More Reading Challenges for 2011!

What is your reading challenge for the new year? My fellow former English major, Deborah, is using a BBC list of 100 books for her 52-books-in-a-year goal, and Dana Huff is sponsoring the "Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't" challenge. I think I'm going to combine Deborah's approach of using the BBC list with Dana's challenge to read a set number of books that I think I should have read in school. Considering the ambitiousness of my other reading and writing goals, I'm going to strive for the lowest level of Dana's challenge, which is to read two of these books sometime between now and the end of next year.

I've gone through the BBC list to determine which books I haven't read (or finished) and have chosen a handful that qualify as books I feel I should have read by now. As an aside, I couldn't find this list anywhere on the Internet except as the meme that bloggers and Facebook users are doing, so I don't know how "official" it is, or if it's even been compiled by the BBC. It's a lovely list, though, because I've read a lot of the books and can thus feel learned, literary, and oh-so-smart. Ha.)

Anyway, here are the finalists:

1. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (Actually, I think I might have read this before. But, since I can't remember anything about it, I'm including it in the "haven't read" list.)

2. Complete Works of Shakespeare (I actually read quite a bit of Shakespeare in school; that tends to happen when you're an English major! But I've only read about 65% of the plays, so there's (happily) still more to read!)

3. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (All former English majors have that one major literary work that they're embarrassed to admit they haven't read. For me, it's The Great Gatsby. Shh ... don't tell!)

4. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

5. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

6. Animal Farm - George Orwell

7. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

8. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I've tried to read this one several times and am thankful that no teacher ever required me to read it. I can't get past the first 100 pages. It's definitely not on my list to read in 2011, or any other year!)

9. Dracula - Bram Stoker

10. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (This one's been on my nightstand for ... a long, long time. I think this will definitely be one of the two "should-have-read-by-now" books that I finally read in 2011.)

So, my goal in this little reading challenge will be to read (or finish) two of the nine books listed above. (Well, ten books are listed, but Moby Dick doesn't count.) I'm thinking those two books are going to be Madame Bovary and The Great Gatsby, unless I can be convinced otherwise (or decide to fly through Animal Farm or a Shakespeare play one night when I can't sleep).

Suggestions? Recommendations? Warnings? Let me know!


I've read the Great Gatsby about three times. It's one of my favorites. I also love the Douglas Adams books -- truly hysterical.
The Dahmens said…
There are sooo many books I should have read in high school! My plan is to wait until my kiddos are in high school and read with them! HA HA! But maybe I should start sooner!
Anya said…
oh,my votes are for "Gatsby" and "Hitch Hiker's", too! Love those!
The dB family said…
Sounds good to me! I'm definitely planning to read The Great Gatsby too. We can compare thoughts. You know, I thought of looking up the BBC list on Google, and I'm not surprised that it's not there. That's fb for you! I'm going to go look up the other link too. I'm a little overwhelmed right now with all the books I want to/need to/should read. I'm not too sure how many of the 100 list I'll get done when I see how many other ones are on my burgeoning shelves that I haven't read yet.

Happy reading!
Nina said…
OK, Gatsby is definitely on the list, and maybe I'll replace Madame Bovary with Hitchhiker's Guide. Thanks, all, for your input. Deborah, I would love to compare notes on Gatsby, and any other of the same books we happen to read this year!
Glenda Funk said…
"The Great Gatsby" is one of my favorite books. After reading it, I recommend "Netherland." It's a recent rewrite/response to Gatsby.

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