2015 Literary Birthday Challenge

I’m wary of committing to too many book challenges — that I might find it chafing against what I want to read, or that I simply won’t follow through… but I think I’ll give this one more a try. I signed up for the event hosted by You, Me and a Cup of Tea because it sounded easy enough and rather fun. Chasing down birthdays for the authors of books I want to read this year provided me with plenty of opportunity to procrastinate when I could have been doing things like folding laundry or, say, actually reading.

The idea is that each month I will read one book by an author who was born during that month. Goodreads has a group page set up  and there are links on that page to lists people are compiling of authors who would meet the criteria. I am planning to come back and update this page with each relevant entry.


January     The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien  1/10/15

February    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark  2/25/15

March    The Inspector-General, by Nikolai Gogol  3/30/15

April     Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington  4/19/15

May      Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming  5/4/15

Now, I think that should be the end of the challenges I enter. Sometimes I have already found it confining to keep up with 2-3 book clubs, although I certainly read enough books to do so if I would just choose those which I am “supposed to read.”

I can’t believe that a new reading year is about to begin! 2014 has had quite a few delightful reads, so I will close this post by listing what I wound up deciding were my ten favorite new-to-me books of the year.

1  How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by  Louise Penny
I’m just not sure books get any better than this one, though one must have read the preceeding books to fully appreciate it.
2 The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir
I laughed my way through this whole book. I loved the sciency nerdy stuff and thought there were a lot of good insights into media coverage, human resourcefulness and the value of persisting.
3 The Golem and the Jinni (P.S.) by Helene Wecker
From the description, this would not seem like my kind of book at all, but I simply loved it. Beautifully written, and very much a charcter-driven book. I will be re-reading this one in the near future.
4 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I knew nothing whatever about this book when I read it (inhaled it, really). I’m glad for that, because if I’d known more I couldn’t have enjoyed it as much.
5 Twelve Angry Men (Penguin Classics) by Reginald Rose
I’d seen the (great) movie long ago, but had never read the play. I highly recommend it.
6 The Return of the Soldier Rebecca West
A surprisingly powerful novella on the effects of shellshock in the aftermath of WW1.
7 Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
This one was very painful to read. The author put it all out on the page – her raw emotions and golden memories. Gradually, one sees her find her way forward after her nearly unthinkable loss.
8 The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli by Lisa Abend
I loved this book about the workings at one of the world’s most famous restaurants, and the lives of the apprentices who were a part of it for one season.
9 Station Eleven by Hilary St. John Mandel
More than post-apocalyptic, this reads as a literary novel that follows human nature in the wake of a worldwide flu pandemic. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I was going to.
10 The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

In the end, I had to put this one on my list because it was just such a fun read.

I had to leave off several that could have qualified but perhaps were just nudged out by one or more of the above.


4 Comments on “2015 Literary Birthday Challenge”

  1. […] first I simply must read something that will count toward my Literary Birthday Challenge for the month of […]

  2. […] (I’m using it to qualify as A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title), and the Birthday Month Reading Challenge, as Muriel Spark was born […]

  3. […] are certain holds their fate in his hands. It was an amusing, quick read and will meet not only the literary birthday challenge but another task in the Read Harder challenge as well as one in the Back to the Classics […]

  4. […] in furtherance of my Literary Birthday challenge, I read Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington. I had known his story since I was a little girl, […]

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