NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge: 2003

It’s been a minute, but I finally finished the last book in this personal challenge I created for myself, so it’s finally time to move on!

I’ve gained some new followers since I last spoke about this, so I’ll briefly summarize: about a year and a half I started a challenge called the New York Times Bestsellers Birthday Challenge. Basically, I read one book off the NYT Bestsellers List from my birthday week every year from the year I was born until now. It’s been a trial and error process figuring out how this fits best into my reading schedule and habits, but I have low expectations for myself and just read the books when I get to them.

The gist of the challenge is this:

  1. Four books will be chosen from the New York Times Bestseller List from my birthday week every year.
    • I’m sticking with the adult hardcover list because children and YA lists weren’t added in until much later and wanted to keep it as consistent as possible.
  2. Of those four books, two will be fiction and two will be nonfiction.
  3. The four books chosen will consist of:
    • The book that holds the #1 spot from each column
    • The book that holds the longest spot from each column (largest # of weeks)

The last few books I had chosen had been Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver from the 2001 list, and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen from the 2002 list. I finished Prodigal Summer in less than two weeks, but The Corrections took me about two months. (I honestly can’t believe how excited I was to read The Corrections, what a bummer 😑) I’m really just aiming to continue this challenge at whatever pace best suits the books I choose.

This has been a great way for me to take a look at popular books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet, introducing me to some new favorites! I’ve also had a few disappointments as well, but it’s been a positive experience overall.

This will be my next book to read!

NYT Hardcover Bestsellers Week of March 23, 2003


#1: The Jester by James Patterson with Andrew Gross
15 weeks on list: Prey by Michael Crichton
Already read: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Runner Up:
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (10 weeks)


#1: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
23 weeks on list: Leadership by Rudolph W. Giuliani with Ken Kurson

I’d just like to pat myself on the back for reading The Lovely Bones twice 🙌 (once in 8th grade for fun and once in 11th grade for class). I can’t even remember the last time I read a James Patterson book that wasn’t Maximum Ride, but The Jester sounded really good, until I noticed that the paperback version is roughly 550 pages. I’m ultimately deciding to go with Devil in the White City (primarily because I think my dad owns it and it’s already on my TBR). I’m acknowledging that it’s also a long read (450 pages) and that it’s nonfiction so I’ll need determination to read it, but I’m going to start this towards the beginning of the month and juggle reading other books at the same time in order to finish this one throughout the month.

Was not super interested in any of my picks this month, but what do you think? Would you have chosen differently?


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