Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge – preliminary list

The categories for Megan’s Winter Book Challenge came out today and I am ridiculously excited… even more so than usual! Admittedly this is partially because I was among the first finishers last month and got to pick my very own category, but the others on the list are pretty amazing as well. Basically, seeing this post appear on Megan’s blog made my day (yes, I do know what they say about simple things thanks…)

I want to share my preliminary list with you, but first, as always, the rules.

General rules:

  • The challenge will run from November 1, 2015, to January 31, 2016. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on November 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on January 31 will count.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long, unless otherwise noted. Audiobooks and large-print books are fine, as long as the regular print version meets the length requirement.
  • A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book during a later check-in, that’s fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
  • Rereads can be used for a maximum of three books in the challenge. This rule is meant to encourage you to try new books while still allowing you to revisit books from your childhood or young adulthood that you might get more out of now. Please reread the entire book within the time frame of the challenge in order to count it; no simply finishing old books or partial rereads.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the summer 2016 challenge.

And now for the exciting part: the challenge categories!
5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages.Verflixt – ein Nix! by Kersten Boie. I sort of feel like I’m showing off by adding books in another language, but I’m totally lagging on my German reading lately and this one has 175 pages so… *shrug*
10 points: Read a debut book by any author. (The book does not have to be a 2015 debut.)The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy. I bought this a while ago and I knew there was a good reason I hadn’t started it yet 😉
10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence. – So basically what you’re saying is pick a book, any book 😉 Books don’t often take place in Switzerland – unless they’re Heidi of course. For now I’ve chosen Summer’s Child by Diane Chamberlain for this because I got it for my birthday and haven’t started it yet.
10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Kristen @ See You in a Porridge. – Well obviously I have to wait and see what everyone else reads for the challenge before picking this one.
15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym (e.g. Robert Galbraith, Sara Poole, J.D. Robb, Franklin W. Dixon, Mark Twain, etc.). — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Megan M. – I’m thinking Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (real name:  Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) for this because I’m way, way behind on reading the BBC Big Read Top 200 for my 35 before 35. Also, Wikipedia says he was Polish-British but the place he was born is actually now in Ukraine which please me a lot (my grandad was Ukrainian)
15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title (or the plural of these words). – Again trying to get somewhere with The Big Read I’ve picked Man and Boy by Tony Parsons. I just ordered it from Amazon without even checking to see what it’s about so that should be fun…
15 points: Read a book with a one-word title (e.g. Attachments, Americanah, Uglies, Wild, etc.). – I’m tentatively saying Persuasion by Jane Austen, again for The Big Read, but let’s be honest… I totally failed to even start this one for the last reading challenge I did so I’ll probably end up changing it.
20 points: Read a book with a person’s first and last name in the title (e.g. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle). – I have options here! Currently thinking either Lottie Biggs is NOT Desperate by Hayley Long (second book in a series I’ve already read book 1 of) or The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet by David Mitchell.
20 points: Read a food-themed book. — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher Jamie @ Whatever I Think Of! – I’m not actually 100% sure what a food-themed book is yet, but I’m guessing one where food plays a major role in the story? Four Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris is looking favourite so far (I adore her books, especially The Lollipop Shoes, which is the sequel to Chocolat)
20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title. (For any grammar nerds out there, I mean “verb” in the most general sense, so gerunds count. For non-grammar-inclined people, just use any book that appears to have a verb in the title!) I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh would appear to have a verb in it. Two in fact 😉
30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors). — Submitted by SCSBC15 finisher bevchen @ Confuzzledom. – See that? That’s ME that is! My very own category. Obviously I kind of new this was coming so I prepared early and actually have two options. I’ve decided to go for The Missing though, one book by Andrew O’Hagan and one by Chris Mooney. The former is a non-fiction book about children going missing so I can see that being a difficult read! (In case anyone was looking for inspiration, my second option was Without A Trace. I have books of that title by Lesley Pearce and by Liza Marklund but there are others out there).
30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject (e.g. a biography and historical fiction novel about the same person; two books about a specific war or event; a nonfiction book about autism and a novel with a character who has autism, etc. The possibilities are endless!). – I’m drawing a complete blank for this one so far so I’ll have to get my thinking cap on. Any suggestions?

