Reading Challenge

reading challenge


I wrote recently about how a good author needs to be a good reader. I read daily and have done for as long as I can remember, however I have been known to become focussed on books from particular genres. Since starting Pay It Forward – where I support indie authors and those from small presses by buying their books and recommending those I enjoy – I’ve found I’ve enjoyed books written in genres I previously wouldn’t have touched.

Now I want to take my reading to the next stage, with your help.

On today’s calmgrove blog there was an update on a reading challenge he started at the beginning of the year. The aim of the challenge is expand your reading habits by ticking off each of the 52 items on a list (shown above). I think it’s a great idea, so I plan to do the same, but combine this with Pay It Forward by selecting only indie published books or those published via a small press. Looking through the four books I’ve read this year I can already tick off 10 items, but that still leaves me with 42 items to cover.

This is where you come in.

I would love you to tell me ONE indie or small press books you’ve read and loved, that could help me tick off items from the list. It could be from any genre and by any author, but you have to have read the book and loved it yourself. The only other rule is that you can’t nominate your own book or one with which you have any commercial link. This is all about paying something back to the indie community.

I can’t promise I’ll read every suggestion but I will look at them all and if I think they fit the challenge and cover an area that hasn’t been covered, I’ll buy it and read it. I will even review and recommend those I’ve enjoyed under my recommended reads. If I don’t enjoy a book for whatever reason, the author will still have had my money and the sales uptick from my purchase.

So, it’s over to you. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions.

If you’re also thinking of doing a reading challenge, why not get a head start by joining my mailing list and get one of my books absolutely free? The mailing list is guaranteed spam free and I will only contact you if I have a new book launch or an exclusive short story to share. To sign up, please click here. 


27 thoughts on “Reading Challenge

  1. What a wonderful idea. I’ve read lots of indies–in fact, my blog post for Monday includes a list of my most recent ones (including your second book which I’ve recently started 🙂 ). Of course, as always happens to me, when put on the spot, I can’t come up with a quick answer, so I’ll take the easy route. I know you’ve read plenty of books by female authors, but Maddie Cochere is an indie author with two series under her belt–one is more chick lit, the other is humorous mysteries. I’ve read books from both of her series, but I particularly love her humorous mysteries series, the first book of which is “Murder Under Construction (Two Sisters and a Journalist).” Maddie has a knack for story-telling and knowing just what elements to include. “Murder Under Construction” reminds me of Janet Evanovich’s style, and though I don’t tend to read that genre, I branch out for indies, and I’m so glad I did with this one. Witty and well-written, it’s well worth the read. And it has less of a ‘chick-lit’ vibe than her other series so it should appeal to men, too.

    Of course, there are many other wonderful indie books I’ve read by women authors. For example, S. K. Nicholls has a great book called ‘Red, Clay, and Roses’ (hey, that covers the ‘color in the title’ one!). But I thought perhaps Maddie was outside your blogging circle, so I thought I’d mention her.

    Great idea, Dylan!

    • Thanks, Carrie, for both your suggestions (and for having the good taste to be reading Absent Souls). Yes, I’ve not heard of Maddie’s books but I’ll add them to the list 🙂

  2. I read predominately indie and am using the reading challenge for mostly indie books as well. I have so many I could recommend, but if you haven’t read Saga of Menyoral-Hard Luck by MA Ray, then I highly suggest that one. It’s fantasy.

  3. I don’t know if one of my choices is from an independent publisher, so I’m listing two;

    Check out ‘The Mad and The Bad’ by Jean-Patrick Manchette. The publisher is New York Review Books. It’s a thriller translated from French, it’s a short book, so you might be able to read it in a day. It’s a fast paced thriller, similar to French crime films from the 70’s, it would make a good screenplay!

    Also ‘CivilWar Land in Bad Decline’ by George Saunders. Not sure who publishes this one. It is set in the future, a collection of linked short stories, it’s the author’s first book, and as long as ‘animal-human mutants or hybrids’ would be allowed under the ‘non-human characters’ it would qualify for that too. It’s also very disturbing, so I suppose you could say that it ‘scared me’ too.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Peter. I’ll put them on the list to check out. They both sound interesting, so even if they don’t qualify for this challenge, I’ll still put them on my TBR list (as I’m not anti- traditionally published authors in any way).

  4. Three indie-published books I’ve enjoyed and reviewed recently are:
    Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard (mystery/thriller)
    The Bitter Trade by Piers Alexander (historical)
    Both are first novels, both are well written, and both are cracking good reads.
    I haven’t posted a review yet, but another good read is:
    Keep Away from Those Ferraris by Pat Fitzpatrick (satire, among other things).
    I know that’s three and you asked for one, but they all are worth reading. Honest!

  5. Reblogged this on graemecummingdotnet and commented:
    I had come across this idea before, but not really taken it too seriously – probably because I wasn’t mentally in the right place for it. But considering Dylan’s post and with his emphasis on supporting Indie authors, I now plan to follow it up. Thanks, Dylan, for getting the timing right – and if any of my readers have suggestions for either of us (maybe I should re-phrase that) please let us know.

  6. Awesome idea! And well done for focusing on indie books.

    One that made me cry – a lot! ‘See You’ by Dawn Lee McKenna. Described as a love story rather than a romance, it’s set in the south, and is beautifully written. A truly fine book.

  7. Here’s one for you, Dylan, probably available on Kindle: Steve Lindstrom’s *The Last Ram* (North Star Press, 2013). Set in the Badlands (“another country”, “somewhere you’ve wanted to visit”) in 1903, it shows the evolving friendship (and conflict) between two boys, one white and the other Native American.Whatever you choose, happy reading!

      • I think there may be one of two items where I’ll have to go for a traditionally published book (a Pulitzer prize winning book, a book my mom loves) but I’ll probably cope with the rest. This isn;t to say I’m anti- traditionally published books. Far from it. But for me it makes the challenge a little more interesting.

  8. Pingback: Caving in to peer pressure … | Lizzie Ross
  9. Pingback: Recommended Reads: On Hearing Of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened by Lori Schafer | Suffolk Scribblings

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