Words on a Bookshelf

If you stop by this blog often, the fact that I’m a huge bookworm certainly isn’t news. Clearly, I’m passionate about the written word!

Since I started this blog in the spring of 2012, I’ve set annual Reading Challenges for myself. My goal: to break out of the bad habits I had picked up once I was out of school and not accountable to anyone for what I was reading.

There was way too much junk food in my literary diet (translation: I was reading a lot of romance, YA novels, and magazines) and I was starting to feel out of shape (translation: I would have been embarrassed if someone I knew caught me reading this stuff at Starbucks).

Last year, I met my goal of reading 13 novels in 2013 … but only just. (You can read about what happened here.) This year, I’m wondering if a little more structure might turn out to be the secret to my success, so I’m trying something different. This year I’m launching:

The Not-Just-Jane Project

My love of Jane Austen is well-documented around here, but it’s a bit one-sided. I re-read my beloved “Pride and Prejudice” every year, but I’ve never even cracked the spine on “Northanger Abbey”. And everything I know about “Emma” I learned from the movie “Clueless”. And, well, you get the idea. Tackling all six of Austen’s novels in 2014 felt like a good place to start this year’s challenge – but where to end it?

One cannot live on manners and matchmaking alone, after all; particularly if one is as plugged in to WordPress and Facebook and everything else on her laptop as a particular pocket-sized blogger may be. So I’m pairing each of Austen’s novels with a modern re-telling of the same story or theme, and aiming to finish all 12 books by the end of the year.

Here are the pairings I’ve picked out so far:

“Emma” and “Jane Fairfax” by Joan Aiken

“Sense & Sensibility” and “Sense & Sensibility”  by Joanna Trollope

“Persuasion” and “For Darkness Shows the Stars” by Diana Peterfreund

“Northanger Abbey” and ???

“Pride & Prejudice” and ???

If you have any suggestions for those last two match ups, please let me know! I fear finding a partner for “Northanger Abbey” will haunt me for quite some time. (See what I did there?)

And remember, just because reading is a solo activity doesn’t mean I have to do this alone! You’re more than welcome to join me if you’d like – pull up a chair and let’s get reading!

How many books is too many books? Check out the Comments section of this post to join our chat and  get some great reading recommendations of your own!



love amb

36 thoughts on “Words on a Bookshelf

  1. Pingback: Introducing The 13 in ’13 Reading Challenge! « words become superfluous

  2. I think this is such a great idea and I wish I had the discipline to stick to a challenge like this! Currently I have about 4 books on the go…and so many in line after that! Hahaha! I’ll get through them…I just have to tell myself that when I have some free time I should grab my book instead of just reading before bed.

    Anyways, one of my all time favorite books (by my favorite author) is ‘Whitethorn’ by Bryce Courtenay. If you have ever heard of the book/movie ‘Power of One’ he is the author. I think he is an absolutely brilliant story teller! He mixes fiction with historic fact and pulls me in every single time. I would highly recommend Whitethorn…it is such a fantastic book and a beautiful story of how good can conquer evil. The only con for it to be in your challenge is: It’s quite long.

    I also highly recommend ‘Jessica’ by Bryce Courtenay. This book is actually based on a true story and is one of the most courageous and heart wrenching stories I have ever read!
    So there are my recommendations! I can’t wait to see your list and read some for myself!

    • Hahaha, it’s easy for me to have discipline right now, when it’s cold and dark outside and curling up on the couch with a book and a mug of tea is my idea of a perfect Saturday! We’ll see how I fare in a few months, when the weather gets warmer.

      To that end … now might be the perfect time to try your recommendation, before I have sunshine to distract me! I think I’ve heard of “Power of One” before – is it set in South Africa? And something to do with … running? Or racing? It definitely rings a bell! Anyway, if Bryce Courtenay is your favourite author, that’s enough of an endorsement for me 🙂 I’ll be keeping an eye out for his stuff on my next trip to the library.

