What I’m (probably) reading for the 2018 Reading Challenge

reading challenge picks

The 2018 Reading Challenge is here! Today I’m sharing the books I’m thinking of reading in 2018.

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. The above photo shows a portion of the contents.)

A classic you’ve been meaning to read:
Madame Bovary.
I’ve had a beautiful copy on my shelf for a really long time.
Of Mice and Men. How did I miss reading this in high school? If I’m not careful, all my kids are going to read it before I do. 
War and Peace. With all the MMD Book Clubbers reading it + the nudge from Laura Vanderkam, it’s inevitable.

A book recommended by someone with great taste:
The Book of Joan. A friend with great taste and a trusted indie bookseller recommended this to me within days of each other this past fall. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• American Pastoral. I’m skeptical, but I already picked up my copy at a used book sale. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Far From the Tree. This YA novel won the National Book Award. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

A book in translation:
• Us Against You. The sequel to 2017’s fabulous Beartown, which many of you said was the best book you read in 2017. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
1Q84. I keep putting this on my list, because I keep not reading it! (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Another title I’ve been meaning to read for years. A beautiful copy is on my shelves … (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A book nominated for an award in 2018
Readers, we don’t yet know what these titles will be. In the meantime, take a look at this overview of 11 important literary awards.

A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
This category was easy for me: I chose unread collections from my own shelves.
Envelope Poems, by Emily Dickinson (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
A Small Porch, by Wendell Berry (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Sand Opera, by Philip Metres (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A book you can read in a day
• To the Lighthouse (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Heartburn (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Heating and Cooling. Confession: I read this in 2017, so I won’t be reading it for my challenge, but it’s such a good one—and so perfect for this category—I wanted to put it on your radar. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A book that’s more than 500 pages
My list includes three books I’ve been meaning to read for years—but the length intimidates me!
• The Count of Monte Cristo (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• A Suitable Boy (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
The Stand (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A book by a favorite author
This category was easy—so much great stuff coming out in 2018!
• Transcription. A new Kate Atkinson! (Goodreads)
• Between, Georgia. I love Joshilyn Jackson, but I haven’t read this title from her backlist yet. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• I’ll Be Your Blue Sky. Hurray for a new Marisa de los Santos! (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A banned book
So many good titles to choose from … I’m choosing ones I’ve been intending to read for ages.
• Things Fall Apart (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Beloved (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

A memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction
• Devil in the Grove. Currently on my shelf. The reviews are fantastic. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• The Ghost Map. I’m excited to finally read this book, which has also been recommended by readers with great taste. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)
• Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. I can’t say that the subject fills my heart with joy—yet—but I aspire to be a Doris Kearns Goodwin completist. She’s never let me down. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound)

What are YOU reading for the 2018 Reading Challenge? (If you’re not on the list, click here to sign up!)

reading challenge picks

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  1. Jay says:

    I like both 1Q84 and The Elegance of the Hedgehog immensely, though they are quite dissimilar books. 1Q84 is verrrrry long, though. Maybe you can pick it and the very short Of Mice and Men to even things out? 🙂 Good luck with the challenge!

  2. First of all, I can’t believe some of the titles on this list. I have adored The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Of Mice and Men, and The Count of Monte Cristo. I will say this the only translation of Madame Bovary that is worth reading is the one by Lydia Davis. She truly captures the magic and the poetry in English which is super hard to do when translating novels. I think she also won an award for her translation, but I don’t remember which one or when.

    • Karen Wehman says:

      The Elegance of the Hedgehog ranks as one of my all-time favorites. I have been meaning to re-read and even purchased a hard copy. 2018 is the year. I would highly recommend this book. I loved The Count of Monte Cristo and another Alexander Dumas, The Man in the Iron Mask.

  3. Sarah R says:

    I just finished Heating & Cooling and loved it! It almost felt like poetry to me, and that is a compliment because poetry usually doesn’t land for me. Symbolism goes right over my head!

    One similar book is “Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It is unconventional but not weird and it’s something I feel safe recommending to anyone (I probably wouldn’t recommend Heating & Cooling to my mom, you know?)

    • Christine says:

      Hi Sarah, I just looked up TAKR. I was gutted by Amy’s essay in the NY Times, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” Now I feel like I HAVE to read that book – thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Whitney K B Holder says:

    Planning to read Emma for the classic category. Have The Elegance Of the Hedgehog on my shelf as well, so maybe that. Prince of Tides for over 500. The Heart’s Invisible Furies for a recommendation since it was the 2017 BOTM Book Of the Year. To Kill A Mockingbird for Banned Book. The Silkworm for Favorite Author. I read 84 Charing Cross Road for Book in a Day, and I absolutely adored it! Can’t believe I’d never read it!

