My 2023 Book Challenges

2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

How It Works:

You can select, read and review a book from the categories listed below during the year for a total of up to 12 books; OR select, read and review any nonfiction book. A book may be in print, electronic or audio format. This challenge is sponsored by Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.


Nonfiction Nosher: Read & review 12 books, one for each category

History: A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

Memoir/Biography:  Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Crime & Punishment: Killers of the Flower Moon

Science:  Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder by Julia Zarankin

Health: Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders

Travel: A Paris All Your Own

Food: Omelette and a Glass of Wine 

Social Media: Find Your People

Sport: Steep Trails by John Muir

Relationships:  Humankind by Brad Aronson

The Arts:  Great Short Books by Kenneth Davis

Published in 2023: Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life by Dacher Keltner

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 2023 Back to the Classics Challenge

How It Works:

The Back to the Classics Challenge is a year-long challenge in which participants are encouraged to finally read the classics they've always meant to read -- or just recently discovered. The Back to the Classics Challenge was sponsored by Karen at Books and Chocolate for many years. Though she is not sponsoring the challenge this year, I've decided to press on with it.

1. A 19th century classic. Any book first published from 1800 to 1899

Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens

2. A 20th century classic. Any book first published from 1900 to 1972. All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; the only exceptions are books which were written by 1972 and posthumously published.

The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien

3. A classic by a woman author.

Adam Bede by George Eliot

4. A classic in translation.  Any book first published in a language that is not your primary language. You may read it in translation or in its original language, if you prefer. 

5. A classic by BIPOC author. Any book published by a non-white author.

The Pillow Book by Sei Shonogan

6. Mystery/Detective/Crime classic. It can be fiction or non-fiction (true crime). Examples include Murder on the Orient Express, Crime and Punishment, In Cold Blood.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd  by Agatha Christie

7. A classic short story collection. Any single volume that contains at least six short stories. The book can have a single author or can be an anthology of multiple authors. 

Complete Stories by Franz Kafka

8. Pre-1800 classic. Anything written before 1800. Plays and epic poems, such as the Odyssey, are acceptable in this category. 

Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

9. A nonfiction classic. Travel, memoirs, and biographies are great choices for this category.

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

10. Classic that's been on your TBR list the longest. Find the classic book that's been hanging around unread the longest, and finally cross it off your list!  

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

11. Classic set in a place you'd like to visit. Can be real or imaginary -- Paris, Tokyo, the moon, Middle Earth, etc. It can be someplace you've never been, or someplace you'd like to visit again.

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

12. Wild card classic. Any classic book you like, any category, as long as it's at least 50 years old! 

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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2023 Chapter-a-Day Challenge

How It Works:

  • Get a copy of each of the six books.
  • If you have your own blog, write a welcome post explaining why you are joining the read-along and what you hope to gain from it. Leave a link to your post in the comments section at the end of this post. 
  • Download the daily schedule: Nick’s 2023 George Eliot Chapter-a-Day Reading Schedule
  • Commit to reading a chapter a day. If you get behind or race ahead, no worries. Life happens.
  • Join Nick in posting a quote each day on Facebook or Twitter. using the hashtag #eliotreadalong. No spoilers, please!
  • You will find official 2023 read-along graphic next to this list. Feel free to use it on your website if you wish.
  • Subscribe to One Catholic Life so you don’t miss any read-along posts throughout the year. You can get updates via email by using the form in the right-hand sidebar.

Reading Schedule

We’ll be reading six of George Eliot’s major works. Here is a broad outline of the reading schedule, along with links to the Kindle editions, the online Gutenberg editions, and the Librivox audiobook editions (Kindle links are affiliate links):

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2023 Gaia/Nature Reading Challenge

2023 Gaia/Nature Reading Challenge

There are no strict rules to the challenge. Pledge to read as many or as few nature-themed books as you would like. Just one qualifies for the challenge. The titles you choose can be either fiction or non-fiction; they just have to have nature, climate or environment as an issue or theme. Share your reading via comments on Gumtrees and Galaxies. Links are welcome and encouraged.

1. Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World by Noah Stryker
2. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
3. Steep Trails by John Muir
4. Mother Nature is Not Trying to Kill You by Rob Nelson
5. A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
6. Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales
7. 100 Plants to Feed the Birds by Laura Erichson
8. The Book of Hope by Jane Goodall
10. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
12. Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World

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Super Past Due Reviews Challenge

Anne at My Head is Full of Books writes: "Prior to 2017 my priority in blogging was writing reviews for the YA books I was reading. I purposely didn't review all the adult books I read, thinking my students wouldn't be that interested in them. Now I realize that many of the books I never reviewed are some of my favorites and I really, really wish I hadn't neglected them. I keep wondering if it is possible to write reviews for books I read years ago? Well, this project will be my attempt to go back and correct the record, writing super-duper past due reviews."

I shall try to join her. I will start with books that are on my list of favorites and my list of must-reads, but which I have failed to review.

For more about Anne's project, take a look here.

1. Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
2. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
3. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
4. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
5. A Night to Remember by Walter Lord
6. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
8. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson
9. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
10. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

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In 2022, I first took on this project with a list of ten books. Happily, I managed to read and review five:

Creativity Reading Challenge 2023

This challenge is about reading books on creativity, art, crafts, writing, film making, photography, cosmetology, DIY, cooking, music and any other topic that helps you live a more creative life.

How It Works:

  • Runs January 1 to December 31, 2023. 
  • Read as many books as you want.
  • Books may be nonfiction, memoir, how-to, self help, coffee table books, instructional, picture books, and even fictional books if they are about people who are creative.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks or audiobooks
  • You may reread books. 
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges in which you are participating.
  • Sign up here.

What I Might Read:

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory
Daily Rituals: Women at Work by Mason Currey
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Making Comics by Lynda Barry
How the Light Gets in: Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Pat Schneider
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

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2023 Children's Book Reading Challenge...for Adults!

Sarah at Belle's Library created the Children's Books Reading Challenge to challenge herself to read more children's books. 

How It Works:

To join, let Sarah know in the comments here. If you have a blog or a Goodreads account you'd like to link up, even better! Then, every time you read a book for the challenge, just come back and let others know about it with your thoughts or link in the comments. That way we can all be inspired! Let's use this hashtag: #2023ChildrensBooksChallenge on social media so we can find one another easier.

What books qualify? That one's simple: it's up to you! Anything you think could be found in the children's section of a library or bookstore is applicable, as well as timeless classics that the whole family would enjoy. Here is a list from Wikipedia that Sarah is working from.

What I Read:

1. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by 
3. Mistress Masham's Repose by T. H. White
4. Freddy and the Perilous Adventure by Walter R. Brooks

European Reading Challenge 2023

Please join Gilion at Rose City Reader for the eleventh edition of our Grand Tour of Europe through books! The European Reading Challenge has been going strong since 2012. Choose your own level of commitment to complete the challenge. There is a Jet Setter Prize for the person who visits the most countries between the covers.

THE GIST: The idea is to read books set in European countries or books by European authors. The books can be of any genre – fiction, nonfiction, novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, whatever. You can participate at different levels, but each book must represent a different country -- either written by an author from a different country or set in a different country, no two books from the same country.

To participate in the challenge, sign up at the levels below. If you want to go on to compete for the Prize, keep reading!

  • FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.
  • FOUR STAR (HONEYMOONER): Read four qualifying books.
  • THREE STAR (BUSINESS TRAVELER): Read three qualifying books.
  • TWO STAR (ADVENTURER): Read two qualifying books.
  • ONE STAR (PENSIONE WEEKENDER): Read just one qualifying book.
I shall attempt to be an Adventurer and read two qualifying books. If I run across books set in other European countries, well, Happy Day!

