The annual Reading Challenge that used to run on the Message Boards has been one of AAR’s most popular features, and a few weeks back, we asked for suggestions and prompts for the 2017 Challenge, which we’re going to run here on the AAR blog.
Goal: Clear books that have been on your TBR for a month or more.
Rules: (Totally not enforced so feel free to be freewheeling with them!) Choose a challenge, and then read 17 (or 10 or 12) books that match the criteria listed within the challenge to complete it.
Here’s how it’s going to work: At the beginning of every month, there will be a blog post for you to comment about the books you read throughout the month – this is the post for January. You can just list the titles of the books you read, or you can write a short review, or whatever you like – if you participated in previous challenges at the Boards, then you know how it works, and you can post as much or as little, as often or as infrequently as you like.
We’ve had some fabulous suggestions for this year’s challenge – so without further ado, here they all are!
Read a book where one of the main characters is a mathematician, scientist, professor or student. Or read a book with 17 chapters. Or the 17th book in a series, or the 17th book in a “Top Something” list (for instance, the 17th book at AAR 2013 Top 100 list is The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne).
2) Seventeen is the name of a popular South Korean boy band.
Read a book where one of the main characters is a musician, knows how to sing or play an instrument. Or a book where one of the main characters is Asian (or of Asian descent). Or read a contemporary book.
3) Number Seventeen is a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Read a book where one of the main characters works in the entertainment industry. Or read a mystery or suspense book.
4) In the Harry Potter universe, 17 is the coming of age for wizards. It is equivalent to the usual coming of age at 18.
Read young adult book. Or read a fantasy book.
5) The number of guns in a 17-gun salute to U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Generals, and Navy and Coast Guard Admirals.
Read a book where one of the main characters is, or used to be, in the military. Or read a book where war is an important factor in the plot. Or read a book where one of the main characters owns a gun.
6) In the Nordic countries, the seventeenth day of the year is considered the heart and/or the back of winter.
Read a book set in winter, or at a cold place, or set in the Nordic countries. Or a book with the words “heart”, “winter”, “day” or “year” in the title.
7) In Italian culture, the number 17 is considered unlucky.
Read a book set in Italy, or where one of the main characters is Italian (or of Italian descent). Or read a book where one of the main characters makes a bet, or is a gambler. Or a book where one of the main characters is “down on luck”.
8) 17 is the number to call Police in France.
Read a book set in France, or where one of the main characters is French (or of French descent). Or read a book where one of the main characters is a police officer, a detective or a private investigator.
9) 17 is the declared percentage alcohol content (by volume) of Baileys Irish Cream – an Irish whiskey and cream based liqueur, made by Gilbeys of Ireland.
Read a book set in Ireland, or where one of the main characters is Irish (or of Irish descent). Or read a book where one of the main characters works in a restaurant or bar.
10) 17 is the atomic number of chlorine. The most common compound of chlorine, sodium chloride (common salt), has been known since ancient times.
Read a book where one of the main characters knows how to cook. Or read a historical romance.
11) “Chicago 17”, is a 1984 album by the band Chicago
Read a book set in Chicago, or at any large city. Or a book set in North America.
Or read a book set in the 80s.
12) The jersey number 17 has been retired by several North American sports teams in honor of past playing greats or other key figures. Curiously, however, no NFL team has retired the number yet.
Read a book where one of the main characters works in sports. Or a book where one of the main characters retires, or makes a career change.
13) “17 Again” is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Burr Steers. In the movie Mike (Matthew Perry) has to relive what it is like to be teenager – almost like time traveling…
Read a time-travel book. Or a funny romance. Or a book where one of the main characters is 37 years-old or 17 years-old.
14) “City 17” is a dystopian metropolitan area in Eastern Europe that forms the primary setting for the game Half-Life 2.
Read a Science Fiction/Dystopian book. Or a book set in Europe.
15) A Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry. Traditional haiku consist of 17 syllables, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 on respectively.
Read where one of the main characters is a writer, or likes poetry. Or a book that is divided in three parts –for instance, a book that has a prologue, a main part, and an epilogue. Or a read a short-length book.
16) In the US, 17 is the age at which one may watch, rent, or purchase R-rated movies without parental consent.
Read an erotic book, or read a book that was rated as “Hot” or “Burning” at AAR, or a book that you would rate as “Hot” or “Burning”.
17) The fear of the number 17 is called ‘heptadecaphobia’ or ‘heptakaidekaphobia’.
Read a book where one of the main characters gets scared or afraid. Or read a book with a vampire, werewolf, or any character that can be considered “scary”.
- Quiz – read a book that involves games or competitions, such as a card playing hero or an h/h that make a wager or gambling in some way.
- Quill – read a book about a writer or someone who makes their living through writing or words such as lawyers or advertising execs or politicians.
- Quartet – Read a book with a strong secondary romance or where two couples fall in love. Or the fourth book in a series or a series made up of four books.
- Quack – We often call a bad doctor a quack. Read a medical romance or a romance with a con artist.
- Queen – Read a romance with royalty or the nobility.
- Quickie – Read an erotic romance, or a romance that starts with a one night stand.
- Quixotic – exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical. Read a romance a sci-fi/fantasy romance or a romance that has an unrealistic premise like a Duke marrying the governess.
- Quality – Read an award winning romance.
- Quintet – Read five books in a series or the fifth book in a series
- Quirky – Read a book with a quirky hero or heroine, such as a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book.
- Quilter – Read an Amish romance or a book about a heroine who is in fashion or sews. Or a book with quilt in the title.
- Quiet – Read a book with a shy hero or heroine, or a loner. General idea: Read a book about someone who is alone or considered quiet (like a librarian) for some reason.
- Quote – Read a book with a famous quote or song title/song lyrics in the title or a variation on a song lyric/song title (ie Earls Just Wanna Have Fun)
- Quit – Read a book about a h/h who change in career or are forced to move.
- Quest – Read a book that involves a quest or a search of some kind. Can be searching for a child or a criminal etc.
- Qadi – a qadi is an Islamic judge. Read a book that involves a judge or a book about characters in or from the Middle East.
- Quaint- which means attractively unusual or old fashioned. Read an older romance (more than a decade old.)
New Adult/YA Romance
Science Fiction Romance
Time Travel Romance
Amaryllis- dramatic. Read a book with high drama, like an Epic romance or a Downton Abbey style romance.
Apple Blossom –promise. Read a reunion book where the promise of love is originally broken and then rediscovered. Or a book that involves a promise or vow in some way.
Azalea- abundance. Read a book where the h/h are wealthy. Or a book with millionaire/billionaire/duke/tycoon in the title.
Baby’s Breath – festivity. Read a book that revolves around a party of some kind or where the h/h meet at a party. Alternately, read a book where the h/h have a child(ren) or where they are together because of a pregnancy.
Bird of Paradise – Read a romance with an exotic location.
Carnation – White carnations suggest pure love, read a “clean” or inspirational romance.
Chrysanthemum- A chrysanthemum is the symbol of the throne of Japan. Read a romance set in Japan or anywhere in Asia.
Crocus- foresight. Read a novel where one of the characters has “the sight” of some kind –dreams, visions, clairvoyance etc. Or read a paranormal romance. Or a romance involving a prophecy.
Daffodil -chivalry. Read a medieval romance.
Forget-Me-Not remember me forever – or don’t. Read a novel with an amnesia plot or conversely, where the h/h are childhood sweethearts and have been together forever. Or a reincarnation plot.
Larkspur – beautiful spirit. Read a novel with a ghost or spirits or where the h/h can talk to spirits (medium)
Lavender – distrust. Read a book with a big misunderstanding.
Lilac – first love. Read a book that is about a first love.
Magnolia- dignity. Read a book that involves a matter of honor or that has honor in the title. Alternately, in America we associate magnolias with the south. Read a book that takes place in the Southern U.S.
Nasturtium- patriotism. Read a book that takes place during a war. Or with a military hero/heroine.
Orchid- sympathy. Read a book revolving around a death, someone being ill or a will.
Passion flower- passion. Read a “hot” romance.
Poinsettia – the Christmas flower. Read a Christmas or winter romance or a book with snow/winter scene on the cover.
