#BigBookSummer Reading Challenge

It’s been a while since I posted anything other than a Weekend Coffee Share post, but there was a summer book challenge that caught my eye and I decided I want to give it a go.

Even though it may be adding just a little more onto an already full plate there are a few reasons I’ve decided to undertake this challenge. First, though, I invite you to join me in the task. Check out the original post by Book by Book. The “rules” are pretty basic: Read a book that is over 400 pages long over the summer, which is being defined as between Memorial Day and Labor Day (so, between this past weekend and the weekend of September 7th, for those of you who aren’t in the United States). You can sign up to participate in the challenge over on Book by Book (or in the Goodreads group), and at the end of the summer there will be a drawing for a prize! I hope you’ll join us!

Now, the reasons I decided to participate. It feels strange to admit it, but I haven’t read a book (other than for school) for a long time. I listened to a lot of audio books over the past year, but even that has ground to a near halt since March (when I stopped going out to work, or much anything else). This seems like a good little push to get reading a physical book.

While I’m at it, I thought I’d put a little effort in trying to accomplish my Classics Club challenge, which has been long neglected. So the criteria for picking my book has gotten some definition:

  1. It must be over 400 pages.
  2. Only books on my Classics Club reading challenge list are eligible.
  3. I can only pick from the books I already own.
  4. The book must be a physical copy (no ebooks for this one, I am spending SO MUCH time on screens as it is these days. Besides, thanks to quarantine, I don’t have to worry about hauling a heavy book around with me everywhere I go in order to read it!).

This gives me five books to pick from: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I am a Cat, Les Miserables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and Little Woman. It would be a re-read of Les Miserables (though it was over 20 years ago that I read it originally), and Little Woman. If I finish one, I’ll move onto another one, but my goal is to read at least one.

But, I can’t quite decide which I want to read. So I figured I’d put it to a vote!

Should I read:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (483 pages)

I am a Cat, by Soseki Natsume, Translated by Aiko Ito and Gaeme Wilson (470 pages)

Les Miserable, by Victor Hugo, Translated by Norman Denny (1232 pages – I know, I could practically read three of the other books and get the same page count as this)

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo, Translated by Catherine Liu (463 pages)

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (561 pages)

Help me pick which of these books I should start to read first!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments – I’m going to make a decision by this weekend!


8 thoughts on “#BigBookSummer Reading Challenge

  1. That’s quite a selection from which to choose! I read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn this school year and I enjoyed it. I have read all of them except I Am a Cat, but my vote goes for Little Women. I’d enjoy reading it, the Victor Hugo books are sad and a bit dense (to me), I’m allergic to cats, and Little Women has follow-ups, which means the book keeps on giving. My suggestion is really for myself, not you! Sounds like fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would read I am a Cat, just because I like the title and haven’t read it yet.

      If I had to suggest a read on the other hand, my vote would definitely go to “Little Women”.

      Not sure how helpful this is and hope you enjoy whichever you choose.


      PS: same conundrum on my big book reads, any suggestions welcome!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve read ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ twice– once when I was probably too young to understand a lot of what was going on, and later, when I was old enough to be kind-of mortified by some of what was going on. Usually, I would recommend ‘Little Women’ but you’ve read that one so it seems like cheating (to me), but I think ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ would be interesting for you to compare the experiences of the young women across the books.

    Personally, I tend to be leery of reading anything in translation– not that I can read in French or Japanese, but I am always worried that I’m missing some kind of nuance because the translator has a bias…


  3. Lots of good choices! I’ve been thinking about rereading Little Women myself, so I vote for that! Though A Tree Grows in Brooklyn would be great, too, since you haven’t read that before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Probably too late but I vote for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — it’s just wonderful and it’s a very easy read so you could probably squeeze in another as well! I actually just finished Les Miserables in April, it took about 9 or 10 weeks because I was reading other books as well, and I did some on audio. And it was definitely too hard to schlep around! I’m also trying to read some of the long books from my TBR shelves, it’s so much easier with print not to have to carry them everywhere, plus they get all battered. When I was working at the library I’d usually try to check out an extra print copy so I could have one at work and I wouldn’t have to carry them back and forth (and sometimes an audio or digital copy if I could find it!). Good luck with your big book challenge!


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