2016 Reading Challenges

Ah, what a glorious time of the year. The time where I compile lists and lists of texts I want to read in the following year knowing full well I'll completely fail every single one of them. I'm nothing if not optimistic (just kidding). I have limited the number of challenges I'm going to participate in this year and I've used the same titles for several challenges which might make completing them a little more manageable. I'm really looking forward to these challenges and I'm determined to complete at least a couple. So without further ado here are the challenges I'll be participating in during 2016:

Ancient Greek Reading Challenge:

I'm hosting this one and I think it's the one I'm most looking forward to. I fell in love with Sophocles last year, and Euripides this year and I can't wait to discover more of their work and the work of Aeschylus and Aristophanes as well. I'll be aiming to read around 30 Greek texts (mostly plays) in 2016. My rough list includes:
  • Ajax by Sophocles 
  • Electra by Sophocles 
  • Trachiniae by Sophocles 
  • Philoctetes by Sophocles 
  • The Knights by Aristophanes 
  • The Wasps by Aristophanes 
  • The Lysistrata by Aristophanes 
  • The Frogs by Aristophanes
  • The Peace by Aristophanes  
  • Rhesus by Euripides 
  • Medea by Euripides 
  • Electra by Euripides 
  • The Phoenician Maidens by Euripides 
  • Iphigenia Among the Tauri by Euripides 
  • Iphigenia At Aulis by Euripides 
  • Orestes by Euripides 
  • Hecuba by Euripides 
  • The Suppliants by Euripides 
  • The Suppliant Maidens by Aeschylus 
  • The Oresteia by Aeschylus 
  • The Persians by Aeschylus 
  • Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus 
  • On Poetics By Aristotle 
  • ++ I'll add to this list as I research more. 


I am super excited about this challenge. I was kicking myself all year for not joining at the start of 2015 because it seemed like something I could actually achieve. I've taken inspiration from O and Cleo and instead of choosing 52 straight short stories I'm going to split it into four distinct categories: Hearts will be Fairy Tales/Fables, Diamonds will be Plays, Clubs will be Short Stories and Spades will be poetry. Here is my list:

Hearts: Fairy Tales/Fables
Ace: The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood by Charles Perrault and Little Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm
The Little Red Riding-Hood by Charles Perrault
Three: Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm
Four: Cinderella: or, The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault and Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm
Five: Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont
Six: Snow White by the Brothers Grimm and The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights by Aleksandr Pushkin
Seven: Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves by Unknown
Eight: The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
Nine: Rumplestiltskin by the Brothers Grimm
Ten: Aesop's Fables by Aesop
Jack: The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen
Queen: The Master Cat; or Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault
King: Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm 

Diamonds: Plays
Ace: The Alchemist by Ben Johnson
Two: Agamemnon by Aeschylus
Three: King Lear by William Shakespeare
Four: Medea By Euripides
Five: The Lysistrata by Aristophanes
Six: Othello by William Shakespeare
Seven: Electra by Sophocles
Eight: The Frogs By Aristophanes
Nine: The Love-Girl and the Innocent by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Ten: Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
Jack: Bartholomew Fair by Ben Johnson
Queen: A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev
King: Fortune's Fool by Ivan Turgenev 

Spades: Short Stories

Ace: The Queen of Spades by Aleksandr Pushkin 
Two: The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol
Three: The District Doctor by Ivan Turgenev
Four: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Five: Hide and Seek by Fyodor Sologub
Six: The Bet by Anton Chekov
Seven: Poems in Prose by Ivan Turgenev
Eight: Lazarus by Leonid Andreyev
Nine: The Diary of a Superfluous Man by Ivan Turgenev
Ten: The Outrage by Aleksandr Kuprin
Jack: One Autumn Night by Maxim Gorky
Queen: Three Portraits by Ivan Turgenev
King: White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

