Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Reading Challenges 2017 and 2018

After looking back over my December reads yesterday, today's post recaps how I did on my various reading challenges through 2017. I'll also be looking forward to my 2018 challenges.

The Witches And Witchcraft challenge I set myself in this post's equivalent last year got off to a good start and then foundered. The only book I read with a real witchy character was Monkey's Wedding by Rossandra White.

I very much enjoyed the FeministFebruary reading challenge initiated by Ellen at SeeOrange. During February I blogged 5 reviews of books that I considered feminist, 4 of which were new reads:

The Secret Book Of Kings by Yochi Brandes,
Three Daughters Of Eve by Elif Shafak,
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
Revenge Of The Mantis by Vered Ehsani, and
The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

With the General Election looming I decided in May to have another themed month and chose a selection of Essential General Election Reads: books exploring various political themes that are important to me. Some posts reviewed new reads, others were transferred reviews of books I had already read:

The Road To Wigan Pier by George Orwell
A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin
My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst
From Fatwa To Jihad by Kenan Malik
Such Little Accident by Mike Robbins (my review in Comments)
Honourable Friends by Caroline Lucas
The Rights Of Man by H G Wells

I was delighted to complete my 2017 Jane Austen Challenge. I wanted to read all six of her novels within the year and did so with a couple of weeks to spare. My favourite was Northanger Abbey - and I am glad I will (probably) never have to read Sense And Sensibility again! All Jane Austen's novels are available as free ebooks which you can also download through the links in my review posts. In the order I read them, the six are:

Having never previously read any Jane Austen, I found this challenge to be a great way to immerse myself in her work and really understand what she was about as an author. Consequently I have decided to repeat the challenge this with another never-previously-read author. Inspired by Northanger Abbey in which she is frequently namedropped, I am looking forward to my 2018 Mrs Ann Radcliffe Challenge.

My 1900s read for this year's Goodreads / BookCrossing Decade Challenge, the last on my list, was completed just in the nick of time with only two weeks of August remaining! (The challenge runs from September to August.)

1903 - The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
1914 - Rosshalde by Hermann Hesse
1929 - The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
1938 - The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham
1940 - The Rights of Man by H G Wells
1959 - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
1963 - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1974 - Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K Dick
1987 - The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
1996 - Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals
2001 - There Were Many Horses by Luiz Ruffato
2015 - Pierced by the Sun by Laura Esquivel

I've independently restarted my own 2017-18 Decade Challenge because I don't think it is still running on Goodreads. You can keep track of my progress on Literary Flits - scroll right to the end of any page and there's a box showing the books I've read so far. Let me know if you'd like to join in so I can link to your challenge post!

My ongoing World Reads Challenge is still, erm, going on! I've literarily visited 20 countries already and plan to continue throughout 2018 and beyond. I post a new WorldReads quintet on the 5th of each month. This Friday will showcase books I have read from Iran and I've got a Finnish selection for February. The previous countries you might have missed are:

America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Also on an international note, in December I read my first French-book-in-French for over twenty years. I was very proud of myself! I want to continue to other books even though they are so much slower to get through. Hopefully I will speed up as my vocabulary improves! My 2018 French Book Challenge is to read at least four French books during the year. One every three months should be manageable!

A Stop Press addition: I just spotted the Alphabet Soup Challenge over at fuonlyknew. The goal is to read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet during 2018. I've already got Souls Of Black Folk, The and Quatre Moi En Mer. Let's see if the other 24 letters crop up too! I'll keep a tally box over on Literary Flits for this challenge as well.

Finally, my overall Goodreads Reading Challenge was to read 180 books during 2017. I reached my target about halfway through December and, at the time of writing, expected to complete about 190 books all told. I will be setting myself a target of 180 again for 2018.

2017 Reading Challenge

Stephanie Jane has read 0 books toward her goal of 180 books.

I also want to keep the Book A Day posts going on Literary Flits. Today's will be my 582nd consecutive post since the blog began! If you can donate a Guest Book Review or would like to purchase a Spotlight Post for one of your own books, please do get in touch. And let me know about your own Reading Challenges too :-)


  1. Love this idea of themes, something I have not considered. When I'm over faced with choice, themes would certainly help! Fascinating stuff!

    1. Themes do help narrow down which books I choose, but sometimes it's tough remembering all my challenges!

  2. You did great in 2017! I hope you'll continue to slay in 2018. :)

    Happy New Year!

  3. I love all these different challenges that you do! I especially love the different books that take place all around the world as I don't really get exposed to books that take place in other countries besides some of the popular ones (for English publication anyway) like the US, England, and Canada. I hope you have a lovely 2018, Stephanie, and good luck on your challenges!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Thanks Laura!
      I love searching out WorldReads books and it's becoming more of a challenge to find them now that I have 'done' most of the easier countries!