Take the 2016 Reading Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged in a Facebook post by my West Coast writer-friend Cyndee Mady: “The 2016 Reading Challenge” (she is referring to our graduate school days at Goddard College, where we got our MFAs but also spent hours and hours in our respective positions on The Pitkin Review, the MFACW program’s literary journal):

Cyndee Mady Pitkin Review


2016 Reading Challenge List

While there are all kinds of challenges out there, this one seemed unique because of its categories: and I’ve got books friends gave me, books I’ve been meaning to read forever, books I’ve previously abandoned…basically, I’ve got one of every item on this list. And who doesn’t need to read more?

Cyndee and I agreed to do this together. Sort of like working out (only a LOT more mentally stimulating). The list isn’t too bad — there are only 12, which works out to one book per month during the year. While I’m sure I’ll read more than that, the challenge is in to read to the category — and also to “sum up” our thoughts about each book we’ve read on our respective posting places.

The best part is the potential “reward” — I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Northwest, which is where Cyndee lives. So if we both get through it, I think I’m paying a visit next year (actually, I might do that anyway).  What books are on your agenda for the year?


About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.

Posted on January 31, 2016, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. How about a book by a fellow Goddard grad…or an upcoming book by me? OH, by the way on my list is Linda Andre’s Doctors of Decepton about Electroshock “Therapy.” BTW I will be publishing a 5,000-word document on my own ECT experience very soon because the FDA is trying to downgrade the ECT device as “safe and effective” as eyeglasses or a wheelchair…NOT!!!! We are all writing in! Say no to barbaric torture! I cherish my memory. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    • Hi Julie! I’ve been reading all your posts, and the one about shock therapy was really interesting (was that really recent or a few weeks ago)? Let me know when your book is out so I can purchase it to support you! Keep up the great work!

  2. Sounds like a great idea! On my agenda this year – well, I basically need to finish a load of books that I’ve temporarily abandoned/not got round to finishing ages ago… It’s really intimidating. I think my attention span just isn’t as good as it used to be, and my time’s been taking up by other things? Sometimes I feel like reading is a waste of time, but then I KNOW I need to read and I enjoy and it makes me cleverer 🙂 So I have to finish The Hobbit, Station Eleven, TAZ, The man-made world… and Canterbury Tales. I can’t even remember when I started reading that. It must have been a year or two ago, but it’s on the NOOK and I don’t really like reading on electronic devices, so I kind of abandoned it :/ You’ve reminded me to get back.

    Good luck with this reading challenge! Which book are you choosing for the before-you-were-born one?

    • Hi Jamila!

      I know, I have several I’ve abandoned, not because they were bad or anything, but just because I got busy (and you know, I think I always stick to short stories for that reason…I keep abandoning novels!) I get easily distracted with projects, but every time I read I remember what it is I loved about it! I’m not big on electronic devices, either. I have a Kindle, but rarely use it. I use it as a “screener,” sort of, so this way if I don’t like the book I only spent a couple of bucks and I don’t have to have it sitting around waiting to give it away.

      I haven’t figured out what I’m doing for each book yet. I’m playing it by ear…because I’ve got a pile! Maybe I should photograph my “to-read” cabinet.

      • I know what you mean about reading and remembering why you love it! I’ve been catching up with a book called ‘Station Eleven’ today on the tube (these days I only get round to reading when traveling :/ !) and it’s just so wonderfully written. It makes me want to write and do art and make music. Just the atmosphere of it and stuff.
        If you do photograph your to-read cabinet, and post it on your blog, make sure to let me know >.<

      • YES!! I think sometimes I’m a slow reader because, like you, when I read something really awesome I get inspired to create (and that’s what I go and do). My brain seems to only be able to handle one intense creative thing at a time.

        I will DEFINITELY post the pic on my blog if/when I do it. And I’ll be posting an update on my progress soon. I should probably do that at the end of every month or so.

      • Exactly! I am glad that I’m not the only one!! I was actually starting to worry that I’d never finish anything because I’d just be constantly trying to make my own stuff based on the little bits of books I’d read >.<

        Station Eleven is about a Post-Apocalyptic band of actors and musicians that travel from settlement to settlement, performing Shakespeare plays with music.

        The book begins before the end of the world, and then jumps forward many years. The contrast is huge and scary, and the author manages to portray it beautifully. That's what I love about the book. That even the lives of people after the end of the world can be described in a way that is beautiful Also, it's realistic, but not in a boring, hopeless way.

      • Sorry it took me so long to comment back! It was my birthday this past weekend and there was just a whole lotta crazy partying. Station Eleven sounds really good! I think I’ll put that on my list. I’m almost done reading a book called REVENGE: 11 DARK TALES by Yoko Ogawa which I recommend if you like dark stuff. It’s not really horror; it’s…well, dark. Very much enjoying it and hoping it’s going to kick me into gear to get some writing done.

      • PS — What is Station Eleven about?

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