2014 Reading Challenges

Is your to-be-read list as out of control as mine?

I surveyed my lists, shelves, and Kindle on Saturday and made a new list of what I’d really like to read this year (leaving holes for spur-of-the-moment books, of course).

If you need a little push too, here are five reading challenges you might use for extra motivation (thanks, Barbara, for sharing most of these challenges; I’m even copying some of your picks). Books can overlap between categories; just not within categories.

1.  Non-Fiction Reading Challenge 2014

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2014

The Goal: Any non-fiction books

Dilettante–Read 1-5 non-fiction books
Explorer–Read 6-10
Seeker–Read 11-15
Master–Read 16-20

Since I love non-fiction anyway, I’m aiming for Master here.

What I’ve read so far: Moonwalking with Einstein, His Word in My Heart, Made for Goodness, Strength to Love, Does Jesus Really Love me?, Ethics for the New Millennium, The Explicit Gospel, The Power of Now, Fresh Air, Stuff, Unfollowers, Tuesdays with Morrie, Orthodoxy, Spiritual Misfit, The War of Art, Reimagining Church, Delete, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Letters by a Modern Mystic, Crazy Busy, Essentialism, Being Wrong, Decisive, Daring Greatly, Let’s All Be Brave, How I Know God Answers Prayer, Bloodlines, Praying in the Reign

2.  2014 TBR Pile Challenge

2014 TBR Pile Challenge by Roof Beam Reader

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile within 12 months. Caveat: They have to have been on your shelf or list for at least one full year.  Two alternate titles are allowed.

My picks are: His Word in My Heart, The Brothers Karamazov, Les Misérables, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Orthodoxy, Letters by a Modern Mystic, Fresh Air, Tuesdays with Morrie,The War of Art, The Power of Now, Delete, and Being Wrong. 2 alternates: Reimagining Church, Living God’s Love.

3.  Back to the Classics Challenge 2014

Back to the Classics Challenge 2014

This will be the toughest for me. Here are the requirements plus my pick for each category (overlapping with some above).

The Goal:

  1. A 20th Century Classic (My Man Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse)
  2. A 19th Century Classic (The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author (The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery)
  4. A Classic in Translation  (Les Misérables by Victor Hugo)
  5. A Classic About War (The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy)
  6. A Classic by an Author You Haven’t Read (Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton)

4.  Reading to Know Classic Book Club 2014

Reading to Know - Book Club

The Goal: One classic per month from the list provided. Choose any or all months. I’m choosing 3 (duplicate books from other challenges): January (The Blue Castle), April (My Man Jeeves), August (The Brothers Karamazov), and October (How I Know God Answers Prayer).

5.  2014 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge


The Goal: Read classic authors from among “the cloud of witnesses,” i.e. dead ones.  A great list is provided for starters. I’m choosing only two: Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton and Letters by a Modern Mystic by Frank Laubach.

* * *

Do you know of other reading challenges? Are you participating in any? Please share below.

last updated December 12, 2014

21 thoughts on “2014 Reading Challenges

  1. floyd

    Wow! My reading challenge is to read the stack that’s been on my desk now for over a year! That’s it! You are my reading hero! I don’t know anyone that reads as much as you!

    1. Lisa

      I have that kind of stack too, Floyd. I’m ready to get rid of it this year. I’ve nibbled away at it in the past, but my years to read are dwindling so I need to make the most of the best of what’s out there–it’s time for my stack to either speak up as worth reading or leave. 🙂

  2. Linda@Creekside

    Hey Lisa … all I can say is WOW! You are well read, across a wide variety of genres. I’m impressed with your organization ’cause I usually pick up what seems to have landed on my pile in a random kinda way. Whatever … we share the same love for the worn pages, the mysteries, the stories that lie deep within …

    1. Lisa

      Don’t give me too much credit, Linda. Only now am I getting this organized. ha. The books are piling up on my lists and my shelves, and especially on my Kindle, so I decided to set up a better plan for this year. I hope I follow through, but I’ll try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t.

  3. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    First I want to wish you a wonderful 2014 with many happy hours of reading time. There was a time when I also used to read as much as I could find time for, but with the Fibrofog I am quite limited to how much I can read. I have started with Ken Follet’s book, World Without End, and it is going to take me quite a while to finish this one! I find it much easier to read essays or short stories for I can easy lose the train of thought of a thick book.
    Blessings XX

    1. Lisa

      I’m sorry you are limited in how much you can read now, Mia. 🙁 I’ve often thought how hard that would be if I couldn’t read as much.

      I do find it harder to read long books now; I think my attention span is shrinking. Too much blog reading has accustomed me to smaller passages. Your book sounds like an interesting one. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. PL

    Dear Lisa

    I accept #1! (I’ll be lucky to achieve seeker level).

    The others all seem to overlap confusingly. Are you counting The Brothers Karamazov triple?

    I like the Cloud of Witnesses list. There are one or two authors there on my To Read list (e.g. Augustine) and some from your 31 Books last year.

