level, 1-4 books: Occasional re-reader, which allows for 4 books like the previous challenge, and go from there.
Short-term challenges and events:
As mentioned in my previous post, Dolce Bellezza‘s 7th round of the Japanese Literature Challenge is active through January 30, 2014. I hope to get at least another 1-2 works of Japanese literature reviewed for this event before it closes, and I look forward to starting with the group next time.
Beginning January 1, 2014, Little Red Reviewer will be hosting Vintage Science Fiction month. Any work of science fiction published prior to 1979 qualifies. I know I will be reading one appropriate book in January, perhaps two.
In addition to these challenges and events, I’ll be participating in the next Bout of Books, a week-long read-a-thon, January 6-12, 2014. This will be my first time playing. I will post more about this when sign-ups open.
I’m excitedly waiting for the next iteration of Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon, which takes place in April 2014. This will be my second time with the Dewey’s crowd, and I am really looking forward to it. I’ll post more about this one closer to game time, as well.
And of course there’s the ongoing multi-year project hosted by The Classics Club. My bookish resolution for the year will be actually blogging about more of the books I read for the CC. I’ve read several this year, but few of them have inspired me to write. I want to at least get a few lines down for each title I read, even if it’s a simple summary and general thoughts.
I’ll post again if and when other interesting events pop up, as I’m sure they will. Have you found any great challenges for 2014 to inspire your reading? If you haven’t yet discovered A Novel Challenge, they are a wonderful (and potentially-dangerous) source for finding a huge number of challenges all collected in one hub, with links to their host pages. It’s very easy to fall down a bookish rabbit hole at this site!