Tuesday, 10 January 2017


#NewYearNewMe may be all about health and fitness, but reading challenges are a thing of habit to me by now. This year, again, I’ve devised my own reading challenge. The challenge contains books I already own, to make sourcing easier. There’s also an affinity to Indian writing that I can’t get over!
I intend to read 50 books at the very least, in the following categories:
  1. A biography of a writer 
  2. A book based on a fairy tale 
  3. A book based on mythology 
  4. A book by a Bengali writer 
  5. A book by a Japanese writer 
  6. A book by a Kannada writer 
  7. A book by an African writer 
  8. A book by an author you don’t like 
  9. A book by an Indian diaspora writer 
  10. A book by your favourite author 
  11. A book by a Malayali writer 
  12. A book by a Marathi writer 
  13. A book from your neighbouring country 
  14. A book of poems 
  15. A book of short stories 
  16. A book from Oprah’s book club 
  17. A book recommended by a friend 
  18. A book that has been gifted to you 
  19. A book that was made into a movie 
  20. A book whose cover you love 
  21. A book with feminist overtones 
  22. A book with LGBT overtones 
  23. A book with more than 4* ratings on Goodreads 
  24. A book you have owned for long but not yet read 
  25. A book you started reading but did not finish earlier 
  26. A Buzzfeed recommendation 
  27. A children’s book 
  28. A detective novel 
  29. A fantasy 
  30. A free ebook 
  31. A historical fiction 
  32. A horror 
  33. A humourous book 
  34. A national award-winning book 
  35. An international award-winning book 
  36. A non-fiction book by an Indian 
  37. A play 
  38. A romance 
  39. A science fiction 
  40. A thriller 
  41. A travelogue 
  42. A war book 
  43. An ancient book 
  44. An autobiography/memoir 
  45. Re-read a book you read in school/college 
  46. A translated work in your mother tongue 
  47. A self-published writer’s book
  48. A book borrowed from a friend 
  49. A book published in 2017 
  50. A graphic novel
Based on these, I made a TBR jar for 2017, in which I put in 52 titles under these headings. 

I’ll pick up one each time I want to read a one, and this way the books would be both pre-decided and by chance! Since I’m bound to read over 100 books, this TBR jar contains only serious reading. The rest I’ll pick up based on my whimsy! I’ve set my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge to 52, and I am all set to start! Oh wait, I’ve already finished 6 books, and #nowreading 2 versions of Ramayana side-by-side — one by Ralph Griffith and another by C. Rajagopalachari. #happyme 

#2016ReadingChallenge - How I Fared

I read a total of 161 books in 2016.

  • Most-read genres: Detective fiction (21% of 161 books), Indian writing (15%) and Children's literature and Fantasy (11% each). 
  • I've liked 66% of the books I read (rated 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads). 
  • My most-read authors were Roald Dahl and Lilian Jackson Braun with 6 books each. 

As for the #2016ReadingChallenge that I started with a friend at the beginning of the year, here's what I managed.

January: New writers (new to me)

Kaleidoscope by Rachna Gupta
The Murder Pit by Jeff Shelby
The Patna Manual of Style by Siddharth Chowdhury
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Lines Across Oceans by Nalini Priyadarshni and D. Russel Micnhimer
Skylines by Neelam Saxena Chandra
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

February: Romances

The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Or Forever Hold Your Peace by Donna Abraham
Paro by Namita Gokhale
Only Wheat Not White by Varsha Dixit
Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair

March: Women writers

The Hollow by Agatha Christie
A Thousand Unspoken Words by Paulami Dutta Gupta
The Magician’s Guild, The Novice, The High Lord (Black Magician Trilogy) by Trudi Canavan
That Quail, Robert by Margaret A. Stanger
The Saturdays, The Four-Storey Mistake, Then There Were Five, Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Moonglow Cafe by Deborah Garner

April: Plays

King Lear by William Shakespeare
The League of Youth by Henrik Ibsen
Red Oleanders by Rabindranath Tagore
Four Short Plays by John Galsworthy
Boiled Beans on Toast by Girish Karnad

May: LGBT books/writers

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Letters in the Attic by Bonnie Shimko
Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik
Atlantis by Mark Doty
Lumberjanes series by Shannon Waters, Noelle Stevenson

June: Award-winning books

Goat Days by Benyamin (Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, 2009)
Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar (Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, 2000)
Relationship by Jayanta Mahapatra (Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, 1981)
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Man Booker Prize, 2008)

July: South Asian writers

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
Mountains Painted with Turmeric by Lil Bahadur Chetri

August: Memoir/Bio/Autobiographies

Out of Line: A Literary and Political Biography of Nayantara Sehgal by Ritu Menon
Cracking The Code: My Journey To Bollywood by Ayushman Khurana
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell
Someone Could Get Hurt by Drew Magary

September: Regional books

Bhrandalayam by P. Keshavadev
Deliverance by Gauri Deshpande
Half-a-rupee Stories by Gulzar
Man-eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett

October: Books you’re scared of reading

This didn’t pan out exactly as I wanted. Could not finish 3 books in the “scary” category. So unless I change this heading to include books dealing with the occult, this month wasn’t on target. Anyway the books I might want to count in are:

Nolander by Becca Mills
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Darkangel by Christine Pope
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

November: Graphic novels

Maus by Art Spiegelman
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Deadpool by Fabian Nicieza

December: Mysteries or thrillers

The Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling (Robert Galbraith)
The Secret of Shadow Ranch (Nancy Drew #5)
The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lilian Jackson Braun
Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer
Smashed Potatoes and Gravy by Ginny Gold
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The Case of the Flashing Fashion Queen by NL Wilson
Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie