2015 Reading Challenges


I officially completed these four challenges and enjoyed each one. I’ll post a list soon of my 2016 Reading Challenges. Favorite books from each 2015 challenge are:

1. TBR Pile Challenge:
Anna Karenina. It was very long, but worth the time spent in it. I’m sorry RoofBeamReader won’t be hosting this challenge next year, so I’ll try Mount TBR instead for 2016.

2. Back to the Classics
Abandonment to Divine Providence. Sigh, I almost always return to my non-fiction books for faves. This one fit well with my One Word 2015 “Now.”

3. RTK Classic Book Club:
The Hound of the Baskervilles. Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries always satisfy. Carrie is taking a break from hosting this challenge in 2016.

4. Newbery Through the Decades:
Inside Out & Back Again. But it’s hard to choose! I did several re-reads in this category—books I’d read as a child seem different when read as an adult. Just as good, but deeper.

~ * ~ * ~

If you want to organize your reading list in 2015, here are 4 great challenges to help you.

Some have strict guidelines, but others are loose about how and when you’d like to participate. Books can overlap between challenges, but not within challenges.

1. TBR Pile Challenge

2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile

My Picks: Anna Karenina, Becoming a Vessel God Can Use, Fever 1793, Billy Budd, The Little Prince, Life as a Vapor, Gathering Blue, The Invisible Man, The Catcher in the Rye, A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of God, For Women Only, Destiny and Deliverance.
Alternate picks: Becoming a Woman of Freedom

2. Back to the Classics

Back to the Classics 2015

The Goal: Read and post about a minimum of six classic books (1965 is the cut-off date; twelve categories to choose from)

My Picks:

  1. A 19th Century Classic (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)
  2. A 20th Century Classic (The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger)
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author (Middlemarch by George Eliot)
  4. A Classic in Translation (The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
  5. A Very Long Classic Novel (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  6. A Classic Novella (The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells)
  7. A Nonfiction Classic (Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade)
  8. A Classic Children’s Book (Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter)

3. RTK Classic Book Club

RTK Classics Book Club

The Goal: Read one classic per month from the list provided. Choose any or all months.

My Picks: June–The Little Prince; August–Laddie; October–The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

4. Newbery through the Decades


The Goal: Read one classic a month from the provided list of eligible titles of Newbery Medal winners, sorted by decades, beginning with the 1920s. Choose any or all months from January–October.

My Picks:

  • January (1920s)–Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
  • February (1930s)–Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • March (1940s)–Blue Willow by Doris Gates
  • April (1950s) – The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spears
  • May (1960s) – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • June (1970s) – The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • July (1980s) – The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain
  • August (1990s) – The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • September (2000s) – Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
  • October (2010s) – Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

* * *

What’s a book you must get read this year? Please share in the comments.

updated 12/18/15

28 thoughts on “2015 Reading Challenges

  1. David

    I am majorly going for the TBR challenge! I rarely read anything written /after/ 1965 — perhaps next year I could do a challenge based around that.

    One of the novels you’ve chosen I really really hate 😀 so I hope you manage to read and review that one.

    I am going to spend the whole year reading and re-reading the Psalms (hope to post a blog about this soon). I’ve tried and failed with one-a-day and other schemes. I have them on my phone, I have a little NT & Psalms in my briefcase, and I have a hefty OT (actually a Tanakh) by the bed. My Christmas present to myself can be a selection of whole Psalms and excerpts to make my own in 2016.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s awesome that you’re going through the Psalms again. I’m sure you’ll gain something new and deeper each time.

      So I’m curious which novel you really hate. 🙂 But I appreciate your restraint in not revealing it yet. At least two books on my TBR list I’ve started in years past, and stopped for some reason…so I’m guessing it will be one of those two. ? I’ll look forward to revisiting this conversations at the end of the year’s reading. 🙂

  2. Candace

    Thank you for these resources, Lisa! I have an incredibly large stack of “to be read” books. I may need to jump in that one. I think it would be just the motivation I need to get started on them.

  3. Sharon

    Since I also love reading, I love your lists!!

