Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Reading Challenges Revisited

Last year I set for myself two reading challenges; one was Victorian Literature and the other was Elizabeth Goudge. I managed to read eight in each category; not the twelve I had intended, but probably, no definitely, more than I would have read if I hadn't made the challenges.

Here's the lists of the ones I read.


1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-Robert Louis Stevenson
2. The Way of All Flesh-Samuel Butler
3. The Woman in White-Wilkie Collins
4. The Soul of Man-Oscar Wilde
5. Lady Audley's Secret-M.E. Braddon
6. The Story of the Amulet-E. Nesbit
7. At the Back of the North Wind-George MacDonald
8. Lady Windermere's Fan-Oscar Wilde


1. The Castle on the HIll
2. The Dean's Watch
3. Pilgrim's Inn
4. The Scent of Water
5. Linnets and Valerians
6. The Lost Angel
7. Gentian Hill
8. A City of Bells

My favorite Victorian read was Lady Audley's Secret. There's also a movie that sticks pretty close to the book and was enjoyable. I also liked Lady Windermere's Fan. As usual, Wilde is funny with everyone planning and plotting to have things their own way while getting tripped up in all the twists and turns of their actions.

My favorite Goudge book is so hard to say as I loved all of them. I'm continuing the challenge into this year as I'm planning on reading ALL her works as well as owning them all before I'm finished with the challenge. I guess if I had to pick, it would be a tie between A City of Bells and The Dean's Watch. She can't be read quickly. You don't just read her words but savor them as you would the memory of a dinner party with close family or friends. You know that good feeling of love and camaraderie you have during and after such an event. Add in a mystical wonderment to that feeling and you have the essence of a Goudge novel.

There are a few more Victorian novels I plan on reading this year that didn't get read in 2013. They are: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade. I was going to add The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope, but he's getting his own separate challenge.

So the two main challenges for 2014 are Elizabeth Goudge and Anthony Trollope. I read 86 books last year. Each new year I usually try and beat the number of the previous year, but I'm not doing that this year. I think I've been reading too much in place of other creative projects I want to be doing. It's just easier. All I have to do is pick up a book and plop down on the couch. Beginning and completing a project is much harder but much more satisfying when it's finished.

So...I'll hopefully be reading two books a month for my challenges, one for my bookgroup, one spiritual/creative, and any other ones I can squeeze in that are new fiction from the library or something from my own stacks. One year I need to have a challenge to read what I already have in my own library!

How do you read? Do you set challenges or just fly by the seat of your pants/skirt?