Are you brave enough to take on this challenge? Do you choose to accept the challenge I lay before you with dignity, loyalty and courage? Then, yes, you may enter the realm of madness that is The 15 Book Greatbigjar January Challenge.

There is no room for complacency in my mad world, I do mean business. I will be reading morning noon and night as the holidays are over soon and the school run-for-your-life begins in earnest next week, but you never know. You don’t need to read the books on my list, just make your own list and see how you get on.

There have been so many books I have wanted to read over the last month or so – I now have that dreaded collection gathering vertically beside my bed, tripping me up when nocturnal trips out the room occur and stubbed toes are sadly going to be the norm from now until the small mountain is depleted.

However, it’s a new year and we need to embrace what 2013 is going to throw at us with enthusiasm and excitement (ahem – that means you Greatbigjar sitting on the sofa, still eating left over chocolate Santas from taking the Christmas tree down yesterday).

The world around me is on day 5 already and I am still only on book 1! Not a great start but I will give it my best shot and my aim is to read 15 books in 26 days! That’s 1.73 days per book – eek!

So, wish me luck, break a pencil or whatever the good luck mantra is for writers (any suggestions for this please let me know).

Here is my list, I thought I would go for old and new books as there are so many out there that I need to read again and again, they are so special in many different ways.

1. ‘Why be happy when you could be normal?’ by Jeanette Winterson – you may know this author from the best seller and TV series ‘Orange is not the only fruit’ back in 1985. This is a further look into her life as she grew up and wondered where her life may go following all the events she encountered as she grows up and leaves the nest. I’m on page 72 – yikes!

2. ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly – this is a novel published in 2003, a young girl is given letters by a guest at the hotel she works in. The book centres around the murder of that guest and the information supplied in the letters that inevitably affect Mattie, her family and friends throughout the book.

3. ‘Left Neglected’ by Lisa Genova – I recently read ‘Still Alice’ by this author and I couldn’t put it down, what an amazing book.  I thought I would try another.

4. ‘The Blackhouse’ by Peter May – I love everything about the Western Isles so I am very keen to get started on this particular book.

5. ‘Rush Of Blood’ by Mark Billingham – I bought this at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August and due to reasons unknown to me, I lost it and then found it again – yay!

6. ‘Sing You Home’ by Jodi Picoult – admittedly my first purchase from this author – please forgive me Jodi!

7. ‘The Impossible Dead’ by Ian Rankin – my favourite crime author, I will not say how long I have had this as Ian would weep and waggle his finger at me. All I can say it’s a hardback book in pristine condition and it has been kept in a safe place  – promise!

8. ‘Mother Tongue’ by Bill Bryson – why not!

9. ‘Good Behaviour’ by Molly Keane – set in the early 1900’s this book details life in a house slightly like Downton Abbey – gotta love a bit of Downton!

10. ‘Blind Eye’ by Stuart MacBride – Another book I picked up at the book festival – sorry Stuart *hangs head in shame*

11. ‘The Broker’ by John Grisham – I think ‘The Firm’ was the last one I read so I thought I had better sort that out.

12. ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen – I felt it was time I read something of hers that didn’t involve a half-dressed man emerging from a lake looking very dapper indeed, you know who you are Mr D.

13. ‘You Had Me At Hello’ by Mhairi McFarlane – great film quote so I thought I would see if the book was even remotely anything to do with it. Or not as the case maybe.

14. ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel – imagine being on a boat in the middle of the ocean with only a tiger for company! Well, I always prefer to read the book before seeing the film – so here I go.

15. ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window & Disappeared’ by Jonas Jonasson – the name had me intrigued, a bit like The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time.

So there you have it – my list. A little bit of everything to keep the old grey matter ticking over.

Anyone out there fancy doing this with me? Safety in numbers and all that? Create your own list send it on to everyone you know and we can eat chocolate santas together while we try to achieve what some might say is unachievable! Shame on you, whoever is saying that! But yeh you’re probably right! Oh no you’re not (in Greatbigjar pantomime style).

I think I need to work on my pep talk. Sigh.

Excellent news – my friend and fellow mad twitter junkie Sheila Hudnall (@Sheila_DFT) has agreed to take on this mighty challenge too – here are a list of her 15 books she aims to tackle before midnight on 31st January 2013:

1. The Fangover – Erin McCarthy and Kathy Love
2. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet – Darynda Jones
3. Before and Ever Since – Sharla Lovelace
4. Blessed by a Demon’s Mark – ES Moore
5. Playing to Win – Jace Burton
6. Blood and Magick – James R. Tuck
7. The Prophet – Amanda Stevens
8. Books to Die For Anthology
9. Blaze – Joan Swan
10. Demon’s Curse – Alexa Egan
11. Exposed to You – Beth Kery
12. Flip This Zombie – Jesse Petersen
11. Eay Slay Love – Jess Petersen
12. Feast of Souls – Hailey Edwards
13. Seduced by Blood by Laurie London
14.Dancing on the Head of a Pin – Thomas E. Sniegoski
15. Skinwalker – Faith Hunter
Get reading!


  1. Not sure I can manage 15 but you know me, never without a book so I’ll see what I can do and keep you posted. First one is “The White Lie” by Andrea Gillies, set in the Highlands of Scotland. Enjoying it so far.

    1. You will love A Gathering Light and Left Neglected Lynne – thanks for joining in. I’m having a ball 🙂

    1. *throws self into air and lands doing leg splits* well I can dream can’t I? Thank you for your support Lindsay x

    1. Thank you Sheila for doing this with me! I might need to re-read some after we have finished though lol.