Reading Challenges for 2020

I’m trying to keep things simple this year and only take part in a few reading challenges. I have already joined the Calendar of Crime Challenge 2020 and have now decided to join the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading and also the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2020.

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The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past,

Here are the details of the challenge:

  • The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2020.
  • Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created.
  • Everyone can participate! If you don’t have a blog you can post a link to your review if it’s posted on Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon, or you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish.
  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please use the direct URL that will guide us directly to your review)
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc.)

Also there are the following different reading levels to choose from:

  • 20th Century Reader – 2 books
  • Victorian Reader – 5 books
  • Renaissance Reader – 10 books
  • Medieval – 15 books
  • Ancient History – 25 books
  • Prehistoric – 50+ books

I will be aiming for the Ancient History level, because last year I read 23 historical fiction novels, so I think that should be manageable.

Mount TBR The Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2020. is hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block.

Here are the details:

Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2020. No library books.  Any reread may count, regardless of how long you’ve owned it prior to 2020, provided you have not counted it for a previous Mount TBR Challenge.  Audiobooks and E-books may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books. You may count “Did Not Finish” books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, etc. OR remove it from your e-resources]

For the full rules please visit Bev’s sign-up post here.

There are a number of different levels to choose from:

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro*: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s (*aka Cerro El Toro in South America)
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

and for now I’m going for Mt Vancouver, which is to read 36 books and hope to move up to the higher levels if I can.

For now, that is all, although I may be tempted by other challenges as well …

Calendar of Crime Challenge 2020

One of the reading challenges I’ve loved doing this year is Bev’s Calendar of Crime, so I am delighted to see that she is hosting it again in 2020. This may be the only challenge I take part in next year!

This is a reading challenge that allows mystery readers to include any mystery regardless of publication date. If it falls in a mystery category (crime fiction/detective novel/police procedural/suspense/thriller/spy & espionage/hard-boiled/cozy etc.), then it counts and it does not matter if it was published in 1892 or 2019.

The Challenge runs from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. All books should be read during this time period and you can sign up on Bev’s blog at any time.

I have summarised the rules below – for all the details see Bev’s sign up post.

  • All books must be mysteries.
  • Twelve books, one representing each month, are required for a completed challenge. Each month comes with several categories (see chart above) that may be selected to fulfil the month’s reading.
  • The “wild card” book is exactly that.
  • For the category that says “Book title contains a word that starts with the letter A,” the following do not count: “A” and “An.”
  • Books may only count for one month and one category, but they may count for other challenges.
  • Books do not have to be read during the month for which they qualify. So–if you’re feeling like a little “Christmas in July” (or May or…), then feel free to read your book for December whenever the mood strikes.
  • A wrap-up post/comment/email will be requested that should include a list of books read and what category they fulfilled. [Example: January: The House of Sudden Sleep by John Hawk (original pub date January 1930)]

Challenge Update

I’m taking part in 6 Challenges this year. Clicking on the challenge titles takes you to my Progress Pages:

Calendar of Crime

Twelve books, one representing each month, are required for a completed challenge. In addition challengers are encouraged to read more than one/all category/ies for each month.

So far I have read 11 books that qualify for the different categories covering 9 months of the year – nothing yet for January, April and June.

European Reading ChallengeERC Map 2019

The aim is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries, each book must be by a different author and set in a different country. I’m going for the FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE) which is to: Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

So far, I’ve read 4.

Mount TBR Challenge

Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2019. No library books.  Any reread may count, regardless of how long you’ve owned it prior to 2019, provided you have not read it in last five years. I’m aiming to get to the top of Mont Blanc, that is to read 24 books and hope to move up to the higher levels if I can.

I have read 15 up to now.

What’s In A Name?WhatsinaName14

So far I have read 3 books from the 6 categories. The categories I have yet to fill are books with titles that fit into these 3 categories:

  • A precious stone/metal
  • A month or day of the week
  • Contains both the words “of” AND “and”

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The Virtual Mount TBR Challenge

This is for books you do not own. They may be borrowed from the library, a friend, or anywhere else. I am aiming to climb Mount Rum Doodle – that is, 12 books.

So far I have read 6 library books.

When Are You Reading Challenge

For this you are required to read one book predominantly set in each of the twelve time periods, from pre-1300 up to the Future.

I have read books for 4 of the periods so far covering the periods 1500 – 1699, 1900-1919, 1920-1939 and 1940-1959.

Calendar of Crime Challenge 2019

I read a lot of crime fiction so it seems only right to take part in this new challenge for 2019 devised and hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. This is a reading challenge that allows mystery readers to include any mystery regardless of publication date. If it falls in a mystery category (crime fiction/detective novel/police procedural/suspense/thriller/spy & espionage/hard-boiled/cozy etc.), then it counts and it does not matter if it was published in 1892 or 2019.

The Challenge runs from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. All books should be read during this time period and you can sign up on Bev’s blog at any time between now and November 1, 2019.

I have summarised the rules below – for all the details see Bev’s sign up post.

  • All books must be mysteries.
  • Twelve books, one representing each month, are required for a completed challenge. Each month comes with several categories (see chart above) that may be selected to fulfil the month’s reading.
  • The “wild card” book is exactly that.
  • For the category that says “Book title contains a word that starts with the letter A,” the following do not count: “A” and “An.”
  • Books may only count for one month and one category, but they may count for other challenges.
  • Books do not have to be read during the month for which they qualify. So–if you’re feeling like a little “Christmas in July” (or May or…), then feel free to read your book for December whenever the mood strikes.