So, that’s it for now. I can’t believe I actually have to wait all the way til 1st November to start reading. Aaaah!
Here’s a picture of my piles of books waiting to be read (the ones I already have anyway):

Winter books 2015If you want to join in (which you really should!) you can link up your preliminary list here or just start reading in November and visit Megan’s blog to check in on 1 December. And don’t be put off thinking you’ll never complete the challenge – doesn’t matter! Whether you read all the books or just one it’s all good fun and an excellent way of discovering new (sometimes amazing!) books that you might never have even looked at otherwise.

30 thoughts on “Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge – preliminary list

  1. I love this!! Every time you post the categories of a reading challenge before it starts, I think I’ll quietly participate on my own and see if I can do it. Then depending on my success, perhaps I’d participate next time. I like these categories – but yours is HARD! For the last category, I’d suggest something about Mary, Queen of Scots. There is so much written about her, both fiction and nonfiction. And I find her life fascinating. Good luck!

    1. There are actually quite a lot of books with the same titles. I came up with the idea after seeing on Good Reads that somebody had read a book called “Still Missing” that wasn’t the one I had read!

  2. As always I am in awe of the amount of reading that you might be able to fit in in this time! For the last category, I read a book (fiction) called Amenable Women by Mavis Cheek which is based around one of the wives of Henry VIII. I enjoyed it, and might even have mentioned it to you before.

  3. I’m snooping through other lists to try and find my last category requirement, but I just saw you live in Switzerland. I am SO jealous! I love that country sooo much!!

  4. Aww, your excitement over my challenge made MY day! 🙂 And I’m hoping to post a list of suggested fiction/nonfiction pairings on my blog soon(ish), so hopefully you can find some ideas there! The food-themed one was reader-submitted, so I’m pretty lax with that – anything about food works!

  5. My mother in law loved The Snow Child so much, she tells me that I need to read it every chance she gets. I’ll be waiting to see if you loved it as much as her!

  6. I haven’t heard of the majority of these books, so I’ll have to look them up on Goodreads!

    I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of Heart of Darkness. Okay, I think I’m being a little too nice. It’s actually one of my most hated books. (Though, to be fair, I haven’t read it since I was 18 and a freshman in college.) You may love it. I mean, it’s a classic for a reason, right?

    Even though your category was difficult, I thought it was a good one. It forced me to do a little digging on Goodreads, and that’s not a bad thing. (It can be dangerous, though, because I’ve been known to lose all track of time on that site.)

    1. I’m kind of afraid I won’t like Heart of Darkness – there are so many books in The Big Read that I have no idea how got there. This thing was voted on by the public! Just struggled through Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and I’m wondering why so many people voted for it when there are a billion amazing books out there that didn’t make it on to the list! Most of the classics on there I’ve found pretty boring – but then my most detested book is Wuthering Heights and everyone else seems to love that so maybe I’m just weird…

      Goodreads is definitely dangerous – it’s responsible for 90% of my spending on books!

  7. It’s you I have to thank for the evil category then! I’m on a book buying ban, and the closest I can get for that one is “Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin and “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare. *scowly face*

    1. Aah, I’m so sorry! *Hides*
      I think my boyfriend would like me to put myself on a book buying ban, but I just keep buying second-hand ones from the Amazon marketplace that only cost a few cents.

  8. Congratulations on getting to pick a category!! Which, by the way, I am sooo glad that you did because this allows me to reread an absolute favorite of mine, “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova. So, thank you, thank you!!

  9. I’m so jealous that you got to pick a category this time – it’s my top ambition at the moment, even beating flying on a broomstick which has been up there since I was four or something. I’m a little stumped by your category though. But I might add The Snow Child to my list since you’re reading it and it does sound nice!

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