Rhododendron- beware. Read a romantic suspense or a book with “fear” or a variation of that theme in the title.
Rose- yellow friendship. Read a friends to lovers romance.
Read a book with a flower in the title such as For the Roses, A Gift of Daisies etc.
Read a book set in each of the first 17 states in the Union or read 17 books set in 17 different states in the union (can be the first 17 or any of the 50 states). National Geographic breaks the U.S. into five different areas – read a total of 17 books where each of those areas is represented at least once. They are West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast. Or read 17 books in the U.S. historical period during which the first seventeen states are set up. Or any combination thereof.
Delaware 1 December 7, 1787
Pennsylvania 2 December 12, 1787
New Jersey 3 December 18, 1787
Georgia 4 January 2, 1788
Connecticut 5 January 9, 1788
Massachusetts 6 February 6, 1788
Maryland 7 April 28, 1788
South Carolina 8 May 23, 1788
New Hampshire 9 June 21, 1788
Virginia 10 June 25, 1788
New York 11 July 26, 1788
North Carolina 12 November 21, 1789
Rhode Island 13 May 29, 1790
Vermont 14 March 4, 1791
Kentucky 15 June 1, 1792
Tennessee 16 June 1, 1796
Ohio 17 March 1, 1803
Option 2: Read 17 books set in 17 different locations. Can be fantasy worlds.
Read 5 books from a new to you sub-genre or genres.
Read 5 début romance novels.
Read 2 “first” books – first in a series, first by an author, first book in a publishing line, books published in the first year of a century or decade etc.
Angel Face- Read an angel or demon romance.
Arnold Palmer – Read a book where the h/h is a golfer or works in a profession typically associated with golf, such as lawyer, accountant, real estate agent or read a book set in Scotland or about Scottish characters.
Aviation – Read a novel where the h/h is a pilot or works with planes in some way.
Boilermaker- Read a book about a working class hero/heroine.
Bee’s Knees – Read a book set in the roaring 20s or 30s.
Bloodhound – Read a book where the h/h has a dog or other pet is or a veternarian. Or works with animals in some way.
Blue Lagoon – Read a book where the h/h are stranded for some portion of the story or road trip or cabin romance.
Buttery Nipple – Read a book where the h/h is a baker or cook.
Casino – Read a book that involves a casino, gambler or a bet.
Chicago Cocktail – Read a book set in Chicago or a book about firemen.
Churchill – Read a book set in WWII.
Clover Club Cocktail – Read a book set in Ireland or with Irish characters. Or a book with “lucky” in the title.
French Connection – Read a book set in France, or a book about police officers as in the movie The French Connection.
Four Horsemen – These gents are associated with the apocalypse. Read an apocalyptic or futuristic romance.
Four Score – Read a book set in the Civil War era.
Fuzzy Naval – Read a book where a character has amnesia or mental illness (PTSD, depression etc.) or where the past is a significant factor.
Grasshopper – Read a book where the h/h is a farmer or landscaper or florist or works with the land in some way.
Horse’s Neck – Read a book where the h/h works with horses, is a cowboy/cowgirl or a book set in Kentucky horse country.
Hot Toddy – Read a book about an old maid.
Incredible Hulk – Read a book where the h or h has a dual identity or where they are pretending to be someone they are not or where they are a contradiction (virgin sex therapist, virgin erotica writer, virgin prostitute/mistress etc.)
London Fog – Read a book about a weather person or where the weather plays a significant part of the plot or read a book set wholly or partly in London.
Margarita – Read a book set in Mexico or Spain or with Hispanic or Spanish characters.
Savoy Corpse Reviver – Read a book involving ghosts or zombies.
Salty Dog – Read a book about a sailor, set on the sea or where the h/h are involved with water in a professional capacity (marine biologist, scuba diver, pool company, lifeguard etc.) or live near the water.
Shirley Temple – Read a book about a teacher or someone who works with kids or a book where the h/h is a single parent or where a pregnancy is important to the plot.
Sidecar – Sidecars are used for passengers on motor cycles. Read a book about a biker or someone who works with motorcycles.
Slippery Nipple – Read a book where the h/h is a thief or criminal/mobster or believed to be one.
