I’ve heard of a variety of reading challenges this year, but many included categories of books I didn’t want to spend time exploring. Also, I have a pretty ridiculous number of already-acquired books I have yet to read. Then, a terrific blogger I follow mentioned My Reader’s Block’s MOUNT TBR CHALLENGE 2019. The challenge is simply to reduce one’s preexisting TBR stack! That’s my kind of challenge! I’m making a not-too-ambitious attempt, the Pike’s Peak challenge—to read 12 books from my To Read shelf.

The shelf:

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Spillover stacks:


One of the rules of the challenge is that the participant must read books owned prior to January 1, 2019. I’m APPALLED to realize that the majority of books I’ve read this year are also books I’ve acquired this year! No wonder that stack will not dwindle! (“Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik was worth it, though!)

Here are two, at least, I can count toward the 12:

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt***½

This is a story peopled by the unhinged. Louisa works at the Waldorf as a maid; her father is a night watchman at a library. An aged Nikola Tesla resides at the Waldorf at this time. On the train, Louisa meets Arthur, whom she does not recognize, but who remembers her from her school days. Not one of these characters is in his or her right mind, and their perceptions, actions, and beliefs are generally bizarre and fantastical.

The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis*****

This is a play, not a novel, and it’s terrific. It’s about an addict in recovery and his relationships with his girlfriend and his mentor. It’s profane, hilarious, and also sad. I loved it.

I like this challenge for the encouragement and for the satisfaction of completing a challenge one did not invent oneself.

We read quite a few books—mostly middle grade—out loud with our children, but I’m not sure if I should count those. Some are rereads, or aren’t from my personal TBR shelf. For now, I think I won’t count them.

This seemed worth posting about for anyone else in my situation. Anchors aweigh!