I am going to be going through a reading challenge this year. I want to see how many books I can get through on my reading list in 365 days. This is no easy feat. I am expanding my literature to authors that I normally shy away from: Shakespeare and Dickens. These past few years I have found a new love for classic literature by reading authors ranging from Jane Austen to Tolkien.
In high school, reading Shakespeare was a pain. Especially since my senior year teacher was terrible about being enthusiastic for literature. I felt like I couldn’t understand what the author was trying to convey or even what the characters were saying. Reading “Great Expectations,” by Charles Dickens, my freshman year was exhausting. However, I was victorious through “To Kill a Mockingbird” in both sixth and tenth grade. I actually enjoyed the book and then I moved on to Tolkien, loving every moment of the world he created. Then I fell upon someone a little different: Jane Austen. I watched the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and fell in love with the story, and even the character’s speech. It was so elegant and nothing like what I was used to. The characters were proper and the love story was realistic. I had only watched the movie and I already was enamored with Austen’s world. My fascination grew even deeper as I read Pride and Prejudice 5 times within three years (this is a big accomplishment as I take a bit to finish books).
I thought I was terrible at reading and that I couldn’t enjoy the older, more appreciated authors of the world. I thought I had failed with Shakespeare and Dickens and that I could never become a book connoisseur. I believe I have gained a new form of confidence by getting through one of the most beloved authors on the earth. Mind you, her books are not always easy to read. I always have a dictionary nearby to help better understand the language. But, as I read each of Austen’s books, the writing becomes easier to read and my reading comprehension grows.
I feel like I have accomplished more on my own through reading Austen than with my English teachers. That is why I have created a reading list of classic literature and aim to read as many as I can within a year. Some of these books I have already read, but I want to re-read them without the perspective of them being required reading. I want to take my time and enjoy the book instead of dreading a pop quiz on chapter 6 and cramming it in the morning of. I welcome you to join me on this journey and keep track of your progress by contacting me, following me on Instagram, following my Reading Challenge board on Pinterest, or commenting on this post. Don’t grow discouraged if you have a tough time understanding the language! Grab a dictionary and let’s discuss the books together! We can get through this!
I’m adding a twist to my reading challenge. I’m going to put pieces of paper in a jar with each of the book titles on my list. In another jar, I am putting all of the books of the Bible. I will pick one paper from each jar and can only pull another book from my reading list if I completed reading both books from the jars. ** However, If I don’t finish the book on the reading list before I finish the Bible book, I can choose another book of the Bible. BUT I have to finish that second Bible book if I finish reading the book on the reading list before I go to another literature book. Make sense? Okay get going on your challenge!
**My reading list is so big that it is hard to keep up with finding all the books, so I will only add a book to the jar if I come across it in a store (specifically a thrift store).
I want to balance out my reading of secular literature with that of my spiritual food. I don’t want to become too caught up with reading books and abandon the book that is most important: The Bible. I have never completely read through the Bible and I think this would be an awesome way to grow closer in my relationship with the Lord and reading literature through the lens of scripture.
Here is a list of all the books on my reading list. Contact me if you think I should add more! I will be adding throughout this journey!
Emma by Jane Austen* Completed July 13, 2016
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte*
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen*
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Lady Susan by Jane Austen*
- Love and Friendship by Jane Austen*
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell*
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
- O! Pioneers by Willa Cather*
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte*
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan*
- Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare*
- The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde*
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens*
- The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde*
- The Illiad by Homer
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- The Simmilarion by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine
- Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo*
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle*
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (The WHOLE 1000 pgs.)*
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott*
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
- Julius Caeser by William Shakespeare
- The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
*In my possession.
Please feel free to join me on my journey and add or change the books on the reading list. If you want to stick to one reading list and not do the books of the Bible, that’s okay! Tailor the challenge so that it fits YOU! Good luck and please let’s talk soon!
I want to see how your progress is too! Post a picture of the book you are reading and tag me, @curlywcf, and add #UltimateReadingChallenge. I can’t wait to see how it goes!