Reading (and Blogging) Challenges in 2015

A new year, a new set of reading challenges!

I’m very pleased with the progress I made on last year’s challenges. I read a total of 54 books—4 more than my goal of 50—and I completed nearly challenge I set!

NA/YA Challenge: 16 (goal: 15)
ARC Challenge: 21 (goal: 12)
Bookshelf ROWDOWN: 22 (goal: 25)
Total Books Read: 54 (goal: 50)

This year, I have three main goals for my reading: I want to focus more upon new releases; I want to seek out more books with a strong sense of place; and I want to use the library more. That means I am doubling my goal for my ARC challenge, and I’m adding TWO new challenges: The Geography of Reading and Library Loot.

For the first time, I’m also making a few blogging goals as well: I plan to review at least 50 books, and I will focus on my book photography more. In addition, since I’ve been traveling so much (and will continue to do so in the coming year), I would like to write more about the places I visit, both near and far.

ARC ChallengeThe ARC Challenge

In 2014, I resolved to read at least 12 advance review copies, and I was happy when I completed 21.

But this year, I’d like to up the ante even more, given my interest in new releases. This year, I plan to read 24 ARCs.


  1. The First Bad Man by Miranda July
  2. Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession by Lisa A. Phillips
  3. Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone
  4. Redeployment by Phil Klay
  5. Gotham Academy, vol. 1, by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
  6. Princeless, vol. 1, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin
  7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  9. Batgirl, vol. 1, by Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr
  10. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
  11. Grayson, vol. 1, by Tim Seeley and Tom King
  12. The Worrier’s Guide to Life by Gemma Correll
  13. Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand
  14. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott
  15. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Geography of Reading

Geography of ReadingI’ve always been interested in stories with a strong sense of place. In fact, I began this blog to focus on what I called “Inner Loop Lit”—books set in/around DC or by DC authors. I quickly expanded to read any books that evoked a certain place, whether near or far, real or imaginary. In recent years, I’ve been particularly drawn to books from international authors or set in international locales.

Books with “a strong sense of place” aren’t easily defined. But in this challenge, I will count stories that could not happen in another place—narratives that draw from the very soil in which they occur. I will only consider real places—no Narnia or Middle Earth—and I will focus in particular on international books and authors. I plan on reading 15 books for this challenge.


  1. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe
  2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  3. Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone
  4. Redeployment by Phil Klay
  5. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
  6. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  7. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  8. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
  9. March, books 1 and 2, by John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
  10. Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
  11. Murder, D.C. by Neely Tucker
  12. In the Woods by Tana French
  13. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  14. The Likeness by Tana French
Photo: Powhusku

Photo: Powhusku

Library Loot

I love independent bookstores with a fiery passion, and I have no plans ever to stop. But I would like to extend the same love to libraries.

For me, going into a library is like entering a church. When I was a kid, I would check out dozens of books every month. Lately, though, I haven’t relied as much on the library to expand my reading horizons, and I would like to. In 2015, I plan on reading a whopping 20 library books.

  1. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  2. America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert
  3. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  4. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  5. Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
  6. Ex Machina, vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister
  7. Runaways, vol. 1 and 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
  8. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
  9. The Dresden Files, vol. 1, Mark Powers and Jim Butcher
  10. Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich, Alex Evanovich, and Joëlle Jones
  11. Sin City, vol. 1, by Frank Miller
  12. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  13. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
  14. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  15. Atmosphere of Hope by Tim Flannery
  16. and 17. March, books 1 and 2, by John Robert Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

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.

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 and I’m happy to send it to you!

I really enjoyed this challenge last year; I read 22 of 25 books. But, given my aforementioned focus on ARCs and library books, I’m shooting a little lower this year. In 2015, I plan on reading 15 books from my own collection.


  1. Coming of Age on Zoloft by Katherine Sharpe
  2. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe
  3. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics by Robin Marantz Henig
  5. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
  6. The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas
  7. The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen
  8. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
  9. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
  10. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  11. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  12. Stiff by Mary Roach
  13. Murder, D.C. by Neely Tucker
  14. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  15. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  16. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Comics and Graphic Novels (26):

  • Ms. Marvel, volumes 1-2, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
  • Saga, volumes 1-5, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Alex + Ada, volumes 1-3, by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, volume 1, Kevin Eastman and Peter Alan Laird
  • Lumberjanes, volume 1, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
  • Sex Criminals, volumes 1-2, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
  • Pretty Deadly, volume 1, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos
  • Strange Fruit by Joel Christian Gill
  • ODY-C, volume 1, by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
  • The Wicked + The Divine, volumes 1-2, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Chew, volume 1, by John Layman and Rob Guillory
  • Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
  • East of West, volume 1, by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, and Frank Martin
  • Copperhead, volume 1, by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski
  • Black Widow, volume 3, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto
  • Preacher, volume 1, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

Goodreads Reading Challenge

In all, I plan to read 65 books in 2015. I always hope to read more than my goal, but given my fast-paced work and school schedules, this is a realistic number for me. I love tracking my progress using the 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge; add me as a friend and follow my progress!


After I began reading more comics and graphic novels, I increased my goal to 100.

Here’s to another wonderful year in books!

3 replies »

  1. These are such thoughtful reading goals! I especially like your geography challenge… Like you, I’ve been drawn to books with a very vivid sense of setting lately. A few I’m in the middle of: The Shadow of the Wind, The Gods of Gotham, and The Underground Girls of Kabul.

    Best of luck! 🙂


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