What I’m (probably) reading for the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge

What I’m (probably) reading for the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge

The 2017 Reading Challenge is here! Today I’m sharing the books I’m thinking of reading in 2017.

In most categories, I share three titles I’m considering reading. (Lest you think I’m even nerdier than you thought, I’m not planning on reading every single title listed for this year’s challenge! I wanted to share my ideas, for my own sake and in the hope they’ll inspire you.)

I’d love to hear what YOU are thinking of reading in comments.

Not signed up yet? Do that right here. (When you sign up, you’ll also get your free reading challenge kit. That’s the printable half-sheet from the kit pictured in the above photo.)

Reading for fun: put the oomph back in your reading life

Reading Challenge 2017

A book you chose for the cover:
I’ll know this one when I see it, and you will, too.

A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able:
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit:
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
The Lost Book of the Grail: A Novel by Charlie Lovett
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

A book you’ve already read:
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck

A juicy memoir:
• Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
• The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr

A book about books or reading:
• Howards End Is on the Landing by Susan Hill
How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

A book in a genre you usually avoid:
• Columbine by Dave Cullen
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

A book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read:
• The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe by Anuschka Rees
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F—: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson (I would have passed on this one because I don’t usually read books with &*%&! in the title, but I keep hearing this is fantastic)
• Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

A book in the backlist of a new favorite author:
• Little Bee by Chris Cleave
• The Mistress of Spices: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
• Three Wishes: A Novel by Liane Moriarty

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic by Steven Johnson
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet:
Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin
On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton
Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly

A book about a topic or subject you already love:
Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities by Ryan Gravel
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
• Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann

Reading for growth: stretch yourself in 2017

Reading Challenge 2017

A Newbery Award winner or Honor book:
• The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
• The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
• The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A book in translation:
• The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Beartown: A Novel by Fredrick Backman
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

A book that’s more than 600 pages:
• The Stand by Stephen King
• Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
• Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection:
Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling
Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

A book of any genre that addresses current events:
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson (I’m reading this for a book club I participate in)
The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel by Karen Mahajan
City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp by Ben Rawlence

An immigrant story:
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

A book published before you were born:
Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith
Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C. S. Lewis

Three books by the same author:
• I’m considering Wallace Stegner, Wendell Berry, and Jane Austen
• Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels would make a good choice for this category, as would any series you’ve been wanting to binge on

A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
• On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (autism)
• Check out We Need Diverse Books, and get more info on #ownvoices here

A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending:
Because I’ve heard many of you are unsure what to read for this category, here’s two books I enjoyed and one I want to read
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (want to read)
Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

A book nominated for an award in 2017:
This category is TBD, but I’ll be watching the Printz, Alex, Edgar, Pulitzer, Newbery, and National Book Award lists. (Any big awards I’m forgetting?)

A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner:
The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
Breathing Lessons: A Novel by Anne Tyler
Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout

What are YOU reading for the 2017 challenge? 

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148 comments

  1. Elaine says:

    Hi All,
    So very happy to find this community! My mother-in-law has been my reading partner in crime. We loved to go to the bookshop around the corner (The Bookies, in Denver, CO). My dear reading partner is 92 and somehow stuck in Ann Purser land. She reads the series over and over. I am sad to say I have not shared her love for Ann Purser.
    Last year I read only 2 books, even though I went to the library weekly, purchased books from our dear Bookies, and books from our local thrift stores. However, I could not read the books I choose. I have considered the possibility that I can no longer focus on the big historical novels I love and have no patience for weird and strange books that were my calling card. Then I found Ann’s podcast. It took a while to actually read a book but listening infused me with excitement about reading again.
    It isn’t about the numbers, but in other years I did record my reading and enjoyed revisiting it immensely. And I must say Ann and her listeners have encouraged me to be the reader I am!
    So in my pile, (1) The Girl in the Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz. Because, I was hopeful. Almost
    (2) The One In a Million Boy, Monica Woods. So much better than I expected from cover. From reading just to read to lingering over every sentence, beautiful. I will own my own copy to read and mark up someday soon.
    (3) A memoir, new for my reading. Sleeping with Cats, Marge Piercy.
    This is my favorite read today. I love this book mixed with Piercy’s poetry, her love for her cats, her gritty coming of age, and her racialzation, and the history of the polictical movements of the 60’s and 70’s.
    (4) Picnic at Hanging Rock because of the recommedation on the podcast. I was sure I knew about this book and movie and I was wrong. Trying to listen on Audible, first try to listen before sleep.
    (5) Elizabeth George, A Great Deliverence, because Mikael Blomkvist
    reads George to relax. Always wanted to try her. I am a fan of Louise Penny and Maise Dobbs.
    (6) I am on page 372 of Lonesome Dove. Like it want to love it.
    That’s what I am reading now.
    Coming up: Henna House, Nomi Eve; Selected stories of Eudora Welty;
    A Kate Morton I might drop; Firefly Lane, Kristen Hannah (because I loved The Nightingale). I also have a pile of books under the bed that I dropped last year (still paying for). Love to you all!

  2. SallyHP says:

    I can’t believe you haven’t read The Graveyard Book yet! This is even one that you’d have a great time reading aloud to your kids. I think my two older boys were 6 and 9 when I read it to them. Some parts are a little scary for them but it’s SO good!

  3. Marcy says:

    There’s also the Cybils, I don’t know if you consider that a “big” award or not.

    I’ve decided not to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as some people I trust said that to them it read so much like bad fanfic that they wished they hadn’t read it. And that to them it ruined some things at the end of Deathly Hallows. However, I’ve seen so many different opinions on it, your mileage may vary!

    For an unreliable narrator, I have to recommend Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. You definitely need your tissues, but I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite unreliable narrator story EVER. The key, for me, is that the narrator isn’t unreliable because of any sort of character flaw — no, it opens with someone captured and tortured by the Nazis making her confession and telling her story. She’s very self-deprecating about how she’s cracked under torture, but you still have no idea how much of the story you’re supposed to believe. I mean, the title kind of sums it up there — when someone insists she’s telling the truth, but Verity is her *code* name, is she or isn’t she?? It’s FANTASTIC. (And in case you’re worried, yes, there are allusions to torture, but it’s not something the novel dwells on in gory detail.)

    Now, I had heard it was a really hard read, but it takes a little while to get there, so at first I was like, “Huh, maybe it just isn’t hitting me as hard as it should be for some reason? I can tell there’s some hard stuff here, but…” But then as you get closer to the end, um. Although I still think it’s a fantastic book, I WILL warn you that it rips your heart out of your chest and stomps on it, and I was pretty much sobbing by the end of the book. So, um, yes, there’s that.

  4. I’m so excited to start this challenge! I’ve posted on my blog what I’m thinking about reading for each category. I’m thinking “12 Years a Slave” for my memoir. If you’re interested in reading the rest or starting a dialogue you can check out rachelclaireunworthy.com. I love Modern Mrs. Darcy and all of her suggestions and I linked back here in my blog. Thanks!

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