Reading Challenge from January 2015

It’s Mother’s Day here in France – so go ahead and indulge me.

Am totally smitten by a beautiful yet much unneeded book I ended up buying (myself, any excuse) in W H Smith on the rue de Rivoli just recently and quite by accident – it’s called “Literary Listography – My Reading Life in Books”, and it is a true thing of beauty (which as my own mother is fond of recalling, makes it a joy forever).  In it, there is space to write down your ‘Top 20 Beloved Books’, note ‘Fictional Characters I Would Not Get Along With’, indeedy, recall ‘Favourite Literary Lovebirds’, dream of ‘Fictional Characters I’d Go on a Date With’ (long list for that one), oh there’s no end it.

In its foreword, Lisa Nola comments : “So much of our own life story is shaped by what we read… Finishing the last page of a great book is bittersweet: it’s like saying goodbye to a good friend. You can live a myriad of lives, make a great deal of friends, and visit a great deal of places, if you read.” There are those, of course, who would contest that reading is living all too passively, but I think that’s a load of old bunkum, frankly – although am hardly likely to say the contrary, am I.

This book is actually far too pretty to deface by actually writing in it, so will no doubt content myself with flicking through it from time to time, admiring the outrageously good artwork by Holly Exley who has her own blogsite, oh to be that talented. Holly, if ever you read me, I will never be parted from your teacups biscuit tin from M&S. 

Completely unrelated to la Fête des Mères, but decidedly connected to self indulgence, daughter D set me a challenge and a half a while back. As someone who spends a lot of time on Tumblr (that’s her not me), she discovered a couple of brilliant film and book challenges that Mr/Mrs/Ms Soggy Warm Pockets (I jest not) posted on Popsugar Entertainment. It’s a whole new world out there.

Over the forthcoming months will attempt to continue ticking as many boxes as I can by updating this list as I get there. Nothing finished before January 2015 counts. Deadline to fill all the lines in: 31st December. Sure no-one will pick up le bâton to join me (suspect very few people as book obsessive), but you just never know, there are worse habits. Any excuse to fill in a list and tick boxes, basically.


  1. A book with more than 500 pages – We Are Not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas, 10/10, A FAVOURITE READ
  2. A (not-so) classic romance – “Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf, 9/10
  3. A book that became a movie – “The Dinner” by Herman Koch, 9/10
  4. A book published this year –  Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova, 9/10
  5. A book with a number in the title – Child 44” by Tom Rob Smith, 9/10
  6. A book written by someone under 30 – Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent, 10/10
  7. A book with non human characters – “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey, 10/10
  8. A funny book – Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life” by Nina Stibbe, 10/10
  9. A book by a female author – “Wake” by Amanda Hope, 8/10
  10. A mystery or thriller – “Cover Her Face” by P.D. James, 7/10
  11. A book with a one-word title – “December” by Elizabeth Winthrop, 8/10
  12. A book of short stories – The Thing Around Your Neck” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 9/10
  13. A book set in a different country – “Us” by David Nicholls, 9/10
  14. A non-fiction book – Daphne du Maurier” by Margaret Forster, 7/10
  15. A popular author’s first book – The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne” by Brian Moore, 8/10
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – The Mountain Story” by Lori Lansens, 7/10
  17. A book a friend recommended – Creating Room to Read” by John Wood, 8/10
  18. A Pulitzer prize-winning book – Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt, 10/10 
  19. A book based on a true story – Charlotte” by David Foenkinos, 8/10
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list – Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome, 7/10
  21. A book your mum loves – Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak, 7/10
  22. A book that scared you – The Undertaking” by Audrey Magee, 9/10
  23. A book more than 100 years old – Middlemarch” by George Eliot, 10/10, VERY FAVOURITE READ
  24. A book based entirely on its cover – The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton, 7/10
  25. A book someone was supposed to read in school but didn’t – “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James, 6/10
  26. A memoir – The Iceberg” by Marion Coutts, 8/10
  27. A book you can finish in a day – The Children Act” by Ian McEwan, 10/10
  28. A book with antonyms in the title – War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, 10/10
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit (properly) – L’Amica Geniale” / “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante, 10/10
  30. A book that came out the year you were born – “Girl with Green Eyes” by Edna O’Brien, 7/10
  31. A book with bad reviews when it was first published – Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence, 8/10
  32. A trilogy – Kent Haruf’s “Plainsong”, “Eventide” and “Benediction” (slight poetic licence taken), all 10/10
  33. A book from your childhood – Cider with Rosie” by Laurie Lee, 9/10
  34. A book with a love triangle  quadrangle really – “Far From the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, 9/10
  35. A book set in the future – Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, 10/10
  36. A book set in school – “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 9/10
  37. A book with a colour in the title – A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler, 9/10
  38. A book that made you cry – Do No Harm” by Henry Marsh, 10/10
  39. A book with magic – “Christmas Days” by Jeanette Winterson, 9/10
  40. A graphic novel – Persepolis 1 & 2” by Marjane Satrapi, 10/10
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before – The Bees” by Laline Paull, 5/10
  42. A book you own but have never read – The Go-Between” by L.P. Hartley, 10/10
  43. A book that takes place in your town (partly) – All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, 10/10
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language – The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, 5/10
  45. A book set during Christmas – “Eileen” by Ottessa Moshfegh, 9/10
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials (is maiden name cheating?) – “A Long Way down” by Nick Hornby, 7/10
  47. A play – “Huis Clos” by Jean-Paul Sartre, 10/10
  48. A banned book – “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck, 7/10
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV adaptation – “The Outcast” by Sadie Jones, 9/10
  50. A book you started but never finished – “Home” by Marilynne Robinson, 7/10
  51. (And this added because I couldn’t resist)  A book with a fictional character you’d not get along with – Lambert Nugent from The Gathering” by Anne Enright, 7/10.
  52. (Ditto)  A book with a fictional character you’d go out on a date with (only one allowed, sadly) – Patroclus from The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller, 9/10.