  5. Jackie says:

    What do you mean by “a memoir, biogrpahy, or book of creative nonfiction?” I don’t understand the category. Thanks!

      • Adrienne Hudson says:

        I interpreted this to mean history that is written like a novel. Examples would be the books be Erik Larsen.

    • Carol S says:

      I read a wonderful book a couple of months ago that would fit into this category: Mozart’s Starling, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. She tells the story of a starling that Mozart kept in his home apparently because he heard it singing a line from one of his works. The author also kept a starling to see what it would be like.

    • Carol S says:

      Oh, also Longitude, by Dava Sobel. Her closing line for this book is one of my favorite closing lines. It’s not a long book, either. I also liked her book, Galileo’s Daughter, which was really good, but a lot longer

  6. Grace says:

    I’m listening to The Stand right now! My Stephen King repertoire is sorely lacking. As a bonus, it fits my reading challenge’s January category “a book published in my birth year!” Great choices here. Happy reading, Anne!

  7. Katy says:

    Yes read War and Peace! It’s a bit of a struggle for the first bit because there are so many characters but once you get into it a little bit more it’s a wonderful story. I was definitely more a fan of the “peace” scenes than the “war” scenes because they read more like Austen and Wharton peeks into society life but the war stuff provided such a contrast that it gave a well rounded look at life in times of war and peace. I read it several years ago and I still think about it.

      • Katy says:

        I read whichever version was free on my kindle at the time. It looks like the version I have was published October 4, 2009 and it was 508 pages.

        I got a really pretty set of classic books from my dad a few years ago that includes it, so if I were to reread I would do the pretty paper version. But I think it’s a free public domain book if you don’t mind reading on a screen.

      • Courtney says:

        I know this is a bit of a late response, but in case anyone else is looking for a recommendation on which version to choose… I read the Wordsworth Classics version, which I highly recommend for several reasons:

        1) This version was translated by people who knew Leo Tolstoy personally, and he approved of their translation. You can’t get much more authentic than that unless you’re going to read the book in the original Russian.

        2) It keeps the original French where it was used by Tolstoy (but provides translations). This, to me, was an important aspect of the book because it showed that, though Russia was at war with France, French language and culture were still very much “in fashion” in higher Russian society.

        3) There’s an index at the back of the book to provide additional notes/references if you like that sort of thing (I do!)

        I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, and love to see others planning to read it. Take it slow and savor it. This is one truly deserving of the title “masterpiece.”

  8. Sue D says:

    Great list, thank you for sharing your ideas! The 2018 book award nomination category is bugging me, because while obviously these are not known yet, it bothers me to have an empty spot on my list:) I am thinking of reading Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence for the classic category, The Scribe of Sienna as the book recommended by a friend with great taste, Bear Town for the book in translation (because somehow I haven’t read it yet), Walter Isaacson’s Da Vinci for the book >500 pages, Kiss Carlo for a book by a favorite author, Exit West for the book recommended by an indie bookseller, The Handmaid’s Tale for the banned book, The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse for the memoir, and Before We Visit the Goddess for a book by an author with a different religion or culture.

  9. Carol Wright says:

    Last year I read the books my daughter was reading for school – which apparently I did not read when I was in hs. Of a mice and Men – which was awesome. My son (freshman in hs) just read it for school and came into my room crying. “Alarmed I say, “What’s up buddy?!” Tristan, “I just finished of mice and men”.
    Also I so enjoyed Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Soooo good. Not at all what I thought the story was about. It’s always interesting when your presuppositions about certain books are upended.
    Looove your blog – thank you for the time and energy you put into it. It’s my go-to. ??

  10. Noel says:

    I wrote down a selection for each category – mostly books I have on my shelves at home.
    Classic: The Age of Innocence, North & South, Candide, The English Patient

    In Translation: The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho, Eva Luna or In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende, or The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junoz Diaz

    Poetry: Walt Whitman, the Complete Poems, or Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson

    Longer than 500 pages: A Little Life by Tanya Yanagihara; The Winds of War, H. Wouk, Helen of Troy, by Margaret George; The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Alan Gurganus; A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth

    Banned: Beloved by Toni Morrison; Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, or Catcher in the Rye

  11. Madelyn Ferris says:

    I was wanting this list and didn’t know it. Thank you. At least I have a place to start for the Reading Challenge!

  12. Janean says:

    Do you recommend a particular translation of War and Peace? I see that the Amazon link you provided was for the gorgeous Penguin clothbound Briggs translation, but I wanted to check on the translation element. After all, if you’re going to read that puppy, you certainly don’t want to read the wrong one!

