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1001 Books Challenge

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1001 Books (eventually!)
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A reading challenge community for people who want to take on books from the "1001 Books" list

The 1001 Books Challenge

This is a community challenge to encourage people to read some great books that may be outside their usual reading fare, and also to encourage thoughtful reviews. Anyone may join -- see the rules below.

The List

The list is taken from Peter Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 edition).

I chose this list because it's very well known and popular and has a lot of great books on it. This does not mean I think it's necessarily the greatest "1001 books" list ever, or that I endorse every book on the list. That's rather the point of the challenge -- there are a lot of books on the list that I probably would not ever choose to read myself. But I'm looking forward to being surprised.

I'm quite aware that there are criticisms of the list -- no two people are going to agree completely on any list of 1001 books that everyone supposedly "must" read before they die. You can find arguments all over the internet about what books should or should not have been included. That's okay. The purpose of this community isn't to compile a superior list, but to get everyone to read something they probably wouldn't have, and to get some nice, thoughtful reviews.

The Goal - Book reviews for all 1001 books!

Originally, when this community was started in 2011, the goal was to review all 1001 books in one year. That didn't happen, so now it is an ongoing project, with the goal of eventually getting every book on the list read and reviewed by the community.

Reviews should be posted here on books1001, but I also encourage you to cross-post to bookish, your own personal LJ, Goodreads, and any other community you like.

The Rules

Anyone may join. There will be no locked posts, so you don't need to join if you just want to read the reviews.

By joining, you commit to reading at least one book on the list and posting a review of it by the end of 2013. That's it -- one book in a year. (Of course you can read more than one -- see below.)

Upon joining the community and posting in the sign-up thread, you will be assigned a book randomly by me (inverarity) from those yet to be assigned. I'm just using a random number generator, so when you join, you'll get whichever book corresponds to your number. Your goal is to read that book and post a review (here, but also anywhere else you like) by the end of the year.

What counts as a book?

Hardback, paperback, ebooks, or audiobooks are all fine. But only the full, unabridged version -- abridged versions are cheating!

You may read any translation you feel comfortable with.

Refusals and Reassignments

All assignments are random! You may not give me a list of preferences or books from the list you really don't want to read. Part of the challenge is to commit yourself to reading whatever you get. Among these 1001 books, there is a huge variety in genre, length, difficulty, and style. You might get Through the Looking Glass or you might get War and Peace. If you think you're likely to beg off if you get assigned a 1500-page book like A Suitable Boy, then please don't sign up.

Thus, for the most part, if you refuse the book you're assigned, I'll assume you're no longer interested in the challenge and I will not assign you another book. Please do let me know if you're not going to be able to finish your book and review it, so I can put it back on the "to-be-assigned" list. There is no shame or stigma in this -- I know life happens, and nobody is going to scold you. But I am not going to juggle special requests -- sorry, that's too much like work.

I will allow reassignments in the following cases:

1. You've already read your assigned book.

Most of you have probably already read at least a few books on the list. If you get a book you've already read, I would encourage you (because I'm lazy and want to minimize how many reassignments I have to do) to reread it. But if you really don't want to -- because you read it recently and don't want to reread it so soon, because you hated it the first time you read it, or because you just really want to be assigned something you haven't read yet -- then I will give you a new book.

2. You Hate!Hate!Hate! the book you are assigned.

No one is going to like every book on this list, and I expect someone may wind up with a book that they don't really enjoy. I hope not -- the point here is to expand your horizons, not force you to read books you hate, but realistically, you might get something that just isn't to your taste.

I expect you to make a good-faith effort to read the book you're assigned, even if you don't particularly like it. Sometimes it's educational to read a book in which you don't see what everyone else sees in it. Try to appreciate it for the qualities that make it a favorite of other people, and analyze what you did and didn't like about it in your review.

But... if after at least 50 pages you're sure you'd rather gargle broken glass than force yourself to finish this book, then let me know, and I'll give you something else and put your book back on the TBA list. You must post your reason. (I'll create a public thread for "Couldn't finish this" entries.) Note that "It's too long" is not a valid reason.

3. You cannot obtain the book.

Most of these books should be easy to find in a library, bookstore, or online (such as at the Gutenberg Project). Also consider PaperBack Swap or BookMooch. However, if for whatever reason you are unable to obtain the book assigned to you, I'll assign you a different one.

The Multiple-Books Challenge

To participate, you only need to commit to reading one book on the list, but I encourage you to tackle more than one! Once you finish your assigned book and post a review, ask me for a new assignment! Whoever reads the most from this list by the end of the year will win valuable cash prizes! Well, no, you won't. But you'll win bragging rights. That's almost as good in the LJ world, right? ;)

Promotion, Discussion, Problems, Etc.

I'll create discussion threads as necessary. If you have any questions or problems, feel free to contact me. I will edit the rules and make changes as needed (and announce when/if this happens).

I'm not a graphic artist. If anyone wants to make icons, buttons, badges, etc., for this challenge, please feel free! Also feel free to promote this far and wide. I'm hoping to get enough participants to make 1001 book reviews in a year doable, but not so many that I get overwhelmed. I'll consider recruiting co-moderators if that's necessary.

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