Let the reading commence!

I had a profoundly, delightfully lazy New Year’s Day today. A little bit of puttering around, a little napping, a little bit of jigsaw puzzling, a little TV.

A LOT of reading. And a lot of spreadsheet-y getting organized for this year’s reading challenge. Which, since today is the first day of said challenge, it kind of makes sense that I should cough up my list tonight.

A soft focus shot, looking over the shoulder of a white, female-presenting human at the Kindle she is reading.

But first, some context. As I did 2 years ago, I’m focusing on the Goodreads community-driven challenge called Around the Year in 52 Books as my main reading challenge. Also similar to 2 years ago, I’ve created a master plan that cross-counts some of my ATY books against the annual challenge categories from PopSugar and from Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge.

What is DISsimilar from 2019 is how I’m not going to put any active effort into those other two challenge lists until I have a sense of how things are going with ATY. I mean, if I read a book that I’ve cross-counted for categories, I’ll mark off the relevant row in the other list(s): I’m not that single-focused! But I’m not even really committing myself to those other challenges until I make some good progress on the main one.

Especially since the prospect of Ed-doctor-school could blow all my fantasies of recreational reading out of the water….

I’m also mixing it up by putting all the prompts into a mason jar so I’ll be drawing them out at random.* And then I’ll toss completed prompts into a second mason jar because brightly colored slips of paper in a glass jar are just so darn pretty.

Two mason jars sitting side by side. The one on the left is labelled "Prompt Randomizer" and contains many small bits of folded paper. The one on the right is labelled "Completed Prompts" and has one slip of paper in it.

And now, without further ado (or stalling) is the list of challenge prompts and my choices for them all.

  1. A book related to “In the Beginning…” — The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  2. A book by an author whose name doesn’t contain the letters A, T or Y — All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
  3. A book related to the lyrics for the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music — Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  4. A book with a monochromatic cover — The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  5. A book by an author on USA Today’s list of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read — The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. A love story — Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  7. A book that fits a prompt suggestion that didn’t make the final list (Tony-winning musical) — Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship by L.M. Elliott
  8. A book set in a state, province, or country you have never visited — Shakespeare in Swahililand: In Search of a Global Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  9. A book you associate with a specific season or time of year — American Cozy: Hygge-Inspired Ways to Create Comfort Happiness by Stephanie Pedersen
  10. A book with a female villain or criminal — The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  11. A book to celebrate The Grand Egyptian Museum — 
  12. A book eligible for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation — Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson
  13. A book written by an author of one of your best reads of 2020 — Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  14. A book set in a made-up place — First Test by Tamora Pierce
  15. A book that features siblings as the main characters — The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  16. A book with a building in the title — The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  17. A book with a Muslim character or author — Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
  18. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 1 — Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley
  19. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 2 — Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson
  20. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 3 — Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
  21. A book whose title and author both contain the letter “u” — The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  22. A book posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month threads — I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  23. A cross genre novel — Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  24. A book about racism or race relations — Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  25. A book set on an island — Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
  26. A short book (<210 pages) by a new-to-you author — Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins
  27. A book with a character who can be found in a deck of cards — Page by Tamora Pierce
  28. A book connected to ice — The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  29. A book that you consider comfort reading — Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  30. A long book — Ulysses by James Joyce
  31. A book by an author whose career spanned more than 21 years — The Fire Next Timeby James Baldwin
  32. A book whose cover shows more than 2 people — Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems by Alice Walker
  33. A collection of short stories, essays, or poetry — Disability Visibility : First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century ed. by Alice Wong
  34. A book with a travel theme — Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
  35. A book set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer — The Lotus and the Stormby Lan Cao
  36. A book with six or more words in the title — We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  37. A book from the Are You Well Read in World Literature list — Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaardner
  38. A book related to a word given by a random word generator (theater) — Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
  39. A book involving an immigrant — I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  40. A book with flowers or greenery on the cover — The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  41. A book by a new-to-you BIPOC author — The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love With Me by Keah Brown
  42. A mystery or thriller — Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  43. A book with elements of magic — Granted by John David Anderson
  44. A book whose title contains a negative — I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones
  45. A book related to a codeword from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet — The Paper Magician by Charlie M. Holmberg
  46. A winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards — Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
  47. A non-fiction book other than biography, autobiography or memoir — Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
  48. A book that might cause someone to react “You read what?!?” — Does This Mean You’ll See Me Naked?: A Funeral Director Reflects on 30 Years of Serving the Living and the Deceased by Robert D. Webster
  49. A book with an ensemble cast — Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
  50. A book published in 2021
  51. A book whose title refers to person(s) without giving their name — Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
  52. A book related to “the end” — They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I’ve chosen exclusively books that I already owned—with the exception of the Beowulf translation I put on my Christmas list,** and the Tove Jansson letters collection that I might just treat myself to.

There’s also 2 categories that are still up in the air. One is completely logical: I haven’t paid enough attention to what’s being published in 2021 to know what I’ll choose for that criterion. The other—celebrating The Grand Egyptian Museum—is giving me an inexplicable bit of choosers block. (King Tut flashbacks or something.) I have a few possibilities in my personal library, so I’ll just make the final call once I draw that prompt from the jar.

So that’s the plan!


* Two exceptions here. The first prompt on the list is “In the beginning…” so I HAD to start with that as my first read of the year. There’s also a category about a book I associate with a particular season or time of year. And I’ve chosen another hygge-themed book for that, so I’m going to make sure I read that the next time we have snow on the ground.

** And received. Yay Mr. Mezzo!!


Image credits:

5 thoughts on “Let the reading commence!

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