The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A 52 Book Challenge

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

On New Year's, I made it my personal resolution to read a book a week for the duration of 2010. A 52 book revolution. One day, I felt like I could complete this task without a problem; the next, I felt as though all I did was sit on the couch and read.

So the weeks went by, and book after book was read. At one point I gave up, and then, during a stretch where life around me seemed to stop, I read something like a book every two or three days, and got caught up. I took a speed reading class. Read some more. And finally, I started this blog as a way to get all of that information out of my head and onto the paper.

But once I started blogging, my little "52 Book Challenge" turned into a new passion. I wanted to share my take on these books with the world. I wanted to review works of independent authors. And slowly, over the course of a few months, I've been able to lay the foundation for what I hope to one day be a blog read by tens of thousands of people, rather than hundreds.

I'm not sure what direction to take this blog in. I would love to have some more author involvement. So far I've only had one author interview (with another on the way), and it was such a wonderful experience, I'd really like to interview others. And I'd like to extend my interview circle to include literary agents, editors, publishers, screen writers—even musicians with wonderful lyrics. (Remember, if you are anyone of these things, you can always contact me!)

As far as books go, I think my rule of thumb is going to be "new, indie, or obscure." Because, frankly, if I review a big release book that hit the shelves in 2000, chances are, you've already read it.

And then there are all the little things—my random articles, mini-reviews, music, polls and giveaways. I guess what I'm really asking here, is what do all of you readers want to see? I know that certain pages get more views than others—I know on which days my readership spikes. But those elements are both so technical. What do you, my flesh and blood reader, want to read? Or more precisely, what do you want me to read?

In a way, this post is a call to action. And in way, I guess I just wanted to share with you the thoughts which have been heavy on my mind. Either way, I would love to hear—no, I need to hear—what my readers want from this blog, and what they think should be changed or improved.

And, just for kicks, here's the list of books I've read so far this year:

1. Who is Mark Twain? - Mark Twain
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
3. On Writing - Stephen King
4. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Katherine Howe
5. The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
6. Captain Alatriste - Arturo Perez-Reverte (English translation)
7. The Angel Maker - Stefan Brijs (English translation)
8. Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present - Cory Doctorow
9. John Dies at the End - David Wong
10. Switching Time - Richard Baer
11. Sweeney Todd - Robert Mack
12. A Woman of No Importance - Oscar Wilde
13. Lady Windermere's Fan - Oscar Wilde
14. Little Book of Pandemics - Peter Moore
15. The Art of the Hunchback of Notre Dame
16. Lost Boys - Orson Scott Card
17. Xenocide - Orson Scott Card
18. Children of the Mind - Orson Scott Card
19. Solitaire - Kelley Eskeridge
20. Repo Men - Eric Garcia
21. Starstruck: When a Fan gets Close to Fame – Michael Joseph Gross
22. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
23. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
24. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
25. Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
26. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse – Edited by John Joseph Adams
27. The Fruit of the Fallen – J. C. Burnham
28. The Blindspot – Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore
29. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
30. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
31. Finding Emmaus – Pamela S. K. Glasner
32. Pirate Latitudes – Michael Crichton
33. The Singer – Calvin Miller
34. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
35. Next – Michael Crichton
36. Fortuna – Michael R. Stevens
37. The Handmaid's Tale – Margaret Atwood
38. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
39. The Know it All - A. J. Jacobs
40. The Angels are the Reapers – Alden Bell

You may wonder why not all of my review books are on this list. It basically has to do with some certain 'rules' I set for myself, and for those books, for whatever reason, I didn't abide by those rules. :p

Don't you wish I had started this blog earlier in the year? I do! I would have so much more material on here already.

Thanks for reading.

-J. P.


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