Lots of bloggers use reading challenges as a way of testing themselves – how hard-core are you, that you can read the whole 12 volumes of ‘The Dance to the Music of Time’, or the 4,215 or so pages of Marcel Proust’s ‘Recherche du Temps Perdu’, without tearing your eyes out?

Having just finished a 100 books challenge, I have no appetite for anything of this order. But at the same time I found that a reading challenge provided a helpful structure for my choices, took me places I would not otherwise go, and gave a simple answer to that perennial question “What am I going to read next?”books

As a best of both worlds compromise, I have created my own personal reading challenge list. It has only 20 books (which I know for some will be far too lightweight) and yes, some of the novels could be classified as ‘young adult’ or young adult friendly. But it includes some ‘proper’ literature alongside the more accessible texts, and it includes a nice smattering of books not written in English. Incidentally, every one of these books appeared on the BBC’s Big Read list from a few years ago.

What do you think?

  1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  2. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
  3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  4. Animal Farm, George Orwell
  5. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  6. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
  7. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
  8. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
  9. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
  10. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
  11. Holes, Louis Sachar
  12. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
  13. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
  14. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
  15. The Day of the Triffids,  John Wyndham
  16. Possession: A Romance, A. S. Byatt
  17. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  19. Atonement, Ian McEwan
  20. The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells