2017 Reading Challenge

I finally made a decision as to whether or not I want to participate in another reading challenge or just put together my own reading list for the year. *Drum roll please*…….I am going to participate in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenge! This will be my second year participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenges and I’m excited about it!

This year, there are two challenges that you can choose from OR you can do both. I will be doing the Reading for Growth Challenge. And I can fulfill my own personal reading goals for 2017 with this challenge as well! Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if I read at least some books for the Reading for Fun Challenge. 🙂

So without further ado, here’s my initial list of possibilities for the categories. These are just ideas of what I *might* read. I will be listing several options for some categories; that doesn’t mean I’ll be reading all of the ones listed. They are simply options. Also, I’m participating in a local book club this year so some of those books (that have yet to be determined) might fit some categories. 🙂


A Newberry Award Winner or Honor Book

  • A Wrinkle in Time  by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

A Book in Translation

  • And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

A Book That’s More than 600 Pages

  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A Book of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection

  • Robert Frost’s Poems
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder (a play)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (a play)

A Book of Any Genre that Addresses Current Events

  • Still to be determined

An Immigrant Story

  • Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes

A Book Published Before You Were Born

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Three Books by the Same Author

  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

A Book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks Author

  • The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
    In one of the comments on Anne’s (Modern Mrs. Darcy) post on her picks for the challenge, this was one of the books asked about if it would work for this category. Anne said she remembered that in her interview with the author, the author had said that one of the main characters was based on her own experiences as a child. So she said to go for it. So I’m choosing it for my pick for this category. I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile now.

A Book with an Unreliable Narrator or Ambiguous Ending

  • Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
  • The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

A Book Nominated for an Award in 2017

  • Still to be determined

A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson



Even though my focus for this year is the Reading for Growth Challenge, I have jotted down a few titles I’m interested in reading that would fit some categories in the Reading for Fun Challenge. I don’t know if I’ll get to these titles or not. We’ll see. 🙂

A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been But Would Like to Visit

  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

A Book You’ve Already Read

  • The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A Juicy Memoir

  • A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
  • Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

A Book About Books or Reading

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid

For me, this would be detective type/mystery novels. I might try to stretch myself in this area this year. Here’s a couple of titles I’m considering:

  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Favorite Father Brown Stories by G. K. Chesterton

A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste

  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow But Haven’t Read Yet

  • The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

A Book About a Topic or Subject You Already Love

Well, that would be books! LOL So since there’s already a category for this, I’ll put one of the titles here. 🙂

  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


My Top Favorite Reads of 2016

Do you find it hard to pick favorite books sometimes? That’s how it is for me with trying to pick favorites from the books I read this year. I enjoyed a lot of the books; so picking favorites is not an easy thing to do! But I can say there are definitely some that rise to top of the favorites list. So, today I’m going to share some of my top favorites. I give all these books five stars.

The Giver Series by Lois Lowry

Until this year, I had never read any books in the dystopian genre. Then I chose The Giver for one of the reading challenge categories and went on to read the entire series. Each book in the series was hard for me to put down. I thought that Lois Lowry did an excellent job of taking different characters and storylines in the different books and weaving them all together in sometimes very unexpected ways. My husband listened to the audiobooks for this series and we were able to discuss the books together. These books tackle some pretty weighty issues which can bring about some good discussion. Also, the first book of this series, The Giver, was made into a movie. I thought the movie was really good, even though it does differ from the book some.

The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

I can’t recommend this book enough. This was a re-read for me this year and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around as I did the first time I read it. This book illustrates the power of reading aloud and the power of books in general. You’ll find yourself drawn into the author’s world; sometimes you’ll be laughing …and sometimes you’ll be in tears. You’ll finish this book wanting to do your own reading streak. And if you don’t know what a reading streak is, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉


The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This is undoubtedly one of my top favorites of the children’s literature I read this year. The writing is engaging and creative. The main character, Milo, thinks everything is boring. But a trip in the Phantom Tollbooth changes that! The writing is clever and witty with characters such as Tock, the ticking watch dog whose body has a clock on it (pictured on the cover of the book), and places such as the Island of Conclusions which you get to by jumping. The author’s play on words and development of characters is altogether genius. My daughter loved it as well and read it in just a couple of days.


The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

I love to read books about books and/or reading. So when I read a description of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. Miss Prim, who loves literature, accepts a post of private librarian for a man who also loves books. Yet her employer seems, to Miss Prim, to be quite contrary. Miss Prim had no idea that taking this job would change her. The book is filled with interesting characters, references to books, and cups of hot tea. I found this to be a delightful read and would totally read it again. Although, I do wish there had been more to the ending. Or better yet…a sequel!


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I definitely have to include this on my list of favorites. This was such a fun read for me, especially after having seen some of the movie productions of this novel many, many times. Awhile back, I had tried to read Emma and ended up setting it aside because I just couldn’t get into the book (even though I love several of the movie productions). This was NOT the case with Pride and Prejudice. It was fun, engaging, and I read it in a matter of days. As I read it, I kept finding myself picturing various characters from the movies saying the lines. After having read Pride and Prejudice, I now want to try another Jane Austen novel and thus have it as one of my reading goals for 2017.

What were your favorite reads for 2016?

My Reading Goals for 2017

It’s that time of year when you start seeing people talk about reading challenges for 2017. Well, as you may know, my first attempt at participating in a reading challenge in 2015 did not go so well. I did read a number of books that year; but I ended up reading only ONE book that fit a category for the reading challenge I had chosen! Ha! So, last year I wanted to give a reading challenge another go. I opted for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge and it worked out much better for me. I felt like it was a more realistic plan since I read a lot of children’s books. Really, I read a wide variety of books in general. Anyway, as of my last post, I had completed all but two categories of the challenge. Since that post, I did complete one more category (and I’ve updated my reading challenge list to reflect that). Woohoo!


So, I’ve been mulling over ideas for what I might want to do for 2017. Do I want to try the Back to the Classics Challenge again after failing so miserably with it the first time in 2015? Do I want to go with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenge? Do I want to create my own challenge? I thought about coming up with a challenge myself for reading children’s literature. I also thought about just starting with a list like a Great Books list and work my way through the list of titles. It would not be a challenge based on completing it in a certain time frame. Rather, it would be a challenge based on reading through the list….however long it takes.

What to do, what to do….I can’t decide. I like that participating in the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Challenge helped stretch me a bit to read some titles I may not have otherwise read. Like epic poetry….not a big fan of epic poetry. Like The Count of Monte Cristo…I was so glad I read that. Like finally reading a Jane Austen novel after seeing so many movie productions of her books and loving many of them! Like reading some more contemporary fiction. Like reading a dystopian literature book for the first time and going on to read the whole series (The Giver Quartet).

So….here’s a couple of ideas I have in mind for 2017:

  • I’d like to read another Jane Austen book.
  • I’d like to read a Charles Dicken’s book. I read about half of David Copperfield several years ago and never finished it. I loved what I read though. So I would like to finish that at some point. But I’m thinking I might like to tackle A Tale of Two Cities.
  • I will be reading The Brothers Karamazov. I’ve seen it highly recommended a number of times.
  • And I would like to read The Hunger Games series.

Also, I will be participating in a local book club this year so I will have titles to read for that.

So given those goals, overall, the 2017 Back to the Classics Challenge might be doable……we’ll see. But I’m still considering Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Challenge too. I know I will be reading Children’s literature no matter what challenge I choose. 🙂

Are any of you participating in a reading challenge in 2017? Do you have any specific reading goals for the year? I’d love to hear about it! I’d love to know what books you have in mind to read in 2017.