    • Christine says:

      Pevear and Volokhonsky are well known as some of the best translators of classic Russian novels! They are a couple who works together to translate

  13. Maryalene says:

    I so do not understand the love for Elegance of the Hedgehog. I found it so boring and pretentious that it’s one of the few books I’ve abandoned. Someone explain it to me please!

    • Steph says:

      I am right there with you. I think I got a third of the way through it. “Pretentious” was exactly the word I used to describe the writing. Which is a shame, because I thought the premise of the book was so promising.

  14. Tory says:

    I wouldn’t recommend reading War and Peace AND the Count of Monte Cristo in the same year. Both are way too long and just not that good.

  15. Lisa says:

    The Stand is an excellent choice for people new to King but another one of his I have read twice is Insomnia. I am looking forward to attempting the challenge this year. I read a lot, but tend to eschew plans I make….

  16. Donna says:

    Great picks,Anne! Thanks for the inspo! One of my favourite librarians recommended A Suitable Boy for the book over 500 pages category last year. But I decided to go with New York by Edward Rutherfurd
    I’ve only decided on the memoir/biography category so far. I picked Endurance by Scott Kelly which was on my 2017 reading list. I picked it up last week and I am loving it!
    Also, currently reading and thoroughly enjoying Reading People!? Read chapter 5 this morning and just letting it percolate! ?

  17. Chelsea says:

    Best of luck if you go for War and Peace – I read it for another reading challenge a couple of years ago and literally got to the point of having to set myself a target of reading three pages per day in order to finish it, I’d celebrate if I managed four pages. Like wading through treacle. (I’m not a fan of Russian literature generally though and it doesn’t help that all the characters have about four names so you never know who they’re talking about.)

    Please read the Count of Monte Christo – yes it’s long but it’s a really fun book. I couldn’t put it down.

  18. Ana says:

    OMG. My favorite book of all time is the Elegance Of the Hedgehog! You just must read this one. I think I should reread it this year! Can’t wait to see what you choose.

  19. Jimi says:

    Considering…Grapes of Wrath for the classic, You are a badass for the recommendation by someone with great taste (Laura Tremaine), We are never meeting in real life for the essay collection, Our Souls at Night for the book you can read in a day, The Heart’s Invisible Furies for over 500 pages, Glass Houses for favorite author…and that’s all I have for now.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    For the book in translation, I was going to read Lëila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny (translated from the French and a winner of France’s big literary award – The Goncourt Prize) because I used to be a high school French teacher (I’d love to say I’ll read it in French but yeah…probably not.) But the sequel to Beartown makes me really excited so I might have to read two for this category.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Wait, isn’t there a category missing? What about the “book by an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion than your own”? I’m currently reading Homegoing (Yaa Gyaasi) for that category.

  22. Ruth-Anne Hayes says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed perusing your list on Amazon. You provided great food for thought! Excited for a new year of reading wonderful books!

  23. Becky says:

    I loved the Count of Monte Cristo when I read it years ago, couldn’t put it down! I think I’m going to tackle War and Peace this year since it keeps popping up in my life–I think it wants me to read it! (first when we watched Happy New Year Charlie Brown a few weeks ago and then on your Laura Vanderkam podcast!) I read Anna Karenina 13 or so years ago; I’m glad I read it but doubt I’ll ever do it again. Funny thing is my kids were into watching Aristocats constantly back then and I remember thinking “so THAT’S where Frou-Frou got her name!!”

  24. mari says:

    “Hate That Cat” for the book you can read in a day category. Its written for children but this grown up loved it. Told in verse, its about a boy who hates poetry learning to love poetry and adjusting to life after loosing pet. Very short. Would also work for poetry book category. Its also been reissued after being out of print for a while.

  25. Kelcey says:

    Yes, read War and Peace! It reads like a romance novel, much easier to get through than Anna Karenina (though that is one of my favorite books of all time). I also second Heating & Cooling for anyone who hasn’t read it.

  26. Jackie Davis says:

    This is what I have decided so far for this year’s challenge:
    For the classic, book in translation, and book over 500 pages, I’m planning to read Anna Karenina and use it for these three categories because I know it will take me awhile to read this one.
    For the book you can read in a day I’m planning to read Hourglass.
    I’ve been meaning to re-read Grapes of Wrath so I’m going to use that for the banned book category.
    I have Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck for the poetry, play or essay collection.
    I’m planning to re-read all of Jane Austen this year so using that for my book by a favorite author.
    Exit West will be my book by an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion.
    I want to read Ron Chernow’s new biography of Ulysses S Grant so that will be my memoir or biography.
    The others I will fill in as the year goes along!

  27. Sarah says:

    Want to echo the love for The Count of Monte Cristo, it was one of my favorite reads in 2017. Inspired by your challenge to enjoy my reading more in 2018, I’ve set a lower number expectation this year to make room for some longer books I think I would enjoy, but have put off.
    Currently reading Lonesome Dove for my book over 500 pages (so good).
    Kristin Lavransdatter for a book in translation
    Who fears death for a book by an author of a different ethnicity
    Dirk Gently’s Holistic detective Agency (and probablly Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, too) for book by a favorite author–I read one or both of these years ago, but only vaguely remember them
    Middlemarch or War and Peace for a classic ( I started War and Peace several years ago, got about halfway through and stopped reading for outside reasons, it’s awkward because I can’t decide whether to start over or just resume where I was)
    From Here to Eternity: Traveling the world in search of the good death for creative non fiction
    The complete Stories by Flannery O’connor for book of essays (this edition could be book you read for the cover if that were a category this year)
    Eleanor and Park for a banned book.

    So many book could fit multiple categories that I’ll probablly fiddle as the year goes along to get things in. I’m leaving the recommendation categories open, awaiting inspiration.

  28. Rachel says:

    Here’s my list (in order): Jane Eyre, Red Rising, My Brilliant Friend, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Dark Matter, Wildwood, SandLand Diaries, Good Omens, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, and In the Shadow of the Banyan!

  29. Nichole says:

    Thanks for the suggestions…I’m seriously considering War & Peace after your latest podcast! Ugh…1Q84. It starts SOOO good and then I wanted to abandon it about 100 times, but by the time I was truly ready to give it up I was 700+ pages in and felt committed. All I could say to my husband (who did abandon it) was “I’m so jealous of all that time you didn’t want date on this book!” ? Maybe I missed something?!?

  30. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is one of my all-time favorite books. And I love Joshilyn Jackson! She’s one of my favorite writers, and The Almost Sisters made my favorite top three list of 2017.

    This challenge looks like fun! I’m up for it!

  31. Mari says:

    My list in order
    1. Henry the Fifth, classic I have been meaning to read
    2. Gilead. Was recommended by the Well Read Mom Book Club
    3. Book in translation IQ84/The Time Between
    4. Edith Stilwell for the poetry. Got a rec from this site: https://aleteia.org/2017/10/15/5-underrated-women-writers-you-should-be-reading/
    5.FOr Book I can read in day I am torn. Maybe Reading people :), Or one I have on hand: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Its for kids but looks quite good. Also thinking about The Cat Lady by Dick King-Smith. Also kids, but looks charming
    6. For a looooong book, I am thinking Our Mutual Friend or Little Dorrit by Dickens. Maybe Kristin Landsvansdetter. Have had that one on the TBR for a very long time
    7. Favorite Author: Hmmmmm Probably stick to the series I am currently reading, author: Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander Series. Love it. I am on book four and it goes on for another 18 books! Dynamic historical sea stories (Napoleonic Wars), centering around the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and the doctor/spy Stephen Maturin. Also a great movie.
    8.Banned book. Meh. Read most of them. Perhaps the Part Time Indian one?
    9. Paperbackd from HEll for creative non-fiction or One BEautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
    10. Homecoming or Edge of Gone for the different category.
    11. Since I am a librarian I am going to recommend to myself the Fablehaven series for a change of pace….or keep reading the Master and Commander series!

    • Christine, Australia says:

      I hope you enjoy Edith Sitwell’s poetry – I certainly did. And I too am wondering whether to launch into ‘Kristin Landsvansdatter’ -it is intimidatingly long, but sounds like my cup of tea.

      • Shannkn says:

        Just sending a little encouragement to read Kristin Lavransdatter. It looks intimidatingly long, but once you’re about 50 pages in it reads really quickly. I just finished it in December, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2017.

  32. Caron says:

    Yay for the 2018 reading challenge, I’m still trying to get to the end of my 2017 challenges so this year will be a combination of the two! My 2018 picks are (in order): Persuasion; Underneath the Roses Where I Remembered Everything; The White Book; milk and honey; Women and Power; book more than 500 pages I’m undecided between Anna Karenina, White Teeth and Wolf Hall; How to Be Both; The Association of Small Bombs; Fahrenheit 451; Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies; Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.

