Reading Challenge for 2010

As I’ve gotten to know the book blogging world this year, something that has constantly intrigued me are the endless number of book challenges. Bloggers are forever challenging their readers to “read x number of books this year,” or “read 20 books of poetry by x date,” or “read 10 Asian novels” and so on. In short, it is goal setting. And encourages readers to get outside of their comfort zone or “read outside the box.”

While I’ve like the idea, none of them have been challenges that I’ve wanted to accept – until now. MizB is issuing a repeat of a challenge she has offered in the past called the TBR (To Be Read) Challenge and the rules are simple: read 12 books from your TBR pile. Well, it’s not that simple. You have to make & publish the list for others to see by January 1, 2010, and you can’t change the list (after Jan. 1). But you can have an additional list of 12 as back-ups.

So, I’m going to participate, and I’m inviting you along for the fun as well. If nothing else, it will help me move some books off my TBR. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make a list of 12 books (plus 12 alternates) from your TBR pile that you will commit to read in 2010.
  • You can publish your list by commenting on my blog.
  • Audio books do count; re-reads do not.

Periodically I’ll check in with you to see how you’re coming with your list, and I’ll let you know how I’m coming with mine.

So, here’s my list: (in no particular order)
Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spenser Johnson
Hate, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
The Children’s Book by AS Byatt
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
The Art of Keeping Secrets by Patti Callahan Henry
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller
Into the Tunnel by Goltz Aly
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Saints at the River by Ron Rash
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

1984 by George Orwell
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
The Return by Victoria Hislop
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Into Thin Air by Jo Krakauer
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
Juniper Tree Burning by Goldberry Long
The Thief Taker by Janet Gleeson
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald

Here’s to moving some books off your TBR in 2010!  Happy Reading!


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20 Replies to “Reading Challenge for 2010

  1. I LOVE this idea! Sorta like a lazy book club for one. I will get my list together–and try to step outside my comfort zone on a few–and turn in soon. I just have to commit to what I am reading the next month (I have TWO more books to read to reach 40 in 2009, a personal best!) 🙂

  2. @bunny – Yes!! And congrats on you # for this year! I think I'm probably at a personal best this year, too… but not at 40! That's awesome!

  3. Here's mine, also in no particular order:
    The Garden of Last Days: Andre Dubus III
    The Lady & The Unicorn: Tracy Chevalier
    The City of Falling Angels: John Berendt
    The Kite Runner: Khaled Hasseini
    Twelve Times Blessed: Jacqueline Mitchard
    Dream When You Are Feeling Blue: Elizabeth Berg
    Gods in Alabama: Joshilyn Jackson
    Blessings: Anna Quindlen
    Three Cups of Tea: Greg Mortenson
    The Lost Mother: Mary McGarry Morris
    The Poisonwood Bible: Barbara Kingsolver
    Songs Without Words: Ann Packer

    Island of Lost Girls: Jennifer McMahon
    The Uses of Enchantment: Heidi Julavits
    Between Georgia: Joshilyn Jackson
    A Place Called Wiregrass: Michael Morris
    Mendocino & Other Stories: Ann Packer
    Reading Lolita in Tehran: Azar Nafisi
    Eventide: Kent Haruf
    Between the Tides: Patti Callahan Henry
    The Mercy of Thin Air: Ronlyn Dominique
    Child of My Heart: Alice McDermott
    Traveling Mercies: Anne Lamont
    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant: Anne Tyler

  4. Bunny – you and E piqued my curiosity. I got out my book journal to count…I've read 51 books since May! That's when I got a brain and started writing down what I read. I feel lost without a book in my hand so I guess that's how I've read so many. I think it will be fun to look back at my journal to see what I thought of these books in the future. Anyway, that's not the point of this post! I'm going to list my 12 TBR books and after the holiday craziness dies down I should be able to get my alternates organized. Here we go:

    (in no particular order)

    People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks
    Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    Fire in the Blood – Irene Nemirovsky
    72 Hour Hold – Bebe Campbell
    Atonement – Ian McEwan
    The Kindly Ones – Jonathan Littell
    The Possession of Mr. Cave – Matt Haig
    The Plague of Doves – Louise Erdich
    Those Who Save Us – Jenna Blum
    A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    Home – Julie Andrews
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Austen and Grahame-Smith

    You know, we could trade lists and multiply our TBR piles by 12 – AAHHHHH!! 😉

  5. oops – sorry – I just figured out that I wasn't signed on as me and my husband hadn't signed out…the previous post should be from "tiff". I'm sure there's some kind of blog etiquette that I just blew – oh well…

  6. I am so excited by this challenge! What a great idea, Elisabeth. Thanks for helping us get through our TBRs.

    I just tried to post my lists, but they got lost when I noticed that Blogspot was recognizing my husband's account & not mine. (I feel your pain, Tiff!). I logged him out & then lost the text of my post. (These darn computers are too smart for my own good.) I'll recreate it soon & post it for the record.

