I love me a reading challenge. I rarely finish them but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy trying. And sometimes they do help motivate me.
I’m borrowing this challenge from the Captain at The Captain’s Quarters. I’m using it to help me catch up on books and authors I should have already read a very, very long time ago. I listed the number of ratings each book has on GoodReads after the title and author. I thought it would be fun to see how many others have read them before me. Spoiler: Eight of them have more than 100,000 ratings, and all but one have more than 10,000 ratings.
These are books that seem destined (or maybe already are) considered to be classics of the genre. Books that for some reason or other I keep putting off. Maybe the blurb doesn’t speak to me the way I want it to or I already attempted them multiple times (I’m looking at you The Name of the Wind) and just never finished, but didn’t dislike enough to officially DNF.
11/22/63 by Stephen King : 386,635 – This is the oldest book on my TBR. I own it. It was one of the first I added to GoodReads back in 2015. I think it’s the time travel that’s putting me off. I realized a couple years ago time travel and all it’s wonderfully mind bending paradoxes sort of puts me off.
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss : 642,245 – I’ve started listening to this multiple times. I even made it like halfway through on a road trip to Ohio once. It’s just so long. Also- I’m putting it back on Rothfuss since there’s no third book in sight.
Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski : 62,301 – I was reading these before the show was a thing. Right after I sank like 500 hours into the very wonderful Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game. I don’t know why I keep putting it off. I was excited for this too since it’s the first full length novel set in the Witcherverse.
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson : 83,654 – This one is just intimidating because of it’s length. And the fact that it’s hard science fiction. Which always goes over my head.
All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells : 45,161 – There’s a lot of Murderbot love circulating out there. But I heard that Murderbot likes to watch TV (who doesn’t?) and I became a little concerned it wasn’t going to be what I wanted it to be. My expectations have been reset, which is a good thing, but also caused me to drag my feet in picking it up.
The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1) by Bernard Cornwell : 34,056 – I don’t even have a good reason for not having read this one. Favorite author. Favorite subject. Good reviews. It was actually pretty hard to find (I wanted to purchase it and no bookstore ever seemed to have it). I did finally track down a copy, I just need to make the time.
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey : 142,112 – Why are there so many books in this series? The thought of reading all nine is a little daunting, but I know this is well loved by several readers I trust. And hey- maybe by the time I finish the series will be complete.
Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson : 82,296 – I’ve heard this book comes with a steep learning curve, which is why I’ve put it off for so long. But now that I’m thinking of it, the same could be and has been said of two of my other favorites: Too Like the Lightning and Ninefox Gambit. So who knows. Maybe it’ll be a surprise favorite.
The Shining and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King : 1,027,773 & 165,444 – I wanted to read both before seeing the new Doctor Sleep movie (and maybe The Shining). I’ve started The Shining at least twice that I remember. It’s just so darn slow. But it’s hard to feel like a real Stephen King fan when I haven’t read it. So. 2020 will be the year.
Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky : 43,448 – I started this during a bad reading slump and just never finished. Not because it wasn’t good, I got further with this than I did any other book during that reading slump. But somehow it’s always harder to go back to something you’ve started previously. Anyway- this book gets lots of love in my virtual book club so it’s becoming a priority.
Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1) by Margaret Atwood : 207,217 – Here’s a super shameful secret. I’ve never read a single thing Margaret Atwood. A lot of it has to do with her attitude toward genre fiction and her insistence that she doesn’t write it. It just feels really disrespectful to her readers, not to mention seriously out of touch. Anyway- I don’t have much interest in The Handmaid’s Tale though I would like to check it out someday so I’m going with this one.
Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne : 13,583 – After coming to the sad conclusion the Abercrombie is not quite what I’m looking for, I’m hoping Gwynne will fill the void.
Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder #1) by Brian McClellan : 9,573 – Military Fantasy. I realize it’s not something that everyone gets excited about, but when the action scenes are written well I think it’s probably one of my favorite subgenres. I have high hopes for this.
Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb : 212,259 – She has written so much that I think I really just didn’t know where to start with Hobb. This might not be the best place, but I already own it, so…
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson : 255,777 – I’ve never read Sanderson. And honestly just the blurb has me cringing away in fear. But it has all these awards and a super high rating and like everyone has read it except me… So I’m obligated, right?
Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan : 66,267 – Ryan has been on my radar a long time. I finally read something by him last year, A Pilgrimage of Swords. It was a quick novella and not necessarily one of my favorites, but it was because I wanted more of what I’d read. Hoping this scratches that itch.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin : 46,482 – This series isn’t nearly as popular as Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, but I tried The Fifth Season and it just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to. I think the abused children sucked a lot of the joy out of it for me. But I do like her style and I think this one might be more my speed.
The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) by John Scalzi : 30,774 – Nope. Haven’t read Scalzi either. This is likely to be a group read for February, so I might as well read him in a group setting and see what all the fuss is about.
The Word for World is Forest (Hainish Cycle #5) by Ursula K. Le Guin : 14,121 – I actually have read Le Guin before. I wasn’t a huge fan of A Wizard of Earthsea – but it was a middle grade book and I don’t have a great history with YA or children’s books anyway, so I’m willing to give her another shot. Especially knowing how well loved she is. I picked this one to continue with because I love a good forest setting.
And there it is! My 20 in ’20. I’m really excited for some of these and feeling pretty hesitant on others, but either way, I hope to be more educated in my two favorite genres come 2021. Many thanks again to the Captain for letting me tag along with my own Ports for Plunder.
Have you read any of these? Are there any super popular books out there you haven’t read yet?