Stinger – Read a book about a beekeeper or a novel with honey in the title.
Tom and Jerry – Read a book about an artist or cartoonist.
Vesper Martini – This drink was invented and named by Ian Fleming in the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale. Read a book about spies, FBI agents, CIA agents or alphabet letter/secret agencies of any kind.
All-Bran (1916) = This cereal is marketed as an aid to digestive health. Read a romance where the hero or heroine is involved with the health services industry, e.g. doctor, nurse, paramedic, physical therapist, etc.
Alpha Bits (1958) = Read a romance where the hero or heroine is involved with education, e.g. teacher, principal, school counselor, etc. Or a romance where the hero or heroine has an occupation involving writing, e.g. author, reporter, editor, etc.
Cap’n Crunch (1963) = Read a romance where the hero or heroine is in the Coast Guard, Navy, or another branch of the military. Or a police officer, sheriff, deputy, etc.
Cheerios (1941) = Read a humorous romance.
Chex (1937) = Chex mix is a popular holiday treat. Read a romance set during Christmas time or any other holiday.
Cocoa Pebbles/Fruity Pebbles (1969) = these cereals are the oldest brands based on characters from a TV or movie. In honor of The Flintstones, read an historical romance.
Corn Flakes (1907) = Read a romance in which the hero or heroine is a farmer or lives on a farm or ranch.
Count Chocula/Franken Berry (1971) & Boo-Berry (1972) = Read a paranormal romance.
Frosted Flakes (1952) = The mascot for this cereal is Tony the Tiger. Read a paranormal romance where the hero or heroine has the ability to shift into an animal.
Golden Crisp (1947) / Honey Smacks (1953) = These contain the most sugar content of all breakfast cereals. Read a “sweet” romance or one that is “kisses only.”
Golden Grahams (1976) = Read a romance featuring an older hero and/or heroine.
Grape-Nuts (1897) = This a cereal people either love or hate. Read a friends-to-lovers or enemies-to-lovers romance. Or read a romance where the hero or heroine is a dentist.
Honeycomb (1965) = A honeycomb is a structure of adjoining cavities or cells. Read a romance that is part of a series.
Life (1961) = Read a romance where the hero or heroine is at a turning point in their life. Or read a romance featuring multi-generational characters.
Lucky Charms (1964) = This cereal has a leprechaun mascot. Read a romance set in Ireland. Or read a paranormal romance featuring magic or magical creatures (fairies, dragons, etc.)
Mini-Wheats (1978) = Read a novella or short-story.
Muesli (1900) = Created by a Swiss physician. Read a romance set in Europe.
Nutri-Grain (1976) = This cereal was first introduced in Australia. Read a romance set in Australia or New Zealand.
Oatmeal/Porridge (1854) = Read a “hot” or erotic romance.
Product 19 (1967) = Read a Young Adult or New Adult romance (none of the characters need be 19).
Rice Krispies (1929) = The mascots for this cereal are Snap, Crackle and Pop. Read a romance that is part of a trilogy. Or read a ménage romance.
Special K (1955) = This cereal is marketed as a way to lose weight. Read a romance in which the hero or heroine undergoes some sort of makeover. Or read a romance where the hero or heroine’s name begins with the letter K.
Total (1961) = Read any book in your TBR pile if needed to make your goal (or total *wink*).
Trix (1954) = “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.” Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine have children.
Vector = sold only in Canada. Read a romance set in Canada.
Wheaties (1924) = “The Breakfast of Champions.” This cereal features athletes on the box. Read a romance in which the hero or heroine is involved with sports, e.g. athlete, coach, team owner, etc.
Bon Appetite – Read a romance in which the setting is a diner, restaurant, bakery or involves any job in the hospitality industry, such as a bed and breakfast. Or read a romance involving at least some French characters.
Cat Fancy/Modern Dog – Read a romance which features a pet or pets as supporting characters.
Cosmopolitan – Read a romance in which the heroine is “an experienced lady,” mistress, or playgirl.
Entertainment Weekly – Read a romance featuring a hero or heroine who works in *any* form of the arts or entertainment, whether it be acting, writing, dancing, singing, visual arts, or sports, etc.