    So often I get stuck in a genre, and I’ll read nothing but that for several books in a row. I love coming here and seeing what you’re reading. It helps me expand my horizons!

    I don’t know that I have a *must-read* book for this year. I’ll have to ponder that! Maybe my must-read should be a re-read. It’s been many, many years since I’ve read C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, for instance. Hmmm…


  4. TC Avey

    I’m starting my year off being on a few launch teams for soon to be released books! I’m so excited to share them with people. There are some inspiring books and great devotionals that will be coming out soon!

    I only wish I had more time to read….

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Reading for a launch team is meaningful reading! Glad you’re doing that, TC. I’m sure you appreciate it even more since you’ve been on both sides of it now. Your time to read will probably be altered even again in a few months when the newest little one arrives. Such a blessing.

  5. Barbara H.

    I’m reading a few from Carrie’s list. Middlemarch is one I have been wanting to get to for a long time. I read For Women Only some years ago but it is one I should probably revisit periodically.

    I am working on my reading plans for the year. This year I am looking at what I want to read first and then deciding on which challenges best fit that. I do have enough classics to read that I can join the Back to the Classics one. I’ve wanted to read War and Peace for some time now, and reading a short story by Tolstoy in December ramped that desire up even more, so I am thinking I’ll try to tackle that this year.

    I can’t decide on the TBR challenge. I have more than enough books on hand and in my Kindle app that I haven’t read yet – enough to do this challenge 2-3 times. 🙂 And I like the idea of actually reading some of those. But I don’t know if I want to commit to 12 for the challenge or just choose 6 or so on my own. Still trying to figure that out before I post my list.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I work on my list from that side too, Barbara–first I see what I want to read, then plug them into the challenge. There are a few exceptions–some of the Newbery books won’t have been on my list in the past, but I figure they’ll be shorter and easier books. Maybe? Glad you’ve posted your own list now!

  6. Beth S.

    A writer friend of mine actually shared a post where she outlined the twelve books she plans to read this year. I kind of liked that idea. I have so many books I want to read but reading for me happens slowly. Committing to one per month would be doable. It’s just deciding on what those twelve shall be (and not buying any more books!). Thanks for sharing.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I really have enjoyed deciding books that I’ll be reading for the year…as long as I leave plenty of breathing space to read unexpected books. Because those always come along. 🙂 I think one book per month would be doable for you, Beth, if that’s what you decide to do. And if it takes longer, who cares? Enjoy!

  7. Anita Ojeda

    Oh, my! These challenges look like fun! My challenge for myself this year is to keep track of all the books that I read in one year ;). A lot of my reading is guided by what’s free for my Kindle app ;). Which means a lot of classics and the occasional freebie from the CBA market. I do have a few I want to read that my daughter is reading as part of her MFA program (mostly YA fiction). Happy reading to you, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Those free Kindle books–they are REALLY piling up for me too. But at least there’s nothing lost by getting them. If we never read them, that’s okay. 🙂 I do love me some good YA fiction that my daughter recommends also. I’m afraid her reading is about to slow down as she heads into the “real world” after graduating from college this spring, so I’ll be looking elsewhere for those suggestions. Enjoy your books, Anita!

  8. floyd

    My stack has turned into life all its own! It’s like a monster in my office that taunts me!

    I don’t know what I’ll read this year, but I’m looking forward to what I get time for!

    I might have to add my last manuscript to your reading list! Might be good for insomnia…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Just find new places to stash your stack. 🙂 Although that’s really a bad idea. Believe me, I’ve tried it. ha. In a few months I’m going to make a more concerted effort (again) to reduce my stack substantially.

      But I’ll leave room for a new one–can’t wait until your book comes out! Definitely count me in as a reader, Floyd.

  9. Jean Wise

    What a fun list. You amaze me with this type of creativity and ambition. I look forward to you monthly reviews – one of my favorite posts not only from you but across the internet. I always find a new treasure to read from you. Happy Reading!

  10. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, I love reading, but I just don’t “find” the time anymore to read! There always seems to be something else to do. Challenge accepted. 12 books! This year! Here goes. I will list them as I read them and put them on a page on my blog 🙂 with a link to here
    God bless

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