2017 Reading Challenge

I’m enamored with the idea of reading challenges. They encourage people to step out of their reading comfort zones and pick up books they might otherwise miss. They’re also great for rescuing people from reading ruts. There is little better in the world of books than picking up something unexpectedly great, and one can’t do that without picking up something unexpected.

But college set me back on my TBR, and I want to use 2017 to catch up with what’s already on my radar before I traipse into the unknown and fall farther behind. So next year, I think I want to try a more challenging checklist, but for 2017, I picked up a challenge from my library that looks pretty easy–by which I mean, a lot of the books I already know I want to read fit into it. That’s not the point of a reading challenge, but I’m going to consider 2017  my gateway year to reading challenges. There are 50 challenges on this list, and since this is a catch-up year for me, I don’t know if I’ll complete the prompts that don’t fit with books already on my TBR. Maybe toward the end of the year if I’m feeling ambitious about checking off every item on the list, I’ll look into fulfilling those extra prompts.

If you want to follow along with me, or just pick and choose a few for yourself, please do! I’ve included a list of the prompts below, with the books I’ve picked for each, in parentheses if I haven’t read them yet If they’re not in parentheses, I’ve already checked them off my list. If you have any suggestions for my empty categories, or even for categories I’ve listed a potential book, feel free to share! I’m sure I’ll be picking up new releases throughout the year and shuffling my checklist accordingly, so anything in parentheses is by no means concrete. I’m prioritizing my TBR, but I don’t have any delusions about finishing it completely this year or stopping myself from adding more books to it, so I’m always excited about recommendations. 🙂

Here’s my reading challenge list:

  1. A book over 500 pages – (City of Glass by Cassandra Clare)
  2. A classic romance – (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
  3. A book made into a movie – (Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon)
  4. A book published this year – (A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas)
  5. A book with a number in the title – (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)
  6. A book written by someone under 30 – (Iron Gold by Pierce Brown)
  7. A book with nonhuman characters – All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  8. A funny book – (My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton)
  9. A book written by a female author – The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. A mystery or thriller – (Dark Matter by Blake Crouch)
  11. A book with a one-word title – (Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
  12. A book of short stories – (Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell)
  13. A book set in a different country – (The Wrath and the Dawn by Rene Ahdieh)
  14. A nonfiction book – (Dead Wake by Erik Larson)
  15. A popular author’s first book – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  16. A book you haven’t read yet by an author you already love – Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
  17. A book recommended by a friend – Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book – (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr)
  19. A book based on a true story – (Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie)
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list – (The Color Purple by Alice Walker)
  21. A book your mom loves – Vows by LaVyrle Spencer
  22. A book that scares you – (Not sure yet. Books don’t often scare me. I might put a thriller or horror book here sometime around October if I don’t find something to fit here before then. I’m 90% sure I’ll find something to fit this category.)
  23. A book more than 100 years old – (Persuasion by Jane Austen [199 years old in 2017, for anyone who’s curious])
  24. A book you picked up based entirely on its cover – (Not sure yet. I don’t read books based solely on cover design. I’ll either have to bend this prompt or skip this one. I might just pick a book with a beautiful cover that drew me in, like Alice Hoffman’s Faithful.)
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t – (The Lover by Marguerite Duras.)
  26. A memoir – (Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham)
  27. A book you finished in a day – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  28. A book with antonyms in the title – (Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott)
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – (Not sure yet. The places I want to visit are many, and they change frequently. I might end up picking something set in New York, or I might bend this prompt and throw in something that I read that I enjoy so much it inspires me to want to visit its setting.)
  30. A book that came out the year you were born – (I might skip this one. I looked through a list of books that came out in 1994 but I’ve already read the ones that looked interesting to me. I don’t want to reread much this year or pick something that’s not already on my TBR that I’m also not as thrilled about as all the books already on my TBR. I might push myself to try something new from the 1994 list if this is my last obstacle to completing the list, but it’s not a high priority right now.)
  31. A book with bad reviews – (The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I’m not entirely sure who wrote this list, and I can see how it’s good to note that different readers have different opinions, but intentionally picking up a book with bad reviews seems like a bad idea. I’ve picked one with mixed reviews instead.)
  32. A trilogy – (The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo)
  33. A book from your childhood – (Not sure yet. I hate the idea of counting rereads towards a reading challenge, but my childhood is past so I can’t exactly add something new to that category. I’m not sure yet if I’ll skip this one, or choose something by an author that I liked as a child but didn’t read then. I might consider a reread toward the end of the year if I’m determined to fill this slot and haven’t found anything better yet.)
  34. A book with a love triangle – (Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, or another book from that trilogy if the love triangle seems most prominent in a different one.)
  35. A book set in the future – (Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
  36. A book set in high school – (All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven)
  37. A book with a color in the title – (The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons)
  38. A tear-inducing book – (Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys)
  39. A book with magic – (A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab)
  40. A graphic novel – (Not sure yet. I’ve only ever read one graphic novel and I did enjoy it, so I’d like to read more, but I have no idea what I might want to pick up next. I don’t have any graphic novels on my TBR right now, so this is a low priority prompt, but maybe toward the end of the year I’ll try to pick something up. Otherwise I might bend the prompt a little to include an illustrated book that’s already on my TBR.)
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before – (The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. To make this count, I’ll read this one before Everything, Everything, which is higher on this list.)
  42. A book you own but have never read – (The Rose and the Dagger by Rene Ahdieh)
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown – (Not sure yet. No book exists that takes place in my hometown, as far as I’ve been able to find, so I might pick something that takes place in my state. Again, low priority because there aren’t any on my TBR at the moment. Maybe toward the end of the year, or maybe I’ll skip this one.)
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language – (The Illiad by Homer)
  45. A book set during Christmas – (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials – (Not sure yet. I don’t think there’s any E. D. authors on my TBR right now, and no specific book springs to mind for this prompt. I might skip this one if I can’t find anything promising, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know!)
  47. A play – (Not sure yet. Does Hamilton: The Revolution count for this one? That one’s been recommended to me but I’m not entirely sure what it is yet. I’m also considering a few Shakespeare plays I’ve been meaning to read for years (Hamlet and Macbeth). I’m sure I can fill this prompt easily, I’m just undecided on what I’ll choose for it.)
  48. A banned book – (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is a reread, but I’ll count it because I’m rereading it with the intention of reading Go Set a Watchman directly after, which is not a reread, although I don’t think it counts for this prompt. I’ll probably put something else here if I end up reading a banned book that’s not a reread.)
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show – (City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare)
  50. A book you started but never finished – (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

My stats so far:

6/50 books completed.

9/50 I’m not sure yet what to fulfill the category with.

I’m not going to update this post as I go, because I’m sure it will change as my actual reading of 2017 replaces my ideal reading and I want to be able to look back at where I started when the end of the year rolls around. Instead, I’ll link below a few (three) update posts that I’ll blog throughout the year to keep track of my progress, if you’re interested in following my challenge.

Have you read any of these books? Are you taking part in any reading challenges this year? Do you have any suggestions for me about which books I should prioritize or how to fill the categories I’m still unsure about? Please let me know in the comments below!


The Literary Elephant



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