Monday, January 16, 2017

Dread & Read Challenge 2017

Are you a list reader? Are there some books on your list that you just can't seem to get around to reading? 

This challenge sweetens the deal for list readers who have books they’d rather not read–but have to finish to accomplish their goal of reading all the books on their list.

You know who you are. And I am one of you.

Face your dread! Name the book(s) you’re going to knock off this year and what kind of treat you’d like when you’re finished. Get reading, then say when you’re done. Not only will we celebrate with you, I’ll send you a surprise.

Kudos and thanks to amira_a for his awesome photo of  "Moses" by Nizzan Joel Avidor, which I've used for this challenge.


You’re determined to read all the books on a list, whether it’s the Pulitzers or the 100 Best Novels–but now that you’ve done your research, you realize you’re going to have to read some books you'd never choose otherwise. Maybe a review turned you off, or you had a bad experience with one of the writer’s other books, or the subject matter is something that repels you. Those book are sinking to the bottom of the list, and you’re dreading them, right?

This challenge encourages you to move past the avoidance by adding a sweetener. Dread steals the joy out of things, doesn’t it? You’ll feel better when you face up to that book you’re not looking forward to. Trust me on this.

Join in by leaving a comment and/or a link to your sign-up post.


1. Join anytime between now and April 1, 2017. The challenge ends at midnight EST on December 31, 2017.

2. Books MUST come from your TBR pile (otherwise, how would you be dreading them?).

3. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed and encouraged.

4. Change your list at any time.

5. Include in your sign-up comment or post what kind of sweetener you’d like for each book read. What kind of treat would suit you most? Something book-related? Something sugary? Something practical? Or something indulgent? It won't be expensive, but I'll pick something I think you'll like.

6. Limit of 3 sweeteners per person.

7. Reviews and reactions are encouraged, but you don’t need a blog to participate.

8. All genres and formats are eligible. If it’s a book, it counts. But to qualify for a sweetener, it must be 100 pages or more.

9. Progress can be tracked at a “headquarters page” in the sidebar.

10. After you sign up, spread the word! A sign-up post on your own blog would be very nice. Feel free to borrow the button for display on your blog, also.


When you finish that dreaded book, shout your news to the heavens--or at least to the rafters of the Cafe. I'll put your sweetener in the mail promptly, while you're still basking in the glow of success.

What's not to like about that?

Sign up by leaving a message in the comments, with a link or your list, and don't forget to name the kind of reward(s) you're looking forward to.

See, that dread's better already!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Where Are You Reading? Challenge 2017

I'm not quite done yet with the challenges! I know I should stop. Someday I will. (This is how I feel about chocolate, too, by the way, while the house remains jam packed with Christmas goodies.) Meanwhile . . .

This fun locational challenge is hosted by The Book Dragon. The main idea is nice and simple: Read a book set in a location for each letter of the alphabet. You can see all the details and join the challenge at the Book Dragon's Lair.

I think it will be fun to track locations as I go along in my other challenges. Instead of making a list in advance, I'm going to let the locations unfold from the books I've already chosen to read this year, plus a few others from the TBR list, if I'm lucky.

How much of the alphabet will I cover, without even trying? Will there be lots of S locations and no E location? What in the world will I use for the letter X? Who knows? It should be fun and that's what matters.

Now, about that chocolate . . . .

Friday, January 13, 2017

The 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge 2017

How's that for some numbers? ('Tis the season to be ambitious, right?)

I read lots of non-fiction; it's a nice break from fiction, especially when I'm ready for some pictures and practical knowledge that can be taken (more or less) at face value. This 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge is my effort to capture those books in a meaningful way, and maybe clear out some of my TBR backlog in the process. If you're interested, the challenge includes a lot of mini challenges to keep things interesting (book bingo and whatnot), but I'll probably just keep my eyes on the goal.

For a while I was hot on the trail of a challenge that involved books supporting one's 2017 resolutions, but when I discovered it only ran through early February, I knew better than to apply that sort of pressure so early in the year! Even though it involved only 4 books . . . um, no thanks. (Saying "no" more often is one of my resolutions. Yay! I'm off to a good start.)

Still, I have lots of books that represent what I want to do/learn/improve upon this year, so here goes: a longer list in a longer time frame, with lots of room for future books to be added. They're a fairly even mix of long-term TBR books and merry-Christmas-to-me recent purchases. I'm still feeling ambitious!

1. May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World -  John Robbins
2. Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown - Pema Chödrön
3. The Art of Communicating - Thich Nhat Hanh
4. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy - Joanna Macy
5. Communing with Nature: A Guidebook for Enhancing Your Relationship with the Living Earth - John L. Swanson
6. Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do - Wallace J. Nichols
7. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds - Carmine Gallo
8. Earth Wisdom: A Heart-Warming Mixture of the Spiritual and the Practical - Glennie Kindred
9. Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations - Thomas L. Friedman
10. Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection - Jessica Prentice
11. Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease - Thomas Cowan, MD
12. Fit to Ride in 9 Weeks!: The Ultimate Exercise Plan: Achieve Straightness, Suppleness, and Stamina In the Saddle - Heather Sansom
13. How to Re-imagine the World: A Pocket Guide for Practical Visionaries - Anthony Weston
14. The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room by Room - Terah Kathryn Collins
15. Walking and Light Running - Dr. Klaus Bos
16. Water: The Element of Life - Theodor Schwenk and Wolfram Schwenk
17. Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate - George Lakoff
18. Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places - Peter Kageyama
19. Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture - Bill Pfeiffer
20. Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World - Scott Russell Sanders
21. Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility - James P. Carse
22. Hope, Human and Wild - Bill McKibben
23. - 52. To be determined!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reading Naturally Challenge 2017 - Progress & Reviews

Are you reading naturally this year, as part of the Reading Naturally Challenge? (Sign up here, if you're not in yet.)

Personally, I'm looking forward to the extra incentive to "get around to" the nature-related books on my shelves. How about you?

Please let me know how you're doing as the year goes on (reviews and reactions would be nice, even if just 1-2 sentences). I'll post your progress and congratulate you as quickly as possible.

Still plenty of time to sign up! 

Debbie at ExUrbanis: Exposed to Nature (1-3 books)

J.G. at Hotchpot Cafe (sign-up post coming soon) (host: not eligible for prizes)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Color Coded Reading Challenge 2017

Yes, I'm at it again!

I can meet the requirements of The Color Coded Reading Challenge almost entirely from my TBR shelves, so it feels like a win already.

Bev at My Reader's Block does a nice job with her challenges, so it's a no-brainer that I'd sign up for this one again. The rules are straightforward: Read 9 books from the color categories. Any shade of the color counts, whether it's in the title or on the cover. Bev mixes things up by allowing a color of choice (any shade) and a "color implied" category (meaning rainbow, plaid, or another color pattern or word).

I think the charm of this challenge comes from the broad simplicity of the rules. Not to mention that 9 is a nice do-able number!

Here's my list for 2017:

Blue: The Narrow Road to the Deep North - Richard Flanagan (Booker Prize)
Red: We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver (Orange Prize)
Yellow: A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James (Booker Prize)
Green: Rites of Passage - William Golding (Booker Prize)
Brown: The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson (Booker Prize)
Black: Life and Times of Michael K. - J.M. Coetzee (Booker Prize)
White: The Sellout - Paul Beatty (Booker Prize)
Choice (gray): Holiday - Stanley Middleton (Booker Prize)
Implied: Call of the Rainbow Warrior An Environmental Fable - Twyla Dell