What’s in a Name 2018

What's In A Name 2018 logo

Next year Charlie at The Worm Hole is hosting the eleventh annual What’s In A Name challenge, originally started by Annie, then handed to Beth Fish Reads and now continued by Charlie. For full details go to the sign up post. I’ve been doing this challenge since Annie started it in 2007, just missing the one in 2009! So, this is a must for me.

The basics

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories. (Charlie’s examples of books you could choose are in brackets – translations and other languages most definitely count!):

  • The word ‘the’ used twice (The Secret By The Lake; The End Of The Day, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time)
  • A fruit or vegetable (The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society; The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake)
  • A shape (The Ninth Circle, The Square Root Of Summer, Circle Of Friends)
  • A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ (Zen In The Art Of Writing; The Zookeeper’s Wife, Zelda)
  • A nationality (Anna And The French Kiss; How To Be A Kosovan Bride; Norwegian Wood)
  • A season (White Truffles In Winter; The Spring Of Kasper Meier; The Summer Queen; Before I Fall; The Autumn Throne)

I’ll be choosing from the following books – or any others that I come across before the end of 2018:

The word ‘the’ used twice

  • The King in the North by Max Adams
  • The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
  • The Chapel in the Woods by Susan Louineau
  • The House by the Churchyard by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Riddle of the Third Mile by Colin Dexter
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

A fruit or vegetable 

  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Gem Squash Tokoloshi by Rachel Zadok
  • The Olive Readers by Christina Aziz

A title which has a shape in it

  • Dead Men and Broken Hearts by Craig Russell
  • In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Heartstones by Kate Glanville

A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ 

  • Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler
  • Zed Alley by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen (do short stories count?)

A nationality

  • The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
  • Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell

A season

  • Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christie
  • Summer by Edith Wharton
  • The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
  • The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne
  • A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt

This year I’ve been taking part in Bev’s Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt  in both the Golden and the Silver Age categories and I’ve completed both categories, reading 10 books in the Golden Age and 6 in the Silver Age.

The aim: to find as many objects on the Scavenger Hunt list as possible on the covers of the mystery books you read. The minimum number of items to complete the challenge is six items from the covers of books read from a single Vintage Mystery Era.

It’s been a very interesting challenge – Bev has some challenging challenges!

The Golden Age Vintage Mysteries must have been first published before 1960.

Most of the books I read in this era are Agatha Christie’s books – 5 in total.

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  1. Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie: Cigarette/Pipe
  2. Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie: a Green Object
  3. Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie: a Bottle for Drinking
  4. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie: Bloodstains
  5. Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey: More Than Two People
  6. Before the Fact by Francis Iles: Two People
  7. A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey: a Body of Water
  8. The Mysterious Mr Quin by Agatha Christie: A Performer
  9. Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie: Shadowy Person
  10. Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Croft: Boat

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Silver Age Vintage Mysteries may be first published any time from 1960 to 1989 (inclusive).

Books Read/Silver Age Category:

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  1. Wycliffe and the Tangled Web by W J Burley: Body of Water
  2. Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin by W J Burley: Spooky House/Mansion
  3. The Girl in the Cellar by Patricia Wentworth: ‘˜Damsel in Distress’
  4. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré: Broken Object
  5. The Wench is Dead by Colin Dexter: a Building (other than house)
  6. Frost at Christmas by R D Wingfield: Photograph

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What’s in a Name 2016 – Completed

I have now completed the What’s In A Name 2016 challenge, hosted by Charlie at The Worm Hole. The challenge was to read books with titles from six categories. At the beginning of this challenge I listed the books I had initially chosen to read –  but I didn’t read any of them. Instead I realised, usually as I finished reading the books, that they just slotted into the categories.

These are the books I read, with links to my reviews:

  • A countrySunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith – this is an easy read, meandering from one character to the next. It has a light, humorous tone that I enjoyed, along with thoughts about friendship, religion, spirituality and happiness.
  • An item of clothing – A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards – a beautiful and intense book, dramatic and full of emotion and passion, about relationships and what happens when jealousy and betrayal tear people apart.
  • An item of furnitureA Game of Thrones by George R R Martin – I was completely immersed in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, inhabited by numerous characters, all portrayed in meticulous detail and expertly constructed so that all the fantastic creations are credible, and complete with back stories.
  • A profession – Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope –  about mid 19th century prosperous country life and the importance of birth, of wealth and above all about money, class and power. Trollope uses gentle satire, emphasising the absurdities of the class divisions in society and poking fun at the professions.
  • A month of the year – The Madness of July by James Naughtie -a political thriller set in London in the mid 1970s, a book that makes you think, that keeps you on your toes as you read, that both puzzles and entertains you.
  • A title with the word ‘tree’ in itThe Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver – I loved this book. There are several themes including family relationships, particularly mother/child, sexual and physical abuse of small children, the integration of cultures, and the issue of refugees and illegal immigrants. I thought it was thought-provoking, as well as being fascinating reading.

I began the challenge in March when I read Doctor Thorne and finished it just a couple of days ago, reading A Cupboard Full of Coats. I enjoyed them all, each one different in style and genre, ranging from a 19th century classic to 21st century fantasy fiction.