Family Circle – Read a romance from a series of books which features a member from one family, group of friends, or colleagues in each book.
Field and Stream – Read a romance set on a farm, a ranch, or a working estate. Or, read a romance about an outdoorsman/woman.
Fortune/Money – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are the scion or heir/heiress of a wealthy family. Or read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine is a self-made man or woman of wealth. Or read a romance in which the hero or heroine is pursuing someone with a fortune or who will inherit a fortune.
Ladies Home Journal – Read a Regency, a “just kisses” romance, or an inspirational. Or, playing off the word journal, read an epistolary romance, featuring either letter writing or modern day emails, texting, and tweeting.
Men’s Health/Women’s Day – Read a romance featuring a same sex romance, whether as the main romantic pair or supporting characters.
Mother Jones/The Weekly Standard – In homage to journals reflecting two sides of the U.S. political spectrum, read a romance in which the hero and heroine are on two sides of an issue whether political, business, environmental, social, or cultural and butt heads over it. Or, read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are in politics.
National Geographic – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine set off on an adventure or visit/travel to an exotic (to them) land.
Parents – Read a romance where the hero or heroine is dealing with/taking care of an “elderly” parent and/or is a parent themselves.
People – Read a romance featuring multiple couples in the same story, like an ensemble cast. Or, read a book from the chick lit genre in which the heroine has one or more relationships before finding “the one”!
Playboy – Read a romance where the hero is considered a rake or a player. Or read an erotic romance.
Popular Mechanics – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine works with their hands, whether with machinery, with flora and fauna, or in the service industry.
Popular Science – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine work in the science field, including medicine. Or read a futuristic romance.
Rolling Stone – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are in the music business. Or read a romance in which either of the lead characters are black sheep or rebels. Or read a romance where most of the action takes place “on the road.”
Seventeen Magazine – Read a young adult or new adult romance.
Southern Living – Read a romance set in “the South,” whether the Southern U.S. or the Southern half of the planet, such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, etc.
Sports Illustrated – Read a romance featuring a sports theme and athletes or one involving a hero, heroine, or both who are artists.
The Economist – This is about economy. Read a novella, an anthology, or a category romance less than 200 pages.
The New Yorker – Read a romance set in New York City or set in any major, international city with a large population. Or, read an Urban Fantasy.
Time – Read a romance set at least 100 years in the past, any time in the future, or which involves time travel.
Travel and Leisure – Read a romance set during a vacation or a holiday.
TV Guide – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are actors, producers, screenwriters, or personalities (like celebrity chefs or reality “stars”) in any form of entertainment, including
Based on the lyrics of the song and the requirements outlined below, read from 10 to 17 books for this challenge.
I learned the truth at seventeen that love was meant for beauty queens
Read a romance in which the heroine is or was a beauty queen, in a pageant, a model, or works in the “beauty industry” in any way, from fashion designing, to photography, to magazine work. Or, read a romance in which our hero works in the fashion/beauty industry in any way.
And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles who married young and then retired.
Read a young adult or new adult romance. Or, read a romance where our lead couple either married or attempted to marry at 21 years or younger, even if they did not stay together. Or, read a romance where the hero and heroine are over 40.
The valentines I never knew, the Friday night charades of youth
Read a romance set during any national holiday or a romance in which a significant part of the action takes place at a house party.
Were spent on one more beautiful. At seventeen I learned the truth.
In homage to learning the truth, read a romantic mystery or suspense novel. Or read a romance where the hero and/or heroine is a private detective, police officer, attorney or judge. Or, read a romance which features a big reveal with huge consequences, e.g., the discovery of an unknown parent, or the “dreaded” secret baby, or an unexpected inheritance.
And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces,
Read a romance in which the hero or heroine are thought of (or think of themselves) as plain and/or read a romance where the hero or heroine is socially a duck-out-of-water in the setting of the novel, whether a country bumpkin, city slicker, or foreigner. Or read a Pygmalion type novel, where a character is transformed physically and/or psychologically.