    Finally, I’m going to read a few books from the Old Testament (at least the Psalms and the Proverbs; learn some; I’m making good progress on the Psalms).

    Thank you and Happy New Year! 😀


    ps If you haven’t read any Wodehouse, I don’t recommend you read My Man Jeeves early in the year, as you may find yourself spending the rest of the year reading Wodehouse.

    pps I’ve read (twice), liked, and made notes on Pastrix. I’ll blogify my notes when I can find time.

    1. Lisa

      The overlap is the beauty of the plan. 🙂 Several books fit into multiple categories so it’s really not a tremendous number of books. (Yes, Brothers K is a triple–IF I get it read–no promises. I think I’ve tried before and failed.) It’s encouraging to hear that Wodehouse will be engaging. I really don’t know what to expect from him.

      Glad you’re making good progress on the Psalms. They’re among some of my favorite passages in the Bible.

      I’ve been wondering how Pastrix was coming along. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on it. Happy New Year to you too!

  5. Barbara H.

    How fun that we’ll be reading some of the same books this year! I’m still finalizing my TBR list – I have several books I could put on that list! I hadn’t seen the nonfiction challenge, but will join up with that one as many of my unread books are nonfiction.

    I liked what you said on a comment on my post about struggling with the balance between being intentional in reading or being too hemmed in. I struggle with that, too. There have been times God definitely led me to a book I needed at the moment that wasn’t on my radar, and I want to leave room for that. But there are also some books I never get to unless I make lists like this, so they’re helpful, too.

    1. Lisa

      I was heavily influenced by your picks, as you can tell. I’m hoping that will encourage me to get through some of the toughies, knowing I’m not alone. ha.

      Yes, the lists are truly a conundrum. Sigh. Just this morning I bought a book that was on sale for my Kindle that I’ve been wanting to read for a couple years (‘Apprenticeship with Jesus’), but could never find a cheap copy. So it’s now on this year’s reading list. I know that I won’t have 100% success with my list, but maybe at least I’ll read a few more books that I really have been meaning to read.

  6. Katie

    No challenges for me… it seems to make my fun enjoyment of reading more like work than fun. I have lot in my TBR pile and lots on a wish list. Matt just got me a book for my birthday and I have read three chapters of it. (Christian suspense author Steven James – The Placebo).

    1. Lisa

      I have books too that I haven’t started at all and so I want to either read them or get rid of them. I did that a few years back and made extra room on my shelves. It was nice to have the space (physically and mentally). So it’s time to do it again (except for what’s on my Kindle, ha–at least they’re not taking up space!).

  7. Beverley

    That’s a lot of reading going on Lisa! But i like the idea of reading 12 from my book pile, which again has become unruly and fallen over, metaphorically speaking. I shall get back to you and let you when I’ve decided, ‘so many books, so little time,’ Frank Zappa

    1. Lisa

      12 from our piles (or lists) doesn’t sound like a lot over the course of a year, so I think that’s do-able. Let me know what you decide. I’ve chosen several that I’ve had on my list but could never find at my library. So I took the plunge yesterday and purchased a few with Christmas money I received. I’m excited for them to come in soon. Amazon is my friend. 🙂

  8. tcavey

    I have piles and piles of books I want to read. I used to have a “list” I went by, but since having a kid, I’ve learned to be more flexible and read as much as I can (when I can).

    God bless as you endeavor to read all this. Reading is so much fun and a great way to learn and grow.

    I’m planning on self publishing a Christian Fiction this year, I hope you’ll add it to your reading list! God bless.

    1. Lisa

      I started a list years ago, but it’s gotten ridiculous. So I’m going to reduce it drastically this year–i.e. reading a few, but just deleting a lot more. I think getting so many free books on my Kindle has really made me realize it’s time to read what I really want to, instead of what’s readily available.

      Finding time to read for pleasure when you have young kids is hard. I read a lot of juvenile fiction back in the day (and parenting books), but I enjoyed that too. Thankfully both my girls also loved books.

      Let me know when you get your book published. How exciting for you!

  9. Pingback: A Million Books | Pioneering Spirit

  10. Darlene @ Lost in Literature

    Just found you today while browsing Roof Beam Readers Link up for the 2014 TBR challenge. I just wanted to encourage you to get back in to The Brothers K. It took me about 11 months on and off to finish that one but it is excellent.
    I’m enjoying your blog. You can take a looky at mine at lostinliterature108.wordpress.com.
    I’m a slow reader and blogger but I enjoy it. I’m finishing up a reading challenge I put myself on about three years ago. I hope to finish this spring and then get to my ever increasing To Be Read list. I am also doing the Roof Beam Reader challenge.
    Glad to have found you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement to return to The Brothers K. I’m looking forward to it more than Les Mis, but frankly, neither one a whole lot just because they’re long and seem hard. ha. But I know the message in both will be so good if I can tough it out. (Doesn’t sound like pleasure reading, huh?)

      I need to not get caught up on any time constraints from the reading challenges. It’s probably going to take me longer to read both those books than I planned for, but that will be totally okay. There’s no rush! Glad we found each other, Darlene.

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