Reading challenges

I’ve been thinking about reading challenges. Not just possible future 52 Books challenges for myself, but reading challenges in general.

A reading challenge is a good way to get some focus into your reading if you feel you don't know what to read next, you want to expand your reading horizons, become an expert on a given subject, or break out of a bad reader's block. Hunting down the books can be half the fun if you assign yourself a specific set of books and they turn out to be out of print or otherwise hard to find.

Different challenges suit different people. Some may do a modest book-a-week challenge for one year or plan to read all of a specific author’s books, while others may be more ambitious and embark on a lifetime reading plan of every book mentioned in Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon. Some may want to cover every number in the Dewey catalogue. Including the fractions would be a bit too much for most, but by taking whole numbers only you would get 999 books and many years of targeted reading.

Here is a list of more possible reading challenges:
*All the books that have won a specific literary award, for example the Pulitzer, the Nobel, the Booker, the Golden Dagger, etc. Here's a listof some literary awards.
*The 100 best novels or non-fiction books of the 20th century.
*An A-Z challenge: read, in alphabetical order, books whose author’s last (or first) name begins with a given letter of the alphabet, or read books with ABC titles.
*One book from or about every country in the world, a chosen continent, or the states of the USA.
*Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
*Books about setting world records.
*Books that have been banned or challenged.
*The books that formed the foundations of a specific genre, for example science fiction or mystery.
*Every book in a given series, for example Star Trek, The Cat Who... or Discworld.
*One book from each year of the 20th century.
*The top best-sellers from a given period of time.
* Or you can do an unfocused challenge, like I did in my first 52 books challenge. The only rules were that I could not read the same author twice, rereads were only allowed if I had forgotten what the book was about, each book had to belong to a different sub-genre than the last, and I would try to read as many new genres as possible.

Edit: Readers, if you have suggestions for interesting reading challenges, I would like to see them. Post ideas or links in comments.

I have received one suggestion so far - read the comments to see what Tim had to say.


tim said…
Hi how about a challenge to read only books by dead authors? A character in Murakami's "Norwegian Wood" only read books by authors who had been dead at least thirty years.One of his reasons being that "if you only read the books that everyone else is reading,you can only think what everyone else is thinking.Thats the world of hicks and slobs"...
Bibliophile said…
That's an interesting one, and gives a wide range to choose from. Thanks for the suggestion, Tim

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