Reading Plans

I’ve mentioned that, while I enjoyed the several reading challenges I participated in last year, I felt a little constricted and constrained by them, too. It’s hard to balance: I like some intentionality in my reading, and that brings some books into my planning that I might not otherwise get to, and a challenge is supposed to be challenging. 🙂 But I like a certain amount of freedom, too, to read on a whim or pick up something and start right in without thinking that I can’t because I have all these lists to finish. So this year I decided to think about what I wanted to read, and then if that happened to fit into any plan, fine, and if not, I’d make my own plan. As it turned out, I will be able to participate in a few challenges this year.

I know I’ll be participating in Carrie‘s Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge this month, reading the second and possibly the third in the Emily series.

Reading to Know - Book ClubI’ll also be reading a few from Carrie‘s Reading to Know Classics Book Club for the year: Christy by Catherine Marshall; The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; probably one or two from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, maybe Laddie by Gene Stratton Porter, and then I’ll be hosting the September discussion on The Screwtape Letters. A couple on the list I just read last year, so it is a little too soon to reread them.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge

In February I host the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge (and I heartily invite you to as well! I’ll have more information about it soon and a sign-up post on Feb. 1), where we read anything by or about Laura. I am planning to read the next one or two in the series. The first couple of years I read a lot of books about Laura as well as some books of her magazine columns, and I think I’d like to just stick with her Little House series for now – though I am awfully tempted by decided to go ahead and read Pioneer Girl (especially after this review of it) since it fits a category in the classics challenge below.

The Back to the Classics Challenge:


I didn’t grow up reading a lot of classics, and I have made a deliberate effort to catch up with some of them in the last few years.

Karen changed the format for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015: readers can choose books within the 12 categories listed, and reading six, nine, or twelve will earn you entries in a drawing for a $30 Amazon or Book Depository gift card. More information is here. Books have to be at least 50 years old. Sign-up is open through March 31. We don’t have to declare which books we’ll be reading in order to sign up, and we can change our minds during the year, but so far I am planning on:

1.  A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (Finished 7/22/15)
2.  A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965: The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer, 1928 (Finished 1/19/15)
3.  A Classic by a Woman Author: Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery, second in the Emily of New Moon series. (Finished 2/4/15)
4.  A Classic in Translation. a book written originally in a language not your own: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I set that one aside for Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz (Finished 9/19/15)
5.  A Very Long Classic Novel — a single work of 500 pages or longer: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (Finished 4/20/15)
6.  A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Finished 6/22/15)
7.  A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title: The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Finished 5/20/15).
8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Serious subject, but written in a satirical form. (Finished 9/26/15).
9.  A Forgotten Classic. This one is hard to evaluate – there are classics I have never heard of but ay be well known to others. But I am going to go with The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins. It’s one of his earlier works and not one of his more well-known ones. (Finished 11/7/15).
10.  A Nonfiction Classic: Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published only recently but written in 1929 0r 1930. I wasn’t sure that would qualify since it was so recently published, so I chose instead The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis. (Finished 9/19/15)
11.  A Classic Children’s Book: By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder, 5th in her Little House series. (Finished 2/18/15)
12.  A Classic Play. I don’t have any ideas for this one yet. Suggestions? Decided on Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. (Finished 7/30/15)

TBR Pile Challenge:

2015tbrbuttonThe TBR Pile Challenge is for reading books we have on hand or have on a TBR list but haven’t gotten to yet. I really enjoyed the this challenge last year and like the idea of incorporating books I have on hand into my reading instead of just piling on new ones.  At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to reading twelve (though I have way more than that both in physical books and on my Kindle app) and thought about just choosing a smaller number – six or so – for my own purposes and not signing up for this official challenge. But once I started sorting through my books on hand (some even in a box in the closet!) and on my Kindle app, I found several I was excited about getting to, so here they are:

1. A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily Freeman, 2013. I got this because I really liked her Grace For the Good Girl. I got it right at the beginning of last year but it got pushed aside for some of the other challenges. (Finished 3/30/15)

2. He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer, 1972. I can’t tell you how many years I have had this on my shelf, but I wouldn’t if I could because it would be too embarrassing. (Finished 4/22/15)

