It’s time to make the March recommendations for the 2016 Reading Challenge!
What is the reading challenge?
It’s a fun and simple way to read books this new year. Here are the basics of the challenge:
-You will read one book a month from a specific category (details below)
-You don’t have to read them in the order listed
-At the beginning of each month I will give you many ideas for fantastic books within that category that you just might enjoy
-Throughout the month I will post updates on my Facebook page (if you haven’t started following yet, this would be a great time!), sharing the books I’m reading within that category. You can chime in with what you are reading and get recommendations from other readers.
-At the end of the year we will celebrate our success and share our favorites from 2016 (plus have a pretty awesome giveaway…)!
So, are you in? If you’re not convinced yet, here are the categories:
2016 Reading Challenge
March: A Book Set in Another Time Period
April: A Memoir
May: A Mystery
June: A Nonfiction Book on a Topic That Interests You
July: A Book By An Author You Really Enjoy
August: Something You Should Have Read in School But Didn’t
September: A Newbery Award Winner (The Best Work of Children’s Literature for that year. HERE.)
October: Something Scary
November: A Fantasy
December: A Book Set in Another Country
You can jump in any time. Just because you’ve missed the previous months’ challenge doesn’t mean you can’t join us now!
March’s Reading Challenge: A Book Set in Another Time Period
For this month’s challenge, you can interpret the category in a few different ways:
- A nonfiction book about another time period or about a historical figure
- A work intended to be historical fiction
- A classic work of literature which is by default set in another time period
It’s your choice! Here are some books you might enjoy.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
One of my favorite book bloggers, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy, gave a rave review of Dead Wake, so I knew I had to read it. Erik Larson presents the story of the sinking of the Lusitania in such a gripping manner that it almost reads like fiction instead of the well-researched nonfiction book that it is. I am realizing more and more how woefully inadequate my understanding of history is, so I found the story fascinating. I am definitely adding other books by Larson to my library hold shelf.
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Am I the only one who absolutely loved The Astronaut Wives Club mini-series this summer? I was so excited to find out that it was based on an excellent nonfiction book. Lily Koppel tells the stories of the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts. I really enjoyed learning more about a piece of American history that I wasn’t very familiar with. I especially appreciated that it shared the lives of women and the roles that they played at that time period. Fascinating!
John Adams by David McCullough
David McCullough is one of the most prolific biographers of our time. His research is thorough, style interesting, and books delightful. I truly enjoyed learning more about our second president, as well as about the Revolutionary War and early American government. (Plus, you can watch the John Adams mini-series when you’re finished!)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrated by Death, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, an orphaned girl living with her foster parents in Nazi Germany. Her love of books helps her see the possibility of a different life, helps her connect with the Jewish man hiding in her basement, and allows her to hope. A beautifully written book about the power of books and the human spirit in the midst of darkness.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The sweeping epic of the South was an instant classic and later became one of highest-grossing films of all time. The story follows Scarlett O’Hara, a spoiled daughter of a landowner, throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction. Scarlett is one of the most compelling and well-written anti-heroines in literature–making the book a must-read.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Benedictine monk Brother William and a novice Adso arrive at a Benedictine monastery to solve a mystery. William’s logic and powers of deduction help to uncover an unexpected murderer. Set in the 14th century, the novel provides many twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing until the very end!
My Antonia by Willa Cather
My Antonia is one of my top 5 favorite books. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the Midwest, right on the edge of the prairie, but I simply fall in love with Cather’s description of the Great Plains. Set in the 1800s in a community receiving a sudden influx of immigrants, My Antonia explores the relationship between the narrator and a young immigrant girl named Antonia, as well as their relationship with the land. Through their stories, we come to see the progression of the prairie and of the country.
1984 by George Orwell
Orwell’s vision of the future is haunting, disturbing, and hard to forget. I’ll actually find myself remembering lines or scenes from the book at random times–years after reading it. That is certainly the sign of a good book.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The classic story of love, sacrifice, bravery, perfidy, and terror during the French Revolution has been on the lists of the greatest novels of all time for over a century. If you didn’t read it during high school or college, find out what all the fuss is about!
Young Adult Literature
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This dystopian novel was written a good 20 years before The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the like popularized the genre. Jonas is a twelve year old boy living in a community where everything is decided for you, including your career. Jonas finds out that he will become The Receiver of his community, the one who holds all of the memories of the past. During this process, he meets The Giver who alone has held the memories for years, and he discovers secrets that cause him to question everything he ever knew. A fantastically gripping book with three sequels.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mary Lennox, a most sour-faced and disagreeable little girl, lives in India until her parents die. Then she is shipped off to the English moors to live with her uncle in a lonely, rambling old house filled with mysteries. The contrary girl gradually softens through the influences of her maid, new friends, and a secret garden. I still love rereading this classic novel as an adult.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
I love novels in verse. There is something so poignant about a story told in poetry. Out of the Dust, the story of a girl growing up during the Great Depression, is one of the best of the genre. Short enough to read in one sitting but powerful enough to remember for a lifetime.
On My Nightstand
This month I’ll be reading these books for the challenge:
The subtitle says it all! Plus, it comes recommended by my former roommate. I’m hoping for a fun and interesting read.
I enjoyed Erik Larson’s Dead Wake so much, that I am really looking forward to reading another of his books. Isaac’s Storm is a nonfiction account of the 1900 Galveston hurricane–still the single greatest natural disaster in American history.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
My blogging friend Hannah over at Seeing the Lovely recommended this novel. Maisie Dobbs is a woman detective in the 1910s in England. It has been awhile since I read a good mystery, so I’m ready to cuddle up with this one in March!
There you have it! 15 recommendations for March’s reading challenge. Happy reading!
What book will you be reading for March’s challenge? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Leave a comment letting me know!
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