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Joy's 17-for-17 Category Challenge

2017 Category Challenge

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Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 7:15pm Top

Hi, everyone! My name is Joy and I’m a challenge addict.

This will be my 6th Category Challenge here at LibraryThing. I had a hard time keeping up with my 2016 challenge - well, actually I had a hard time keeping up with just about everything in 2016; but that’s a long, annoying story for another time and place. Anyway, I was so swamped, I considered just not doing a Category Challenge for 2017. But I do like the way these challenges nudge me into reading things I might not ordinarily read (ordinarily, I’m a very inside-the-box sort of reader) and allow me to track my bookish tendencies and preferences.

So here I am, back for another go-round.

I’ve noticed that for the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to fit everything I read into one or another of my categories. But the problem with that approach is that it really sort of does away with the concept of this being a challenge. My idea of a reading challenge is that it should do just that - challenge me to read things that I probably wouldn’t normally read.

That’s why I’m trying to make a few adjustments for 2017. For the new challenge, I’ve come up with 17 categories representing areas I really want to explore (or continue exploring), and I’m setting myself a goal of at least two or three books in each. That makes it challenging enough to be interesting, motivates me to read some things I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time, but still allows me to continue enjoying my favorite genres and making new discoveries. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Also, I don’t really have a theme for the 2017 challenge - I thought about maybe “exploration,” but that was taking too long to figure out. And again, I’d be trying to fit categories to books. So… just 17 categories with no overarching theme.

OK - I’ll shut up now and start reading. Happy New Year, everyone. And happy reading in 2017!

Edited: Jan 4, 12:11pm Top

The Categories:

1. 19th Century Classics
2. 20th Century Classics
3. Advance books (ARCs, Early Reviewer books, etc.)
4. Award Winners
5. Banned/Challenged Books
6. Children’s and YA
7. Debut Authors
8. Historical Fiction
9. Horror/Gothic/Weird Fiction
10. International Fiction (non-USA)
11. Mysteries from the “Golden Age” (published before 1960)
12. Mysteries from the “Silver Age” (1960-1990)
13. Mystery Series I want to finish
14. New Discoveries
15. Nonfiction
16. Sci-Fi and SF/Fantasy
17. Short Stories

I realize many books will fit in several of my categories - but I’ll try to avoid overlapping. I’ve pretty much finished my reading for 2016, so any books I read between now and the 1st of the year will count for the 2017 challenge.

I’m not sure what I’ll do about reviews. This year I really didn’t review many of the books I read, but I hope to do more reviewing in 2017. I usually do a 50-Book Challenge every year, and post any reviews over there, but I might start posting them here too. We’ll see what emerges.

Edited: May 25, 12:28pm Top

Master List of All Books Read for the Category Challenge and BingoDOG

1. As Good As Gone. Larry Watson (Category #14)
2. The Ballad of Peckham Rye. Muriel Spark (Category #10 / Bingo Dog Sq.#8 )
3. The Blazing World. Siri Hustvedt (Category #14 / Bingo Dog Sq. #23)
4. Devil Sent the Rain (Detective Billy Able #3). by Lisa Turner (Category #3)
5. Faithful. Alice Hoffman (Category #3 / Bingo Dog Sq. #17)
6. The Fix (Amos Decker #3). David Baldacci (Category #14)
7. The Fur Person. May Sarton (Category #14 / Bingo Dog Sq.#9)
8. Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic #3). Edward Eager (Category #6 / Bingo Dog Sq. #19)
9. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10). Agatha Christie (pub. 1934) (Category #11 / Bingo Dog Sq. #21)
10. The Roanoke Girls. Amy Engel (Category #3)
11. The Secret Room (Zoe Goldman #3). Sandra Block (Category #3)
12. Smooth Talker: Trail of Death. Steve Jackson (Category #15)
13. The Vanishment. Jonathan Aycliffe (Category #9)


I know this is madness, but I'm also thinking of trying Bingo Dog this year. Maybe unofficially. Not sure how it works exactly, since I've never done any of the CATs/KITs/Bingo cards before. But it looks like fun, so.... Oh, and some of the books will inevitably overlap with my Categories.

The 2017 BingoDOG squares:

1. Author shares your first and last initials
2. Set in a time before you were born
3. Author was born in 1930s
4. Debut work
5. Book about books
6. Author abroad*
7. Science-related
8. Place name in title: The Ballad of Peckham Rye. Muriel Spark
9. About an animal/animal in title: The Fur Person. May Sarton
10. Set in a beach community/resort
11. Next book in a series you've started
12. Owned for more than 5 years
13. Read a CAT (this is usually the center/free square)
14. A satire
15. Set in a place you want to visit
16. Author born/book published in 1917
17. One-word title: Faithful. Alice Hoffman
18. Color in the title
19. Published in the 1940s-1960s: Magic by the Lake. Edward Eager (published 1957)
20. Author uses initials
21. Made into a movie: Murder on the Orient Express. Agatha Christie
22. Collection of short stories
23. Title refers to another literary work (for example, the title is a quote from another book): The Blazing World. Siri Hustvedt (title refers to 1666 work "The Blazing World" by Margaret Cavendish)
24. Set in a country you've never been to
25. Appeals to the senses

Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 7:22pm Top

Category 1: 19th Century Classics.

Hoping to knock a few books off the TBR pile with this category.

Possible choices for this category:

1. Cranford. Elizabeth Gaskell
2. Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte
3. Persuasion. Jane Austen

Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 7:24pm Top

Category 2: 20th Century Classics.

Another opportunity to trim the ridiculously long TBR list.

Possible choices for this category:

1. Appointment in Samarra. John O’Hara
2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Anita Loos
3. The Murder at the Vicarage. Agatha Christie

Edited: May 25, 12:16pm Top

Category 3: Advance Books. (ARCs, Early Reviewer books, NetGalley, etc.)

I’ve been very lazy about my reviewing obligations in this area. Must do better next year!

Books read for this Category:
1. Devil Sent the Rain (Detective Billy Able #3). by Lisa Turner (LT Early Reviewer book)
2. Faithful. Alice Hoffman (NetGalley ARC)
3. The Roanoke Girls. Amy Engel (NetGalley ARC)
4. The Secret Room (Zoe Goldman #3). Sandra Block (NetGalley ARC)

Edited: May 25, 10:58am Top

Category 4: Award Winners.

These could be any genre, published any year, from any country.

Books read for this Category:

Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 7:30pm Top

Category 5: Banned/Challenged Books.

I’ve actually read most of the books that usually appear on the lists of most-often banned/challenged books. So for this category, I might do some re-reads.

Possible choices for this category:

1. The Bostonians. Henry James
2. BUtterfield 8. John O’Hara
3. The Giver. Lois Lowry

Edited: May 25, 11:22am Top

Category 6: Children’s and YA.

I’m (very slowly) trying to read my way through all the Newbery and Caldecott winners/honor books. I love kiddie lit, so this category shouldn’t give me any trouble.

Books read for this Category:
1. Magic by the Lake (Tales of Magic #3). Edward Eager

Possible choices for this category:

1. The Cricket in Times Square. George Selden
2. Many Moons. James Thurber
3. When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead

Edited: May 25, 10:58am Top

Category 7: Debut Authors.

My first tendency is always to keep going back to favorite authors, so I’m trying to make a real effort to read the newbies.

Books read for this Category:

Edited: May 25, 10:57am Top

Category 8: Historical Fiction.

One of my favorite areas. Shouldn’t have any trouble at all with this one.

Books read for this Category:

Edited: May 25, 11:47am Top

Category 9: Horror/Gothic/Weird Fiction.

Again, a fave - I’ll fill this category pretty quickly.

Books read for this Category:
1. The Vanishment. Jonathan Aycliffe
2. Rosemary's Baby. Ira Levin (a re-read of one of my favorites)

Edited: Jan 4, 12:15pm Top

Category 10: International Fiction (non-USA).

Over the last few years, I’ve really enjoyed discovering literary works from non-English-speaking parts of the world. Hope to continue doing that in 2017. But I'll be including books from the UK here as well.

Books Read for this Category
1. The Ballad of Peckham Rye. Muriel Spark (UK)

Possible choices for this category:

1. After Dark. Haruki Murakami
2. Identity. Milan Kundera
3. Steppenwolf. Hermann Hesse

Edited: May 25, 12:09pm Top

Category 11: Mysteries from the “Golden Age” (published before 1960).

I’m participating in the Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt reading challenge (hosted by Bev @ her My Reader’s Block blog), so I’m hoping to read quite a few books that would fit here.

Books read for this Category:
1. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10). Agatha Christie (pub. 1934)

Possible choices for this category:


Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 11:01pm Top

Category 12: Mysteries from the “Silver Age” (1960-1990).

Ah, I do love a mystery.

Possible choices for this category:


Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 11:03pm Top

Category 13: Mystery Series I want to finish.

I’ve got a bunch of these going, but will probably concentrate on the Sheila Malory series by Hazel Holt (three more to read), and then maybe Poirot and Marple.

Books to read for this category:

1. Mrs. Malory and a Death in the Family. Hazel Holt
2. Mrs. Malory and a Necessary End. Hazel Holt
3. Death Is a Word (A Mrs. Malory mystery). Hazel Holt

Edited: May 25, 12:25pm Top

Category 14: New Discoveries.

These could also fit into the Debut Author or International categories. Will have to do some fine-tuning I suppose.

Books read for this Category:
1. As Good As Gone. Larry Watson
2. The Blazing World. Siri Hustvedt
3. The Fix (Amos Decker #3). David Baldacci
4. The Fur Person. May Sarton (first time reading Sarton's fiction)

Edited: May 25, 10:55am Top

Category 15: Nonfiction.

I really want to get back to reading a little nonfiction in 2017. Didn’t read any at all in 2016, and that’s not good.

Books read for this category:
1. Smooth Talker: Trail of Death. Steve Jackson (sub-genre: True Crime)

Possible choices for this category:
1. Just Kids. Patti Smith
2. Leonard: My 50-Year Friendship…. William Shatner, David Fisher
3. The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws. Margaret Drabble

Edited: Dec 29, 2016, 11:08pm Top

Category 16: Sci-Fi and SF/Fantasy.

Possible choices for this category:

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick
2. Foundation. Isaac Asimov
3. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. Kate Wilhelm

Edited: Jun 19, 11:34am Top

Category 17: Short Stories.

Another area I’ve really been neglecting in recent years. These might be just individual stories (maybe some from those stacks of New Yorker magazines I’ve been saving), or whole volumes full.

Books/Stories read for this Category:
1. "1933," Mavis Gallant (from Across the Bridge: Stories)
2. "Schoolhouse," Rick Hautala (from Glimpses: The Best Short Stories of Rick Hautala; Dark Regions Press, 2013)

Possible choices for this category:
1. The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories. Algernon Blackwood
2. Goodbye to Berlin. Christopher Isherwood
3. Nocturnes. John Connolly

Dec 30, 2016, 6:49pm Top

Very interesting categories! Good luck with your reading!

Dec 31, 2016, 11:35am Top

>21 tess_schoolmarm: Thank you. And good luck with your reading in the New Year, as well! New beginnings are always so exciting.

Dec 31, 2016, 12:24pm Top

Welcome back and good luck meeting your challenges for 2017! I look forward to see what weird fiction you read.

Dec 31, 2016, 2:37pm Top

Looks like a good variety of categories! I will be particularly interested in your Golden and Silver Age mystery categories. Have a great reading year!

Edited: Dec 31, 2016, 5:14pm Top

>23 mamzel: Hi, and thank you! Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing what weird fiction I can come up with, too. It's sort of a guilty pleasure for me. Good luck with your reading challenges in 2017, too!

>24 rabbitprincess: I'm just hoping I don't have TOO much variety! But I read mostly mysteries, and I'm trying to branch out a little next year. Thanks for dropping by, and happy reading in 2017!

Dec 31, 2016, 11:58pm Top

>14 jlshall: I'm also doing the Vintage Mystery Challenge at My Reader's Block! I look forward to seeing which Golden Age mysteries you read. :)

Jan 1, 8:54am Top

Jan 1, 11:53am Top

>26 christina_reads: Hi, Christina! I love Bev's vintage mystery challenges, although I don't always do as well as I'd like with them. In 2016 I tried the Silver Mystery category and only read a few books. Hoping to do better with Golden Age. Looking forward to reading some Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie.

Happy New Year! Hope you enjoy all your reading in 2017!

Jan 1, 11:54am Top

>27 The_Hibernator: Thank you! And a Happy New Year to you, too! Enjoy your reading in 2017.

Jan 2, 5:44pm Top

Happy reading!

Jan 3, 12:22am Top

>30 MissWatson: Thank you! Hope you have a great year of reading, too.

Jan 5, 3:41pm Top

Great categories here and I am looking forward to following along.

Jan 8, 5:41pm Top

Love your challenge setup and kudos on already having finished 3 Bingo reads!

Jan 9, 10:08pm Top

Excellent categories! I'll look forward to following along, especially with the Golden Age and Silver Age mysteries!

Jan 11, 9:21am Top

>32 DeltaQueen50: Thank you! I'll be following your thread, too. Happy reading!

Jan 11, 9:23am Top

>33 lkernagh: Thanks! I typically start out with some really quick reads in January, but then slow down with longer works after that. Trying to keep a better pace this year. Happy reading to you in 2017!

Jan 11, 9:25am Top

>34 VivienneR: Thank you! Last year I read a lot of mysteries, but really neglected the vintage and classic works. Hoping to make up for that this year. I love a mystery! And happy reading to you, too!

Jan 19, 1:15pm Top

Looks like a good challenge for you this year! I'm planning on reading all the Foundation books this year, which will include a re-read of the first three. I'll be interested to hear what you think!

Jan 19, 1:46pm Top

Great group of categories! Some of your possibilities look interesting. I read Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang several years ago, and really enjoyed it. I'll be interested to see what you think of The Pattern in the Carpet if you decide to read that one. I used to be a big fan of doing jigsaw puzzles.

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