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?

Backlist Reader Challenge

The Backlist Reader Challenge


Another challenge! Okay, I know I said I was going to post less in 2017 but I just had to get these set up first. Lark created the Backlist Reader Challenge to try to help us focus on those books that have been on our TBR lists for a while, and I certainly do have some of those.

I have some books left over from last year’s list of Ten Books I Want to Read in 2016 — I did read six of them, but these four are still left:

  • Excellent Daughters
  • The Sixth Extinction
  • Kindred
  • An Unnecessary Woman



I’m going to add another half-dozen children’s books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, to make up a new list of ten:

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker-Bradley
  • Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • The Little Grey Men by B.B.


Thanks, Lark for the incentive! However many of these I get to, I know I’ll enjoy the challenge.