Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 Reading Challenges

Welcome in a new blogging year – my fifth already! It goes without saying that on the coming fifty-two Fridays you can look forward to many reviews of gorgeous books from the pens of famous and forgotten authors, half male and half female. During the past couple of weeks I made a long (not yet complete) list of reads to present to you and that I hope will meet your tastes too, not just mine. In addition, I picked a few new annual reading challenges to participate in that should make 2017 an even more diverse reading year than usual. Instead of making a sign-up post for each one of the five new ones, I decided to just write the following summary with links to the respective lists that will go online by and by. Moreover, I include an up-date for the ongoing reading challenges.

The first challenge fitted so perfectly into my plans that I just had to sign up for it! It’s the Epistolary Reading Challenge 2017 hosted by Jamie Ghione of Whatever I Think Of and it calls “to read books written in the form of letters, diaries, blogs, e-mails and such, either completely or partially written this way”. For me and my two book blogs (Edith’s Miscellany and Lagraziana’s Kalliopeion) I’m narrowing this down to exclusively letter-based novels and on the occasion of the Month of Letters coming up in February I’m going to expand past year’s 29 Book Suggestions for the Month of Letters to a list of 100 Novels in Letters. Of course, I’ll read only some of them this year, maybe seven or eight.

»»» check out my list of 100 Novels in Letters, i.e. my long longlist of epistolary fiction for everybody's inspiration.

Another challenge that caught my attention is called What’s In A Name 2017 and it’s hosted by Charlie of The Worm Hole. Books eligible for this challenge need to fit one of six categories, i.e. they must have a number in numbers, a building, an ‘X’, a compass direction, an item/items of cutlery, or an alliteration of initial letters in the titles. ‘Cutlery’ turned out to be a hard nut to crack for someone like me who doesn’t particularly like crime stories (there must be heaps of them with knives in the title!), but I’m sure that by the end of the year I’ll have come across a suitable novel that the host hasn’t thought of. Too bad that I already read a book by Xinran because her novel Miss Chopsticks would have been an unexpected match... on the other hand, chopsticks aren't cutlery in the strict sense, are they? They are only the East Asian equivalent of cutlery.

»»» see my List of Twice Six Books of actual reads and Nobel suggestions for this challenge.

The Back to the Classics 2017 reading challenge hosted by Karen K. of Books and Chocolate is actually a second time for me. I already participated in 2015 and skipped 2016 because among the twelve categories given there were too many that I didn’t like. This year the categories are more in my line – and here I am again! Apart from the usual 19th-century and 20th-century classic, the classic written by a woman and the classic in translation, participants should read a classic from before 1800, a romance classic, a Gothic or horror classic, a classic with a number in the title, an “animal classic”, a “yearned-for-place” classic, an award-winning classic, and a Russian classic. I don’t think that I’ll go for all twelve categories this time, but who knows?

»»» have a look at the list with My Dozen of Classics for this challenge.

Also the bilingual Women Challenge #5 hosted by Valentina of peek-a-booK! like every year isn't new to me. Because I like to spread knowledge about women who more or less successfully made their way in the world of literature, I participated already in the past two editions and contributed twenty-four and twenty-six reviews respectively to them (»»» see my summary posts with the book lists of 2015 Women Challenge #3 and 2016 Women Challenge #4). This year I don't have any special reading plans as regards the works of female authors although as usual I'll see to it that half of the books that I'm going to read for the other challenges will be from the pens of women. However, I won't try to get together another Alphabet of Women Writers. Sorry if you have been hoping for this!

»»» see this year's list of Books Written By Women to stay up-to-date about my reads for this challenge.

As for Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks hosted by Robin of My Two Blessings on a special blog, I just finished past year’s edition (»»» see my summary post with the complete list of books reviewed in 2016 for inspiration). Of course, for me it isn’t much of a challenge really because I’m writing weekly reviews anyways, and yet, I decided to sign up again. After all, there are some interesting mini challenges like the Birthstone Bookology Reading adventure,the Dusty Mini challenge, the Chunky Mini Challenge, the Well-educated Mind, or the 52 Books Bingo. There's also a readalong of The Story of Western Science by Susan Wise Bauer, but I don't intend to join it. Not really my cup of tea! Neither the book, nor the readalong.

»»» go to my post Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks: My 2017 List to follow my progress.

Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge 10 closes at the end of January and from my list of eight only the review of one classic from the pen of a female Japanese writer who is virtually unknown in our parts of the world is still pending, namely the first and only volume available in English translation of Sumii Sué’s masterpiece The River With No Bridge. I already finished it and I can assure you that it’s a wonderful novel set in Japan of the early twentieth century! The reviews of the other seven books that I had planned to read for this challenge have already gone online between June and December.

»»» see my summary post of the Japanese Literature Challenge 10 with the complete review list.

For the Decade Challenge of the GOODREADS Bookcrossers Group that started in September 2016 and will end only on 31 August 2017, I’ll go on reading a book per month and writing the review here on Edith’s Miscellany cross-publishing a short version of it on GOODREADS. So far, I contributed four books in four languages from four decades to this challenge, but the entire first half of the twentieth century is still awaiting bookish exploration like the 1970s, the 1980s and the 2010s as well. As you will see, I took great care to put also some less widely-read, if not forgotten gems of world literature on my list. And of course, I hope that you'll appreciate my choice of books.

»»» read my post Twelve Decades, Twelve Languages – Twelve Books! with the complete list of my planned and completed reads.

Unsurprisingly, I also continue my constant strive to Read the Nobels for my own pleasure and for the perpetual challenge that Aloi aka the Guiltless Reader launched in 2007 on a blog dedicated exclusively to the works of en-NOBEL-ed writers. This year I’ll surely manage to add to my list another six reviews of books penned by authors who received the Nobel Prize in Literature. And several duplicates of past year’s reviews will go online on Read the Nobels in the coming months. It would be nice, though, if others followed my example and helped make the blog a comprehensive collection of Nobel reviews not to be found anywhere else on the internet.

»»» see my post for Read the Nobels with the complete list of winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the links to my own book reviews here on Edith's Miscellany and on Lagraziana’s Kalliopeion.

To my shame and my regret, I quite neglected my personal reading special about The Great War in Literature during the past year and long before. Well, war stories seldom qualify as “fun reads” unless they are satires or comedies. For 2017 I haven’t scheduled any books for this special in particular, but maybe it turns out that there is something suitable on my list after all. We'll see.

»»» see The Great War post with the book list.

In a nutshell: I’ll be writing heaps of reviews of interesting books for you in 2017. Keep dropping by regularly, so you won’t miss anything!


  1. This all sounds great! I won't miss anything!

    1. Let's see if you'll still say the same by the end of the year! I hope so.

  2. You've got some fabulous challenges lined up here. I can't wait to see what you come up with for cutlery!

    1. I can't wait to see myself! So far, I haven't been particularly lucky in my research.

  3. Enjoy your challenges, Edith! If you've not read it (or even if you have - re-reading is fine) Our Spoons Came From Woolworths is a 'cutlery' title that's not mystery/crime.

    1. Thanks, Charlie! I might really have to resort to Our Spoons Came From Woolworths although I'd prefer to find something else - for me the search is half the fun in a reading challenge! Unfortunately, cutlery is really difficult. I thought I had something, but then I found out that the "fork" in the title didn't refer to the item of cutlery after all...


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