“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
I loved the motivation of a Reading Challenge last year, so I’m joining Modern Mrs. Darcy again in 2018! This year MMD is offering a printable kit to go along with the challenge, including a couple different ways to track your reading, plan ahead, and even an “I’d rather by reading” illustration for your phone lockscreen (a good reminder to open the Kindle app instead of social media!). Get the free kit here!
Just like last year, I took a look at the list and have some initial thoughts on the books I want to read for each category, but I’m sure the titles will change throughout the year. Some titles came to mind immediately, some I’ll leave open to fate, and some I found by googling “best fill in the blank books” and browsing the listicles (not a bad way to spend an hour on the internet!).
I’ll share my progress throughout 2018, and I’d be thrilled if you decide to play along too!
Without further ado, here are the books I’m planning to read in 2018:
A classic you’ve been meaning to read
I’ve had Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier on my eBook shelf for a while, and I keep hearing that it’s a thrilling gothic novel that doesn’t feel dated at all.
I also have Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh on my actual bookshelf, with one of those modernized illustrated covers that I’m not exactly sure I like, but I’ve heard enough people rhapsodize about the prose of the book and the epicness of the 1981 miniseries that I want to give it a chance.
A book recommended by someone with great taste
Obviously, I had to ask my friend Sommer for another recommendation, since she introduced me to the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy for the 2017 reading challenge and she’s always sending me great recs. She sent me a list (the day before she had a baby!) and I’m leaning toward The Book Thief but they all sound compelling for different reasons.
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Book #1 in the Chaos Walking series)
- Feed by Mira Grant (Book #1 of the Newsflesh trilogy). I’m usually anti-zombie but Sommer’s description has me so intrigued: Bloggers in a post-zombie apocalypse world.
- Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A book in translation
When I googled “books in translation” I stumbled upon this list by none other than the MMD blog, which I always trust. The Time in Between by Maria Duenas (translated by Daniel Hahn) jumped out at me because I know the Netflix series (I only made it halfway through the first season, mostly because I felt like I couldn’t multitask while watching since it’s in subtitles, but it’s really good!). I know a little of the story from the show and it combines a few of my favorite buzzwords: WWII, fashion, and secret codes.
A book nominated for an award in 2018
I try to read the Newbery award winner each year, which will be announced in February, so I’ll keep an eye out for that. I don’t usually pay much attention to literary awards, but I’ll be on the lookout for others too.
A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
This is a stretch for me! I’ll keep this category open if something comes up, but after hearing it mentioned on a recent episode of the Literary Disco podcast, my initial thought is to reread Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I remember loving the zany poems in elementary school but I have a feeling it will be an entirely different experience to read it as an adult!
A book you can read in a day
I found Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill on a Buzzfeed list and it has great reviews online, so I’m intrigued! This category is also a great candidate for rereading a favorite like Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff or Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott.
A book that’s more than 500 pages
A quick glance at my bookshelves (plus my Kindle app and Audible account) reveals a few choices… I think I’m leaning toward the Anthony Doerr book since it’s been sitting on Sam’s bedside table for the past year.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (531 pages)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (704 pages)
The Golfinch by Donna Tartt (771 pages)
11/22/63 by Stephen King (849 pages)
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (931 pages)
A book by a favorite author
I know just the book for this category! I’m a big fan of L.M. Montgomery, so when I heard about After Many Years, a collection of “long lost” short stories, I pre-ordered it right away. I’ve read all her other short story collections, so it will be fun to read more, especially since this edition has annotations.
I’m also hoping that Robert Gilbraith (AKA JK Rowling) will release another Cormoran Strike mystery in 2018 for this category!
A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller
Sounds like a good excuse to visit a local bookstore! I visited Parnassus Books for my birthday last year, so maybe I’ll make that an annual tradition. There’s also a new bookstore in Nashville called Her Bookshop that I’d love to visit too.
A banned book
I need to do more research for this category – after a cursory search online, there weren’t any books that stood out to me as a good example. So many books that were banned a long time ago (or even recently) are favorites of mine that don’t seem remotely shocking. I’m sure a good list will pop up around Banned Book Week, and in the meantime l’ll keep thinking about this one!
A memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction
I’m never at a loss for memoirs, but both my parents recently listened to the audiobook version of Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood and recommended it, so it seems like a winner for this category!
A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own
Another book that’s been sitting on Sam’s bedside table is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it seems like a good place to start for this category. I’ve also heard The Mothers by Britt Bennett is a powerful read. I’d like to read more than one book in this category throughout the year to stretch outside my comfort zone.
Let me know if I missed any great books that would fit into the challenge. I’m excited to start reading!
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