Clubs: Poetry

Ace: Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe
Two: L'Allegro and Il Penseroso by John Milton
Three: Songs of Innocence by William Blake
Four: Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
Five: Kubla Khan, This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison and Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Six: Adonais by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Seven: Ode; to Psyche, to a Nightingale, on Melancholy, on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
Eight: The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Tennyson
Nine: Hope, Remembrance and the Prisoner, A Fragment by Emily Bronte
Ten: The Waste Land and the Hollow Men by T.S Eliot
Jack: Twelve Songs by W.H Auden
Queen: Ariel and Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
King: Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti 



To the Lighthouse is one of my favourite books and Virginia Woolf is one of my favourite writers but I haven't read a lot of her work for some reason. I think I'm ready to dive into more of her writing so this challenge couldn't come at a better time. The books I'll be reading for this are:
  • January/February: Mrs Dalloway 
  • March/April: The Voyage Out AND Between the Acts 
  • May/June: A Haunted House and Other Stories 
  • July/August: Orlando
  • September/October: A Room of One's Own 
  • November/December: The Waves 

Back to the Classics Challenge: 

I participated in this last year but I failed epically. I don't accept failure so here I am trying again. I love the different themes this year and I can't wait to get started. The books I'll be reading for this challenge are: 
  • A Nineteenth Century Classic: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • A Twentieth Century Classic: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 
  • A classic by a woman author: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • A classic in translation: Sketches From a Hunters Album by Ivan Turgenev 
  • A classic by a non-white author: Arabian Nights by Unknown 
  • An adventure classic: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 
  • A fantasy, science fiction or dystopian classic: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien 
  • A classic detective novel: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins 
  • A classic which includes the name of the place in the title: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte 
  • A classic which has been banned or censored: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli 
  • Re-read a classic you read in high school or college: Othello by William Shakespeare 
  • A volume of classic short stories: First Love and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev 


Women's Classic Literature Event 2016: 

The Classics Club is hosting this excellent event. I can't wait to get immersed in literature written by females! Here is my list of the books I plan to read for this event:
  • January:- Ban Zhao: Lessons for Women, Claudia Severa: Letters  
  • February:- Radegund: Letters, Empress Jito: Two Poems 
  • March:- Murasaki Shikibu: Tale of the Genji 
  • April:- Marie de France: The Lais 
  • May:- Hadeijch: Selected Poems 
  • June:- Christine de Pisan: The Book of the Duke of True Lovers
  • July:- Gwerful Mechain: Cywydd y Cedor 
  • August:- Lady Elizabeth Cary: The Tragedie of Mariam Fairie Queen of the Jewry
  • September:- Aphra Behn: Selected Writings
  • October:- Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
  • November:- George Eliot: Middlemarch OR Adam Bede
  • December:- Virginia Woolf: the Waves 


Reading England/Reading London:

O at Behold the Stars is hosting Reading England again and although I won't officially state titles just yet I'm looking at reading a few novels written by English authors this year. Namely Defoe, Woolf, Dickens and the Brontes. I'll also be participating in O's Reading England Challenge by Reading London. The titles I'll be reading that are set in London are:
  • Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe 
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 
  • And I'm going to try and read a little of the Canterbury Tales. 

And I think that's it for challenges! Should be a fun year. 



  1. Who is hosting Woolfalong or are you just doing that on your own?

    1. Ah sorry I forgot to add the links. Here you go:https://heavenali.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/getting-ready-to-woolfalong-and-a-virginia-woolf-giveaway/

  2. I really like your Deal Me In selections. One year I did a suit of Russian authors only, and it turned out to have some of my very favorites of the 250+ stories I've read so far in the five years doing this challenge. I was a Classics Minor in college so I also like a lot of your plays too. :-) Enjoy the challenge & happy reading!

    1. Russian Literature is my absolute favourite but I haven't read a lot of Russian short stories outside of Gogol and Dostoyevsky so I'm really excited. Thanks, you too! :)

  3. We're doing the same challenges! :D Good luck, thanks for joining mine, and also glad you're joining the Deal Me In one too - that one is awesome! :)

    1. I really loved reading all of your Deal Me In posts this year and I was just itching to do it for 2016 :)


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