Literally challenged: The End?

Via Goodwill Librarian on Facebook
Via Goodwill Librarian on Facebook

Here’s a round-up of where I’ve got with my personal challenge to read at least 50 books in 2015 in 50 different categories. Now it’s officially 2016 (Happy New Year!) I see that I’ve fallen short of my 2015 objectives — though what with reading other books not in any of the categories listed I suspect I have in fact got through my allotted number, or very close to it.

Here’s the full list, with titles still to review in bold:


1. Planet Narnia: non-fiction
2. The Ministry of Pandemonium: a book based on its cover
3. Journey to the River Sea: a book owned but not read
4. The Magicians: a book about … magic
5. Oliver VII: a book originally in a foreign language
6. Message to a Grandchild: by an author under 30
7. A Wrinkle in Time: a book made into a film (for TV in 2003)
8. Miss Peregrine’s Home …: set in a secondary school
9. A Stitch in Time: a book by a female author
10. Mort: a book with one-word title
11. The Pinhoe Egg: a book by a favourite author as yet unread
12: Hidden Turnings: a book of short stories
13. Odd and the Frost Giants: a book finished in a day
14. The Faerie Ring: a book by an author as yet unread
15. The Alice behind Wonderland: book based on true story
16. The Dream of Prospero: started but never finished
17. In the Winter Dark: a scary book
18. Johnny and the Dead: a funny book
19. The Magician King: a book recommended by a friend
20. A Slip of the Keyboard: a memoir
21. City of Gold and Shadows: Mystery/thriller
22. Clariel: a 2014 title
23. Mansfield Park: a classic romance
24. The Prince of Mists: a popular author’s first novel
25. The Magic World: published more than a century ago (1912)
26. Midnight is a Place: based on or turned into a TV show
27. The Bookman’s Tale: by an author with same initials as me
28. The Old Nurse’s Story: a book set at Christmas
29. Titus Groan: a book more than 500 pages long
30. Five Go Adventuring Again: a book enjoyed in childhood
31. A Tranquil Star: a book set in a foreign country
32. Printer’s Devil Court: a book badly reviewed when first published
33. I Capture the Castle: a book published in the year I was born
34. Batman: the Chalice: a graphic novel
35. Sirius: a book with non-human characters
36. The Bloody Chamber: a book with a colour (!) in the title
37. Close to the Wind: a book at the bottom of my TBR list
38. The Ultimate Book Guide: over 600 great books: a book with a number in the title
39. Foundation: a book set in the future
40. The Book Lover’s Tale: a book with a love triangle
41. Heart of Darkness: a book I should have read in school but didn’t
42. King Solomon’s Mines: a book loved by my mother
43. The Magician’s Land: last of a trilogy
44. We’ll Always Have Paris: a book by an author with a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation

Still to come
45. Over Sea, Under Stone (a book with antonyms in the title)
46. A Monster Calls: a book which should make me cry
47. The Winter’s Tale: a play

Titles TBA
48. A book set where I’ve always wanted to visit
49. A book with a hometown setting
50. A banned book

You’ll be absolutely thrilled to know that I’ve compiled a few statistics, based on the assumption that I’ll soon complete the challenge. As of now I’ve read 88% of the fifty books. Just 10% of titles were published before the 20th century. 12% count as non-fiction, even though most are about fiction. Non-British authors (from America, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Spain etc) make up 30% of the writers, though of the British authors a handful were born elsewhere, such as Austria (Eva Ibbotson) or Poland (Joseph Conrad); none are of non-European extraction, which is rather remiss of me and something to address in 2016. Books borrowed from the library make up 26% of the total. Women make up at least 34% of the authors/editors read or planned to be read. 36% of the titles read have been or are about to be recycled to family, friends or charity. About half have a fantasy or science fiction aspect to them, with perhaps an additional three which could be counted as ghost stories.

I share this all with you as a public service, of course, no intention at all of crowing about any real or imagined achievements. I hope — whether or not you have set yourself challenges, resolutions or wishlists — that your reading pleasure is as fully indulged in 2016 as mine is expected to be. Happy New Year / Bonne Année / Blwyddyn Newydd Dda to you all!

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15 thoughts on “Literally challenged: The End?

    1. I found it a great way to move a little outside my comfort zone (even though most of it was stuff I probably would have given a go anyway) and to structure my reading. 2016’s goals are a little more indulgent, as a future post will make clear! 🙂 Hope your 2016 is a good one, Simon.

    1. And to you, Sue! Just reading a wonderful fiction (Jo Walton’s Among Others) which is full of the joy of exploring the world of ideas through books, exactly as this review blog aims to do, and am starting the year refreshed (despite a really horrible bug that has consigned me to bed) and rearing to go!

    1. For me this will be after Under Sea, Over Stone, and — who knows — maybe a revisit of the whole The Dark is Rising sequence …

      Hope your 2016 is brilliant, Nikki! I like your new platform, though I seem to have trouble adding comments (nice ones, mind!) to your posts; probably me not entering details correctly.

    1. It was certainly a creative exercise, Lory! I can’t remember if I consciously planned Midnight is a Place for the TV adaptation category but it was certainly serendipitous. This is one of only a couple of clips from YouTube that I can find, but apparently it’s on DVD. I never saw it first time around but this short extract suggests it’s reasonably faithful to the original, even if produced on a tight budget.

      And I hope 2016 is the best year yet for you!

  1. What an impressive and interesting list — Congratulations! That was an ambitious challenge. This year I’ve signed on to a much more modest one with some of the same categories in it, and highly doubt if I’ll even come close to completing it. Even more impressively, not only did you read them, but you reviewed them as well. Shake hands with yourself! And Happy New Year!

    1. For me it certainly was ambitious, Josna, but I also read from other book blogs of others getting through nearly 200 books in a year — now that’s what I call omnivoracious! Have you posted your challenge on your blog? If so I’d be interested with how you progress, reviews or no reviews. And Happy New Year to you too!

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