At-Least-3 Reading Challenge for 2012

Castle reads. Oh yeah.

Welcome to Deep-Fried Friday! Today’s topic involves fiction.

One of my fabulous Christmas gifts was a book journal from my mother, in which I can record what I have read and my thoughts on each book. When I saw blog posts from others listing their favorite books of 2011, I realized that I don’t remember what I read last year. Yes, I recall some titles, but I don’t know all of them. And my memory gets worse and worse every year with children.

With my new tool in hand (yeah, book journal!), I am ready for a new year of reading and keeping track. Or am I? Do I even know which novels I want to pick up in 2012?

I read about Jess Witkins’ To Be Read Pile Challenge on Jenny Hansen’s blog – a throw-down-the-glove challenge to read 12 books in 2012 which have been sitting on your TBR list for way too long. A great idea. Then I discovered A Novel Challenge – a whole blog dedicated to suggesting reading challenges, along with some cool prizes for some of them. I perused these choices as well.

But based on what I want to accomplish, I’m developing my own reading challenge, which may be best called My At-Least-3 Reading Challenge. I resolve to read at least three titles from each of the following categories in 2012.

Classics – from the following list:

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Hunger Games - read that one.

Young Adult Bestsellers

Books from 2009-2012 which topped the Amazon or NY Times bestsellers list.

Indie or Self-Published Books

I haven’t read enough of these, and there are some great authors out there. I’m leaving it open for what genre I’ll read among the indie and self-pubbed titles.

Mystery Masters

There are several mystery icons whose works I haven’t read. In developing my list, I relied somewhat on K.B. Owen’s blog to enlighten me on what I should be reading. Among the titles I’m considering are:

Of course Sherlock reads.

The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason) by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Fer de Lance (Nero Wolfe) by Rex Stout
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes) by Arthur Conan Doyle
I, the Jury (Mike Hammer) by Mickey Spillane
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
The Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

Fiction Powerhouses – titles from at least 3 of the following authors who top the bestselling authors ever list (and whom I’ve never read):

Mary Higgins Clark
Jackie Collins
Michael Crichton
Roald Dahl
Dean Koontz
Louis L’Amour
James Michener
James Patterson
Nora Roberts
Danielle Steel

Not My Usual Genre

Don’t we tend to read certain genres far more than others? Hand me a young adult novel, a cozy mystery, or paranormal fantasy, and I’m all over it. Romance? Not usually. Science fiction? Rarely. Horror? Never.

But there are some terrific reads in other genres, and I surprised myself by enjoying several in 2011. I would like to stretch myself and read more.

I do have the standing caveat that any novel I start gets 50 pages to engage me. If I don’t care one bit what happens to the characters after 50 pages, I hurl set aside the book and pick up another. At this point in my life, I’ve decided that there are far too many great books that I could be enjoying to waste time finishing one I don’t care about. Sometimes, the reason is that the book is poorly written, but far more often it simply isn’t my cup of tea. No criticism to the author; just not a match of writer and reader.

So what’s on your list of to be read novels in 2012? Have you taken on any reading challenges for the new year?

36 thoughts on “At-Least-3 Reading Challenge for 2012

  1. Funny – my daughter gave me a journal for Christmas and I decided to list all the movies I see in 2012 with my comments and opinions. Working out nicely, as I get a lot of movies through Netflix.

  2. As I Lay Dying is one of my favorite classics. I haven’t read it in years, but I still remember it sticking with me in high school for days. That said, I have to be in a certain mood to read very far outside my comfort genre. There are so many great mysteries, thrillers, and suspense books I haven’t read – and need to – that I hate to step too far away from them, lol. Classics, especially, because they’re written in such a different style and take a whole different mind set, at least for me.

    I love your challenge and lists – good luck!

  3. Great idea, Julie, though I’m not sure I could pull it off because when I try to “make” myself read a book, invariably my mind shuts down and balks at every page. So, I read what I like to read and change it up a little with some WF, romance, mystery, and contemporary fiction and I feel well-rounded.

