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2014 Reading Challenge

Even though it is hard for me, I am challenging myself to return to reading in order to broaden my horizons of story.  I want to read things I don’t quite understand, yet am drawn to because of the beauty of their crafting.  Each week I will read an average of 100 pages.  I arrived at this number, because I had a 7th grade Reading teacher that said I should be reading 40 pages a night, but you might recall that I am a poor reader.  I also have two young children at home and I work full-time.  I figure I could read around 20 pages for 5 days of each week.  I will also try to alternate more difficult books with books that are more accessible.  I’m reading all novels except for three books by ancient Christian writers.

I have also chosen this challenge to try to understand what makes good storytelling.  As I write, mostly for comics, I find my stories circling back onto the same tired phrases and juvenile metaphors.  I am hoping by reading some good literature, I might be stretched and challenged as a storyteller.

I will be checking in here periodically to give my thoughts on what I’ve read and to keep me accountable to keep reading.  I am listing the books I am going to read this year below.  The list is not yet complete, so feel free to make suggestions.

Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories

The Sacrament of the Present Moment – Jean-Pierre De Caussade

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis

Devil in the White City – Erik Larson (whoops this one’s a true story)

The Ball and the Cross – G.K. Chesterton

Introduction to a Devout Life – St. Frances de Sales

Jean Stafford: Collected Stories

The End of the Affair – Graham Greene

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

The Tiger’s Wife – Tea Obreht

Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry

Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow

Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula le Guin

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin

Good Kings Bad Kings – Susan Nussbaum

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