A to Z Book Challenge: 26 Books I have but haven’t read
I wanted to finally get to the stack of books I owned but never read. I’m talking about my TBR (to be read) pile that has accumulated over the years due to my obsessive book buying addiction. I’ll read them eventually! Well, I think I found the best way to get around to doing that: A to Z Challenge (Accepted).
I thought, why not make a list of 26 books (a to z) and slowly start reading them together! This particular challenge took me about two-ish years to complete. I wanted to integrated into my reading, I don’t do well only reading the books in one challenge. Try it and see what works for you!
Disclaimer: Most of these I owned, the letters I was missing I went to my local library and found some lovely books to add to the list.
The Rules of A to Z
I made them up as I made the list. You can have your own rules. The main rule is to pick a book that knocks out a letter in the alphabet. That can be fulfilled in different ways. When I couldn’t find a book, I made up a new rule. Here’s how I went about it:
1. First letter of the book starts with a letter in the alphabet
Most of the books were able to be chosen this way. I skipped over the articles, so if there was a book that started with The, I used the next word to determine the letter assignment. Do this first, when you run out of books or can’t find any try the next rule.
2. The letter you’re looking for appears in the title of the book
You’ll most likely run into this for letters like Q or X, sometimes even U. Although, you’ll be surprised at how many books out there start with the word Queen. This can be a letter within a word or the beginning letter in another word (not the first word) in the title.
3. The letter you’re looking for is the author’s name
I didn’t need to use this rule but if you’re struggling to find books that you want to read for letters you are missing, look at the author’s name. This is your a to z challenge so you can make up the rules as you go along. Maybe you can even do an a to z challenge for the author’s names! I’m writing that idea down too.
4. To read in order or out of order?
I tried both ways. For me, reading out of alphabetical order worked best. I didn’t feel like I was assigned a book and if I didn’t feel like reading the book that came next in the alphabet, I would move on to another one. If you want to read them in order so you don’t have to worry about what comes next, go for it! This challenge is meant to inspire you to read more, you get to make your own rules.
My top five favorite books in the challenge
D: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
I have owned this book for more than half of my life. It has sat on my shelf patiently waiting for the right season. I added this as a letter in my first ever a-to-z challenge a few years ago. This was the second to last book I picked up. I lost track of time with this. Anne came alive in my mind. I related to her aspirations, anxieties, independence, and self-awareness so much. I now know what to reach for if I ever feel alone.
W: The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
This book was magical. I really liked it and would recommend if you’re looking for something that is written superbly well. It reminded me of story and how to tell one. I can see it being told aloud and listening to it around a fire. The rhythm of this book is also amazing. A blend of journey and family with a touch of folklore.
V: Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
Using over 600 letters between the two, truth is woven into the narrative of this amazing book. There’s a wave of inspiration when you read direct quotes from Vincent Van Gough. Recommend if you’re into art or the unique structure of a book.
U: Once Upon A Time in Rio by Francisco Azevedo
This $2 find at Half-Price Books years ago turned out to be worth so much more. Translated from Portuguese, Azevedo’s words are so delicious. Naturally, I listened to bossa nova as I read and it made me want to learn Portuguese even more.
R: Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra
I really enjoyed this. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. A story within a story, within a story—sounds chaotic, yet it somehow captivated me and kept my attention. The flow of the novel worked. Some stories read like fables, others like scenes from a play. I usually read more than one book at a time but I didn’t find myself reaching for anything else while I was reading this. I would pick it up again.
List of all 26 Books
- A: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
- B: Behind the Dolphin Smile by Richard O’Barry
- C: Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester
- D: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- E: Erotic Stories of Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
- F: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- G: The Gardon on Sunset by Martin Turnbull
- H: The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
- I: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
- J: City of Jasmine by Olga Grjasnowa
- K: Kim by Rudyard Kipling
- L: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- M: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- N: Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
- O: On Writing by Stephen King
- P: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- Q: Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
- R: Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra
- S: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
- T: Trust me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
- U: Once Upon A Time in Rio by Francisco Azevedo
- V: Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
- W: The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
- X: The Extra by Kathryn Lasky
- Y: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
- Z: Zorro by Isabel Allende