    • Christine, Australia says:

      I managed to construct my list almost entirely from books already on my shelves and ereader which I haven’t yet got round to reading – like so many of us! I’ve also decided to do two books in some of the categories.
      a classic you’ve been meaning to read –
      Elizabeth Gaskell, ‘Mary Barton’ and Patrick White, ‘Voss’
      a book recommended by someone with great taste – Flann O’Brien, ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ and George Saunders, ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’,
      a book in translation –
      Audur Ava Olafsdottir, ‘Butterflies in November’
      a book nominated for an award in 2018 TBD
      a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection –
      Mark McKenna, ‘From the Edge: Australia’s lost histories’
      a book that’s more than 500 pages –
      Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘Crime and Punishment’
      a book you can read in a day TBD
      a book by a favourite author –
      Geraldine Brooks, ‘People of the Book’
      a book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller –
      Robert Drewe, ‘Whipbird’ and Steven Carroll, ‘A New England Affair’
      a banned book –
      Peter Wright, ‘Spycatcher’
      a memoir, biography, or book of creative non-fiction –
      Roy Hattersley, ‘Blood and Fire: William and Catherine Booth and their Salvation Army’ and
      Susan Williams, ‘Colour Bar: the triumph of Seretse Khama and his nation’,
      a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion from your own –
      Ruby Langford Ginibi, ‘Don’t Take Your Love to Town’

  33. Susan says:

    I only read on YA book last year and it was “Far From The Tree” I liked it OK I gave it a B. Just be aware that it does read “young” and as an adoptee I can tell you adoption search is never usually that easy even with DNA testing now days. Also reunions are hard and it is over simplified in this book still work a read though.

  34. Janean says:

    The Count of Monte Christo is on my list as well. I’ve always wanted to read it, but I have trouble taking it seriously as one of the greats because I always think of the sandwich ? The Count of the Sandwich! It sounds like an episode of Veggie Tales. I realize this is all rather juvenile. ??‍♀️

  35. Julia R. says:

    Thanks for the great list of recommendations! I’m considering Jayber Crow or Hannah Coulter for a great taste recommendation; The Remains of the Day or Dear Ijeawale for read in a day; I’m currently reading Hamilton for a book over 500 pages; Small Great Things or The Trespasser for favorite author; Blackberry Wine, Chocolat, or Radium Girls for librarian recommendation; and Interpreter of Maladies or I Am Malala for a different ethnicity.

  36. Ripple says:

    Lovely list! I’d like to create one myself now that I’ve seen yours! Amazing idea. This year I set my reading challenge on 18 book (yep – because of the year 2018) but I’d love to read much more. What I definitely want to read is also War & Peace and The Prophet from Kahlil Gibran. So far I’ve finished 2 books: Nabokov’s Lolita and The girl on the train. I hope the new year is going to bring you thousands of pages of amazing books and a lot of great memories! <3

    With kindness,

  37. Steph says:

    LOVED “Of Mice and Men,” in a devastating kind of way. It’s especially poignant if you know and love someone with autism

  38. Liz Dehling says:

    The Stand is my all-time favorite book!! I read it 30 years ago and STILL think about it!
    My selections for the challenge:
    The Woman In White by Wilke Collins
    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morgan
    Beartown by Fredrik Backman
    Brown Girl Dreaming by J Woodson
    Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
    Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
    The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night by Mark Haddon
    You Learn by Living by E Roosevelt
    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
    I used to love DEAR time in grade school (Drop Everything and Read) – I’ve decided to try that again to try to meet these goals ?

  39. Page says:

    For the 500+ pages book I am reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. It is riveting. I highly recommend it.

  40. Laura Holland says:

    I got the poetry book, the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur, for Christmas and read it this week as my poetry book selection. It is a fabulous follow up to her first book of poetry, milk and honey. She also illustrates them. I am reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as my classic. Still deciding on everything else.

  41. Fiona says:

    Yes, you really must read The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have a friend who says it is her all-time favourite book. I liked it and found it memorable. It’s a bit slow at the beginning, but once a particular character is introduced you will love it.

  42. Michelle says:

    I have read The Elegance of the Hedgehog it was a page turner! You will enjoy it. Have read Beloved a few Times as well of course as Madame Bovary one of my favourite classics.

    I chose To the Lighthouse as my classic… I am struggling. Has anyone read and loved this one?

  43. Fiona says:

    I read Things Fall Apart in High School and loved it. I’ve been afraid to re-read it in case it’s not as great as I remember. Would love to hear what you think. I still remember it vividly after 30 years!!

  44. Kim says:

    I’m most excited about these:
    Classic I’ve been meaning to read- 1984
    Poetry- Complete poems of Emily Dickinson (found a nice copy at a book sale a while back but haven’t ever read a whole book of poems).
    More than 500 pages – Middlemarch.
    A memoir- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
    Book by author of different ethnicity- I am a Cat.

