Sunday, January 24, 2010

Books of the Century Challenge

One of the bookish activities I always enjoy is rediscovering old best-sellers. In fact, for the last couple of years, I've been thinking about hosting a challenge based on that concept. But it's always seemed like such a massive and amorphous undertaking that I've talked myself out of it every time.

But now Tim of A Progressive on the Prairie has saved me the trouble (thanks so much, Tim!) and has announced the Books of the Century Challenge, giving participants a chance to go back and read some of the popular and significant works from the last century. It's a great opportunity to find out what appealed to your parents and grandparents, if they were reading back in the day. Also a nice chance to step out of your usual comfort zone and try a new genre or author.

The challenge is based on Daniel Immerwahr's The Books of the Century website, and as Tim says, the sheer number of possible titles means that this will be an ongoing challenge. That makes it even more attractive from my point of view. Also, it could tie in well with the Decades Challenge - another challenge I just couldn't resist this year.

You can sign up and read all about the challenge (and also find links to the book lists) by paying a visit to the challenge announcement page. There are six levels of participation, and for this first year I think I'll try for the first level (Popular Literary Culture 101) and read five books from the entire list. That gives me over 2,000 works to choose from! I've got a fairly extensive list of possible picks on my challenge blog, and I'll be updating my progress there, as the year goes on.


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