Saturday, January 6, 2024

2024...Reading Challenges, First Book of the Year, and my One Little Word

Another new year! My, but how time flies. Time for a new year of plans and reading. I fell only five books shy of my goal of 50 books last year so I have set this year's goal for 50 again. Hopefully, I will reach it, or perhaps even surpass it. You can read about my 2023 reading year here.

First Book of the Year - They Lurk by Ronald Malfi
If you know me, then you will know that Malfi is one of my favorite horror authors. I'm already over halfway finished with it (I started on January 2) and it is a 'cannot put down' for sure.

My word for the year and my vision board
Last year, my word was Brave and let me tell you, I had to be just that. I experienced empty nest syndrome in a major way. I know many parents can relate. I had a very hard time and it still hits home even now. I wrote an essay as a kind of catharsis (read it here), but still struggled. I'm a dweller and an overthinker. I tend to grab hold of things I can't change, and mull them over again and again. Therapy helps, but I want to learn to work things through myself too. I decided my word for 2024 is Release. Learning to let go of things I can't change and move on. It will be hard, but I know I can do it.

My main goal for 2024, and for my life in general, is to make writing my top priority. With my boys no longer at home, and no significant other to deal with (😂), I have a lot of time to devote to doing just that (besides working, that is). 

The new year for me always comes with a fresh start at reading challenges. This year I'll once again be doing Book Challenge by Erin (which is twice a year), in addition to the four challenges I host. 

Challenges listed below:
Book Challenge by Erin 20.0
2024 I Read Horror Year-Round
1000 Books Project 2024: Collins/Dickens
2024 Book to Movie (and TV) Challenge
2024 Read Your Shelf Challenge

First up...the twice a year challenge - Book Challenge by Erin 20.0 (Facebook group)
First round of the year runs Jan - April.

Freebie - The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Book that was made into a movie - I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Book by a favorite author (not a reread) - They Lurk by Ronald Malfi

Book originally published over 100 years ago - The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Book with winter in the title - A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons

Book of short stories - Out There Screaming - Jordan Peele, Editor

Animal on the cover - Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Picture of a Building (House) - The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

Name of a character in its title - The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Set in your state (Michigan) - Inspection by Josh Malerman

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.

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

I host this challenge at my sister (horror) blog, Castle Macabre. This is year four!

I have some 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...only three books I'm going to try again.

Here are the prompts and levels...
  • Witch, dark, blood, bone, or body in title
  • Nature gone wild (when plants or animals attack)
  • Creepy character/object (House, doll, child, etc.)
  • Holiday horror (Christmas, yule, etc.)
  • Short story anthology or collection
    Out There Screaming, Jordan Peele, editor
  • Takes place during Halloween season
  • Winter theme, or winter on cover
    A Winter Haunting, Dan Simmons
  • A book that is also a movie
  • By BIPOC author
    Lone Women, Victor LaValle
  • Classic horror novel
  • Dark Academia novel (here's a list on Goodreads)
    Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo
  • Gothic novel
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

Full details and sign up here.

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

Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone - January through April 
In honor of his birthday on January 8.
We have already started reading. The reading schedule is posted here.

Charles Dickens' The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby - June through September
In honor of his friendship with Collins.

Full details and sign-up here.

My main level...
The Enthusiast: read 1-3 books
Also, additional levels...
Not Ready to Let Go: read at least one (1) book made into a movie or series in 2023
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:
The Watchers, A.M. Shine
Wicked, Gregory Maguire
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
The Witching Hour, Anne Rice (reread)
The Pale Blue Eye, Louis Bayard
The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Tremblay
Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann
Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

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

My "holds shelf" (which has grown exponentially since last year)...

My full list of books on my holds shelf will be listed on my 2024 Reading Challenges page located in the blog menu above.

Finally, last year I started sort of an independent project called Backlist Challenge. I'm keeping track on a separate page which you can see up in the blog menu. As always, there are also links in the menu to my long term challenges like the Classics Club, etc.

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 of peace and prosperity, and great reading of course!

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