A "Reading Challenge" floated about the 'net some two years ago. At first I'd been thrilled by the idea: of course! I always want to broaden my horizons. But upon seeing the weird selection criteria like "a book with at least 500 pages" or "a book written by an author with your initials", I'd realized it doesn't suite me at all: I'm not impressed by the arbitrary criteria, and the most challenging part seemed to be fitting the books I'd have read anyway into them. I'd bring my usual (even if subconscious) selection biases with me.
So after pondering it a bit, I came up with an alternate scheme: I'd ask my friends on Facebook to recommend me:
Many people interpreted those freely, and I got a lot of recommendations for books, collections of stories, et cetera. Skipping some of the books, I compiled the rest into a bundle, added some stories of my choosing, and sent it to my Kindle.
Last year, when I considered my challenge, I've abandoned this idea, thinking that the same people would probably respond. This time around, I've decided to catch up with my long unfinished reading.
The majority of the stories were, in no particular order:
The Vampyre was the first vampire story in English prose, and as such had a wide-ranging influence, almost singlehandedly creating the now-popular image of the vampire as an aristocratic seducer.
So well worth the read for the historical importance alone.
A couple also served as language practice. Here with original names:
Only while writing this post have I noticed that I've completely missed the note recommending "Life and death of Harriett Frean", by May Sinclair. I'll have to add it to this year's challenge, then. :)
I'd enjoyed most of these stories, and even if I hadn't - I'd at least have tried something new.
Last year, I decided I'll just stick to my classic "read 50 books" challenge. I've ended up reading a little over 70, but most of that were audiobooks. Seems I have way too much time where I can listen to a book, but can't read a paper one.
Since it's quite a lot, I plan to look at the entire list and refresh my memory; maybe I'll discover something I've missed.
This year I decided to keep it simple and finally finish some of the books I'd started reading, but somehow never finished, plus some of those I'd borrowed and would like to return.
Among these are:
It may not be a very long list, but some of those books will be challenging for me, and the Campbellian Anthology is so large, I don't actually expect to finish the whole thing this year.
I'm really looking forward to all of them.
Cover image taken from here.