  45. Barbara Andrade DuBransky says:

    My prelimary ideas for the challenge include:
    Classic: Rebecca (I’ve been meaning to for years and Simon on the Readers mentions it often, so feeling even more motivated).
    Reco: Little Fires Everywhere (can’t resist the hype on this one)
    Translation: #2–#4 of the Neopolitan Series (I loved the first one)
    Poetry: Voyage of the Sable Venus (by our poet laureate here in L.A.
    One Day: Barking to the Choir (Father Greg Boyle’s second book. His first book of essays/memoir, Tattoos on the Heart, is fantastic-you laugh and cry throughout the whole thing-his wisdom is deep and warm. He’s a beloved founder of a social venture supporting men and women leaving gangs in L.A. I see him speak whenever I can)
    500-Pager: All the Light We Cannot See (feels like I’m behind the whole world on this one)
    Favorite Author: I will read the two Brene Brown books I’m behind on, but was excited to see your mention that there’s a 3rd in the Love Walked In series. Yeah! Will be all over that too.
    Banned Book: Invisible Man (also been on my TBR for a long time)
    Memoir: My Life with Bob (I read Pamela Paul’s coffee table style book collecting many of her interviews with authors called “By the Book” cover to cover and loved it. So I’m in for more of her work.
    Author of different ethnicity: “The Hate You Give” (been eager to get to this one)

  46. Abigail Reed says:

    Ooh DEFINITLY read Count of Monte Cristo! That book is so engrossing you don’t even realize how long it is. It got me through a rough pregnancy with intraheptic coleostasis, it was the only thing that could take my mind off the itching!

  47. Lauren says:

    Here’s what I’m reading:
    Classic: Emma
    Recommendation from someone with good taste: The Night Circus
    A book in translation: The 100 Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
    A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (had it on my list last year but never got around to it, and I’m going to see the play in London in March!)
    A book you can read in a day: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (#3 in the Narnia series)
    A book that is more than 500 pages: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, or 11/22/63
    A book by a favorite author: Sourdough by Robin Sloan
    Book recommended by a librarian: The Dry by Jane Harper
    A banned book: The Handmaid’s Tale
    A memoir, biography, or creative nonfiction: In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
    Book written by someone of a different race, religion, or ethnicity: Cutting for Stone

    PS — I highly recommend Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza for a book written by someone of a different race, religion, or ethnicity if you’re looking for one. It’s a true story about a woman who survived the Rwandan holocaust and it’s FABULOUS.

  48. Beka says:

    I received the Envelope Poems for Christmas! I love it. But then again Dickenson is one of my favorite poets of all time too.

  49. Deborah P. says:

    I already finished Holidays on Ice for a book of essays. And I think this is the year I’m hinally going to read Pride & Prejudice!

  50. Julie says:

    This Reading Challenge is a great supplement to my annual Goodreads goal! So far I have finished “Behold The Dreamers” and really enjoyed it (author of different race/ethnicity/religion) and I am listening to “I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings (memoir). Can’t believe I haven’t read Angelou before!

  51. Pat Gillard says:

    I never read e-mails so hopefully following on facebook will work. Love your list. Please don’t send anything to my email though, it just never get’s read 🙂

  52. Carol S says:

    Here’s what I have, so far.

    Classic: Death Comes for the Archbishop
    Great taste: Dying for Compassion, or The Power of Silence
    Translation: The Name of the Rose, or Pharaoh
    2018 Award: ?
    Poetry, etc: Letters to a Young Poet, or A Small Porch (Thanks, MMD! I wanted something from Wendell Berry, but hadn’t had a chance to look up anything yet)
    Read in a Day: Currently trolling comments here for suggestions ?
    500 pages: The Habit of Being
    Fave author: still looking
    Recommend: still looking
    Banned: To Kill a Mockingbird, or Frankenstein
    Memoir, etc: The Irrational Season, or Schilder’s List
    Different: still looking

  53. I’ve finished my first (Beartown, which felt very Friday Night Lights-esque to me and I loved it! Not sure how i feel about a sequel but feel compelled to read it now that you said there is one…) for the in translation category. My full list(in order you listed the categories): Rebecca, The Radium Girls, Beartown, TBD, Theft By Finding, We Have Always Lived In the Castle, Jerusalem: The Biography, Fresh Complaint (hooray for a new Eugenides), Exit West, The Hate U Give or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Sound if Gravel, Things Fall Apart.

  54. Katie says:

    Things Fall Apart – I read it in college (almost 20 years ago- yikes!) and my husband just read it for the first time this year. He loved it and made me want to read it again as an older adult. Hope you read this one!

  55. Betsy says:

    Jane Eyre is my classic-that-I’ve-been-meaning-to-read. FOR. EVER.

    Things Fall Apart is amazing. Highly recommend it. It’s also a book-in-translation. If readers want a children’s novel in translation, the recent Bronze and Sunflower (Chinese) is a poignant story of friendship, family loyalty, and courage.

    I love Candice Millard’s biographies, so I might tackle another one of hers this year!

  56. Lauri Manes says:

    I’m thinking of Steinbeck too for my classic. East of Eden has been on my list for a while and sitting on my shelf for just as long! For a banned book, Fahrenheit 451, as this one some how escaped my attention when I was younger. One of my favorite authors is Jeffrey Eugenides. I still have not read The Marriage Plot, and it too sits on my shelf. Beyond those three, I am not totally sure but am trying to plan. Love seeing what others are choosing!

