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. Continue reading “NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge: 2003”


NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 2001

[This was written like, three weeks ago but silly me forgot to schedule it so it never posted!!!!]

If you’d like to catch up with my shenanigans, you can read my guidelines in this post.

For my October books, I chose to read The Deep End of the Ocean, Conversations with God, The Poisonwood Bible, and The Art of Happiness. I ended up DNFing The Deep End of the Ocean about 125 pages into it. It took me almost the whole month to read that much, and I realized it just wasn’t interesting to me. I felt like I was required to read it for the challenge (even though I DNFed a book last month), but also it slowed down reading other books because I felt I had to read the books in chronological order. Because I felt like I had to read them chronologically, it also meant I didn’t finish the other three books by the time the month ended. Moving forward, I’d still like to read them in chronological order, but I’m not going to waste three weeks of my time forcing myself to finish a book I’m not enjoying. Therefore, I had to revamp my original plan.

Originally, I wanted to get through the years 1993-2018 before my birthday, ultimately ending with reading a 2018 my birthday week. If that happens, I’ll be psyched. However at this point in time, it’s a little unrealistic. Continue reading “NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 2001”

NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 1997-2000

If you’d like to catch up with my shenanigans, you can read my guidelines in this post.

For my September books I chose to read The Bridges of Madison County, Like Water for Chocolate, Politically Correct Bedtimes Stories, and Primary Colors. I read 3 out of the 4; I DNF’ed Primary Colors around 50 pages in. It was confusing, and I couldn’t really get into it. I may pick it up to read again one day, but right now my time is too limited to be focusing on books that I’m just not into. My favorite book of the choices was Like Water for Chocolate.

In October I’ll be reading four books from 1997-2000. I’ve listed each bestsellers list, the four books I’m choosing from, any books I’ve already read, any runner’s up (books I find particularly interesting, or books that I’d prefer to read rather than the ideal four), and my entertaining commentary to keep you from getting bored and clicking on a different post!

NYT Hardcover Bestsellers Week of March 23, 1997


#1: The Partner by John Grisham
26 weeks on list: The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Already read: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks


#1: Murder in Brentwood by Mark Fuhrman
50 weeks on list: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Already read: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

I’m super psyched to have already two books off the list this year. Granted, they’re pretty popular books but I’m holding onto this confidence booster and gripping it until my knuckles turn white! The Celestine Prophecy is also still sitting on the NYT Bestsellers a comfy 154 weeks later. Honestly, that gigantic three digit number is urging me to read but I just honestly don’t think I’ll like it and I don’t want to waste my time reading it. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is also still sitting on the Bestsellers List a year later. I’m disappointed to find none of these four books truly interest me this go-round. By process of elimination I’ve chosen The Deep End of the Ocean. It seems like something I might enjoy, but I’m not entirely sold on it. Continue reading “NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 1997-2000”

NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 1993-1996

Welcome back! If you’d like to catch up with my shenanigans, you can read my guidelines in this post.

For September, I’ve taken on the challenge of picking four books from 1993-1996. I’ve listed each bestsellers list, the four books I’m choosing from, any books I’ve already read, any runner’s up (books I find particularly interesting, or books that I’d prefer to read rather than the ideal four), and my entertaining commentary guaranteed to make you laugh (I’ve tested it out on myself and it works!).

NYT Hardcover Bestsellers Week of March 28 1993


#1: The Client by John Grisham
33 weeks on list: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
Already Read: Along Came a Spider by James Patterson


#1: Healing and the Mind by Bill Moyers
33 weeks on list: Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

John Grisham is a name I’ve seen and heard floating around literally everywhere but have never tried to delve into his massive collection of titles. This would’ve been a good month to try and read it, but unfortunately Bridges of Madison County AND Women Who Run With Wolves both caught my attention. How am I supposed to choose now? After a quick glance at my beloved Goodreads and a chuckle over the incredibly 90s covers, I’m still torn. Bridges is a solid 400 pages shorter than Women, but Women has better ratings. Will probably take both out from the library and see which draws me from there. [Side note: I’m pleasantly surprised that I’ve already read a book off the first set of lists! What a confidence booster lemme tell ya.] Continue reading “NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge 1993-1996”

Introducing the NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge!

I’m introducing my new and exciting personal challenge in which I will attempt to physically drown myself in books and hopefully get farther than I’m already anticipating!

First of, I’m going to start with an introduction:

Hi, my name is Cecelia and I love to come up with very elaborate ideas. I also love to intricately plan out these very elaborate ideas. However, my execution needs some assistance. I am working on it.

My initial thought for this challenge was to read modern classics, former hot book club books, or those books that everyone else and their grandmother read but I just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I figured an easy way to do that was to check out the previous New York Times Bestsellers Lists.

My next thought was a solution to figuring out how to choose which weeks to pull from. I’m turning 25 in March, so I wanted to read one book of the list that was published on my birthday week each year.

Well. Little did I know that dividing 25 books by 6 months meant that I would have to read 4 books a month! (This is why I didn’t take math classes in college.) Oh well, I’m committed now.

So initially I figured I’d just read the #1 book each week. Then I ran into the slight problem that (duh) there were both a fiction list and a nonfiction list. How do I choose?? Continue reading “Introducing the NYT Bestsellers Birthday Challenge!”