2014 Reading Challenges Check-In (Nikki)

In January I had set myself a few challenges (inspired by Claire’s really) and I’ve gone and surprised myself by completing it early. Hoorah! I’ve already beefed up the challenges for next year though because this year I didn’t have a good idea of how much I was likely to read or anything since I’d never bothered recording any of my reading before joining Goodreads. So here was what I’d set myself for 2014.

Challenge #1

5 Books by Female Authors because I feel like I don’t read that many female authors

  1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath ★★★☆☆
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★☆☆☆
  3. Passing by Nella Larsen ★★★★☆
  4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ★★★★☆
  5. Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen by Marilyn Chin ★★★★★

5 Books from Around the World Just anything not British or North American (or otherwise Western) because it’s so easy to unintentionally trap yourself in the world of Western literature.

  1. Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Japanese) ★☆☆☆☆
  2. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Austro-Hungarian/Czechoslovakian) ★★★★☆
  3. Chant and Be Happy: The Power of Mantra Meditation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda (Indian) ★☆☆☆☆
  4. The Moon Opera by Bi Feiyu (Chinese) ★☆☆☆☆
  5. The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (Russian Federation) ★★★★☆

5 Non-Fiction Books because, learning aside, while the fictional world is brilliant, sometimes the real world is just more bizarre and interesting.

  1. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden ★★☆☆☆
  2. Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner ★★★★☆
  3. The Sociopath And The Psychopath – What’s The Difference And How Do You Keep These Crazy MF’s Out Of Your Life by Trey Wyatt ★☆☆☆☆
  4. The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley ★★☆☆☆
  5. Lyotard and the Inhuman by Stuart Sim ★★★☆☆

5 Quick Reads (150 pages or less) because the number of pages has no bearing on the poignancy of its content.

  1. All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman ★★★★★
  2. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ★★★☆☆
  3. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway ★★☆☆☆
  4. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlott Perkins Gilman ★★★☆☆
    • The Yellow Wallpaper as a standalone story: ★★★★★
  5. The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman ★★★☆☆

I think people sometimes underestimate the novella, but many classics are actually novellas and they are definitely worth spending time on.

status: COMPLETED!

• • •

Challenge #2

I also found this reading challenge.

N.B. I’m very unlikely to do the challenges marked by a ∆ … So double points for me if I do them!

status: 15(+2 bonus points)/16

• • •

Challenge #3

Goodreads challenge: 53/35 books

Wahoo! I guess this is sort of like unintentionally finishing that “50 book challenge”?

status: COMPLETED!

• • •

Challenge #2 was great for getting me to leave my comfort zone, but also kind of a chore at times. In future, I may just do the first challenge – which feels directed/purposeful but more flexible and, therefore, enjoyable – and maaaybe the Goodreads challenge. Though I find it completely pointless, the GR challenge feels like a fun – albeit silly – achievement.

All in all, this whole challenge business has been good for getting a better idea of the kinds of things I don’t read enough of. I read for fun, of course, but I also want to be a conscientious reader so I did some (interesting/boring/???) statistics and found out some stuff about my reading habits.


Out of the 53 books I’ve read in 2014 so far 34% (18 books) have been by non-white and/or non-male authors.

Female authors made up 27% of my reading. Let’s try to get that up to 50% next year, shall we?

Authors of colour made up 17% of my reading. I’d like to increase this to at least 30% for next year. (If you’re interested in a further breakdown, of that 17%: asian 44.(4)%, black 33.(3)%, indian 11.(1)%, latino 11.(1)%.)

Translated works made up 10% of my reading. This is connected to my desire to get out of the anglophone bubble a bit more.

So there you go.

This was looking a lot more balanced at about 45 books in, but recently there’s been a slew of homogeny in my reading and my current TBR shelf* is almost exclusively white male (minus 3 white female books…) which is pretty sad.

*As in my physical bookshelf of unread books – not my list of books that I want to read but do not yet own.

• • •

Why does any of this matter?

On Reading Diversely: Personal Observations (video by Book Riot)

Why You Should Read Diversely (video by Rincey)

Race, Gender & Reading Habits (video by Rincey)

So if you have any suggestions of great books by diverse authors, I am all ears. Check out my Goodreads to get an idea of the kind of stuff I’m into and recommend away!


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3 Responses to 2014 Reading Challenges Check-In (Nikki)

  1. Pingback: 2014 End of Year Wrap Up (Nikki) | Bitches With Books

  2. Tammy says:

    I didn’t do any reading challenges this year (except for Goodreads) but maybe next year. Congrats on your success, especially with diversity!

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