Announcing the 2013 “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge

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For the past two years, I have hosted reading challenges dedicated to a specific author. It gave me the little bit of push I needed to read more of their work. Even though the response by other bloggers wasn’t huge, I enjoyed the challenges and read more deeply from authors I wanted to read in the first place.

The past couple of months, I have been thinking about all the books I’ve always meant to read. The list is extensive – and I’m sure many of you can relate! So, I decided that this year’s challenge is not going to be limited to one author. I’m going to challenge myself to read twelve books I’ve always meant to read, one each month of 2013. I’m hoping that some of you will want to read the same books, and thus each month will be like a read-along.

In order to get the most participation from you, my fellow readers, I’m going to give you a long list of books to vote on. You can join me for one book, two, five, or even all twelve! Simply leave your top five choices in the comments below. On December 28th, I’ll post the twelve titles that got the most votes, and a schedule of which books we’ll read each month.

I really meant to get this post up last month, so there would be longer to pick the books and be ready to start by January 1st, but I’m thinking that many of you probably have a lot of these books sitting on your to-read shelf, just like I do. Once I know the winning books, I will choose a short one for January, in case it takes some of us a week or so to get our hands on a copy.

Here are the books we’ll be choosing from:

Middlemarch by George Eliot
1984 by George Orwell
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Forever by Pete Hamill
The Local News by Miriam Gershow
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor

Again, leave your top five picks in the comments below. Once we have our titles and a schedule, I’ll post a challenge sign-up page that you can link your blog to. Happy reading!

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47 Responses to Announcing the 2013 “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge

  1. Gina, book dragon
    Twitter: bookdragonslair
    says:

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

  2. Carol in Oregon says:

    Oh man, Carrie, you PUSHED my buttons.

    My first response when I read the title of your post on Facebook—I actually muttered it to the air—was “all of William Shakespeare.”

    But when I read your list, it was as if you were living with me in my house. Middlemarch is one of my all-time favorites, a book with the best quotes. And Willa Cather is a win at any time, in any place. But I do have several on my shelves and I actually checked out Cold Comfort Farm from the library last week to have for that delicious week of reading after Christmas.

    Here are my hearty, now-I’m-determined-to-read-them-whether-you-pick-them-or-not votes:

    1. Flannery!
    2. Cold Comfort
    3. Remains
    4. Catcher
    5. Faulkner

    This is a splendid book challenge, Carrie!

  3. Simmy says:

    Of all the reading challenges I’ve heard about so far, this sounds the most exciting because I tried restricting myself this year to reading books based on location i.e.. Scandinavia/Middle East but it felt too wide open with limitless possibilities.

    Based on the fact that I have read a few of the titles on the list already, the ones I haven’t read but would like to are:
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    The Local News by Miriam Gershow

  4. Helen
    Twitter: hcstringer
    says:

    I’d just like to mention that Cold Comfort Farm is one of my favourite books. Laugh out loud hilarious. Stella Gibbons wrote it after working at a “women’s magazine” in the ’30s – a job that required her to read hundreds of overwrought romance stories. Whenever I see some couple in public going at it like bunnies, I always think, “Ah, the sukebind must be in bloom.” She also put asterisks next to the paragraphs she thought were best written “to save the critics time.” Haha!

  5. I thought it was funny that you posted this today given my own post about the Classics I want to read. :-) I don’t know that I want to commit outright to reading any particular book (although I am going to tackle War and Peace this coming year) from the list, but I may join in depending on the reading schedule.

    My five picks would be

    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Local News by Miriam Gershow

    The Historian is one of my favorite novels! And I adored The Woman in White. Pillars of the Earth was also really good.

  6. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    Awesome challenge!! Hummmm. I wasn’t going to sign up for any except my own this year. But I like the sound of this.

  7. Ange says:

    Here are my choices.
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
    Thanks for inspiring me to hit my TBR list/pile/bookshelf……

  8. Susan says:

    1) My Antonia
    2) Grapes of Wrath
    3) Bleak House
    4) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    5) Forever

  9. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    Count me in for The Grapes of Wrath and Forever.

  10. Michelle says:

    Great, great list! I’ve read most of them, and any that you pick are going to be SO worth your while. Have fun!

  11. Darlene says:

    Great list! My top 5 picks are:

    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    My Antonia by Willa Cather

  12. Brittanie says:

    This looks interesting. I took a brake from most challenges last year because I got burned out. Some of my TBR is on this list though and I like the concept. :)
    My top five would be:
    Bleak House
    1984
    Complete Stories
    Catcher in the Rye
    Cold Comfort Farm

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Brittanie – I can so relate to burning out on reading challenges! I don’t do nearly as many as I used to.

  13. Elisabeth says:

    Middlemarch
    The Woman In White
    Pillars of the Earth

    Happy Holidays!

  14. Eve says:

    1984 by George Orwell
    Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

  15. Kailana says:

    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    1984 by George Orwell
    Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: Joannainbxl
    says:

    I wouldn’t do all 12 but I hope to join you for a few. My votes are here:

    Love in the time of cholera
    The historian
    Pillars of the earth
    The woman in white
    1984

  17. Kristen says:

    I read some of those this year, but still have more of them, so thanks for the push to get on with it.

    My votes:
    Middlemarch
    1984
    Bleak House
    As I Lay Dying
    Angle of Repose

  18. lcooper says:

    Angle of Repose
    As I Lay Dying
    Bleak House
    Cold Comfort Farm
    My Antonia

  19. Ann Marie says:

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

  20. Laura @ I'm Booking It
    Twitter: bookingit
    says:

    Great idea!

    I’d be interested in joining you for
    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
    The Local News by Miriam Gershow

    We’ll see how the timing works out, but this could be fun!

  21. Mona says:

    My five picks will be:
    Middlemarch, by George Eliot
    Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
    Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
    The Complete Stories, by Flannery O’Connor

  22. Sandra
    Twitter: Fresh_Ink_Books
    says:

    I’ve read a number of those on the list so I have to vote for those not read yet:
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
    An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    My Antonia by Willa Cather
    Forever by Pete Hamill

  23. Angel of Repose Bleak House As I Lay Dying Woman In White The Historian

  24. kellie says:

    A tree grows in brooklyn
    Grapes of wrath
    Catcher in the rye
    the woman. In white
    Forever