Announcing the 2014 “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge – and vote for the challenge titles

This is the one challenge I am planning to host for 2014, because the 2013 edition has helped me to read some of those books that have been languishing on my to-read list forever. Hopefully, some of you will join me! Here’s how it works:

1. There will be one book for each month of the year, chosen by popular vote – with one exception. (See #2)
2. January’s book will be The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. This is the one book I wanted to make sure was on the challenge, and this way any of you who want to read along have almost a month to get your hands on a copy.
3. Each month, those of you who want to participate will read the month’s pick. My review will go up on the last day of the month, with a Mr. Linky to post your reviews. Or we can just have a really great discussion in the comments section. The idea isn’t to make this really formal or strict, but to get us to read some of those books that everyone tells us we should read.
4. You don’t have to read every single book. You can participate one month, two months, all twelve….whatever floats your boat.

I don’t have a gorgeous graphic like I usually do for my challenges, mainly because my husband is my graphic designer and he’s working over 60 hours a week at his full-time job these days, and so I didn’t want to add anything to his “honey-do” list. :) I will hopefully have one by the time I announce the winning titles.

Now, onto the choices. Here are the titles you will be choosing from. This time, the list is less heavy on the classics, and has more of a variety of genres.

Please leave a comment with your top five picks. I’ll leave this open for a couple weeks, and then will tally the votes and post the winners and the schedule.

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Local News by Miriam Gershow
Forever by Pete Hamill
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Watership Down by Richard Adams

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19 Responses to Announcing the 2014 “I’ve Always Meant to Read That Book!” Challenge – and vote for the challenge titles

  1. Anna says:

    So many good titles!
    But, if I had to choose… That’s my 5:
    — American Gods by Neil Gaiman;
    — Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke;
    — A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving;
    — The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon;
    — Watership Down by Richard Adams;

  2. I’ve read quite a lot of these titles – some great books! If An Equal Music is one of the books chosen I’ll try to join in, as I’ve had that book for a few years now. A friend gave it to me – she thought it was fantastic.

  3. Sheila (Book JOurney)
    Twitter: bookjourney
    says:

    Fun!
    Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    Watership Down by Richard Adams

  4. You have so many great titles on your list, several of which I have fond memories of reading, Carrie. If any of those make the list, I’ll be eager to read your thoughts on them. I know The Historian isn’t a favorite for many (too wordy), but I fell under it’s spell and loved every word. My husband would tell you one of his all time favorite books is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I really liked it as well. American Gods was my first Neil Gaiman book. And I just loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The perspective it was written from at the time was so unique. Angela’s Ashes was good as well. I’ve also read Catcher in the Rye, and liked it–that was so so long ago though! I don’t know if I am up to re-reading any of these titles, but I will look forward to the discussion if any of them are chosen.

    Of the other titles, the ones I haven’t read, you mention a few that are on my “Must Read” list. If they are chosen, I will try to join in and read them with you.
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

    I’m also really curious about State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. And although I can’t say I’m too excited about it, if you (or anyone else) twists my arm enough, I may even be willing to try Watership Down. LOL That one scares me though.

  5. Kailana says:

    Oh, fun! I am determined to get to some things this year… Here are my five choices but most of them work for me!

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    Small Island by Andrea Levy
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

    • Kailana says:

      um… I am on Amazon trying to find the Flannery O’Connor and it doesn’t seem to be showing up as an option… Do you have a link to where you got yours?

  6. I’m so unreliable on these challenges. Life has a way of getting in the way of reading. But count me in on Flannery. I’ve had the Complete Stories on my shelf too long, and have had too many reliable recommendations to read her.

    My votes for the others?
    Howard’s End
    A Prayer for Owen Meany
    A Passage to India
    An Equal Music (I’ve never read Vikram Seth…I considered A Suitable Boy, but 1K pages put me off at the moment in my life. But he’s another that comes highly recommended.)

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    I have 4 of these on my shelves and will join in if my time allows. I vote for Frankenstein, Accidental Tourist, Moonstone, State of Wonder. And for the 5th The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time because I’ve been wanting to read it.

  8. praythedorkaway says:

    1.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    2.Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    3.American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    4.The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    5.Forever by Pete Hamill
    :)

  9. irene says:

    American gods, Neil
    Prayer for Owen Meany
    Watership Down, would be my choices.

    I’ve already read quite a few of the titles. Looking forward to what actually gets chosen. Thanks.

  10. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    I love love love American Gods! My picks: American Gods, Forever, Prayer for Owen Meany, and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

  11. Kristen says:

    Lots of fun reading ahead.
    I vote for Moonstone, Passage to India, and Howard’s End.

  12. Belle Wong
    Twitter: msbookish
    says:

    Can I still vote even though I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be participating in the challenge? My picks would be:

    American Gods
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    The Historian
    A Passage to India
    Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

  13. Jen K says:

    This sounds like fun – I have read quite a few on here, but would definitely like to read along at least one or two of the months.
    My list:
    1. The Moonstone
    2. State of Wonder
    3. Watership Down

  14. Gina, book dragon
    Twitter: bookdragonslair
    says:

    Just in case I’m still in time. . .

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

  15. Vicki says:

    Sounds like a fun challenge~

    My picks:
    Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
    The Local News by Miriam Gershow
    The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

  16. Kelly says:

    I’d love to participate and I have two of these on my TBR shelf!

    Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger*
    A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood*
    Small Island by Andrea Levy
    Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

  17. Pingback: Reading Challenges: 2014 | A Step to the Side

  18. Kristi
    Twitter: kherbrand
    says:

    I hope you are still accepting votes for this one – I would choose –
    A Prayer for Owen Meany
    The Poisonwood Bible
    The Historian
    Catcher in the Rye
    American Gods