      Thank you so much for the recommendations, my lovely! This is going to be so much more fun with you on board! xo.

  3. Pingback: Book One in the 13 in ’13 Challenge: The Night Circus « words become superfluous

    • Not officially … I have a couple of titles in mind, and I’m just sort of picking the rest up as I go, based on recommendations and reviews or articles I might see while I’m out in the world 🙂

      • By all means! I know we’ve talked about this one before, and I should have at least one non-fiction book on my list, so this is great!

      • i do prefer non-fiction simply because i find there is more i can relate to. i’ve often gotten bored with fiction books because i’m not captured by the story or the writing. hopefully i’ll be able to check out some of the ones i like, from your reviews!

      • That’s such a good point! It can be really difficult to get through a book if you can’t relate to the story. Even sci-fi and fantasy needs to be grounded in some aspect of reality, I think. Non-fiction definitely does that!

  4. add black swan! my mom is killing herself trying to get through it. which means it’s a book with lots of information. i’m waiting to get that book back… *sigh*

      • the book is a philisophical book that examines the “black swan theory”. basically the the consequences of rare and extreme occurances. not as much “fun” but perhaps something to get the old noodle going.

  5. Super duper idea Amby, and I love the blog. I’m a big Christopher Moore fan, reading his new “Sacre Blue” right now. He does history, satire and strange twists on common stories or fables. If you’re up for a little blasphemy, I’d check out “Lamb”…the alternate telling of the store of Jesus Christ by his best friend Biff. Since we share a similar sense of humour, I think you might enjoy it!

    • Why thank you. I’m excited that you stopped by!

      And thanks for the book suggestion! I haven’t got any humour writing on my list yet, and I really should! I will check out “Lamb” for sure – if you think it’s funny, that’s good enough for me 😀

      • LOL! Even though the spelling of your name is pretty stealthy, I’d recognize that grin anywhere! Knew it was you ehcee, and am excited to see you here!

      • Harumph…not sure why I thought for a moment that I could pull any wool over your eyes, oh-so-very-bright-one. Enjoying your corner of cyberspace!

      • LOL, yes, because when people think of me, “super observant and not off in her own world at all” is so definitely the phrase that comes to mind … 🙂

  6. That’s a great idea!! Because of Goodreads (social network of readers/book lovers/authors), I started joining the “Reading Challenge” every year. My 2013 goal is 24 books 🙂

    • 24!! Oh my goodness, that’s so impressive. And here I thought I was being ambitious 🙂 Do you stick with a particular genre or author or do you mix it up?

      • I enjoy fiction (fantasy and science fiction), so I usually stick with those. Sometimes I mix it up with historical novels or non-fiction about productivity, organization and science. My “to-read” is always growing!

      • Awesome! I tend to read mostly fiction as well, but am trying to branch out a bit. You mentioned productivity and organization – are you a fan of Malcolm Gladwell? I’m thinking of adding “What the Dog Saw” to my list, since I haven’t done a collection of short stories/essays yet.

  7. Pingback: In Case of Emergency, Click Here. | words become superfluous

  8. Amazing blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on
    everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

    • Well thank you so much! I’m glad you like it here, quiver.

      I don’t know if it’s a recommendation so much as sharing what I’ve found to be helpful … if you want to be a writer, write. Build a schedule that works for you and stick with it. I find I’m very comfortable with Mon-Fri posts, but really, it’s whatever works for you. I think the important thing is to flex your word muscles on a regular basis! 🙂

      As for wordpress, I’m very happy here, but it’s up to you and the level of technical support you’re looking for.

      Good luck!

  9. Pingback: How to Count to Thirteen | words become superfluous

  10. Pingback: The Not Just Jane Project Update: Book 2. Err, 3. Sort of. | words become superfluous

  11. Pingback: The Superfluous Olympic Closing Ceremonies | words become superfluous

  12. Pingback: The Not Just Jane Project: Match Up Number One | words become superfluous

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