bibliophilic monologue

2014 Reading Challenges

It is a truth not so universally known that I suck at reading challenges. I have all the good intentions, the best of them in fact. But I never seem to read what I plan to. In fact, I always crash into books, tumble into them at a moment’s notice, because of a fickle emotion. Sometimes for some people, screaming is cathartic. For me, reading is a release. I lose myself in the beginnings of sentences and then when the last page has been turned, I pick myself up from the leftovers of the story – either the happy ending or the sad one and then I go on with my life until I need to read again. It’s an addiction and I’m sure that many, if not all, of you can empathize with it. Reading becomes far more than a hobby. It’s a coping mechanism, a way to escape reality when it becomes too much for you. It doesn’t cost money, libraries are present, and it is always there to take you away from yourself. Some people do it with movies, some people with math (they are aliens) and others choose their own poison. For me, it’s reading.

So yeah, back to reading challenges. I make them. Gleefully, in fact, as they involve making lists and I adore making lists. And that’s about it. I may read one book out of the ten. Or two if it’s a good year. But otherwise? So in an attempt to circumvent my own contrariness, I am going to choose the themes of my challenges but not the individual books I will read for said challenges. Because if I don’t know which books I’m going to read, I can’t not read them, right? Does that make sense? Well. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else apart from me.

So, without further ado, here is a list of the kinds of books I’d like to read more of in the coming year.

The Literary Fiction Challenge

I don’t read nearly enough of this. I’ve noticed that my tastes are changing enough that I appreciate the complexities more readily available in titles aimed specifically at adults. This is not to imply that I don’t appreciate genre fiction, because I do, but that I like dense material in literary works which are sometimes really very pretentious. Huh. Ten is a good number but I will accept however many I manage to consume.

Translated Works

I aim to read about ten of these. I don’t have any specific genre in mind for this theme. I just want to read more translated works because I think they are remarkable sources for interesting perspectives about the world. Besides, I love reading stories about different cultures in settings other than North America. If anyone has a story set in the South Pacific, please recommend it to me.

Haruki Murakami Challenge

Okay, fine, I can’t not pick the books I want to read for this challenge as there are only a couple titles left before I finish reading everything he has written. But I am looking forward to consuming the two titles I’ve chosen for this year.


I aim to read at least three classics this year since they’re all beasts but important beasts and I want to read them. Whether I will succeed or not is another story altogether but we’ll cross that bridge when come to it.


I want to read a lot more children’s literature theory because I am endlessly fascinated by it. And it keeps my brain sharp and neurons firing. Hopefully I can get at least five read.

Bloody Jack Series

I believe there are twelve out now and so I aim to read this series one per month and write a review for the entirety of 2014. Wish me luck.


10 thoughts on “2014 Reading Challenges

  1. I need to look up the Bloody Jack series. It sounds interesting. Good luck with your reading challenges. I suck at them too…I like to read from a huge variety so reading challenges don’t work very well for me either.

    I am doing the Japanese literature challenge and the Man Booker challenge and I did pretty good with them…though my reading for the Classics Club has fallen by the wayside :(


          1. I participated this year and I read the following:

            * Hard Boiled Wonderland and the end of the World – Haruki Murakami (weird and wonderful)
            * The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng (very well written but rather slow moving)
            * The Goddess Chronice – Natsuo Kirino (started off well, but petered out towards the end)
            * A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki (very intelligent and well-written, but left me a little cold)

            I am not sure about my participation next year, let’s see how it goes


            1. Ooo, I haven’t read Hard Boiled but I look forward to it. Ditto for Evening Mists. I thought the same of Goddess Chronicle. Try Kirino’s Out. It’s brilliant as is Real World. I haven’t read Ozeki’s work though I may in the future. Have you read any Yasunari Kawabata? Also, Banana Yoshimoto? I’ve also discovered Yoko Ogawa recently. She’s fantastic as well.


              1. Thanks for the reccos. I haven’t read any of Yoshimoto’s or Kawabata’s books.

                And I’ve been meaning to try out Out for ages. I like Kirino’s writing style, and I’ve heard great things about Out


  2. The murakami challenge sounds great! I am a big fan of him and also read about 4 books from him, but i have a long way to go.
    Since i study english language and literature, reading classics has become an everyday challenge for me. And since they are harder to read than modern literature, I have become quite a slow reader in the meantime. But I definite would like to try out the murakami challenge or the japanese literature challenge.


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