The Great 50 Book Challenge

50 Book ChallengeLast October, I challenged myself to read 50 books in a year.  Why?  Because I read an infographic on Pinterest that said less than two percent of adults in America will accomplish that feat in any given year.   I’m not one to back away from a gauntlet such as that.  I was also finding myself using downtime to surf Pinterest and think about starting crafts that I have neither the talent nor budget for completing.  Reading seemed more educational and less wrought with the possibility of epic failure.

The catch to my challenge was that I was going to ask friends and family for suggestions and add them to my list of must-reads.  My own choices run to the mindless mystery or occasional suspense thriller.  You’ve seen those lists of “10 Must Reads for 2015!”  Nothing I read would ever qualify for those lists.  So I decided I should use this challenge to expand my literary horizons beyond Janet Evanovich and Stuart Woods.  If a friend suggested a book, I was obligated to read it.  I posted my goal on Facebook and discussed it with friends and family.  I compiled my list.  Then I started to read.  And read.  And read some more.

(The one exception I made was 50 Shades of Gray.  I will not be reading that.  But that’s another post altogether…)

It’s been five months, and I’m halfway through my challenge.  Completed books on my list include works such as the wildly popular psychological thriller, Gone Girl, the inspirational Unbroken, and the not-so-critically acclaimed but still funny Gator Bait.  I also threw in a western, a book on writing and some Janet Evanovich and Stuart Woods for posterity.  I’m currently re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and I’m quickly realizing the subtle prose and general brilliance of Harper Lee’s definitive work were completely lost on me when I read it in high school.

This literary journey has also been a journey of personal growth.  I’ve read books I wouldn’t have even cracked a binding on previously and am a better person for it.  I’ve discovered a passion for historical narratives (The Boys in the Boat) and an aversion to novels that promote hate and vitriol, however suspenseful (Gone Girl).  I’ve learned parenting skills (Bringing Up Bebe), cried over my old dog that hasn’t even died yet (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and laughed out loud (Wait for Signs).

I’m eager to see what the next half of my challenge holds and what nuances of prose and personality I will find among the pages.  So tell me, any suggestions?


If you’re interested, here is my list of Books 1-25

  1. Takedown 21 by Janet Evanovich
  2. Terminal City by Linda Farestein
  3. The Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Vanker
  4. George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
  5. Stone Cold by C.J. Box
  6. Horses that Buck: The story of champion bronc rider Bill Smith by Margot Kahn
  7. Unbroken – the story of Louis Zamparini by Laura Hillenbrand
  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  9. Dust by Patricia Cornwell
  10. Cut and Thrust by Stuart Woods
  11. The Sisters Brothers by deWitt Patrick
  12. The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  13. Windigo Island by William Kent Kruger
  14. The True Secrets of Writing by Natalie Goldberg
  15. Shots Fired by C.J. Box
  16. Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson
  17. Tip and the Gipper – when politics worked by Chris Matthews
  18. The Boys in the Boat
  19. The Time Between by Karen White
  20. Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs by Cheryl Peck
  21. Festive in Death by J.D. Robb
  22. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly
  23. Gator Bait by Jana Deleon
  24. Paris Match by Stuart Woods
  25. Damage by Felix Francis

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