CHALLENGE – mission completed !

Images taken from here and here and here and here and here.
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13 Responses to Reading Challenge from January 2015

  1. bookblog27 says:

    Gosh!! Re: the book challenge – let me get this straight! a) you have to have actually read any book you list, b) they have to have been read this year (starting January 2015)?? Is that correct? If so and lawdy, lawdy, that is a mighty tall challenge … if only, if only, if only I did not have to work!! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • If only… confess I did spend a very pleasurable half an hour fitting titles of books I was very keen to read sooner rather than later to the list to try and squeeze them in (eg. for the book with more than 500 pages was torn between “Middlemarch” and “Mr Norrell”, until lo! and behold further down spotted the one that said “a book with magic” – aha… ).
      It’s going to keep me busy and away from useless time wasters over forthcoming months I hope, although I’ve definitely stuck my neck out declaring I want to try and do all 52 by the end of the year. And still at a loss as to who Number 52 is going to be. Can’t decide if it is a bit of fun or a sign of early onset. Nxx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. susan says:

    Like! I have printed out the list, and if I can tick enough from January I may carry on, but that is a hard challenge! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan, that puts the term “rising to the challenge” well and truly up there! Am intrigued to know what your bucket list will be. Hope you do decide to join me, would be fun even if we did have to move the goalposts slightly. Lateral thinking on some of those titles perfectly acceptable… Nicola x


  4. A book I read (and reread) in childhood: The Wheel on the School. I was obsessed with storks. I wonder if I would still love it. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak. x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kay says:

    I too have printed off the list – isn’t this why we read books – special meaning, memories, a friend loved it , we think we ought to read it, a need for something different – a great list – will take to book group to get us thinking ! X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kay, had such fun fiddling round trying to fit books on the To Read list to fit these categories, and now seen other blog sites with alternatives on the theme – agree so much that is all part of the joy of reading.
    If your book group doesn’t mind me adding their past book choices would love to add to a couple more lists over the summer…


  7. Sarah says:

    Wow, halfway already! That is phenomenal! Can I borrow your tardis when you’re finished with it please? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Sarah – you can knit in the tardis, I’ll read aloud! Nicolax


  9. tomthesnail says:

    Brilliant idea 😀 TTS

    Liked by 1 person

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