The 2013 Epic Reading Challenge

The other day I found a neat reading challenge on Andrea’s blog, The Pen And The Sword. She in turn got it from Erin at Laughing At Live Dragons. I decided to do it too because it’s not like I have any New Year’s resolutions or goals or other commitments. Sarcasm, sarcasm. So now you can all yell at me periodically in the comments about how much progress I’m making with this challenge… quest… thing.

  • Read a book by a favorite author. I love C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and I want to know what his writing for adults is like, so I’m going to read The Screwtape Letters. It’s about a demon trying to send a young man to Hell and is told through letters to the demon from his uncle. It’s a Christian book, which isn’t something I would normally read – I think the only Christian books I’ve ever read were the Chronicles of Narnia and even then I had no idea at first that they were supposed to be allegory. But I like reading from the perspective of a villain just because it’s different. And I find religion interesting. Plus reading The Screwtape Letters will fit in with studying World Religions this semester. Also, I can put off reading this for a few months because since we’re studying religions chronologically from oldest to youngest, Christianity is last and it would make sense to read this book then.
  • Reread a favorite book. I already have plans to reread the Harry Potter series and the Chronicles of Narnia sometime this summer, so I picked something else. I loved The Westing Game, a mystery about eight pairs of people racing against the clock and each other to puzzle out the riddles in a friend’s will. I remember loving all the subplots and how the character of “Sandy McSouthers” makes me laugh and cry.
  • Read a classic. Several of the writers of my favorite blogs have written lately about the book/play/movie Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, so I’ve added it onto my gigantic to-read list. It’s about French people being miserable and talking in zee wonderful French acceents, I think. And it makes Lord of the Rings look short in comparison. As with that trilogy, I will probably put off reading Les Misérables until the last possible moment or until I don’t have anything else to read.
  • Read a book you normally wouldn’t read. Thinking In Pictures by Temple Grandin is nonfiction, which I enjoy but don’t read much of. It’s about the author’s life with autism.
  • Read a book recommended by a friend. I know that I complained about Rick Riordan just a few posts ago, but my friend Lauren has been pestering me to read his Heroes of Olympus series, starting with The Lost Hero. I might as well, since I keep nagging her to read the Kane Chronicles, the Underland Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, and a bunch of other things.
  • Read a book in a genre you wouldn’t normally read. I don’t usually read romance, but If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson sounds quite good. It’s supposed to be a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, about a boy and a girl of different races who fall in love. It’s also supposed to be quite sad and I usually prefer happy books, but after reading Lord of the Rings I think I want to read more sad books.
  • Read a book primarily about dragons. I’ve heard a lot about the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey so I’ll be reading the first book, Dragonflight. Based on the series title, it appears to be about dragons and the people who ride them. Plus, it was published before Christopher Paolini wrote about Dragon Riders so it’s another thing I can bash him for stealing from!
  • Read a book you started but never finished. I tried to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams when I was about ten but I found it too weird and random. Maybe now I’ll like it more, because Terry Pratchett is weird and random and I like his books.
  • Read a book retelling a fairytale. I chose The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. It’s about a princess who can speak to animals and has to disguise herself as an ordinary girl after a mutiny.

I just realized that this is the third post in a row in which I’ve mentioned my dislike of Christopher Paolini’s writing. I just can’t help it!


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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35 Responses to The 2013 Epic Reading Challenge

  1. lynxchild says:

    It’s cool. I hate Paolini too.

  2. Pingback: The 2013 Epic Reading Challenge |

  3. Boquinha says:

    Oooh, I’m intrigued by your World Religions study – is it a course? Self study? I’m like you with that – secular, but fascinated by religions (though I used to be religious and left – long story. Good story, but long story. It’s my current NaNoWriMo novel rewrite).

    Anyway, a plug for Les Misérables – what about the abridged version? That’s what I read after I graduated college. It is a BEAUTIFUL book. Sad, yes, but in a hopeful way. Just gorgeous.

    Hitchhiker’s Guide – I’m impressed. I tried to read it and did NOT get it. Like at all. I felt like I failed some sort of geek-factor quiz.

    Have you read any graphic novels? Maus and Persepolis are both excellent.

    (Oh, I’m The Magic Violinist’s mom, by the way). 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      My brother and I aren’t studying it through any program, but we’re watching The Great Course videos on world religions. And reading about religions, too. It’s fun, probably my favorite subject this semester after English.

      I might try the abridged version if I’m having trouble getting through the original, but I prefer reading the originals. So Les Mis is bittersweet (or happy-sad, as I prefer to call it)? That’s good. I figured out from reading LotR that I love that kind of book.