3. Gentle Savage Still Seeking the End of the Spear: The Autobiography of a Killer and the Oral History of the Waorani by Menkaye Aenkaedi with Kemo and Dyowe, 2013. Those who have been reading here a long time know that the whole story of the five missionaries who were killed trying to reach the Waorani, known then as Aucas, and the subsequent way God opened the hearts of this tribe to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord means a great deal to me and has impacted my life exponentially. This book was told by Menkaye, one of the killer of the missionaries who later became a father and grandfather figure to Steve Saint and his family, descendants of one of the five men. (Finished 5/24/15)

4. Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn. I like Bunn and his Marc Royce series, but this is another that kept getting pushed aside while I worked on other reading challenges.(Finished 6/9/15)

5. Better to Be Broken by Rick Huntress, 2012. (Finished 3/2/15)

6. The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson, 2013, a retelling of Snow White. (Finished 6/17/15)

7. My Emily by Matt Patterson, a family’s story of a young daughter born with Down’s Syndrome who is then diagnosed with leukemia. (Finished 3/4/15)

8. The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser, 2001. I really enjoyed her Words Unspoken (it was one of my top ten from 2010), so I wanted to read more from her. (Finished 4/18/15)

9. Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope by Christopher & Angela Yuan, 2011, recommended by Tim Challies. (Finished 3/8/15)

10. Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler. Saw this highly recommended by a number of people. (Finished 5/31/15)

11. Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lisa TerKeurst, 2009. Have had this on hand, meaning to get to it, for years. (Finished 2/1/15)

12. Either Live Like a Narnian by Joe Rigney, 2013, or The Narnian by Alan Jacobs, 2009, or both if I have time, for Carrie’s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge in July. I have both already in my Kindle app – just have to decide which to start with. (Finished 7/24/15)

We’re allowed two alternates in case there is a book we just can’t get into, so I’ll choose The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson, 2013 (a retelling of Cinderella) (Finished 6/28/15) and something by Ann Tatlock, if I can be that unspecific. I have six of her books in my Kindle app.

Sign-up for the TBR Challenge is open here through January 15, so you have time if you’d like to join in. The only stipulations are that the books on your list have to be ones you have never read before and have to have been published before January 1, 2014 (unfortunately! I had to cross two off my list because they were just published last year.). Those who complete the challenge by the end of the year are eligible for a drawing for a $50 Amazon or Book Depository gift card.


I think I will sign up again for the 2015 Non-fiction Reading Challenge, as I read a number of non-fiction books anyway. I will aim for the “Seeker” level, which is 11-15 books.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photographyat

So…it looks like these will keep me busy for a while. 🙂 Do you have any reading plans for the year?

21 thoughts on “Reading Plans

  1. I hadn’t thought about doing a reading challenge yet, but after reading this, I think I should put it on my to-do list! I especially liked the one about classics. I’m trying to become a classical novel fan. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. That’s a great long list of books, and a lot of variety too! How many books do you think you’d read per year?

    PS You’ve inspired me to sign up for the TBR challenge – I have tonnes of books on my TBR list so this gives me a great incentive! 🙂

  3. I’m excited to see this post! I’m reading a few of the same ones as you (which I always love) and you’re reading several that I’d like to hear more about. I’m currently derailed from my list by discovering my library’s free Kindle book borrowing, but hopefully I’ll get back on track shortly. 🙂

  4. Wow! That’s quite a list of challenges. I haven’t committed to any as of yet. I just really feel that I want to read a select few authors this year with a few spontaneous thrown in for fun… 🙂
    I will be reading LM Montgomery, just not in January. I want to finish the Mitford series by Jan Karon.
    Good luck on this great list of challenges and knowing you, you will finish well! 🙂

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  6. I am planning to participate in the LIW Reading Challenging again this year with my kids. I think we’re up to Farmer Boy but I’m rather tempted to skip it (my least favorite) and read The Long Winter instead. I think the kids would be fascinating by certain aspects of that story. At least, I know I am!

    I am also looking forward to reading Christy. I haven’t done so since I was a teen and I’m eager for that one.

    I had totally forgotten about the book “Growing Up Amish” but that was a really fun, fascinating read! I’ll be curious for your thoughts when you get to it!

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