Thursday, January 7, 2021

Two More Reading Challenges: WWII Reading Challenge and Chunkster Challenge

Two more great challenges for 2021! I'd love to read one per month from each of these lists  which are books from my own TBR shelves. And of course some of them cross over and count for other challenges including my own Back to the Classics Challenge -- a win-win!

World War II Reading Challenge. Hosted by Becky's Book Reviews, it includes fiction and non-fiction, and basically includes any books written about or during the WWII era -- the war itself, leading up to the war, and the direct aftermath. Lots of choices from my TBR shelves! I don't have a lot of historical fiction but I definitely have quite a few books published during the era, and several nonfiction books I've been meaning to read. 

Our Hidden Lives by Simon Garfield
Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood
A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose
Maman, What Are We Called Now? by Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar
Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson
Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers
Our Uninvited Guests by Julie Summers

A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
A Footman For the Peacock by Rachel Ferguson
The Bachelor by Stella Gibbon
Westwood by Stella Gibbon
Chloe Marr by A. A. Milne
The Chequer Board by Nevil Shute
Ordeal by Nevil Shute (UK title: What Happened to the Corbetts)
The Foolish Gentlewoman by Margery Sharp
Growing Up by Angela Thirkell
The Headmistress by Angela Thirkell
Marling Hall by Angela Thirkell
Miss Bunting by Angela Thirkell
Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell
Love Among the Ruins by Angela Thirkell

Chunkster Challenge 2021. Hosted by Impressions in Ink, it's any book more than 450 pages. I still have my unfinished list from the Big Book Summer Challenge, and if I can read one from this list every month, it would cut my stack nearly in half.
Here's what's left. Some of them could count for other challenges, as noted. 

Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain by Simon Garfield (544 pp)  (WWII Challenge)
Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood (495 pp) (WWII Challenge)
Trollope by Victoria Glendinning (551 pp)
Slipstream: A Memoir by Elizabeth Jane Howard (528 pp)
A London Family, 1870-1900 by Molly Hughes (600 pp)
Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (869 pp)
Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford (744 pp)
Charles Dickens by Michael Slater (696 pp)

T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett (518 pp)
The Complete Claudine by Collette (656 pp) (European Reading Challenge)
Painting the Darkness by Robert Goddard (608 pp)
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge (571 pp) (Also counts for Back to the Classics)
Bella Poldark by Winston Graham (688 pp) 
Penmarric by Susan Howatch (735 pp)
The Little Ottleys by Ada Leverson (543 pp)
The Macdermots of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope (731 pp) (Classics Club)
Ralph the Heir by Anthony Trollope (770 pp) (Classics Club)
Marcella by Mrs. Humphrey Ward (560 pp) (Back to the Classics)
Hudson River Bracketed by Edith Wharton (547 pp) (Classics Club)
La Debacle by Emile Zola (536 pp) (Back to the Classics, European Reading Challenge)

Short Stories:
The Canterbury Tales retold by Peter Ackroyd (464 pp) (Back to the Classics)
Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens (635 pp) (Back to the Classics)
The World Over: The Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, Vol. II (681 pp)
The Portable Dorothy Parker (626 pp) (Classics Club, Back to the Classics)
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (495 pp)
The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh (640 pp)
The Collected Stories of Edith Wharton (640 pp)
The Most of P. G. Wodehouse (701 pp)
The Collected Stories of Stephan Zweig (720 pp) (European Reading Challenge)

WWII/Postwar Era Fiction
Mr. Skeffington by Elizabeth von Arnim
Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge 
English Climate: Wartime Stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens (680 pp)

So, quite a few choices! I could even try to read separate books for each challenge, without crossing over -- which would be another 24 books from the TBR shelves completed! Bloggers, which do you recommend from these lists? 


  1. It's very tempting to try for the whole 24 from the TBR shelves! I know I'd never follow through & make it, but you're made of sterner stuff. Go for it!

    1. I definitely want to read at least one from each list every month -- 24 books crossed of the TBR shelf would be great! I'll just have to resist the temptation to cross over into other challenges which would be too easy. I've already started one chunkster so I'm on my way.

  2. Lots of great sounding books but I have to laugh - I need a challenge that makes me read fewer WWII books!

    The Clunkster Challenge is also appealing. I love Susan Howatch and Robert Goddard so you can't go wrong with then. I wish Howatch hadn't stopped writing; I was fascinated by her Anglican series, although found all the characters fairly unpleasant. Is the Molly Hughes a one volume work of her memoirs? I enjoyed those.

    I am an enthusiastic Goudge fan (and just bought The World of EG, although have not had time to look at it yet) and read Green Dolphin Street for a challenge a year or two ago. It was very readable but somewhat depressing. It actually reminded me more of Rumer Godden than other Goudge. I will be interested to see what you think, if you read it.

    1. Yes, the Molly Hughes is a 3-volume omnibus with A London Child of the 1870s; A London Girl of the 1880s; and A London Home of the 1890s. I read the first volume years ago but will probably reread it before I start the second.

      And I've already started Green Dolphin Street! I'm almost halfway through and it's interesting but I am worried it will end badly for some of the characters. Quite different from what I was expecting!


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