Sunday, January 8, 2023

2023...Reading Challenges, First Book of the Year, and my One Little Word

Boy, I thought I was running late this year, only to discover I didn't do this post last year until January 18! This is going to be the same as last year. No best of lists or anything like that. However, this year I am including my One Little Word, along with my vision board, which pretty much illustrates what I want to focus on the most this year. 

First Book of the Year - My Heart is A Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (Modeled here with Merida)
I read The Only Good Indians last year, and it was one of my favorites in 2022. Jones writes really good, subtle horror with Native American characters. He has definitely jumped into my top ten horror authors list. Chainsaw started off with a bang for sure!

My word for the year and my vision board
My sister bought me a necklace set for Christmas. It has a large pendant that says "Still I Rise" and a small, charm pendant that says "Brave." That's when it hit me. Brave. I want to be Brave to overcome the social anxiety I've developed since the pandemic, and I want to be Brave to overcome the Imposter Syndrome that is stalling my novel writing. My life word is Onward so I think Brave fits perfectly with that. 

It wouldn't be a new year without a fresh start at reading challenges. This year I'll be doing Book Challenge by Erin (which is twice a year) and The TBR Pile Challenge (10th year!), in addition to the four challenges I host. 

Challenges listed below:
Book Challenge by Erin 18.0
2023 TBR Pile Challenge
2023 I Read Horror Year-Round
1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023
2023 Book to Movie (and TV) Challenge
2023 Read Your Shelf Challenge

First up...the twice a year challenge - Book Challenge by Erin 18.0 (Facebook group)
First round of the year runs Jan - April.

Freebie - The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

Book by an Australian author -

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Book whose author goes by three names -

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

Book with "black" or "white" in the title -

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi

GoodReads award winner from any year -

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2015, Best Goodreads Debut Author)

Book set in a small town or rural area -

The Green Man by Kingsley Amis

Book with "heart" or "love" in the title -

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Book that starts with the first letter of your first name -

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Book with an unusual narrator -

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Book with a prime number under 1000 in the title -

Five Mile House by Karen Novak

This is a private Facebook group. You can check it out and join here. You can join in at any time during the four months. Second challenge of the year starts July 1st. Categories announced in June.

Read 12 books (2 alternates allowed) which have been on your shelves for at least one year.
  1. The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley (2015)

  2. The Maidens, Alex Michaelides (2021)

  3. The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson (2004)

  4. Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot (1964)

  5. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard (2015)

  6. The Orphan Witch, Paige Crutcher (2021)

  7. Dracul, Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker (2018)

  8. The Penguin Book of Witches, Katherine Howe, Editor (2014)

  9. Subhuman, Michael McBride (2005)

  10. The Green Man, Kingsley Amis (1969)

  11. The Princes in the Tower, Alison Weir (1994)

  12. The Last Duel, Eric Jager (2004)
  1. The North Water, Ian McGuire (2016)

  2. I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Iain Reid (2016)

Full details and sign-up here (Deadline: January 15)

Now on to the challenges I'm hosting...

I host this challenge at my sister (horror) blog, Castle Macabre. Year Three!
Here are the prompts and levels.
I have a couple of ideas on what I'll be reading, but not sure on all of them yet. I'm going for the Chilling level again this year. I didn't quite complete the level last year (3 or 4 books shy), but I'm going to try again.
  • Fairy Tale Retelling
  • Zombies, Witches, Vampires, or Werewolves
    Dracul, Dacre Stoker
  • Book by BIPOC author
    My Heart is a Chainsaw, Stephen Graham Jones
  • Title with Dead, Blood, or Bone
  • Something by Poe
  • Set in the past
  • Horrific cover
  • Folk horror (Ideas: or
    The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley
  • Winter theme or cover
    Snow, Ronald Malfi
  • Black, red, or white cover
  • Written by a woman
    The Twisted Ones, T. Kingfisher
  • Debut horror
    The Collector, John Fowles
Spooky: Read 6 books from 6 categories
Chilling: Read 12 Books from all 12 categories
Frightful: Read 2 books from each category for a total of 24 books
Horrifying: Read 3 books from each category for a total of 36 books

The next three challenges are hosted by me on Gather Together and Read, my reading community site.

January, February, March - in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27
The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, The Accident (The Night Trilogy #1-3)
by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (Translator)

April, May, June - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

July, August, September - in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month in September
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

October, November, December
Beloved by Toni Morrison

Reading schedule for The Night Trilogy here

My main level...
First One to the Theater - Read 4+ books (2023 releases only)
Also, additional levels...
Not Ready to Let Go: read at least one (1) book made into a movie or series in 2022
Living in the Past: read at least one (1) book made into a movie in previous years
The Movie Was Better (What?!): watch the movie(s) for the book(s) you read.

Potential books:
(Reread) The Witching Hour, Anne Rice (series, Mayfair Witches, currently streaming on AMC/AMC+)
The Pale Blue Eye, Louis Bayard (movie currently streaming on Netflix)
The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Tremblay (Knock at the Cabin, Feb 3)
(Maybe I'll actually finish it this time) Dune, Frank Herbert (Dune: Part 2, Nov 3)
The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe (tbd, 2023)
Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann (estimated May 2023)
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld (Netflix 2023 - expected)
Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie 
Kindred, Octavia E. Butler
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
The Last Duel, Eric Jager 
The Woman in the Window, A. J. Finn 
The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan 

Full details and sign-up here.

Pretend your house is a library: A strategy for actually reading the books you own. 

I know you're intrigued! Click here to read all about the new version of the Read Your Shelf Reading Challenge

My "holds shelf"...

Full details and sign-up here.

That's it! What is (was) your first book of the year? Do you have One Little Word this year? What are your reading plans? Doing any challenges, or perhaps thinking of joining one (or more) of mine? 
Whatever your plans are, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Never miss a post!

* indicates required


Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. You have a very busy reading year ahead of you! I like your goals and themes--brave is definitely a word and theme and goal worth embracing, and it looks different to each of us.Onward is another excellent word to help frame your year. Best wishes!

    1. Thank you, Jane! Wishing you the best on your reading goals for 2023.

  2. Love your word of the year and the vision board. I need something like that. I may end up joining you for the Night Trilogy read as we have all three on our shelves. I'm doing something similar working through Boxall's 1001 Books. You have a wonderful year lined up with your challenges. ~Cheers to a great new reading year!

    1. Thanks, Robin! I hope you will join us for the Night Trilogy.

  3. These are some great challenges! I'm so impressed with your organization. I'm quite tempted to read 'My Heart Is a Chainsaw.' Your word for the year is perfect. You can achieve all if you never give up!

    1. Thanks, Joel! So far, enjoying My Heart is a Chainsaw. I do love horror novels. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks, Heather! Glad you'll be joining I Read favorite challenge! lol
    Which challenge is Erin's?

- See more at:
- See more at: