Book Challenge

Way back in August 2006, I set myself the task of reading everything on The Whitcoulls Top 100 list. I felt like I needed to branch out, try different genres and authors, to give books I’d previously avoided a chance.

By the time I left New Zealand in March 2007, I had just one book left to read: “River God”, by Wilbur Smith. To be fair, I had read a few of the Top 100 before I embarked on this little challenge, and I cheated a little by saying that the readings I’d listened to at church and sunday school constituted having “read” The Bible. But as this was MY challenge, I figured I was allowed to make (and break) the rules to suit me.

The first thing I bought when I arrived in England in May was a copy of “River God”, and when I’d finished that, instead of feeling proud to have completed my challenge, I felt strangely bereft, empty and deflated. I’d really enjoyed my forays into genres previously unchartered, and while I was confident in my new-found ability to find different books to consume, I felt like I still wanted to be challenged, to have my horizons broadened, to have a list to cross things off of.

Then I found this: The BBC Big Read Top 200. I was elated – here was my new challenge. Sure, many of the books were on both lists, so I was able to cross a number of them off right from the start, but there were TWO HUNDRED books on this list. TWO HUNDRED. That’s a lot of ideas, a lot of words and pages and spines to lovingly crease and pages to caressingly dog-ear…I was in reader heaven once more. I discovered the joys of my local Oxfam book store, where nothing was over £2.99, and Amazon, and The Book Depository, with its free worldwide delivery…

Have I finished those Big Read 200? Not quite, but I’m slowly making my way through them. I don’t read as much as I did before Tiny was born, but now that I’m getting a bit more sleep, I’m finding I can concentrate for more than five minutes when I snuggle into bed to have a read before I fall asleep. I’ve been reading “The Woman in White”, by Wilkie Collins, for the past month, and I’m almost at the end, which means my light isn’t being turned off quite as early as it should be, but I feel like I’ve regained part of myself which was momentarily mislaid when Tiny arrived.

I’d have nailed the list months ago, though, if it featured such timeless classics as “Where is the Green Sheep?”, “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy”, and “Who Sank the Boat”…

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5 thoughts on “Book Challenge

  1. My gosh O.O But since you got through the 100 books in the first place, I’m sure you can do this new challenge. Good luck! =)

  2. Thanks so much!
    I’ve got 55 to go (55.5, counting “The Woman in White”, which I am SO close to finishing!), 4 of which are in the pile by my bed. It may take me a while, but I’m determined to get them all crossed off the list.

  3. Pingback: Books, Books, Glorious Books | Tall, Short & Tiny

  4. Amazing! Big ups to you! I once dreamed of reading the top 100 list, but to be honest, couldn’t be bothered! although its a really good idea, I’m a bit reserved in my book reading (LOVE to read, just dont know what to read) so that would be a good starting point to explore

    Have you continued with the top 200 since this post?

    • I used to read the same authors and genres, so this was a really good way of branching out. Scary, but so worthwhile as I’ve discovered some amazing books.

      I’m still working through the BBC Top 200, and have 44 to go. It’s slow going, but I only get to read at bedtime at the moment!

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