Today, I start my summer reading challenge! Challenge? you ask. Why is a person who is in effect a professional reader—and all writers are professional readers—challenging herself to read something?

Well, there are books I have encountered with which, let’s say, I declined to continue the acquaintance. This is big, because before having kids, when I started a book, I would force myself to finish it, no matter what. Now, with child craziness and time being so short, I do not force a book that doesn’t fit. But even during that halcyon era of forced finishing, there were books that I ran from, mostly in fear. For whatever reason, these books and I just couldn’t make a go of it. And so the challenge of this summer is to read those books.

I set for myself the goal of reading one Big Bad Book per month. In June, this book is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It’s kind of embarrassing that I haven’t read it, and so read it, I will.

Throughout the week, I’ll post tweets about my reading under the hashtag #bigbadbooks, and then every Thursday, I’ll blog about my week’s reading. My posts will provide a kind of writer’s-eye-view of the reading experience of the book. I’ll shoot for insightful, but set the bar minimally at funny, or maybe just amusing.

In July, I’ll tackle Paradise Lost by John Milton. In August, Middlemarch by George Eliot. Please join me in tackling these books, and post your thoughts in the comments of my blog, or on Twitter using the hashtag mentioned above (#bigbadbooks).

What books have stopped you in your tracks? Did you push through and keep reading? What got you through to the end? I’d love to hear from you! And heck—I’ll randomly pick one commenter to this blog post, either about their personal Big Bad Books, or who proposes joining me in my reading challenge, and mail them an exciting something…swag? Random object? SIGNED COPY OF NO DAWN WITHOUT DARKNESS??? The winner can decide… Post by 11:59:59 PM on Wednesday, June 11th, and I’ll post the winner next Thursday, June 12th.


PS: On Tuesday, I’ll start psyching people up for the BIG RELEASE DAY (June 17th)…Stay tuned!

13 Responses to “Big Bad Books Challenge”

  1. Michael

    I once had to read a Big Bad Book for school one time. The praise said it was “fast paced” bit it wasn’t! I had to keep reading though…

  2. Michael

    Hey Dayna, can you tell me if No Dawn has the same Day 1, Day 2, etc. format as the other 2?

  3. Caitlin

    I have never tried to force myself to read a BBB but think I will try this challenge out for myself just to see if I can do it. Looking forward to reading NDWD xx

  4. Kristin

    Love this idea! I fear that my Big Bad Books are too numerous to list, but they include the three that you’re reading, so maybe I should just join you! I feel especially guilty about Paradise Lost, as it is one of the many works that my husband teaches that I have yet to read. Sigh.

  5. Ethan Coe

    This is the first time I have entered a Dayna Lorentz blog challenge (It’s June 11th 7:50 PM now). Anyway in four more days it is going to be so great. 🙂

  6. Ethan Coe

    This is the first time I have enter one of Dayna Lorentz’s blog challenges. This is so awesome, right now it is June 2014 7:54 AM. Anyway can’t wait for NDWD in four days. 🙂

    (I might have sent a duplicate message, please ignore it in the picking)


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