  57. Janus V says:

    Is it possible for you to create a printable list of the books you will be reading for this challenge? It would make a nice reference to follow along with the books I’ll be reading.

  58. Sandra says:

    I am reading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins for the classic in January. A couple of people recommended this author to me, and I had never heard of him.

  59. Deb says:

    I have been trying to pull together my list and I think I have it… Classic I’ve been meaning to read – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Recommended – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo; Memoir – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Favorite Author – The Lacuna; In a Day – Night; 500+ The Goldfinch; Banned – Fahrenheit 451; Different Ethnicity – The Kite Runner; Poetry – Milk & Honey; Translation – The Leavers by Lisa Ko; Book Award – TBD; Indie Bookseller – TBD I’ve added Between, Georgia to ny list of titles too – I’ve never read anything by Joshilyn Jackson and there are so many recommendations! Thinking my list may be ambitious… Any thoughts?

  60. Keith says:

    This is my third year doing the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge! Thanks for doing this every year!

    I’m still tinkering with my 2018 list (trying to get fewer white, American cis-male authors), but as of right now this is what I have:

    Classic: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    Great taste recommendation: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
    Translation: Beartown by Fredrik Backman (just replaced A Man Called Ove with this due to your blog post!)
    2018 nominee: TBD after Jan 19’s Edgar nominations
    Poetry/Play/Essay Collection: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Read in day: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
    500+ Pages: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling
    Favorite author: It by Stephen King
    Librarian recommendation: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Banned book: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
    Memoir/biography: Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith by Lily Burana
    Different race/ethnicity/religion: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

  61. Mary says:

    I read “Beloved” and “Things Fall Apart” in college. Both good reads. Last year I read “The Count of Monte Cristo” –amazing! The movie doesn’t do it justice. Just a few on my reading list for this year:
    Peace of Soul by Fulton Sheen
    All That’s Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe
    The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokow
    So many books, so little time. ::sigh::

  62. Michelle says:

    I’m excited; my list is almost complete.
    To the Lighthouse (underway- struggling but determined)
    The Time of Women Elena Chizhova
    A Streetcar Named Desire, Tenessee Williams
    Stranger in the House, Shari Lapena (done… this was my book to read in a day and it was totally done in about 2 hours)
    The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
    Into the Water Paula Hawkins
    The Color Purple, Alice Walker
    Where I Belong, Alan Doyle
    The Mother of Black Hollywood, Jennifer Lewis
    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See
    Still missing recommendations and an award winner…

    • Donna says:

      I read A Streetcar Named Desire in high school. I’ve been meaning to re-read it as an adult! Also, currently reading The Alice Network and I don’t want it to end. One of the best historical fiction I’ve read in years! Enjoy!

  63. Kirstin says:

    I’m a first-timer for any reading challenge and am excited to be joining you all!
    My list so far is:
    Classic: A Wrinkle In Time (kind of embarrassed that I’ve never read this!)
    Book in translation: The Alchemist or Beartown (possibly both!)
    Poetry/Play/Essay: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
    Book read in one day: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
    Book that’s more than 500 pages: Don Quixote (I’m intimidated by its length but have always wanted to read it), or Crime and Punishment
    Favorite author: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. I’ve read so many of Atwood’s books and love her writing. AND she’s a fellow Canadian 🙂
    Banned Book: Unsure, but probably Toni Morrison, either The Bluest Eye or Beloved (I just read Home and loved it!)
    Memoir/Biography/Creative Non-Fiction: The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer (another long one, over 1100 pages)
    Book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – reading this right now and it is excellent.
    Will pick 2018 award nominee, book recommended by someone with great taste, and indie bookseller recommendation at a later time.
    I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can read.

  64. Nicole says:

    For a memoir, I’m listening to “Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News” by Dan Rather. He’s an excellent story teller and of course he’s narrating.

  65. Jo Yates says:

    My dad bribed me to read The Count of Monte Cristo when I was 12. (I couldn’t read my typical pre-teen books until I finished it.) I’ve never forgotten it or the fact that Daddy challenged me to read it. (I also read In Cold Blood that year which was pretty scary).
    Creative Nonfiction is my favorite genre. I’ve already read Adam’s Curse and DNA USA by Bryan Sykes this month and may reread The Seven Daughters of Eve. Also Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. Other suggestions for that genre: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which was amazing and The Worst Hard Time, .
    I want to read Middlemarch and Persuasion for my classic. I also will finish the Harry Potter series (I’ve read the first 3). Also Julia Keller’s backlist after reading Fast Falls the Night.
    I want to read Spoon River Anthology for poetry. I read it in high school but it’s time for a second look.

