12 Months; 12 Challenges

In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons I’m setting myself a book related challenge every month throughout 2012 and I’m hoping that blogging about my challenges will give me an incentive to fulfill them. So, beginning with January, here goes:

JANUARY: In January I am burdening myself with the task of writing a book review for every day of the month. All books reviewed must have been read in full and can include the BBC’s Big Read and be either fact or fiction.

FEBRUARY: As I’m hoping to make an sizable dent on the BBC’s Big Read in 2012, this month I’m setting myself the challenge to read and review five books from the top 100, taking my total number read to 45.

MARCH: Having attempted to read a number of Jane Austen’s books on numerous occasions, and thus far failed miserably, March 2012 will see me attempt to read one of her novels from start to finish.

APRIL: As I invariably tend to read fiction, in April this year I am going to experiment more and will only read non-fiction books, all of which must be reviewed on The Unlikely Bookworm.

MAY: I’m setting myself this challenge with an overwhelming sense of trepidation, and it is thus: to read Catch 22. I attempted to do so previously while on holiday in Cuba in 2010, but after 300 pages, with not a clue what was going on, I threw the metaphoric towel in. To me, there is little worse than struggling with a novel the way I did with Joseph Seller’s most celebrated work and I am determined to read this famous novel.

JUNE: In June I want to finish the first chapter of my book. As unforgivably clichéd as it sounds that as fanatical a reader as I will have an ‘undiscovered’ book inside them, I have done for years. Having written the first thirty-thousand words of what I hope one day will be a novel, it needs an incredible amount of both editing and honing; a task I will set myself to complete in June.

JULY: As well as broadening my reading horizons this year, I would also like to learn a new skill, thus in July I am setting myself the mission to find a cookbook I like and cook a recipe taken from said book each week throughout the month of July.

AUGUST: In August I am repeating the challenge I set myself in February, and that is to read another five books taken from the BBC’s Big Read which will take me past the half-way mark.

SEPTEMBER: Having spent much of my life reading classics, books recommended by friends and those assigned to me at school, college or university, the current best-sellers often pass me by and I can’t help but think I’m missing out on a good thing. Thus, my task throughout September will be to read whichever books are the top five bestsellers at Waterstones during the first week of the month.

OCTOBER: This month will see me complete The Unread Book Challenge. I am the proud owner of at least a couple of hundred of books, scattered around both mine and my parents’ houses. Many of these books have remained unread – purely down to the sheer volume I buy. In October I am setting myself the task of reading and reviewing five of my unread books, a worthy challenge indeed.

NOVEMBER: I adored Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet and have been wanting to read the sequel ever since I finished it. A World Without End, much like its prequel, is over a thousand pages long, and I am committing myself to finishing the book by the time November is over.

DECEMBER: In 2007 the website Listverse compiled the Top 10 Christmas Books. They were as follows: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, Twas The Night Before Christmas by ClementMoore, One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, The Christmas Box by Richrd Paul Evans The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, The Christmas Tree by Judy Salamon, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, The Greatest Story Ever Told by Furton Oursler. My challenge for December is, in the name of all things festive, to read and review each of the above books and to sprinkle a bit of Christmas Cheer upon this blog.

So, whether you think me deluded or over-ambitious, I’m ready for a serious book-fest in 2012 and look forward to charting my progress on The Unlikely Bookworm over the coming months.

15 comments on “12 Months; 12 Challenges”

  1. Happy to see March will be dedicated to Jane Austin. Read Pride and Prejudice – it is a brilliant read, one of my all time favourites!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂 I’m torn between Pride & Prejudice, Emma & Persuasion as all have had rave reviews from family and friends – at this rate I may read all three! x

      1. Definitely go for P&P – there is a reason why it’s her most famous! I’ve read all three and it is a) the most readable, b) easier to relate to because of all the pop culture references and c) brilliant.

        1. Hi Tallulah, thank you so much for your comment – Pride & Prejudice has definitely been the most recommended of Austen’s books so I’m preparing to read it in March. If you’ve got any other books to suggest do let me know 🙂

      2. Northanger Abbey is hysterical, if you ever have an interest. You almost have to read Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho to really see how hysterical it is. Sense & Sensibility is my absolute favorite, but a lot of people prefer Emma, Persuasion or Pride & Prejudice. I haven’t read one I don’t like, yet. 🙂

  2. This is a fantastic blog, I’m so pleased I came across it yesterday, I look forward to more posts!

    I also agree with Tallulah that Pride and Prejudice is definitely the best Austen and so I’m pleased you’ve picked that to read in March 🙂

  3. Just recently found your blog and am eager to follow your ambitious reading plans for 2012. I’m a big reader like you but I’m not sure I have the discipline to follow a set schedule. That means I’ll be scheduling time to read your blog and reading vicariously through you! Good luck. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far and I can’t wait to see how it goes for you!

    1. Thank-you for your lovely comment – I’ve certainly been ambitious in my challenges but hope that I manage to fulfill them all. Blogging definitely gives me the incentive to commit to them! Would love to hear if you have any book recommendations…

  4. I’m excited you’ll be with Austen next month! I read Pride & Prejudice (my first by Austen) in 2010 and really didn’t understand the fuss. Then I read it again several months later and GOT it. I’ve read three more of her books since and consider her nearly my favorite author now (behind Margaret Mitchell.) 😉

    I think she has to ferment or something.

  5. Me again! I recommend Thoreau’s Walden and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own for April, if you haven’t read them. And you should definitely read Little Women in December… but I guess that wouldn’t fit the plan. Next year! 😀

  6. Hello, hardworking and well-read niece. As March is Austen month, I endorse your other contributors’ enthusiasm for Pride & Prejudice. It is a truth universally acknowledged that this is her most famous novel for a very good reason! In descending order from P&P, I recommend Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility and Emma, followed by the rest in no particular order, except that Mansfield Park is somewhat better than the others. And when you have finished romping through Regency England, please, please, read A Town Like Alice and anything else by Nevil Shute you can lay your hands on. I have most of his books in both hard copy and on my Kindle, if that gives you an idea of my enthusiasm. Oh dear, having been reading myself for over 40 years, there’s so much to recommend, and you still have so much list to get through… And so many wonderful authors are out of print. Enjoy P&P. Love, Aunt Down Under x

    1. Hi Aunty Kate, thanks for stopping by! It would appear that Pride & Prejudice is the unanimous choice so as soon as I’ve finished the book I was sent to review (The Book of Summers – highly recommend) I shall move on to P&P. If I finish it quick enough it will leave me with time to read another of her books so I will see how the month spans out… I shall definitely give A Town Like Alice a go when I have a spare moment – though it may have to wait until August when I am reading another five from the BBC Big Read. Watch this space! xx

  7. I’ve read The Book of Summers (I too was sent it a couple of months ago for review), and it’s lovely. The imagery is wonderful. Hope you enjoy it. Aunt x

    1. Just finished it – absolutely beautiful! If you know any other books that are similar please let me know! xx

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