Announcing the Wendell Berry Reading Challenge 2011

Every once in a while, I discover an author whose work simply takes my breath away. Wendell Berry is one of those authors. He is prolific and versatile, writing novels, short fiction, poetry, and essays. His work makes me think, makes me cry, makes me laugh – and changes me. He is an author that I want people to know about, and so I decided to host a challenge designed to introduce more people to his work.

Berry is probably best known for his Port William novels, including Hannah Coulter and Jayber Crow and many others. I was introduced to the Port William characters in his collection of short fiction, That Distant Land, which, to this day, remains one of my favorite short story collections of all time.

His poetry is equally wonderful, and his essays are brilliant and deep and I usually have to read them twice to fully comprehend what he’s trying to say. His writing – fiction, non-fiction, and poetry alike – centers on family, community, and our ties to the land. His writing makes me ache for a simpler way of life. For a great reference on Wendell Berry, including a complete list of his published works, check out this site.

Here’s a list of his titles that are still in print and available for purchase new:

Andy Catlett
Hannah Coulter
Jayber Crow
The Memory of Old Jack
Nathan Coulter
A Place on Earth
That Distant Land: Collected Stories
A World Lost

The Mad Farmer Poems
A Timbered Choir
Collected Poems: 1957-1982

What Are People For?
Another Turn of the Crank
The Art of the Commonplace
Citizenship Papers
A Continuous Harmony
Home Economics
Life Is a Miracle
The Long-Legged House
Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community
Standing by Words
The Unforeseen Wilderness
The Unsettling of America
The Way of Ignorance

For those of you interested in joining me in the challenge, here are the details:

~ The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

~ Any books read for this challenge can also apply to other challenges you are working on.

~ Re-reads are allowed.

~ Choose your commitment level:

Dangling your toes: 2 books
Getting your feet wet: 3 books
Wading on in: 4 books, including one essay or poetry collection
Diving headfirst: 6 books, including one essay or poetry collection

~ Write up a post indicating that you are participating (feel free to copy the lovely graphic at the top of this post), and then add your challenge post’s link to the Mr. Linky on the main challenge page.

~ You don’t have to list your books ahead of time – just have fun reading throughout the year.

~ I will put up a page for the challenge in my left sidebar, and add a Mr. Linky for reviews and wrap-up posts.

Join here:

Special thanks to Kevin for the challenge button he designed for me. 🙂

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10 Responses to Announcing the Wendell Berry Reading Challenge 2011

  1. Tom says:

    You mean to say “The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.” Right?

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Tom – oops, that’s exactly what I meant! Thanks for pointing it out to me. 🙂

  2. Word Lily
    Twitter: Wordlily

    I’m really tempted by this, but I don’t own the one (out of print) Berry that I need to read for my personal perpetual challenge. Oh, and I don’t own any other Berry, either. :p Still pondering, though …

  3. Kathleen says:

    I must admit that I have never heard of this author. I look forward to reading more about him and his work!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathleen – I don’t think a lot of people have heard of Berry – that’s one of the reasons I wanted to host the challenge.

  4. Eric says:

    May I submit to you my 2010 list? I’m new to Mr. Berry, but I quickly found myself in the headfirst category.

    Andy Catlett
    Jayber Crow
    Hannah Coulter
    The Wild Birds
    Watch With Me
    A World Lost

    A Timbered Choir

    The Gift of Good Land

    I commit myself for 2011, it could be another Headfirst year. There are a few of his books at home that I’ve yet to get to!

  5. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Eric – that’s a great list! Glad you’re joining us for the challenge.

  6. Pingback: Books and Movies’ Wendell Berry défi de lecteur 2011…J’y serai là | unmotalafois

  7. Pingback: Book Review: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry | BOOKS AND MOVIES