2022 Reading Challenge discussion

ARCHIVE 2018 > Sara's Adventure thru Literature 2018

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Pillsonista (new)

Pillsonista | 13 comments Pillsonista's (Sara's) 2018 Annual & On-Going Challenge(s)

I'm aiming to read at least 60 individual works this calendar year, because my TBR shelf (and really, at this point, it's shelves plural) is so out of control that I almost don't know where to begin. I joined this group to help me start making some kind of progress for this very reason, and I'll list the rest of the challenges that I'm participating in as I go along, plus a couple that I've just make up.

I'm still undecided as to whether or not I should partially combine my 2018 personal challenge with the other specific challenges that I'll be participating in as well. Probably it will become inevitable, if only for the sake of convenience, but for now it will remain a separate entity.

message 2: by Pillsonista (last edited Jan 01, 2018 11:15AM) (new)

Pillsonista | 13 comments Personal Challenge: 60+

Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018

As a general guideline I'm going to try, on average, to read one work of fiction, one work of non-fiction (which could include anything from essay collections and travelogues to anthologies and almanacs and everything in between), a short story collection, and a volume of poetry each month to try to achieve my reading goal of at least 60 books this year.

Since this selection is guaranteed to undergo radical change throughout the year, I'm only going to list the books that I intend to read for each specific month when the time comes. There's no point in creating a catalog of at least 60 books if it's going to be completely different this time next week.

(Usually when I attempt to discipline to my reading habits, it lasts maybe about 48 hours. But it's always worth another try, if only because every other time has ended in abject failure.)

The City Builder - George Konrád
The Collapse of the Third Republic - William L. Shirer
Making Certain It Goes On: The Collected Poems - Richard Hugo
Randall Jarrell's Book of Stories - Ed. Randall Jarrell

message 5: by Pillsonista (last edited Jan 01, 2018 01:12PM) (new)

Pillsonista | 13 comments Annual(?): Shakespeare Challenge

Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018 (?)

I'm adding a bit of a personal twist and I'm going to attempt to read the Bard's works in chronological order (including the Sonnets and longer poems).

During the time period that Shakespeare wrote the four High Tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth), he also wrote several of the so-call "problem plays", like Measure, and he would go on to write such masterpieces like Coriolanus and The Tempest, but he would never write an "out-and-out" comedy, such as Twelfth Night, ever again. I want to try to understand why that was, beyond what can simply be inferred or suspected by a cursory knowledge of the tragedies.

I'm going to attempt to read one play a week, but that is only tentative at best and I will list the completion dates as I go. And for the sake of coherence, I will read the plays of Henry VI in their intended order rather than chronologically.

So onto the list:

Henry VI, Part II (1590-91)
Henry VI, Part III (1590-91)
Henry VI, Part I (1591-92)
The Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint (1592)
Richard III (1592-93)
The Comedy of Errors (1592-93)
Venus and Adonis (1593)
Titus Andronicus (1593-94)
The Taming of the Shrew (1593-94)
The Rape of Lucrece (1594)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594-95)
Love's Labour's Lost (1594-95)
Romeo and Juliet (1594-95)
Richard II (1595-96)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-96)
King John (1596-97)
The Merchant of Venice (1596-97)
Henry IV, Part I (1597-98)
Henry IV, Part II (1597-98)
Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99)
Henry V (1598-99)
The Passionate Pilgrim (1599)
Julius Caesar (1599-1600)
As You Like It (1599-1600)
Twelfth Night (1599-1600)
Hamlet (1600-01)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-01)
The Phoenix and Turtle (1601)
Troilus and Cressida (1601-02)
All's Well That Ends Well (1602-03)
Measure for Mearsure (1604-05)
Othello (1604-05)
King Lear (1605-06)
Macbeth (1605-06)
Antony and Cleopatra (1606-07)
Coriolanus (1607-08)
Timon of Athens (1607-08)
Pericles (1608-09)
Cymbeline (1609-10)
The Winter's Tale (1610-11)
The Tempest (1611-12)
Henry VIII (1612-13)
The Two Noble Kinsmen (1612-13)

message 6: by Pillsonista (last edited Jan 27, 2018 04:00AM) (new)

Pillsonista | 13 comments Personal/Annual(?): 30 For 30 National Book Award Challenge

Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018 (?)

This is both a list challenge and birthday challenge whose title I plagiarized after watching an episode of ESPN's wonderful 30 For 30 series of sports documentaries.

Here I hope to read at least one National Book Award winner or nominee (shortlist or longlist) for each of the 30 years that preceded and followed the year of my birth (1983). It can be of any type (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, criticism, translation, etc.) or genre. But it can only be one work per annum, so if I read the 1985 winner/nominee for fiction, then that would preclude reading any of the other nominees for non-fiction that year, at least in regard for this specific challenge.