      Same here. But that’s the reaction I’ve had to numerous books that took a while for me to like. So maybe it will be different this time.

      I’ve read Maus and liked it. It was interesting how it used animals instead of people.

      (I figured that out from seeing your name in the comments on her blog a lot! :))

  4. cait says:

    That’s an awesome idea! (And an awesome list!) All those books sound really interesting, and some a little hard. I’ve heard loads of good things about CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, but I never got around to reading them myself. Les Misérables sounds daunting. *gulp* Good luck!

  5. I’ve read Dragonflight. It’s not bad, though I hated the third book in the series– The White Dragon, I believe. I never got any further in the series. But the first book is good.

    Hitchhikers Guide, as well, is good, but it’s only good the first time you read it. Once you reread it, you realize how ridiculous it is. But it’s better than Pratchett– I couldn’t even read Going Postal once.

    I wish you luck.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Hmm. That’s too bad. I did know that it’s a long series, and sometimes long series go downhill because the author can’t maintain the awesomeness of the earlier books. They run out of ideas, or whatever.

      Grrrrr. I told you to read Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books! Pratchett is a genius.

    • Wren Ayola says:

      Don’t mind me, just popping in to state an opinion.

      I personally think the whole point of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is that it’s ridiculous. I think it was meant to be ridiculous, which is why I enjoy it. Still, I’ve only heard the radio broadcast version, so maybe the book is worse.

  6. Do you read any sci-fi stuff? If you haven’t, I recommend Across The Universe by Beth Revis, as well as Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. They’re both really good. Across The Universe has a bit of romance and mystery mixed in, and Leviathan is the ever-classic girl-dresses-as-boy-and-runs-away story. ATU is set in the far future, while Leviathan is set in a steampunk-ish alternate version of WWI.

    If you’re interested in fairytales that’ve been rewritten, Sisters Red, Sweetly, and Fathomless, all by Jackson Pearce, are very good reads. For a villain’s POV, ‘CURSES, a f***ed up fairy tale’ by J. A. Kazimer is a hilarious spinoff of Cinderella.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I read a bit of sci-fi, yes. I haven’t read Across The Universe, but I have read Leviathan. I should read it again, because it reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time – All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen. Have you heard of it? It’s steampunk, girl-disguised-as-boy. It’s awesome.

      Curses sounds cool! I’ll have to check it out.

  7. Andrea says:

    I love The Westing Game! I’m glad to find someone else who likes it, as well. 🙂

    Also, luck on Les Mis!

  8. Charley R says:

    AOSDJFSFDSGJSDFDJ You’re going to read the Pern books? They’re fantastic. I love them SO much – a lovely friend in America sent me the full series. Really, they are SO wonderful. The world is really rich and vivid, and it’s not all about the riders and there’s no “great destiny” hash. It’s just amazing. You will love them.

  9. Wren Ayola says:

    “You need people of intelligence on this mission…quest…thing.”
    “Well that rules you out, Pip.”

    What Terry Pratchett books have you read? I was introduced to his works after being in several theatrical adaptations of his books, but haven’t gotten around to reading them. I have seen the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series, as well as listened to the audio version many, many times. I was in a play with Simon Jones, who is Arthur Dent in both versions.

  10. Erin says:

    You like bashing Paolini too? Yay! *grins innocently*

    Good luck on Screwtape Letters! I’ve read it for a literature class, and it’s really interesting, though I read it from a Christian perspective. I’ll be curious to know what you think about it! Also, good luck on Les Mis. It looks…big. And tedious. But good luck anyway! 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yes! 😀 *sics dragon on him*

      What did you think about it? Did you agree with it?

      • Erin says:

        I thought that the way Lewis wrote the book was very clever. The obvious point of the book was how to avoid temptations from the devil, but instead of just coming out and saying, “Don’t fall into temptation”, he wrote the book from a demon’s POV, who’s giving advice to his nephew about how to tempt humans. In this way the reader knows what to watch out for. If anyone else had written the book, it probably would have sucked, but Lewis is insanely smart and clever and awesome and definitely knows what he’s talking about. He’s my hero. Along with Tolkien.

  11. themagicviolinist says:

    Ooh, I might steal this from you! (But I guess it doesn’t matter since you stole it first). 😉

    I want to read Les Mis next! I want to see the movie. I think I’m going to read the abridged version. The regular version is WAYYYYYY too big! XD

    Good luck! 😀

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thief! Thief! I’ll remember you in case thirteen dwarves and I ever need a burglar. 😉

      If I don’t like Les Mis, I can always use it as a paperweight. Or a brick. 😀

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