    1. I don’t mind making myself read a book. I don’t like someone else telling me what to read. Recommendations are great, demands (school reads) not so much. Have a great reading year, Patti!

  4. Wonderful idea and your lists are impressive. I have about 21 books in my TBR Kindle pile right now. Most of them are books of fellow bloggers so they are my priority to whip through before I buy new ones. LOL!! What I love is the variety – YA, paranormal, thriller, mystery, women’s fiction etc. It’ll be a fun year.
    LOVE the idea of a book journal to keep an idea of what you read and what you thought about it. I might just have to borrom that idea!! Woot woot!

    1. Is it less overwhelming when you “pile” is on an ereader and doesn’t look like the Tower of Pisa next to your bed? I agree that there are some fab books by fellow bloggers; I hope I can get to them all sometime, Natalie. Enjoy the reading!

  5. I like this idea, but I don’t think I could slog through most of those classics other than Slaughterhouse Five (loved it), GWTW, and Atlas Shrugged. But if I could quit if I still didn’t like it after 50 pages, much more doable. Most of the best books I read last year were indies, so hopefully you’ll discover some wonderful new authors!

  6. Good luck on your reading list! I’m like Stacy. Classics tend to be once in a blue moon books for me because of the difference in style and subject matter. I don’t know what I want to read this year.

    I am on my library’s kindle waiting list for Sue Grafton’s new book. I am looking forward to that. I’d also like to re-read a few of my Stephen King favorites. And I’d like to read Horns by Joe Hill. Perhaps I’ll try out a few more Daniel Woodrell novels. And I’ll definitely read some Joe R. Lansdale. That might last me through the end of February. LOL

    1. I’m going to check out the authors you mentioned. I’m betting some of the ones you suggest would qualify for the Not My Usual Genre category, but I trust your recommendations. Thanks, Catie!

  7. Great idea. I love your take on the traditional reading challenge. I’m doing one with my mom’s group and everyone made yearly goals. I want to read 100 this year (which is CRAZY-town). But between reading craft books, YA books, indie books, etc. I think I came pretty darn close last year.

    Good luck with your goals!

    1. I have no idea how many books I read in a year, and I’m eager to see how many I log in the journal. I hadn’t thought about logging my nonfiction reads. I should do that too! Thanks, Erin. Best wishes with your 100 goal!

  8. Golly, I’ve got so many books I want to read. I know I will be reading the books I’ve listed on my blog post here: Along with some others. The book I’m reading right now is Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. That will be in the mix. If I finish those, I will definitely hit up some books on my GoodReads account. I love words. Wish I had more time to devour them. 🙂

    1. I need to figure Goodreads out. I just joined a few weeks ago, and I haven’t gleaned all of its wonder yet. I’m sure there are some marvelous recommendations from others on the site. Good luck with your 2012 Plan, Julia! Thanks for sharing your link.

  9. What a great plan! I liked The Count of Monte Cristo, and Roald Dahl a lot! I just joined goodreads, it’s been fun reviewing books I’d forgotten I’d read and marking new ones for my to be read list.

    1. I’ve seen Roald Dahl movies, but never read the books. I actually hated the Willy Wonka movie, so I think I’ve avoided his novels. But I think it’s time I picked one up and gave it a go! See you on Goodreads, Alica!

  10. Julie, you are going to be transported to all kinds of wonderful worlds! Enjoy your reading year!

    I always read a “classic” every year…this year I’ve downlosed “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton, selected because she has a Newport connection. I have read 2 pages so far. But I have a whole year to finish it so no rush. Not sure if you are aware of the Guttenburg Project but volunteers have painstakingly typed up may classics and uploaded…for free… the eversions. And thus proves the adage, the best things in life are FREE!

    I also joined a book club last fall that pushes me to read oustide my comfort zone. It’s been great.

    But I still am my happiest when I have a mystery in my hands.

    Happy 2012 to you!

    1. I’d heard of the Guttenberg site, Jayne, but hadn’t been there. Thanks for the link! Like you, my book club pushes me outside my comfort zone at times AND I’m happiest with a mystery in my hands. 🙂

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