My TBR 100 Challenge

Behold! I pledge to read these 100 books by the end of next year.

These are all books that I already own, and in many cases have owned for some time. (They are, naturally, not ALL of the books I own.) If I don’t finish them by December 2016, they must leave this house, never to be purchased again.

“But what if a book proves unsatisfactory?” I already hear you protesting. Thank you for your concern. In that case, I get a Mulligan: I may replace it with another comparable book that I already own, provided that I dispose of the unsatisfactory book. (I’m looking at you, textbook on science and creationism that somehow snuck into this photo!)

Of course, I plan on reading other books (and many comics!) over the next 14 months. But these are definite. No compromises, no exceptions.*

This may be my most ambitious challenge yet!

*Other than the exceptions outlined above, of course.


In roughly thematic order:


  1. Eugene Robinson, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America
  2. Baratunde Thurston, How to Be Black
  3. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
  4. Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation
  5. Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
  6. Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
  7. James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
  8. Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  9. Steve Jones, The Serpent’s Promise: The Bible Interpreted Through Modern Science
  10. Jonathan Dudley, Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics
  11. Dick Taverne, The March of Unreason: Science, Democracy, and the New Fundamentalism
  12. Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
  13. Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish: Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
  14. Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
  15. Ashley Montagu, editor, Science and Creationism
  16. Science, Evolution, and Creationism
  17. Randall Munroe, What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  18. David Epstein, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
  19. Matt Richtel, A Deadly Wandering: A Mystery, a Landmark Investigation, and the Astonishing Science of Attention in the Digital Age
  20. Scott Stossel, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
  21. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  22. Ronnie Greene, Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina
  23. Ted Conover, Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
  24. Julia Scheeres, Jesus Land
  25. Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club
  26. Mary Karr, Cherry
  27. Alexandra Fuller, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
  28. Tom Horton, An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake
  29. Amy Fusselman, Eight
  30. Jeannette Winterson, Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit
  31. Ann Patchett, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
  32. Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
  33. Nora Ephron, I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections
  34. Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  35. Joan Didion, Blue Nights
  36. Sacha Z. Scoblic, Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety
  37. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
  38. Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory
  39. Dave Cullen, Columbine
  40. Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
  41. Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates
  42. Dave Isay, Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps
  43. Ted Gup, A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness—and a Trove of Letters—Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression
  44. William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
  45. William Zinsser, Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
  46. Mark Kramer and Wendy Call, editors, Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide
  47. Beth Kephart, Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir
  48. Joy Castro, editor, Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family
  49. Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
  50. Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
  51. Michael Larson, How to Write a Book Proposal
  52. Natalie Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language
  53. Michelle Goodman, My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire
  54. Nick Hornby, Shakespeare Wrote for Money
  55. Nick Hornby, Housekeeping Vs. the Dirt
  56. Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
  57. Nina Sankovitch, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading
  58. Sterling Archer, How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written


  1. Carolyn Parkhurst, The Dogs of Babel
  2. Emma Donoghue, Slammerkin
  3. Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
  4. Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
  5. Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
  6. Ellen Feldman, Scottsboro
  7. Joe Abercrombie, The Heroes
  8. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
  9. Curtis Sittenfeld, Prep
  10. Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman
  11. Laura Lippman, Baltimore Blues
  12. Bonnie Jo Campbell, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters
  13. Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
  14. Virgina Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
  15. Anne Tyler, The Beginner’s Goodbye
  16. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
  17. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
  18. Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
  19. Justin Torres, We the Animals
  20. Ayana Mathis, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
  21. Christina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans
  22. Uwem Akpan, Say You’re One of Them
  23. NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names
  24. Ellen Banda Aaku, Patchwork
  25. Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth
  26. Marlen Bodden, The Wedding Gift
  27. Sara Farizan, If You Could Be Mine
  28. Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
  29. Malindo Lo, Ash
  30. David Levithan, Every Day
  31. David Levithan and Jonathan Farmer, Every You, Every Me
  32. Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
  33. Sarah Guillory, Reclaimed
  34. Tahmima Anam, The Good Muslim
  35. Lucy Christopher, Stolen
  36. Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits
  37. Amy Reed, Over You
  38. Cara Hoffman, So Much Pretty
  39. Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  40. Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, Wildwood
  41. Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
  42. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

5 replies »

  1. 100 books in a year, oh my!

    Fiction #20, 22, and 23 are on my list along with several of Jhumpi Lahiri’s books. I read Interpreter of Maladies and knew right away that I wanted to read more from her. Nonfiction #3 and 8 are on my list too. I read Ta-Nehisi’s memoir The Beautiful Struggle and have been waiting for him to write another book since then. I had no idea it would be this huge since his memoir has seemingly flown under the radar. I’ll read Between the World and Me once the buzz dies down.

    Liked by 1 person

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