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?

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