Reading Challenges in 2014

2014 is going to be a great year for literature in my life. I can just feel it–I’m going to find several new favorite books and authors this year. To celebrate, I’m creating two new reading challenges: The NA/YA Challenge and the ARC Challenge! I’m also returning to a favorite, Bookshelf ROWDOWN. In all, I plan to read 50 or more books this year.

The NA/YA Challenge

NA/YA challengeIt’s not every day that a new literary genre is created. And it’s even more rare for the change to come outside of the realm of traditional publishing.

Some people in the book world have been resistant to new adult. But if we have children’s books, middle grade, young adult—all speaking to certain ages or grade levels—why not have a genre that speaks specifically to that feeling of realizing you’re now an adult–and the accompanying panic/pain/delight that ensues?

It’s a subject that interests me endlessly, as I’m most preoccupied in my reading and writing with understanding people, including yourself. Plus, I’m the target audience of new adult, so I’d like to see what it’s all about! I’m particularly curious to compare new adult titles to young adult and adult. And so, this year I plan to read 15 new adult or young adult books.


  1. Wait for You by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  2. Cairo In White by Kelly Ann Jacobson
  3. Be With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  6. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
  7. Green Girl by Kate Zambreno (I would argue this is NA)
  8. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  9. Losing It by Cora Carmack
  10. Faking It by Cora Carmack
  11. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  12. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
  13. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  14. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  15. The Fever by Megan Abbott
  16. Defy by Sara B. Larson

The ARC Challenge

ARC ChallengeOK, here’s where I admit that I’m a bad book blogger sometimes. I occasionally receive review copies of books, and I have every intention to read and review them quickly. But sometimes life gets in the way, and the books languish on my shelves. It’s not fair to publishers and authors, and I want to change my ways! So I’m vowing to read 12 review copies this year. I hope to surpass this goal by quite a bit, but I want to be realistic.


  1. We by Michael Landweber
  2. A Snug Life Somewhere by Jan Shapin
  3. Cairo In White by Kelly Ann Jacobson
  4. Be With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  5. (T)here: Writings on Returnings, edited by Brandi Dawn Henderson
  6. The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons
  7. Answers I’ll Accept, edited by Kelly Ann Jacobson
  8. The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith
  9. After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
  10. The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend by Annabelle Costa
  11. The Promise by Ann Weisgarber
  12. An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
  13. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
  14. Green Girl by Kate Zambreno
  15. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
  16. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
  17. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  18. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  19. The Fever by Megan Abbott
  20. Defy by Sara B. Larson
  21. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Bookshelf ROWDOWN

Bookshelf ROWDOWN!The rules of Bookshelf ROWDOWN are simple: read physical copies of books that you own. (I don’t count ebooks and review copies in this challenge, although you’re welcome to.) The point of this challenge is to read the books you’ve bought or been given that, for some reason, you’ve never gotten around to reading.

I really enjoyed this challenge last year; I read 22 of my goal of 25 books. So I’m going to shoot for 25 again!

The benefits of this challenge, now in its third year, are many. My favorite is that I feel a little less awkward about having bookshelves stacked with titles I haven’t read yet. Now I can offer to show guests my bookshelf of completed books! (As you can imagine, my parties are a real riot.)

Of course, once you’ve read some of the books, you may also release them back into the world, either by lending them to your friends or donating them to a local library or thrift shop. I, for one, am always running out of room on my bookshelves, and this challenge helps me winnow out books that I don’t need to keep.

Next to each book, I’ll mark those I plan to keep in my permanent collection. If I don’t mark a title, let me know if you’d like the book!


  1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  2. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – keep
  3. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  4. Gulp by Mary Roach
  5. We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider
  6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – keep
  7. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  8. Americanah by Chimamamda Ngozi Adichie
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – keep
  10. Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard
  11. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  12. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo – keep
  13. Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje – keep
  14. Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker – keep
  15. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – keep
  16. The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker
  17. Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories by Wendi Kaufman
  18. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
  19. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  20. Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg – keep
  21. Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris – keep
  22. Brazil on the Rise by Larry Rohter

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.40.12 PMIn all, I hope to read 50 books in 2014. Although I didn’t reach the same goal of last year–I know, what kind of book blogger am I?!–I’m trying again. I love tracking my progress using the 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge; add me as a friend and follow my progress!

I miss reading as much as I used to, and I’m going to make 2014 the year of reading whatever I want. As I read throughout the year, I’ll come back to this post and update it on my progress. Here’s to another wonderful year in books!

Categories: Challenges, Sunday Salon

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