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by 
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Ireland)
Adam Bede by George Eliot (England)
In Shetland: Tales from the Last Bookshop by Tom Morton (Shetland Islands)
The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien (Ireland)
Rhododendron Pie by Margery Sharp (England)
The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li (France)
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (France)
Cuore (Heart) by Edmondo de Amicis (Italy)
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Netherlands)
Refugee by Alan Gratz (Germany)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (Romania)
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (Norway)
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (Poland)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Spain)

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The TBR Pile Challenge Year 10


To finally read twelve books that have been sitting on your “TBR Pile” list or shelves for a year or more.

How It Works

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2022 or later (any book published in the year 2021 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books ends up in the “did not finish (DNF)” pile.

2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with the Mr. Linky below. Link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15, 2023.

4. Leave comments on the monthly posts as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2023 TBR LIST! Every person who successfully reads their 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win up to $100 of books from The Book Depository!(That’s right! To celebrate TEN YEARS of this awesome challenge, I’ve doubled the final giveaway prize from $50 to $100!) 

5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before, and it was published in 2021 or earlier!

*Note: You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. Audiobooks count. Graphic novels count. Poetry collections? Essay collections? All good! As you complete a book – review it, go to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review. This will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered. For an example of what I mean, Click Here.

Where Can I Post My Reviews? Anywhere! Tik Tok, Instagram, Mastodon, Hive, Facebook, Goodreads, a blog, YouTube, Twitter (if you haven’t abandoned it). It’s really up to you to choose the format that works for you, as long as your posts are public so that you can link them up on our Mister Linky and we can see them.

Monthly Check-Ins: On the 15th of each month, I’m going to post a “TBR Pile Check-In.” This will allow participants to link-up their reviews from the past month and get some recognition for their progress. There will also be small mini-challenges and giveaways to go along with these posts (Such As: Read 6 books by the June Check-in and be entered to win a book of your choice!) I’m hoping this will help to keep us all on track and make the challenge a bit more engaging/interactive. I started these mini-challenges in 2014, and I think they were a great success, so I am continuing them this year!

Chat: On Social Media, please use #TBRYear10

My 2023 TBR Challenge List: 101 Books

Why not go big and set an enormous goal? Let me see how many of the 101 books in my Kindle and physical TBRs I can read this year!

20 of 101 Read and reviewed

My Kindle TBR (15 of 40 books)

The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wagerin Jr.     The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price

The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction.   Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World by Noah Stryker       

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant.    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin     Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders

Adam Bede by George Eliot.    The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry.    Short Stories in French.    Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Rhododendron Pie by Margery Sharp.    Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Miss Carter and the Ilfrit by Susan Alice Kerby.     A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell

The Snow Leopard by Peter Mattiessen     Map: Collected and New Poems by Wislawa Szymborska

Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday.    The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

MacGregor Tells the World by Elizabeth Mckenzie.    A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On by Walter Lord

Spirals in Time by Helen Scales.    An Omelette and a Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman.    Mockingbird by Walter Tevis     The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Paris Adrift by E. J. Swift.    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns.    The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay

Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders    The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark.    Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Mistress Masham's Repose by T. H. White.    Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease

Jock of the Bushveld by James Percy Fitzpatrick.    So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell     A Pony for Jean by Joanna Cannan

Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World by Kathryn Aalto     Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

The Black Corsair by Emilio Salgari.    Heart by Edmondo De Amicis

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Langerloef.    Bevis: The Story of a Boy by Richard Jefferies

Old Filth by Jane Gardam.    Stoner by John Williams.    Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.    The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass.    How the Light Gets in: Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Pat Schneider

Humankind by Brad Aronson.    It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg

My Physical TBR (8 of 61 books)

The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton.    Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.    Jack by Marilynne Robinson

W. B. Yeats: Selected Poems.    The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam

Village School by Miss Read.    A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful by Gideon Lewis-Kravs

The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber.    A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird

The Outermost House by Henry Beston.    Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens

Vroom with a View by Peter Moore.    Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington.    The Bobbsey Twins: Merry Days Indoors and Out by Laura Lee Hope

Westward, Ha! Around the World in 80 Cliches by S. J. Perelman.    A Winter Book by Tove Jansson

Literary Places by Sarah Baxter.    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi.    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes and the Stories Behind Them by Mina Holland         

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen.    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Long Ago in France by M. F. K. Fisher.    Vango: Between Sky and Earth by Timothee de Fombelle

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.    All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky

The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata.    The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano.    Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars by Ellen McGregor

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.    Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

Refugee by Alan Gratz.    A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

In Search of the Far Side by Gary Larson.    A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years.    Collected Poems by Robert Graves

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.    Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

Story's End by Marissa Burt.    The City of Dreaming Books.    Freddy and the Perilous Adventure by Walter R. Brooks

Trixie Belden #10: The Marshland Mystery.    Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry

D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History by Deborah Hopkinson.    The Eight by Katherine Neville

A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown.    Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

The Secret Life of Salvador Dali by Dali.    The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.    The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud

Books that Saved My Life by Michael McGirr.    Remarkable Diaries.         

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthall.    Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Ursula Le Guin #LoveHain Challenge

So throughout 2023 Calmgrove is planning to read the principal novels in the Hainish series in the order they were published, on a month by month basis, starting this month. If you’d like to join in, you’d be very welcome – using the (hash)tags #LoveHain and #UKLGsf – and after the novels you may like to continue with the short story collections as an additional option.

As Calmgrove did with #Narniathon21 Calmgrove shall post three questions for readers’ consideration on the last Friday of each month (except for this month when it will be on the anniversary of Le Guin’s death, Sunday 22nd January). Please feel free to join in with any discussion in the comments, post links to your reviews or thoughts on social media. Below is my proposed schedule, plus – for completists among you! – the sequence of novels and stories as they were published and the collections they appear in.

The Schedule

JanuaryRocannon’s World.
FebruaryPlanet of Exile.
MarchCity of Illusions.
AprilThe Left Hand of Darkness.
MayThe Word for World is Forest.
JuneThe Dispossessed.
JulyThe Eye of the Heron.
AugustThe Telling.
SeptemberThe Wind’s Twelve Quarters.*
OctoberA Fisherman of the Inland Sea.*
NovemberFour Ways to Forgiveness.*
DecemberThe Birthday of the World.*

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Goodreads Reading Challenge

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Cook the Books Book Club

Cook the Books Club


1. Order, buy, or borrow the appointed book.
2. After reading the book, cook up something delicious inspired by the book and blog about it. If you don’t have a blog, one of us four co-hosts would be happy to post your entry as a guest blogger. Make sure to include a link to this COOK THE BOOKS blog so others can find out about the details.
3. In the meantime, feel free to suggest other food-rich readings for a future round of COOK THE BOOKS by leaving a comment after this post.

December 2022 / January 2023: Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies
 by Vicky Zimmerman (hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen)

February / March 2023The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan (hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock)

April / May 2023
Lessons in Chemistry
 by Bonnie Garmus (hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats)

June / July 2023 Food Americana by David Page (hosted by Simona at briciole)


  1. Fun challenges, Deb. I hope you enjoy them all!

  2. Great, I'm so glad you've joined my children's book challenge. You've read a lot already!

  3. These all look like fun! Thanks for including the European Reading Challenge!

  4. There are some ambitious goals here - I saw your link and wondered how you organized your tracking. I'll come up with something similar for my challenges. Thanks for the ideas.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  5. An exhaustive bibliographic century (is that a veritable description?) and, as a slow reader myself, exhausting to contemplate! But as it's you I'm guessing you'll make a significant dent in these piles! Are good luck wishes really necessary? But I offer them nevertheless.🙂

  6. Wow! That is a lot of intriguing reading challenges! I wish I could join you on all of them, especially your unofficial Classics Club. I would need to retire before I tackled all those backlogged books, so I'm glad to see your good example of jumping fully into the joint pleasures of retirement and reading! Happy 2023!


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