Desperately remained at home, inventing lovers on the phone
Read a romance where the hero or heroine are returning to their home or hometown after living away, or a novel in which the hero or heroine never left the family home despite being an adult. Or a romance in which the hero and heroine *pretend* to be lovers, engaged, married, or romantically involved with each other for any reason.
Who called to say, “Come dance with me, ” and murmured vague obscenities.
Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are involved in dance, music, the theater, or any of the performing arts. Or, read an erotic romance.
It isn’t all it seems at seventeen.
Things aren’t what they seem, so read a paranormal romance. Or read a romance where the hero and/or heroine are in disguise or are spies.
A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs whose name I never could pronounce
In recognition of people who are “different,” read a romance in which the hero or heroine is from another country from which the story is set and is either a visitor, immigrant, or alien. This could also be a fantasy, time travel, or sci fi romance where one of the lead characters is fantastical or from another world.
Said, “Pity, please, the ones who serve; they only get what they deserve.
Read a romance featuring a hero and/or heroine who is serving or has served in the military. Or, read a romance in which the hero or heroine is or was a servant of some sort, i.e., gardener, chauffeur, maid, chef, governess, landscaper, butler, groom, etc.
The rich-relationed hometown queen marries into what she needs.
Read a romance where the hero and/or heroine seeks or is taking part in a marriage for money or read a romance where the hero or heroine is pursued for their money. Or read a romance where an untitled heiress or a self-made man of wealth is seeking a connection to a titled or aristocratic family.
A guarantee of company and haven for the elderly.
Read a romance where the hero or heroine is “paid for the guarantee of their company” either sexually or simply as an escort. Or, read a romance where the heroine is a paid lady’s companion or governess. Or, alternatively, read a romance where the hero or heroine is taking care of or dealing with a parent as a subplot to the story.
Remember those who win the game lose the love they sought to gain.
In a bow to lost love, read a romance where the lead couple has been separated for a period of time or a romance where the hero or heroine has unrequited feelings for someone. (The object of their unrequited affections doesn’t have to be the hero or heroine.)
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity.
I’ve got nothing! Read any romance you like from your TBR pile. (Quality or integrity is a matter of opinion.)
Their small-town eyes will gape at you in dull surprise when payment due exceeds accounts received at seventeen.
Read a romance set in a small town and/or one in which the hero and/or heroine is trying to help rescue a failing or struggling business.
To those of us who know the pain of valentines that never came, and those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball.
This is about disappointment. Read a romance in which the hero’s or heroine’s significant other or marital partner broke up or left them, or a romance in which one of the leads has been fired, pushed out of their job, or unexpectedly, not promoted. Or, read a romance in which the hero or heroine has been left out of or has to share an inheritance.
It was long ago and far away; the world was much younger than today
Read an historical romance — the earlier in history, the better.
And dreams were all they gave away for free to ugly duckling girls like me.
Read a book in which any of the words — dream, dreams, or dreaming — is in the title. Or, read a romance in your TBR pile that was given to you for free.
We all play the game and when we dare to cheat ourselves at solitaire.
Read a romance involving a hero and/or heroine involved in a sport, either team sports or individual. (The character doesn’t have to be an athlete. They could be a manager, agent, promoter, etc.) Or, read a romance in which the hero, the heroine, or both are in a competition of any sort, e.g. competing in a cooking competition, for instance.
Inventing lovers on the phone, repenting other lives unknown
Repent! Read a romance in which the hero or heroine is turning their back on or running away from bad choices or a “bad life,” i.e., crime, alcohol, delinquency, an abusive family. Or read a romance in which one of the lead characters is or was a religious figure, such as a minister, priest, nun, etc.
That call and say, “Come dance with me, ” and murmur vague obscenities
This line of lyrics is repeated in Janis Ian’s song. Therefore, read not one, but two books in the same romance series or two romances involving the same characters. They can each, separately, count towards your total read for this challenge.
At ugly girls like me at seventeen
No one here is ugly but sometimes we expect some books might be. Read a romance in your TBR pile that you have been avoiding. Yes, I am doing you a favor!
There’s no official “sign up” – just get reading and then post about what you’ve read as and when you choose. There are some great prompts here and we’re looking forward to seeing your choices and your comments.