Upcoming Reading Challenges

I hope you’ll forgive so many bookish posts this week: it’s been a catch-up time for finishing some and writing about others.

There are a few reading challenges I’m planning to participate in this year.

Reading to Know - Book ClubCarrie is hosting a Reading to Know Classics Book Club alternating between children’s and adult classics and asked 12 blog friends to chose a book and lead a discussion of it. You can see a list of the books for this year here. There are no requirements about how much one must participate (which I appreciate very much!) We can just chose to participate whichever months we’re interested. I’m honored to be leading the discussion for To the Golden Shore about Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson in October. Several of the titles listed there look interesting: I’m planning to participate several months (probably most of the adult classics and maybe a few of the children’s).

L. M. Montgomery Reading ChallengeEvery January Carrie also hosts a L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge. Nice way to start the year, don’t you think? I’ve reread all the Anne of Green Gables books for this challenge the last few years and last year read the first Emily book. But this year I’m reading The Blue Castle, one of LMM’s few adult books, which dovetails with the Classic Book Club above, and if I have time I’ll read the second Emily book.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading ChallengeIn February I’m hosting the third annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge: more info. on that is here, and I’ll share what I am reading for that on Feb. 1.

There are a couple of other through-the-year challenges that are new to me this year that I am going to try. I believe all of these came to my attention via Joyful Reader.

bible-verse-christian-hebrews-12-1-2The Cloud of Witnesses Challenge is sponsored by Becky at Operation Actually Read Bible, and the idea is to read nonfiction books by godly authors who have gone on to be with Jesus. They don’t have to be full books: they could be sermons or articles. A list of suggested authors is here, but Becky is open to others. I am going to commit to reading four. One is Crowded to Christ by L. E. Maxwell, highly recommended by a beloved and highly respected former pastor (though I started it this morning and it looks a little daunting, but we’ll see how it goes!) and Traveling Toward Sunrise by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (of Streams in the Desert fame). I also have a couple of C. S. Lewis books on hand that I’ll probably include.

2014tbrbuttonI’m considering the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader. The challenge is to read 12 books in a year that have been on your shelves unread with a publication date before 2013. I’m sure I have 12 books that qualify: I’m just not sure I want to commit to 12, especially as we have to provide a list beforehand, and I don’t want to be hemmed in by reading commitments. But some of these would crossover with some of the other challenges, so I might be able to do it. Everyone who conquest their TBR list before the end of the year is entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card to Amazon, so that’s motivation, too! 🙂 The list of what we plan to read for that needs to be up by the 15th, so I have a few days yet to work on it. (I did decide to do this: my list is here.)

classics2014And finally, Karen at Books and Chocolate is hosting a Back to the Classics Challenge (guidelines and explanations here) where we can choose classics that fit in certain categories, and there are drawings for prizes at the end of it! 🙂 There are some required categories and some optional categories. My list will overlap a bit with Carrie’s Book Club mentioned above (otherwise I’d never be able to do this!)


  1. A 20th Century Classic: My Man Jeeves by P. D. Wodehouse
  2. A 19th Century Classic: Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author: The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
  4. A Classic in Translation  (A book originally written in a different language from your own.) The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky.
  5. A Classic About War  The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller:  A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, the first Sherlock Holmes book
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic: I will Repay by Baroness Orzcy, part of The Scarlet Pimpernel series. I hadn’t known there was more than one book with him!
  4. A Classic That’s Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4

Let me know if you’re planning to join in on any of these, and we can keep up with each other’s progress.

I’m giving some thought to hosting a challenge to read a certain number of missionary books throughout the year. Let me know if you’d be interested in that and how many books you think would be reasonable.

16 thoughts on “Upcoming Reading Challenges

  1. The only challenge that I am not taking part in this year is the LIW. And that makes me sad. I cannot get my hands on any more material through my tiny library in our town. The two surrounding libraries have started charging EVERYONE to use the library! so I won’t be going there any more… 😦
    I don’t think I will get to the Optional reading in B2TC. Going to be a BIG year (meaning I have a lot of BIG books to get through).
    Happy reading!

  2. Thanks for sharing all these great challenges. I wasn’t aware of several of them but will look into them. I want to be intentional about what I read without feeling hemmed in. I still haven’t found that balance yet… 😦

  3. Love all these challenges, Barbara! It’s fun to see the books you are intending to read. I have been on a (slow) quest over the years to catch up on classics that I’ve never read. Read my first Charles Dickens book last year, and definitely want to read more of him. I also (finally) read all the Little House books — somehow I missed them when I was young. How fun that you are doing a Laura Ingalls Wilder challenge. I will check out your link and find out more! My January goal is to read two books off my shelf. I have a terrible habit of getting out all kinds of books from the library and ignoring those I own.

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  6. I think the Back to the Classics club also sounds really cool. I am going to go look that up right now (as I assume it’s ok to still sign up for that one!).

    Glad you are “in” on all of these challenges (some so that I can learn of them) and I’m looking forward to the LIW!

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  8. Wow-that’s a lot of challenges, but it’s great that you’re able to use some books to complete multiple challenges. The TBR Pile challenge sounds like something worth participating in-I’m always buying books but not reading them because they don’t have a deadline like library books do.

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