1952: Selected Poems - Muriel Rukeyser
1953: Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
1954: The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow
1955: The Collected Poems - Wallace Stevens
1956: The Shield of Achilles - W.H. Auden
1957: Things of This World - Richard Wilbur
1958: A Death in the Family - James Agee
1959: The Civil War, Vol. I: Fort Sumter to Perryville - Shelby Foote
1960: James Joyce - Richard Ellmann
1961: A Separate Peace - John Knowles
1962: The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
1963: Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
1964: The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
1965: Herzog - Saul Bellow
1966: The (Diblos) Notebook - James Merrill
1967: The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture - David Brion Davis
1968: Light Around the Body - Robert Bly
1969: Lost in the Funhouse - John Barth
1970: The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford - Jean Stafford
1971: Bech: A Book - John Updike
1972: The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor - Flannery O'Connor
1973: Augustus - John Williams
1974: The Lime Works - Thomas Bernhard, tr. Sophie Wilkins
1975: The Selected Poems - Osip Mandelstam, tr. Clarence Brown & W.S. Merwin
1976: The Great War and Modern Memory - Paul Fussell
1977: The World of Our Fathers - Irving Howe
1978: The Public Burning - Robert Coover
1979: The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever
1980: The Gnostic Gospels - Elaine Pagels
1981: The Executioner's Song - Norman Mailer
1982: The Transit of Venus - Shirley Hazzard


1984: The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka - Ernst Pawel
1985: White Noise - Don DeLillo
1986: Arctic Dreams - Barry Lopez
1987: The Making of the Atom Bomb - Richard Rhodes
1988: The Enlightenment: An Interpretation - Peter Gay
1989: Spartina - John Casey
1990: The House of Morgan: An American Banking and the Rise of Modern Finance - Ron Chernow
1991: Mating - Norman Rush
1992: Lincoln at Gettysburg - Garry Wills
1993: Garbage - A.R. Ammons
1994: In Pharoah's Army: Memories of the Lost War - Tobias Wolff
1995: Sabbath's Theater - Philip Roth
1996: Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer - Steven Millhauser
1997: The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade - Thomas Lynch
1998: Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human - Harold Bloom
1999: Waiting - Ha Jin
2000: The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach - Alice Kaplan
2001: Look at Me - Jennifer Egan
2002: The Heaven of Mercury - Brad Watson
2003: Gulag: A History - Anne Applebaum
2004: Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories - Joan Silber
2005: Europe Central - William T. Vollmann
2006: Eat the Document - Dana Spiotta
2007: Tree of Smoke - Denis Johnson
2008: The End - Salvatore Scibona
2009: Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
2010: Great House - Nicole Krauss
2011: Binocular Vision - Edith Pearlman
2012: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity - Katherine Boo
2013: The Good Lord Bird - James McBride
2014: All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

message 7: by Pillsonista (last edited Jan 02, 2018 09:23AM) (new)

Pillsonista | 13 comments On-Going Personal Super Challenge: Bloom or Bust, Part I

Jan. 1, 2018 - ?

This is not really a reading challenge. Or perhaps it would be better to call it a reading supra-challenge, because it's doubtful that I'll be able to finish this list before I cease to be. But the point is the journey, not the finish (which, in this case, is impossible).

I'm going to attempt to read as many of the writers and works listed in the appendices of Harold Bloom's The Western Canon (1995). This is neither a tacit nor explicit endorsement of the book's hypothesis or the selections listed at the back. But it is a good general overview of the books in my TBR shelves, and therefore, hopefully, an effective way of keeping track of the books that I have read and those I haven't.

But because of its sheer enormity, all of my other challenges will feed into this one and I'm going to divide this post along the same lines that Bloom uses in an attempt to keep it at a manageable size.

Ancient Near East
The Epic of Gilgamesh (tr. Herbert Mason)
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
The King James Bible & Apocrypha
The Sayings of the Fathers

Ancient India (Sanskrit)

Ancient Greece
Homer - The Iliad, tr. Robert Fagles; The Odessey, tr. Robert Fitzgerald
Hesiod - Theogony; Works and Days
Sappho ; Alkman ; Archilochos
Pindar - The Odes
Aeschylus - The Oresteia; Prometheus Bound; The Persians; Seven Against Thebes; The Suppliants
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; Electra; Ajax; Women of Trachis; Philoctetes


message 8: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Pillsonista wrote: "Personal Challenge: 60+

Jan. 1, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018


Wishing you the best of luck with your goal Pillsonista & a very happy reading year!!

back to top