In May 2016, I made a list. The list contained thirty books I have yet to read. I gave myself three years to read all thirty books. I will be honest: the challenge was not completed. I take full blame. There were times where I was too busy (graduate school) and there were other times when Netflix binge-watching got the best of me. And there were a few times where I absolutely forgot the list existed.

I am a perfectionist. I despise not reaching a goal. But I know I am not perfect and know that my ambitions typically get in the way of reality. I thought to myself, “How can I redeem myself?” There was no way I was going to create a new list of thirty books. For one thing, I’m living on a strict budget, so as much as my heart breaks, I have to exert self-control and not splurge at Half Price Books. Also, if it didn’t work the first time, why bother trying again?

I came up with a solution, a re-adjustment of sorts. First, as oppose to calling it a “challenge”, I am calling it the Z&H Book Club, so you, my fellow reader, can join in on the fun. Secondly, I restricted myself to the books on my shelf. I did not realize I had a backlog of books dating back to five+ years ago. This list is not full on old school literature. I have added a couple things that will help me with my career field and overall knowledge. Thirdly, I decreased the number of books on the list to fifteen, that way I am not completely overwhelmed with the options. Again, I am overly ambitious and seriously thought I can read bricks like War & Peace and Les Miserables along with twenty-something odd books in three years. Finally, to still make it a bit of a challenge, I limited myself to two years. If you do the math, that is 7.5 books a year, so there is wiggle room for the behemoth that is War & Peace.

The Z&H Book Club List:

  1. The Three Musketeers – Dumas
  2. A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens
  3. A History of the United States in Five Crashes – Nations
  4. La Fortune d’Alexandre – Messadie
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway
  6. Age of Innocence – Wharton
  7. The Princess of Cleves – Madame de la Fayette
  8. The Beautiful & the Damned – Fitzgerald
  9. War & Peace – Tolstoy
  10. Madame Bovary – Flaubert
  11. Emma – Austen
  12. Leaves of Grass – Whitman
  13. Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allen Poe – Poe
  14. Essays – Emerson
  15. His Final Battle: The Last Months of FDR – Lelyveld

I hope you, my fellow reader, will join me on this journey through the Z&H Book Club. Off to the bookshelf!

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