Overly-Elaborate Self-Imposed

2019 Reading Challenge


Because life is meaningless without rules and spreadsheets, I've set myself a challenge to fulfill the following 50 prompts with my reading this year! Books can count for as many prompts as they fit (so I might not need to read 50 books, though that's also my target number for the year).

My goal with this challenge is partly to read things that I wouldn't otherwise have picked up, but mostly to push myself to think frequently about reading.

Prompts

A little bit of variety

  1. A volume of poetry
    • 16, Stag's Leap, by Sharon Olds.
    • 49, Poems by Mrs. Robinson, by Mary Robinson.
  2. A book that won a Hugo or Nebula
    • 18, Three Body Problem (Hugo)
    • 30, Paladin of Souls (Hugo and Nebula); also 29, 30, and 33 because the whole Chalion series won best series (Hugo)
  3. A book I love re-reading
    • 11, Pride and Prejudice
    • 29, The Curse of Chalion
  4. A Gothic novel NOT from the 18thC
  5. A book that I hear people talk about a lot
    • 22, The Essex Serpent
  6. A work of non-fiction (not a literary monograph)
    • 7, Wrong About Japan, a travelogue
    • 10, Japan Lonely Planet guide
    • 13, Daughters of the Samurai
    • 20, Augustus: First Emperor of Rome
    • 25, Post-Capitalist Survival Guide
    • 38, Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus
    • 50, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
  7. A random book from my Goodreads to-read shelf
    • 15, Privilege of the Sword, previously book #49 on the list, added on July 2, 2016.
    • (If I want to do another, the next one my random number generator picked was, bizarrely, also 49, now referring to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, added July 24, 2016)
  8. A book I meant to read in 2018
    • 22, The Essex Serpent
  9. A book mentioned in another book
  10. A book with a nun
    • 3, Katherine, whose title character sometimes remembers having grown up in a convent
  11. A comic book
  12. A book set in a country where I have never been
    • 7, Wrong About Japan, read before I went to Japan
  13. A book involving a non-Christian holiday
  14. A book that revolves around a bet or game

Judging a book by its bibliographic metadata

  1. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter:
    • 12, Rainbow Rowell
    • 28, Naomi Novik
  2. A book published in 2019:
    • 21, This Is How You Lose the Time War
    • 25, Post-Capitalist Survival Guide
    • 46, The Raven Tower
  3. A book with a question in the title
  4. A book that’s been the title of my newsletter
  5. A "birthday book": released during my birth month, or by an author who shares my birthday
    • 24, a lecture given on my birth date (February 19) in 1795
  6. A copy of a book printed before 1830
  7. A work published at one point as an incunabulum
  8. A book by an author whose name is also an animal

Making things complicated

  1. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (1)
    • 1, by Paul Krueger, Filipino
  2. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (2)
    • 18, by Cixin Liu, Chinese
  3. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (3)
    • 48, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Anishinaabe
  4. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (1)
    • 20, from an Ohio IRL friend
  5. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (2)
    • 22, from a tumblr friend
  6. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (3)
  7. An author’s first and last books (first)
    • 49, Poems by Mrs. Robinson, Mary Robinson (1775)
  8. An author’s first and last books (last)
  9. A five-book "title chain" (each book's title must share a word with the preceding book)
    • 2, The Inimitable Jeeves
  10. A five-book "title chain"(2)
    • 6, Carry On, Jeeves
  11. A five-book "title chain" (3)
    • 12, Carry On
  12. A five-book "title chain" (4)
    • 24, Mr. Denne's Observations On A Triple Stone Seat At Upchurch In Kent
  13. A five-book "title chain" (5)

Can't take a guy out of the 18th century

  1. Something published in the 1770s
    • 49, Poems by Mrs. Robinson (1775)
  2. Something published in the 1780s
    • 4, Cecilia (1782)
    • 47, The Adventures of a Pincushion (1785)
  3. Something published in 1789
    • 51, An account of the Newcastle dispensary (1789)
  4. Something published in 1790
  5. Something published in 1791
    • 44, The Comical Fellow (1791)
  6. Something published in 1792
  7. Something published in 1793
  8. Something published in 1794
  9. Something published in 1795
  10. Something published in 1796
  11. Something published in 1797
  12. Something published in 1798
  13. Something published in 1799
  14. Something published in the 1800s
  15. Something published in the 1810s
    • 11, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

