The 2015 reading challenge to end all challenges

My friend shared this with me yesterday and I got pathetically excited.

Popsugar has come up with a super fun 2015 reading challenge that proves IRRESISTIBLE for dorks like me. And since I’ve got too much time on my hands, I spent about two hours last night figuring out which books I’m going to read based on my Goodreads “to-read” shelf and a whole lot of Google searches.

2015 Book Challenge

I’m nearly done my 2014 30-book challenge, which I’m quite proud of since I spent half of the year not really reading much at all. I’ll do my round-up at the end of the month, however.

So which books am I reading in 2015? I LOVE that some of these are books I wouldn’t normally pick up, but am literally challenged to do so (for example, the “book with nonhuman characters”). These choices are likely to change, and I haven’t figured them all out yet (I suspect I will be getting some books for Christmas!), but here goes! I’m particularly proud of my selection for “a romance.” Haha. Gross.

A book with more than 500 pages

The Portable Dorothy Parker – Dorothy Parker

A classic romance

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

A book that became a movie

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

A book published this year

Travel the World on $50 a Day – Matt Kepnes – DONE! Jan 1

A book written by someone under 30

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

A book with nonhuman characters

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett

A funny book

Swept: Love With a Chance of Drowning – Torre DeRoche

A book by a female author

Dancing Lessons – Olive Senior
– Done! January 2015

A mystery or thriller

The Orenda – Joseph Boyden

A book with a one-word title

Sweetland – Michael Crummey

A book of short stories

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – Margaret Atwood

A book set in a different country

Alone in Berlin – Hans Fallada

A nonfiction book

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft – Janet Burroway

A popular author’s first book

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

A book a friend recommended

Serafim and Claire – Mark Lavorato

A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

The Goldfinch – Donna Tart

A book based on a true story

An Astronauts Guide to Earth – Chris Hadfield

A book at the bottom of your to-read list

Chance Encounters – Janna Graber

A book your mom loves

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand -> WHAT A FREAKING READ! Finished Jan 2

A book that scares you

Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

A book more than 100 years old

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

A book based entirely on its cover

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

A memoir

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

A book you can finish in a day

A book with antonyms in the name

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

Every Man Dies Alone – Hans Fallada

A book that came out the year you were born

Hatchet – Gary Paulsen

A book with bad reviews

Screw that, not reading a book I don’t like. Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling

A trilogy

The Mortal Instruments series

(I hate committing to trilogies, however. If I’m not thrilled with that first book, I’ll call it quits.)

A book from your childhood

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume

A book with a love triangle

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

A book set in the future

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

A book set in high school

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

A book with a colour in the title

The Hare With Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal

A book that made you cry

Wave – Sonali

A book with magic

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

A graphic novel


A book by an author you’ve never read before

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards

A book you own but have never read

Every Little Thing – Chad Pelley

A book that takes place in your hometown

Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden

A book that was originally written in a different language

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A book set during Christmas

The Man in the Red Suit – Bruce Templeton

A book written by an author with the same initials

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away – Christie Watson

A play

The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde

A banned book

Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

A book based on or turned into a TV show

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

A book you started but never finished

Do you have any to recommend?

PUMPED. This totals 52 BOOKS! If you include the entire trilogy. I may substitute a few things with children’s books (A book set during Christmas, a book from your childhood, etc.) to stay on track, but I GOT THIS YO. Who wants to join me?

  • December 20 2014

    I have 4 or 5 of these if you want them!

    • December 21 2014

      Oooh what ones??

      • January 02 2015

        A tree grows in Brooklyn, memory keepers daughter & one flew over the cuckoos nest.. I think I have “are you there God it’s me Margaret” in moms basement as well haha

        • January 07 2015

          Oh I have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I’d love to borrow the other two! That’d be awesome

  • December 20 2014

    For the Book with antonyms in it you could read “War and Peace” which also would cover the book with over 500 pages (I think). Also, I love Matthew Pearl. He wrote “The Dante Club” “The Poe Shadow” and “The Last Dickens.” They could be classified as Mystery/Thrillers. Oh, and “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” is a stellar choice! It is one of my all time favorite books. Makes me laugh out loud!!

    • December 21 2014

      I admit, I’m a little terrified of approaching War and Peace. I’l check out Matthew Pearl!

  • December 20 2014
    Filipa Chatillon

    I think I will join you. Been meaning to set a challenging reading challenge (eh eh) for myself for years , so…perfect timing. I might steal some of your suggestions :p

  • December 20 2014

    Oh this is fantastic. I’m definitely going to try this reading challenge. I actually just finished reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m normally not a scifi fan, but I really enjoyed the book.

    • December 21 2014

      Pumped to read it. Can’t believe he wrote it when he was 28!

  • December 20 2014

    This. Is. Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. This’ll be a great way to figure out new books to read next year! (I loved American Gods btw! Neil Gaiman rocks)

    • December 21 2014

      Seriously! Woot, can’t wait to read that one next.

  • December 20 2014
    Sasha @ The Curious Zephyr

    Yesssss I like it, I’m in. Although there’s only one book in the world I started and didn’t finish, and it’s also way down at the bottom of my to-read list … can I count it twice? :)

    • December 21 2014

      Yes! I may double up on a few items as well. What book is it?!

  • December 22 2014

    Nice, love the challenge idea! I gave myself a 30 book challenge this year and I don’t think I even hit 20. I suck. I’ve read several of the books on your list, though, you’re in for some treats! Night Circus is one of my favorite books! I might be biased, though, since I used to kind of be in the circus, but it’s written really well. Maybe I’ll try to do this and actually finish it this year!

    • December 27 2014

      Hahaha. Challenges are hard! I hardly read ANYTHING for the first half of the year. You used to be in the circus?!

      • December 28 2014

        Haha yeah, sort of, I was an aerial dancer (like Cirque du Soleil style). I’m still hoping to get back to it after I leave Korea! I wrote a post about it here:
        You should see if there are any classes available in your area and try it out! I couldn’t do a single pull up or anything when I started and then I actually got kind of buff ;)

  • December 26 2014

    Lolita, gross indeed. A classic study in paedophilia. There is nothing remotely romantic about a forty-something man who abducts and sexually abuses a 12-year-old girl. But the writing is awesome. No-one writes like Nabokov.

    • December 27 2014

      Oh, you’re right of course, but a quick Goodreads search for “romantic genres” lead me to this one. Makes my skin crawl, but it’s been on my reading list for awhile now.

  • January 01 2015

    Yay yay yay! I love this list already. So excited to hear how it goes.

    If you need a children’s book to sub in for non-human characters, I found Melanie Ansley’s Theo and the Forbidden Language pretty darn charming.

    Also (and this could fit nicely into a couple different categories) I just started Without You, There Is No Us and I’m completely entranced. It’s so foreign and interesting.

    • January 02 2015

      Ooh, thank you! Looking those up. Depending on how the year goes, I may have to substitute some children’s books in the categories. I’m gonna be doing a lot of travel, and for some reason, I find reading on the road to be difficult. :-/

      • January 03 2015

        In that case, a couple other really darling children’s or YA books:

        The Tale of Despereaux
        Wildwood Dancing
        Graceling (longer, but a quick, entrancing read)

  • January 04 2015

    For authors you’ve never read — did you read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel? one of my FAVORITE books of 2014! It was just so brilliant. The description makes it sound more dystopian than it is. It’s not at all. It was so realistic. And the other one that was my all time favorite is Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun — very literary YA that broke my heart into millions of pieces basically.

    • January 05 2015

      AGGHH! Just added those to my list. SO MANY BOOKS.

  • January 08 2015
    Bill Hatfield

    I’m wondering if Lolita will qualify as a ‘classic’ romance.

    • January 08 2015

      I made most of these selections by researching Goodreads lists and snagging books from there that were also on my “to-read” list. This was one of them. It’s disturbing, I know.

  • March 18 2015

    Thrilled to see this! My library put out a reading challenge with some of the same categories, this list is longer. I couldn’t wait to get started and this list will allow me to add books I have read that didn’t fit into a category on my library’s list. Thank you so much for sharing this, I LOVE having more categories (I am so dorky I was planning to add more myself).