Reading Challenge Recap and Refresh

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The love of learning the sequestered nooks and all the sweet serenity of books. -

The first post of the new year is about…..books! Instead of bombarding you with a New Year post chalked full resolutions and goals that I’m not likely to keep (and honestly, can’t fathom having the time or energy to worry about), I’m going to offer up my successes in reading last year and my goals for this year. Book-related resolutions, in my mind, are a lot more fun than any of the others anyway. πŸ™‚

I had two book-related goals for last year: to complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 reading challenge and read at least 33 books. The latter goal was basically born of a desire to read at least as many books as I had the year before and the former was because I often have a hard time figuring out what to read next, so it seemed like a good place to start. I managed to meet the 33 books goal in October and actually read a total of 44 books last year which isn’t a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but for a work-at-home, homeschooling mother of two, I think it’s not too shabby!

Though I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it earlier in the year, I also managed to complete the MMD challenge as well. I think I need reading challenges (and my book club) because there were several books from both of these sources that I probably never would’ve read on my own but did to fulfill a specific category (or monthly book club assignment) and ended up loving them.

For the MMD challenge, I read the following:

Some of these books I surprised myself by liking a lot (My Name is Lucy Barton, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few others that I read to fulfill category requirements but didn’t list here because others fit better, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), while others weren’t all that great (I really didn’t like The Picture of Dorian Gray or Brideshead Revisited), but I’m still glad I read them. Books seem to reference other books and I get frustrated when I’m meandering along in a story and there’s a reference to some other novel but I’ve never read it. All I have to do is read every book ever written and then I won’t have that problem anymore. Easy!

My Goodreads goal this year is somewhat daunting….44 books. I have hope as, at the end of 2016, I did start sneaking reading in any way I could… I have a few on the counter in the kitchen that I pick up while something is simmering or roasting. C has bath time every other night, so instead of playing games on my phone, I started reading then as well. Hopefully, I can do it. πŸ™‚ And hopefully, I’m not too hard on myself if I don’t!

2017 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge -

For an actual reading challenge, I’m shifting gears a little this year and attempting to get a few more classics under my belt with the Backs to the Classics Challenge. I’m more than just a little intimidated by this list….but I surprised myself by reading the classics that I did in 2016, so diving in head first this year ought to be a breeze….right? πŸ™‚

My goal is to read one of these per month, but the woman who runs this challenge is full of grace and has prizes (prizes for reading! I feel like I’m in a grown-up version of Book-It!) for various levels of completion…so even if I don’t read ALL of them, I still get partial credit! That’s good enough for me these days.

Here are my ideas for each category:

  • 19th-century classic: Middlemarch by George Eliot (don’t tell my freshman year “Great Ideas in the History of Arts” honors class professor that I didn’t really read this….)
  • 20th-century classic: Light in August by William Faulkner
  • Classic by a woman author: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Classic in translation: Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
  • Classic published before 1800: Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
  • Romance classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen (I’ve got to get a Jane in there)
  • Gothic/horror classic: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (several people I follow have highly recommended this recently)
  • Classic with a number in the title: The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Classic set in a place you’d like to visit: Room with a View by E.M. Forster
  • Award-winning classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Russian classic: The Brothers Karamazov By Fyodor Dostoevsky

(updated 12 January 2017)

I’m obviously insane for even attempting this as four of these books are over 750 pages – two are over 1000. I’m also reading these along with an English teacher friend who is far better versed in the classics than I am (as is evidenced by my lack of creativity in some of these categories) and has made a few suggestions for replacements, so I’m sure this list will change with time (and already has!). No matter what list we end up with, though, an added bonus of reading the “classics” is that many of them are in the public domain which means they’re free on Kindle. I don’t have to worry about buying even more books or library due dates, which does make life a little bit easier.

So there’s my list! I, of course, also plan on reading more modern tomes and continue my Charlotte Mason reading as well. My nightstand/iPod-for-audiobooks-only are both full to capacity, so I have some catching up to do in both areas. One of these days I’ll learn how to clone myself so this won’t be a problem anymore. πŸ™‚

What are you reading this year?

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  1. Wow. That’s a pretty hefty list! I’m definitely keeping to my “simple books to relax with” strategy πŸ˜›

    1. We’ll see if I actually get through any of it. πŸ˜€

  2. This is an excellent list and I love your choices last year too. And thanks for the kind words about me!

    1. Thank you for the amazing book, Cindy! I think your words are currently and will help so many mothers! (And thank you for leaving the comment…you just made my day. πŸ™‚ )

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