Books Read

  1. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger (2016).
    • 23, first book by authors of three different ethnicities
  2. The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse (1923).
    • 31, first book in the title chain
  3. Katherine, by Anya Seton (1954).
    • 10, a book with a nun
  4. Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress, by Frances Burney (1782).
    • 37, something published in the 1780s
  5. Lord Peter Views the Body, by Dorothy Sayers (1928).
  6. Carry On, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehose (1925).
    • 32, second book in the title chain (repeats "Jeeves")
  7. Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey (2004).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
    • 12, a book set in on a continent where I have never been
  8. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy Sayers (1928).
  9. Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers (1930).
  10. Japan, by Lonely Planet (2017).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction. It no longer qualifies for 12, a book set in on a continent where I have never been, because I have now been in Japan, and read this book while there!
  11. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813).
    • 3, a book I love re-reading
    • 50, a work published in the 1810s
  12. Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell (2015).
    • 15, an author whose first and last names start with the same letter.
    • 33, third book in the title chain (repeats "carry")
  13. Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, by Janice P. Nimura (2015).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
  14. The Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy Sayers (1931).
  15. The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner (2006).
    • 15, a random book from my to-read shelf
  16. Stag's Leap: Poems, by Sharon Olds (2012).
    • 1, a volume of poetry
  17. Very Good, Jeeves!, by P.G. Wodehouse (1930).
  18. The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu (2008).
    • 2, won a Hugo
    • 24, second book by authors of three different ethnicities
  19. Charlotte Smith in British Romanticism, ed. Jacqueline Labbe (2008).
  20. Augustus: First Emperor of Rome, by Adrian Goldsworthy (2015).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
    • 26, first book recommended by friends from different friend circles
  21. This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019). (I super recommend this novella for anyone who is "sci-fi curious".)
    • 16, a book published in 2019
  22. The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry (2016).
    • 5, a book that I hear people talk about a lot
    • 8, a book I meant to read in 2018
    • 27, second book recommended by friends from different friend circles
  23. Thank You, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse (1933).
  24. Mr. Denne's Observations On A Triple Stone Seat At Upchurch In Kent, by Samuel Denne (1795).
    • 19, a "birthday book" (the original lecture was given on my birth date, February 19, in 1795)
    • 34, fourth book in the title chain (repeats "on")
    • 44, something published in 1795
  25. The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide, by Peter Fleming (2019). (I don't really recommend this book.)
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
    • 16, a book published in 2019
  26. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear (2003).
  27. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones (1986).
  28. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (2015).
    • 15, first and last names start with the same letter
  29. The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2000).
    • 2, part of the Chalion series, which won the best series Hugo.
    • 3, a book I love re-reading
  30. Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2003).
    • 2, won a Hugo and a Nebula. Also part of the Chalion series, which won the best series Hugo.
  31. Penric's Mission, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016).
  32. Mira's Last Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2017).
  33. The Hallowed Hunt, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2005).
    • 2, part of the Chalion series, which won the best series Hugo.
  34. The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. Mark Goldie (2006).
  35. The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse (1938).
  36. Joy in the Morning, by P.G. Wodehouse (1947).
  37. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation, by John Guillory (1993).
  38. Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus, by Lindsay Powell (2014).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
  39. Penric's Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2015).
  40. Penric's Fox, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2018).
  41. Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016).
  42. The Prisoner of Limnos, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2017).
  43. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (2014).
  44. The Comical Fellow; Or Wit and Humour for Town and Country, by Tim Gape (1791).
    • 40, something published in 1791.
  45. Have His Carcase, by Dorothy Sayers (1932).
  46. The Raven Tower, by Ann Leckie (2019).
    • 16, a book published in 2019
  47. The Adventures Of a Pincushion: Designed Chiefly for the Use of Young Ladies, by Mary Ann Kilner (1785).
    • 37, a book published in the 1780s
  48. This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (2017).
    • 25, third book by authors of three different ethnicities
  49. Poems by Mrs. Robinson, Mary Robinson (1775).
    • 1, a volume of poetry
    • 29, an author's first book
    • 36, something published in the 1770s
  50. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, Tom Reiss (2012).
    • 6, a work of non-fiction
  51. An account of the Newcastle dispensary, for the relief of the poor, from its commencement in 1777, to Michaelmas 1789, governors of the Newcastle Dispensary (1789).
    • 38, something published in 1789