  7. @Tiff – I was soooo excited when I saw Marion's name! I thought we had a convert! Oh well. I like your idea of trading lists…maybe at BBB we augment one rule & that is that for every person who posts a list here, you can "steal" one of their books. And, you are my hero for how much you read. Seriously. My. Hero.

    @Bunny – Lady & Unicorn is excellent! I listened to it last year…Island of Lost Girls is on my TBR list (just added recently)…I have Reading Lolita if you need it -I haven't read it, but someone gave it to me. I was going to post it on book swap, so let me know. I think I have Eventide, too.

    @Stacie – Sorry!! I look forward to seeing your list!

  8. I want to know how tiff reads that many books…Oy. I am impressed! E., as you have discovered, it is my secret shame that I own most of these books (22 of them!), some of them for literally YEARS, which is why I am so excited about this challenge.

  9. If you must know, I read while I dry my hair, eat my lunch, brush my teeth, on the eliptical, before I go to sleep, at stoplights (only when it's a good one!), etc, etc…in other words, constantly! 🙂

    By the way – LOVE "Reading Lolita"! I look forward to what you think.

  10. Here's my list. I am ready to get started now. Can we start the 2010 reading challenge in 2009? Any ruling on that?

    1. Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
    2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    3. Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
    4, Wolf Hall by Hiliary Mantal
    5. Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
    6. Family Album by Penelope Lively
    7. Cranford Chronicle by Elizabeth Gaskell
    8. Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
    9. The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (Thanks for the recommendation, Elisabeth)
    10. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

    Alternate List
    1. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
    2. Into the Wild by John Krakauer
    3. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
    4. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall et al.
    5. Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger
    6. Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
    7. The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
    8. You Can Go Home Again: Adventures of a Contrary Life – Gene Logsdon
    9. Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely
    10. Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

    I wonder if we could periodically get updates on one another’s progress? It would be fun to see how far everyone is getting in the challenge, if they read something great or – the opposite – read a real doozie that they expected/hoped to really like. Just a thought. I wouldn’t want to usurp any of your content, Elisabeth, but it would be fun to check in on each other.

    To reading in 2010 & making a dent in that TBR!

  11. @Stacie – I do plan on keeping up with this through the year & tracking progress. No, books read in December of 2009 don't count, but if you read some, you can submit a "final" list on Jan. 1. I may do that and add Elegance of the Hedgehog. My mom just finished it & she said it is the smartest book she's read in a long time. Wasn't that crazy about The Tenth Circle…I'll be interested in what you think. But yes, I can't wait to hear from all of you about how you're liking your books!

  12. @ Elisabeth – What's up with the Tenth Circle… what crazy thing happened? Sorry that I'm out of it & need clarification.

    Still @ Elisabeth – I keep hearing such good things about Elegance of the Hedgehog. I'll be honest, at first blush it does not seem like something that would appeal to me, so that is one of the reasons it's on my list. Expand my horizons & such. Also several people whose reading opinions I value said it was great, so I am genuinely curious. I hope you read it too so we can discuss.

  13. @Stacie – I think The Tenth Circle is the one that has comics through out it & I just didn't get that subplot…I know there was something there that was supposed to give an extra 'layer' to the main story – which I felt it needed, I'm just not into comics enough to get what that was. I basically skipped those pages. I'll probably be reading Hedgehog pretty soon after Christmas…I should be able to pick up Mom's copy then.

  14. Congrats to joining the challenge, Lauren! Love your blog btw! Based on your list, looks like we have very similar taste!

  15. I've finally had time to do my alternate list, so here we go!

    We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals – Gillian Gill
    The Mercy of Thin Air – Ronlyn Dominique
    Abide With Me – Elizabeth Strout
    The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood
    The Girl Who Stopped Swimming – Joshilyn Jackson
    Wolf Hall: A Novel – Hillary Mantel
    The Family Album – Penelope Lively
    The Blue Notebook – James A. Levine
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
    A Lesson Before Dying – Ernest Gaines
    The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (yes, I know it is sacrilege that I have never read this!!)
    Hate, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage – Alice Munro

    By the way…do you know how hard it has been to keep my hands off the TBR pile until 2010?? Once tiff starts a challenge she wants to jump in! It's been hard to wait, but I know the challenge will be worth it. Happy New Year all!

  16. @Tiff – Better late than never! I thought I was going to have to revise my list prior to Jan. 1, but I think I'm ok….I'll add your alternates to the list…Thanks!

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