  66. Elisabeth says:

    I loved “The Stand”. I read it in high school (in fact I read a lot of Stephen King books and most of them in English, which is not my native language). Nick was the first book character I ever had a crush on. And you never forget your first love! 🙂

  67. Danielle says:

    I LOVED The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It took a while to get into but was SO worth it. I listened on audiobook and that helped get through the more dense parts.

  68. Carly says:

    The banned book category is my favorite! I did my thesis for my undergrad on the book bannings of Tucson Unified School District, who banned all Mexican American authors (and accidentally banned basically anyone brown with a Hispanic accent too-oops). Pulling out some of those for essay collections too! Zapata’s Disciple is life changing essays!

  69. Nancey says:

    I am currently reading the ‘Book recommended… ‘ which is The Trespasser by Tana French. My Essay collection will be I Just Lately Started Buying Wings by Kim Dana Kupperman. My memoir will likely be The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits. I have been meaning to read this anyway and its sadly sitting on my bookstand at home all lonely! For my translated book I am excited to read Mysteries by Knut Hamsun which is translated from Norwegian, and for the award winner I’m likely going with Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach since I love her writing anyway. I am waiting for Kate Christensen’s new book before I commit to my favorite author one because seriously she so is….

  70. Shelly says:

    I rarely plan what I’m going to read because I always get distracted by other things. But these are some of the books I plan to read for the challenge this year…unless I change my mind.

    Classic: In Cold Blood, Rebecca
    Translation: My Beautiful Friend
    Favorite Author: Kristin Hannah has a new one coming out. I’ve already put my name on the reserved list at the library.
    Banned Book: So many to choose from here… The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, Looking For Alaska.
    Memoir: Wild, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, Hillbilly Elegy
    Different Race: Homegoing, Crazy Rich Asians

  71. Donna says:

    I put together my picks last night!
    A classic you’ve been meaning to read:
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
    A book recommended by someone with great taste:
    The Listening Life by Adam S. McHugh (thanks for the recommendation, Anne!)
    A book in translation:
    In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom Malmquist, translated by Henning Koch (release date: January 30, 2018)
    A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection:
    One Day We’ll Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul (essays)
    A book you can read in a day:
    The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell
    A book that’s more than 500 pages:
    New York by Edward Rutherfurd
    A book by a favourite author:
    Plain Song by Kent Haruf
    A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller:
    Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff
    A banned book:
    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    A memoir:
    A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold
    A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own:
    The Break by Katherena Vermette

    • Donna says:

      I changed my mind about the book recommended by a bookseller. I tried several bookstores and it’s difficult to find. Instead I’m going with Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill. One of my favourite booksellers who also gives spot-on recommendations said I need to read it. Plus it won the 2017 Giller Prize.

  72. Sue S says:

    Thanks for posting this Anne, it helped me ‘get’ the point of the Reading Challenge and I got lots of great ideas from your list.
    I’m wondering why you are skeptical about American Pastoral – trust your friend & ignore the terrible AP movie if you happened to see that. The book is fantastic, and as a bonus, you’ll learn more than you ever could imagine about making gloves!
    Some of my choices
    Classic & Over 500 pages: A Portrait of A Lady, Henry James
    In Translation: The Perfect Nanny
    Bio: Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast by Megan Marshall
    A favorite author: I’m so excited to see there’s a new Kate Atkinson this year 🙂

  73. Dana Hartness says:

    So many great ideas here! Did I miss your pick for “an author of a different race, ethnicity or religion than your own”?

  74. Lazyretirementgirl says:

    This is such an interesting concept. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be for me. I am retired and a voracious reader, so don’t need a prod to read in quantity. Plus, being 65 and a college English major, I have read a lot of classics, However, the structure of the challenge feels like it will push me out of my normal choices and set me on some different paths with reading and thinking. I am experiencing a little thrill of creative excitement as I think about the various categories, and what might fit with them. Plus, I am really enjoying all the thoughtful, interesting comments and suggestions from your readers. Thank you, everyone.

  75. Randi says:

    I hope you read the Elegence of the Hedgehog because I would love to hear your opinion on it. I abandoned it and I never abandon books. I don’t know if it was just me, the wrong time, or I didn’t get far enough into it before giving up.

  76. Karen Wehman says:

    If anyone is seeking a classic, may I suggest The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Coming of age in the South. It packs a punch.

  77. Jill Porco says:

    I loved Things Fall Apart, read it for a college history course. Highly recommend Of Mice and Men and Madame Bovary. Both excellent.
    Will read Jamie Ford’s Love and Other Consolation Prizes for my book group. The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was fantastic!

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