A Reading Challenge List for 2020

Well, I wasn\’t going to join in any challenges this year but I changed my mind. I have a range of books I\’d really like to read which includes classics, non-fiction (I\’ve been a bit slack with these in recent years), and unusual for me, I\’d like to tackle some modern titles, my \’uncomfortable\’ reads.
I also have some \’slow cooker\’ reads that will probably take me all year to get finished. They\’re either whoppers, need to be read methodically and lingered over, or are books that are designed to be read at certain times of the year or over the course of a year. The books below are what I\’m planning to read slowly:
War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy 

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year, edited by Allie Esiri

At The Still Point, compiled by Sarah Arthur

God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis; compiled in 1970

I decided to go with this new Classic Book Challenge at The Broken Spine:
These are the Challenge Prompts I\’d like to use with some ideas of what I might read:
* Read a classic over 500 pagesWar & Peace by Leo Tolstoy

* Read a classic that takes place in a country other than where you live

* Read a classic in translation
–  The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy  

* Read a classic by a new to you author – ? Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

* Read a book of poetry – Robert Burns

* Read a classic written between 1800-1860 – ? something by Elizabeth Gaskell

* Read a classic written by a woman – The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett   

* Read a classic novella – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 

* Read a classic nonfiction – ? something by C.S. Lewis or A.W. Tozer




See Book\’d Out for details of this Non-Fiction Challenge. Here are some books I\’d like to read:

H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (1974)

Atomic Habits by James Clear (2018)

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (2019)

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang (2019)

The Story of My Boyhood & Youth by John Muir (1913)

A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (1925)

The Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari (c. 1568)

Modern fiction I\’d like to read this year:

Lila by Marilynne Robinson (2014) 

5th February – Updated to add this challenge which I\’ve done for the past five years. I haven\’t decided on the books yet but I\’d like to include some of these:

* The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy

* Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

* Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen

* The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Thought by Mikhail Nesterov (1900)

15 thoughts on “A Reading Challenge List for 2020

  1. Great ideas. I have God in the Dock, and I have read some of the articles or essays in it.I like your prompts and the different categories you chose for yourself. Cheers to a good reading year!


  2. The classic book challenge sounds like fun. Good luck with War and Peace! And Portrait of a Lady by James is one of my favorite books. Of course, not everybody loves Henry James like I do. 🙂


  3. i'd recommend Benjamin Disraeli for the 1800-60 one… i think he's a good writer, anyway… a lot of heavy-weights there: good luck with Henry J. in particular; he's sort of oily – the words kind of slide out w/o a person noticing: hard to pin down the sense…


  4. So glad you'll be doing this.By Hardy, I would recommend Tess, if you haven't read it yet.The last classic nonfiction I read was The Book of Tea (1906). I talked about it here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2020/01/12/sunday-post-20-1-12-2020/ It was really fascinating.H is for Hawk was wonderful – I actually listened to it.I'm not doing this challenge, but I'm part of the Classics Club. You basically make a list of 50 classics you want to read and you have 5 years to do so. And you make your next list when you are done. There's more obviously going on on the site: https://theclassicsclubblog.wordpress.com/


  5. I love a list of books! And you have some good ones here. I particularly am impressed by your NF list. That is one of the areas where I am most challenged as a reader. I think I associate nonfiction with \”boring\” or \”difficult\” and yet when I do get around to reading it, it is usually anything but. H is for Hawk has been on my TBR for ages. Bill Bryson has been a delight every time I've read him, though I've not read your choice. Have you read the other two books by Robinson that come before Lila? I have to read that as well, having enjoyed both Gilead and Home.


  6. Shelleyrae – thanks for organising the challenge.Silvia – anything by C.S. Lewis is good, I think you'd agree. :)Lark – It's the only James book I'm inclined to read.Brian – it was your review that persuaded me to try this one!


  7. Hi Emma, I've been doing the Classics Club Challenge for a few years now.I know I'm possibly in the minority here, but Tess was the only book I've read by Hardy that I really disliked. So fatalistic & depressing, although the writing itself is certainly beautiful. I've enjoyed everything else I've read by him.


  8. Ruthiella, I do enjoy more narrative non-fiction but it's often not written that way. I haven't read the previous two books by Robinson and decided to read Lila because I have a copy of it. Hopefully I don't need to read the other two first??


  9. Hi Carol, What a great lot of books on your list! I read War & Peace as one of last year's challenges. It took me a full three months reading pretty steadily, but was well worth it. Some of Elizabeth Gaskell's are now my very favourites, especially Mary Barton and Wives & Daughters 🙂 I'll look forward to seeing what you think of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I thought it packs a punch for a short book.


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