2018 Reading Challenge


One of my favorite bloggers is Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. She creates a new reading challenge every year, and I’ve decided to follow her lead for 2018.

Here’s the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge.
Here’s what Anne Bogel plans to read this year.

I’ve never been part of a reading challenge before (outside of trying to hit a certain number) but I love this year’s categories, which I think will help shake up my habits and force me out of my comfort zone. All good things.

I plan to read 60 books in 2018, the same number I chose for 2017, with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenge as my base. Last year I noticed (and felt convicted about) a lack of diversity in the authors and books I chose. It’s something I’d like to be more mindful of as I plan my books this year.

Here’s what I plan to read based on her criteria. There’s a little overlap here — some qualify for more than one category. Most are first-time reads; however, I’ve added a few that I’ve technically read before but it has been so long a re-read is necessary for me to have a meaningful conversation about the book.

A classic you’ve been meaning to read

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

A book recommended by someone with great taste

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra — Recommended by my friend Jacob, who gifted me a copy for my birthday
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys — Recommended by one of my students (and no worries: this is NOT a Fifty Shades book 😂)
Anything Is Possible
 by Elizabeth Strout — Recommended by Anne Bogel herself
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin — Recommended by my aunt on a recent visit

A book in translation

Beartown by Fredrik Backman, translated by Neil Smith
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Constance Garnett
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa

A book nominated for an award in 2018

I’ll update this once the award lists start rolling in.

A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
edited by Clayborne Carson
Our Town: A Play in Three Acts 
by Thornton Wilder

A book you can read in a day

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

A book that’s more than 500 pages

Middlemarch by George Eliot 
Magpie Murders
by Anthony Horowitz 
The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

A book by a favorite author

The Likeness by Tana French
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller

All three of these were recommended by my good friend and coworker (also our campus librarian)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories
by Sandra Cisneros
by Neal Shusterman

A banned book

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

A memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
by Kate Moore
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
The Leavers
by Lisa Ko
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Other books I plan to read (or experience) in 2018

There are a few more books I plan to read this year and don’t quite fit into the challenge categories. I’m especially excited to re-read A Wrinkle in Time for the movie release this spring. I loved this book as a kid!

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

What is your reading goal for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

7 Replies to “2018 Reading Challenge”

  1. Emily, I love the Reading Challenge concept! My 2018 reading goals (and movies /documentaries to watch) are focused on expanding my knowledge about where I am living at the time as we travel. We are in Croatia so I am reading Chasing a Croatian Girl: A Survivor’s Tale (true story of American guy marries a woman from Croatia) by Cody McClain Brown and Girl at War: A Novel by Sara Novic (historical fiction). I deleted my Facebook account for 2018 wanting to focus my time on pursuits that are inspirational and provide intellectual growth.

    1. Wow! Beverly, that’s so incredible! I love reading about places where I know I will travel. It makes the experience so real. I also like your idea of including movies and documentaries…. film is such an important medium for storytelling. I’m so with you on taking a Facebook hiatus… I haven’t missed it at all. Love you! ❤

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