I Need a New Challenge. . .

During the 6 years while I was back in grad school, the practice of reading challenges blossomed. Often I’d see a challenge that looked so interesting, but I just didn’t have time to participate.  I guess my doctoral program was itself a 6-year reading challenge.

Anyway, since I finally got my degree this past summer, I’m now ready to undertake a reading challenge. I’ve signed up for What’s in a Name 5, hosted by BethFishReads. Here’s her description of the challenge:

Here’s How It Works

Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, read one book in each of the following categories:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley
  2. A book with something you’d see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Ape House
  5. A book with something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah’s Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary
  6. A book with a something you’d find on a calendar in the title: Day of the Jackal, Elegy for April, Freaky Friday, Year of Magical Thinking

The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.

Other Things to Know

  • Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
  • Books may overlap other challenges.
  • Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.
  • You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  • You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.

I decided on this challenge because, as  I looked at the categories, I realized that I already had at least one book for almost every category on my TBR list.

Although the directions say that making up a list of books before hand is not necessary, I went ahead and did it anyway because it was so much fun to realize that I’ll actually have time to read these books now. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Topographical feature

  • In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • By the Lake by John McGahern
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood
  • Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
  • Master of the Delta by Thomas H. Cook
  • The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates

Something in the sky

  • The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Creepy crawly

  • Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters
  • The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Robert Cormier
  • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  • A Maggot by John Fowles

Type of house

  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Asylum by Patrick McGrath
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • The Keep by Jennifer Egan

Something you’d carry in your pocket

  • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
  • Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

Something on a calendar

  • In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
  • Blue Nights by Joan Didion
  • October 1964 by David Halberstam
  • Solstice by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

There are a few titles on this list that I’ve already read, but I’ve left them on in case other people are looking for books to fit a particular category. And some of the books that I have read before could stand a rereading.

I’m pretty well set in all the categories except “something you’d carry in a pocket, purse, or backpack,” so if you have any title suggestions for that one, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks to BethFishReads for hosting this challenge.

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