Reading Challenge: January Roll Call

2016 Reading Challenge

The first month of our reading challenge is coming to a close!

I was so encouraged by the response to this reading challenge. I thought it’d be me and one other person! I’m really excited to hear your thoughts. I’m sure there will be some interesting discussions since several of you picked the same classic. By the end of the month, please tell us your pick and share general thoughts and/or an interesting quote.

I also want to remind everyone that there’s nothing legalistic about this challenge. I’m simply providing guidelines and inspiration. What if you didn’t finish your book? Please chime in anyway! What stopped you from finishing? Then jump back in next month.

I’ll go first…


My Pick: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

My Thoughts: I loved it! I was immediately drawn into Jane’s world and her story. I found myself reading past my bedtime on several occasions. Of course, there’s always a bit of an adjustment to the language and phrasing when you’re reading a book written almost 200 years ago in another country. But that’s also the thing that amazed me: I was reading something that someone wrote over 200 years ago! And it was still relevant and interesting!

Jane Eyre is an orphan, left in a home where she’s not wanted. After basically being shunned, she’s sent off to a hard-knock-life orphanage where she manages to survive and thrive. Then, wanting to experience more, she becomes a governess for a child, where she also meets her love interest, Mr. Rochester. The rest, I think, can be summed up by this: Oh, the tangled web we weave. I will leave it at that to not give away too much info. I loved Jane Eyre and her resiliency and sound judgment. I was not crazy for Mr. Rochester. In fact, I thought he was a bit creepy. Apparently, I’m not alone in this thought. But, I wanted Jane to be happy, whatever that looked like for her.

Favorite Quote: It was hard for me to narrow this down since I found myself marking several passages in this book. There were many nuggets of wisdom or interesting descriptions or notes on human nature. Here are a couple of examples:

Externals have a great effect on the young. I thought that a fairer era of life was beginning for me, one that was to have its flowers and pleasures, as well as its thorns and toils.

Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition.

I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trod the same old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre. – Mr. Rochester

 Simply genius!

Now it’s your turn! What did you read? What did you think? Was this category hard or easy for you?



16 thoughts on “Reading Challenge: January Roll Call

  1. Hi Ginger! I read a classic for my book club, so I thought I would jump in on this month’s challenge. It is similar to your challenge but uses a bingo card format. For the square “A Book More Than 50 Years Old” I read the original Grimm’s Fairytales by Jacob and Wilheim Grimm. Below is the review I posted there. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

    I’ve owned a beautiful hard cover edition from 1944 (originally published in 1857 with some individual tales as early as 1812) of this collection for decades, but I’ve never fully read it. When I saw it was available for free from amazon as a kindle download, I decided to fill my classic book slot with it. Originally translated from German, these fairy tales are gory cautionary tales often requiring quick thinking, problem solving, and bravery as plot devices. There’s some not so great stuff too – i.e. bad people are always ugly while good people are always attractive – but each makes you think, adults and children alike. These are not the Disney-fied, everyone lives happily ever after versions of stories such as Cinderella, Snow White, or Red Riding Hood. Mostly, these appeal to the part of me that enjoys a good horror movie. It should be noted that while this collection contains 10 children’s legends, the primary 200 fairy tales were not originally intended for children.


  2. I felt the same way about Mr Rochester. I thought that what St John wanted was much closer to what her life’s dream had always been, to make a difference in the world and with children. But I did love the book, for me it was more about Jane’s journey rather than my own personal crush. ;). Though, I did write a blog post a few years ago ranting about it, lol, I’ll link it.

    I am 75% of the way through The Grapes of Wrath. I didn’t get to pick it up until about a week ago so I got started late. I am usually a fast reader but I haven’t been finding much time to sit down as of late. I’ve been only reading in bed and found myself awake until the wee hours just about every night. I’m confident that I will be finished in time for next months challenge. I’ll update you then 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just finished Joseph Conrad’s _Heart of Darkness_.

    Though the language was beautiful, I struggled through the first half. By the second half, I was hooked. Very dark, but very beautiful.


  4. Glad to hear you liked Jane Eyre! I read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and wasn’t a fan. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorites, so I was disappointed that I couldn’t get into this one. I thought PIp was a spoiled brat once he got his “expectations” and Estella was a terrible love interest. Maybe I’m being too harsh haha. Anyone else have a different experience??


    • I enjoyed it when I read it in high school but my opinion might be different now. Yes, Estella was awful and I mostly felt bad for Pip. And Miss Havisham? Where to start?! I thought she was an interesting character, in the weirdest possible way! Have you watched the movie?


  5. I read Pride and Prejudice… I loved it! It took a while to get over the long winded details, but once I got into the groove, I started to fall in love with it all. Having seen the movie it helped with visuals… But there was so much more in the book. Mr. Darcy is why better looking by the books description than the movie gives him justice. Hahaha… I’d recommend it to anyone!


  6. I finished Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. Both great reads that I may have never gotten to if it wasn’t for this challenge, so thank you. The warnings of both books are still very much applicable today, I highly recommend them.
    Be warned though, both books were dark. One ended with just a smidgen of hope and the other left me depressed.


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