Each year, I set reading goals for myself, but usually not very specific i.e. 25 books, which I blow through in a few months of binge-reading. But I don’t say in advance “these 25 books”, as my goal is usually “more”, to make time for reading. And then I do, with a binge mentality.
A year ago, I read through a whack of Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton novels. Somewhere around 60 I think, in about three months. Just plowed through them. Binge reading. One of the downsides to an e-reader is that I finish one and immediately start on the next in the series. Narnia, Artemis Fowl, Spenser, Kinsey, all grist for the reading mill.
Yet I have also wanted to “improve” my reading selections, with some from a long list of award winners or books recommended by friends, or even just great classics. I read Dracula that way, merely because I had never read it before and it’s such a classic tale that has survived in countless forms. This year, while perusing some other reading challenges, I decided I would be VERY specific as to what I was going to read, up to and including the exact books or series I would finish.
With at least one per author whose last names start with each letter of the alphabet. And my Alphabet Reading Challenge is now set. For most letters, I had numerous to choose from. In other cases, only one or two (hello Q!). The final list includes:
- award winners from Time Magazine, Guardian, etc., all of whom regular compile “best of” lists;
- recommendations from friends when I started making my list;
- category award winners like mystery writers for Edgars, Shamus, and Agathas; and,
- national awards like Man Booker, Governor General, Pulitzers, etc.
Which means the final list for this year is a bit eclectic with a broad mix of titles to keep it interesting. Some of them I’ve even read before, but it’s been a long time, so I’m going to read them again.
- Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin
- Lawrence Block – Writing the Novel: From plot to print to pixel
- Paulo Coelho – O Alquimista (The Alchemist)
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment
- Marian Engel – Bear
- William Faulkner – The Sound and the Fury
- Diana Gabaldon – Outlander series
- William H. Hallahan – Catch Me, Kill Me
- Kazuo Ishiguro – The Remains of the Day
- Donald Jack – Three Cheers for Me
- Stuart Kaminsky – A Cold Red Sunrise
- Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 100 Years of Solitude
- Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita
- George Orwell – 1984
- Terry Pratchett – Discworld
- Paul Quarrington – Whale Music
- J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter series
- J.D. Salinger – Catcher in the Rye
- Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace
- John Updike – Rabbit series
- Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez – The Dirty Girls Social Club
- E. B. White – Charlotte’s Web
- Lu Xun – Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
- Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road
- Carlos Ruiz Zafón – Shadow of the Wind
By my rough count, that’s actually about 51 books when you include the series. Not sure I can do all of them this year, but I’m sure going to try.