A Reading Challenge for 2017

Following my previous post, after having read ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller, I have decided to compile my own ‘list of betterment.’ However, I will not be attempting 50 books.  I am sticking to a very realistic 10.  One a month with two months’ holiday!   I will be reading one book every month and then blogging about it.  The reasons I am doing this are threefold.  Firstly, I wish to improve my writing, and they say it is essential to read well and often.  Secondly, I want to see whether some of these ‘classics’ live up to the hype.  Finally, I also hope these books will challenge me in some way and stretch my reading muscles.   An added bonus will be that I can stop saying ‘I really must get around to reading that someday.’

I will be commencing in January 2017 and look forward to hearing your opinions on the books.

So, this is ‘My Reading Gym:’

  1. Middlemarch by George Eliot. According to Virginia Woolf, this is ‘one of the few English books written for grown up people.’  If I enjoy it even half as much as I liked ‘The Mill and the Floss,’ I am in for a treat!


  1. Les Jeux Sont Faits by Jean Paul Sartre. I read this at school and remember loving it, but I have entirely forgotten most of what it’s about, so I would like to re-read it.  I think I may try and read it in the French.  From what I remember it wasn’t that difficult.



  1. Persuasion – Jane Austen. I haven’t read a lot of Austen, so I was spoiled for choice.  Thought I would start here (as I haven’t seen a TV version of this one!)



  1. The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. This was one of the books Andy Miller read and seemed to enjoy, so thought I’d give it a go.   Have read very little Russian literature so it should be an education in itself.


  1. Stoner by John Williams. I reckoned I would need something I knew I was going to love after the previous read.  I LOVE this novel.  I have read it before and am desperate to read it again, so I will.


  1. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham. My father was a great fan of Maugham, and this is a book I read years ago, and again have been meaning to re-read as, truth be told, I can’t remember a darn thing about it.  Not a great sign, but anyway.


  1. Atomised by Michel Houellebecq. This one I have much trepidation about.  The only reason I am reading it is due to the sheer passion with which Andy Miller raves about it.  We shall see.  I sense it may not be for me.  This is the big gamble on this list. Another French writer.


  1. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. My writing teacher has mentioned this book in nearly every one of our classes, so thought it was high time I read it.  I am also intrigued with the concept of the mad woman in the attic from Jane Eyre.  I loved Jane Eyre, so am looking forward to this one. The only other woman on the list –  I know, but I do read a lot of literature by women the rest of the time, and have read a lot of literature by women, so I don’t feel too guilty.   Keep reading below the picture!


  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.   Another classic it is high time I read.  Enough said.


  1. The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy. What a way to finish. Considered a masterpiece, published in Paris in 1955, and banned in Ireland and the USA, this novel is a must read and I had to have an Irish author on the list somewhere.


Phew, I am exhausted and yet excited at the thought of reading all of these books.  Hopefully by the end of 2017 I will have broadened both my literary education and my writing!   Please do let me know your thoughts, and if you have a ‘list of betterment,’ what’s on it?


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