Saturday, September 17, 2016

13 Ways of Looking at The Lifetime Reading Plan #13WLRP

(Challenge is no longer public. You can still participate if you like, 
or if you are already, if you want to make it a personal challenge, as I did.)

This list is not a “Hundred Greatest,” Jane Smiley is quick to stipulate, “only a list of individual novels that would illuminate the whole concept of the novel.” 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classic Guide to World Literature 
Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major
"An Invitation to the Greatest Writers of World Literature"

I have always been interested in expanding my horizons as a reader. I'm not the only one. With challenges like Read the Nobels and The Classics Club, many of us who are passionate about reading seek to read the greats, and sometimes to read above and beyond our comfort level.

I had recently been reading from two books: 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley and The New Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major. As I was looking at the lists in both books, I thought that these lists would make for an awesome reading challenge to do just what I described above...broaden our reading horizons. And so, 13 Ways of Looking at The Lifetime Reading Plan was born!

This is a perpetual challenge, meaning there is no set ending or goal. You read at your own pace. It's really about challenging ourselves to read perhaps beyond our comfort zone, and to read books that are considered "great" or, as Jane Smiley said, books "that would illuminate the whole concept of the novel." Also, many of the titles on the lists will easily crossover with other reading challenges!

To make things a bit more challenging (just so the challenge doesn't languish, as many perpetual challenges do), I'm going to follow the lead of Read the Nobels and host a yearly challenge inside this challenge where you commit to reading a set amount of books from the lists in a year. That will kick off on January 1, 2017.

In addition, I will host read-alongs of books from the list periodically. I want to make this site about community and I think read-alongs are an excellent way to foster community.

The full lists are located in the sidebar menu - 13 Ways Challenge - List 1 and List 2. I've included links to Google docs where you can download the lists or print out, whichever is easiest. There will also be a page with a review linky where you can share your reviews, if you choose to.

Our social media hashtag is #13WLRP

I hope I've covered everything. Leave me a comment or click the contact me button in the sidebar if you have any questions. Stay tuned for the official announcement of the tie-in yearly challenge.

I'm excited! I hope you will join me. Sign up below (please link to an actual post about the challenge, not just your main blog url...if you don't mind helping me spread the word. Thanks!).

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  1. This sounds interesting! Especially the challenges within the challenge and the read-alongs from the list. But why are there 2 lists?

    1. Risa,

      The first list is from Jame Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. The second list is from The Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major. The name of the challenge is a play on both book titles and the challenge encompasses both lists. There will be some duplicates, of course, as Smiley and the authors of The Life Time Reading Plan seem to agree on certain books that belong on the lists and should be read.

      I hope you will join us! Let me know if you have any other questions, or if I need to clarify further. :-)

  2. Ah! I see. It sounds like it would be fun. I'd love to but I don't know that I can commit to the list. Is it okay if I just follow and keep tabs, and join in for a read-along whenever I can?


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