Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Personal Reading Challenge

You may remember that for the past few years I've participated in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader, and when he stopped hosting I continued doing it on my own. It's a great challenge and I'm excited to do it again! But I'm making changes and adding even more to it.

Last year I completed my TBR list by the middle of the year, so obviously it wasn't challenging enough. This year I'm making my list of titles a little bit longer, but I'm also no longer restricting it to books I've been wanting to read for over a year. There just aren't that many anymore.

Here's the list of books that I'll definitely be reading (or at least definitely starting) in 2017:

1. The Painter by Peter Heller (finished 1/20/17)
2. To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (finished 2/26/17)
3. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (finished 5/16/17)
4. A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara
5. The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (finished 2/10/17)
6. Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder (finished 7/3/17)
7. Grandville by Bryan Talbot (read 1/29/17)
8. The Fold by Peter Clines (finished 8/16/17)
9. The Awakening by Kate Chopin (finished 5/29/17)
10. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson (finished 6/12/17)
11. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (finished 8/1/17)
12. White Teeth by Zadie Smith (gave up after 75 pages on 9/30)

This is a pretty good mix of newer and older books of varying length. Nothing is very intimidating, although A Little Life is the longest. I initially put Tender is the Night on the list, but then I signed up for the Classic Book-a-Month Club and since it's on that schedule already I didn't include it here. I want to challenge myself by reading different books for each challenge.

When I initially made my list I was thinking about how there's only one non-fiction title on it, and as always I'd love to increase the amount of nonfiction that I read. The tricky part is that I never know if I even have a chance with a nonfiction book until I start it, because the writing style can make or break the experience. I don't want to put myself in a position where I either have to force myself to read something torturous or fail a challenge. But I still want to be more deliberate about the nonfiction I read and make sure I'm reading in all the subject areas I want to know more about. So I created a list of categories/topics and plan to read a nonfiction book from each.

1. Biography: finished Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life 3/19
2. Science: finished Seven Brief Lessons on Physics 5/1
3. U.S. History/Politics: finished In the Shadow of Liberty 9/13
4. Race: finished They Can't Kill Us All 9/4
5. Self-help/Meditation: finished Buddhism Without Beliefs 2/20
6. Feminism: finished Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud 7/12
7. Class/Income inequality
8. Travel/adventure

Please let me know if you have recommendations for any of these topics!

I'm reserving the right to update my reading goals as the year goes on. This great article by my friend Dorie Clark (author of Reinventing You and Stand Out) talks a bit about why it makes sense to revisit your goals periodically rather than forcing yourself to stick with them for a whole year. Sage advice.

As with my reading challenges from past years, I'll update this post to indicate when I've finished each title and link to the review.

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