Challenge Update

How did I do with the reading challenges I undertook this year? Here’s a round-up of my progress, or lack thereof, along with my intentions for next year.

I always do well with the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge, perhaps because I set a reasonable goal for myself (one discussion per month), and so far I haven’t run out of ideas! Here are the topics I discussed this year:


With the Back to the Classics challenge, I fell short of reading from all twelve of Karen’s categories, but I certainly enjoyed what I did read. I made it to nine (earning two entries in the challenge giveaway) and am currently reading one more book which would count for pre-1800 (Don Quixote). I hope to finish DQ by the end of the year, but don’t think I’ll be able to post a review by then. Here are the categories and what I read:


I challenged myself to read the New York Times list of Six Books To Understand Trump’s Win, and am super impressed that I did it! You can find my reviews of these titles, plus Dark Money (which in my opinion belonged on that list), in my Trying to Understand posts.


Now, Mount TBR! I started out strong and on target with my goal of 60 books, but floundered in the middle and gave up. Next year I’m going to deal with this goal differently, given that I seem to have the most energy for it in the first months of the year. I did read 34 books from my list and am working my darnedest to finish #35, the aforementioned Don Quixote, which is actually a pretty impressive result.

  1. The Blackthorn Key – Kevin Sands
  2. Bronze and Sunflower – Cao Wenxuan
  3. Carry On, Mister Bowditch – Jean Latham
  4. The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz – John Crowley
  5. The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin
  6. Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan
  7. Everyone Belongs to God – Christoph Blumhardt
  8. Excellent Women – Barbara Pym
  9. A Fugue in Time – Rumer Godden
  10. The Gilded Chalet – Padraig Rooney
  11. The Goose Girl – Shannon Hale
  12. Hell and High Water – Tanya Landman
  13. I Was a Stranger – John Haskett
  14. It Ends with Revelations – Dodie Smith
  15. The King Must Die – Mary Renault
  16. Life at Blandings – P.G. Wodehouse
  17. The Little Grey Men – B.B.
  18. Mansfield Park Revisited – Joan Aiken
  19. Midnight Is a Place -Joan Aiken
  20. A Month in the Country – J. L. Carr
  21. The Morning Gift – Eva Ibbotson
  22. My Cousin Rachel – Daphne Du Maurier
  23. One Half from the East – Nadia Hashimi
  24. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
  25. Season of Migration to the North – Tayeb Salih
  26. Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death – James Runcie
  27. Smoky-House – Elizabeth Goudge
  28. Sophie Someone – Hayley Long
  29. The Spirit Within Us – Evelyn Capel
  30. Towers in the Mist – Elizabeth Goudge
  31. Troy Chimneys – Margaret Kennedy
  32. The Transcendental Murder – Jane Langton
  33. Why on Earth? – Signe Schaefer
  34. Wild Strawberries – Angela Thirkell


With Lark’s Backlist Reader Challenge, I read only one book out of my goal of ten (An Unnecessary Woman). Oh, plus I read The Little Grey Men aloud to my son. I like the idea of this challenge but I just had too many balls in the air at once.

I’ve already summarized my results from the Around the World project. I’m pleased with my progress on this one, perhaps because I had no particular goal for the year to meet or fall short of. A lesson for the future?

With that in mind, a challenge of mine for 2018 is going to be taking on fewer challenges. (Famous last words, right?)

I’m going to carry on with the Classics Club, but not do Back to the Classics. I’m going to continue Reading All Around the World, but not have a particular target for Mount TBR. My Backlist Reading will have to take a back seat for now too.

The Book Blogger Discussion Challenge isn’t really a reading challenge, and I love having discussions on my blog so it’s something I would do anyway. The linkups provided by the challenge hosts are a great help for connecting with other bloggers, and to me that’s the main point of the exercise.

One new challenge I do want to take on is the Chapter-a-day Les Miserables readalong. I just can’t resist the idea of reading a chapter a day of a single book for an entire year. Will it be too slow for me? Will I lose momentum? Or will it make the book feel more like part of my life than reading usually does? I can’t wait to find out!

What challenges have you undertaken this year, and how do you feel about them? What are you excited about for next year?

20 thoughts on “Challenge Update

  1. Not only is this an impressive tally, Lory — from one who said she was going to blog a little less this year! Or maybe it’s because you blogged less this year! — but I’ve also really enjoyed your insightful reviews, thoughtful discussions and entertaining posts.

    I hope it’s a compliment to say that I take your blog’s presentation and style as a role model of what can be achieved, and that I always eagerly anticipate the next post to come.

    Roll on 2018, a year in which we might — if real justice was on our side — look forward to with rather more hope than this time last year.


    1. Uh, right, I did say that, didn’t I? I believe it was a little bit less, but I keep getting pulled back because I enjoy it so. And what’s wrong with that?

      I do appreciate your compliments so very much, and in return I also appreciate having gotten to know you through your own blog musings and your kind contributions to my events. I think this mutual respect and understanding is a greater force than we know, even in such a seemingly marginal field as book blogging.

      Here’s to 2018, in which I hope such understanding may continue to grow and spread!


  2. Even if you haven’t completed all of your challenges you’ve done great. Hey and if you can finish Don Quixote that’s fantastic! I’ve tried to read that book twice and can’t finish it. One day! Here’s to a great year ahead!


    1. Thanks Iliana! I am making headway in Don Quixote, and I really like this translation by Edith Grossman. If you’ve tried something else in the past you might give hers a try.


  3. What a great collection of books! You have certainly had a very successful reading year. I haven’t yet tallied up my own efforts to whittle down my TBR pile, but if I manage 35 books I’ll be extremely pleased with myself.


  4. Wow, all told I think you accomplished a lot! Especially impressive are the “Six Books to Understand Trump’s win.” I admire your gumption.

    The Les Miserable read along is very tempting! I have never read a book this way but would like to try it.


  5. This year I completed my Classics Club list and the What’s in a Name 2017 challenge, as well as taking part in the shorter, seasonal events: 10 Books of Summer and R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII. Next year I am looking forward to taking part in What’s in a Name again and I am considering making another Classics Club list.. maybe 😛 Good luck with your challenges next year! 🙂


    1. Congrats on completing the Classics Club, that’s amazing! Having gotten over the halfway mark myself I’m already thinking about what’s next…


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