Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge

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I like the idea of book challenges; I am not sure why.  Possibly it’s because I have enough books I want to read or re-read to last until I am about 5,000 years old.  And let’s face it, I am not going to make it.  So having some outside discipline to impose some choices helps me to avoid making bad book decisions based on glowing reviews (I’m talking to you, New York Times Book Review).  And I like the idea of being “semi-charmed” because I feel ever and always charmless.

So here’s the frequency, Kenneth, as Dan Rather used to say:

General Guidelines:

  • The challenge will run from November 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017. No books started before 12 a.m. on November 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on January 31 will count.
  • Each book must be at least 150 pages long. Audiobooks and large-print books are fine, as long as the regular print version meets the length requirement.
  • A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the summer 2017 challenge.
  • Have fun! Read some books you might not have read otherwise. Discover new authors and make new bookworm friends. (Yes, these are the most important rules!)

Challenge Categories:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.  TBA

10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes:National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International.   Elizabeth Stout:  My Name is Lucy Barton

10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).  TBA

15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.  Ta-Nehisi Coates:  Between the World and Me

15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.

20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic (Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, etc.) or Peter Ackroyd’s update of The Canterbury Tales

25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. —A mystery by Ellen Cosby from her wine country series

30 points: Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name. (Alternate spellings are okay, e.g. Megan and Meghan or Smith and Smyth.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.  Mark Twain:  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects. For example: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie and one of Christie‘s mystery novels that features poison, or The Monuments Men and All the Light We Cannot See. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with this one! — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)  Electricity by Victoria Glendinning and Shocking Bodies:  Life, Death & Electricity in Victorian England.      The first is a novel; the second is non-fiction.

40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book.   Upton Sinclair and Sinclair Lewis.  The books are The Moneychangers by Upton Sinclair and Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis.



How to get started: If you would like to create a preliminary reading list for the challenge, feel free to link up your list at the bottom of this post. (See an example list here.) A preliminary post is not mandatory to join the challenge, and you can always change which books you want to read, but it is a good way to see what other people are planning to read and get some ideas for categories you might be stuck on.


Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

6 thoughts on “Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge”

  1. It does sound like a fun challenge. I always have good intentions, but only occasionally manage to read something suitable. I like that awards finalist category.: I need to read more new books.
    This year I did manage a couple: for instance, I read two Viragos in August! But usually I end up doing the challenge a month or two later. It’s just a matter of so many TBR books.
    The science fiction writer Jo Walton says she can read four or five books a day. Why can’t I?


    1. I wish I could read more quickly, but I am happier to have it all soak in at my tortoise-like speed. I am doing this challenge somewhat tentatively because of the unpredictable fact of “life” happening between books.


  2. Some of those categories are tough! I think I would come a cropper on the last one since my brain has come completely unable to come up with anything that could fit….


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