Xanadu Reading Challenge – February 2021

One of the lovely things about being an online arts centre is that Notes can Xanadu can feature writing and literature alongside other art forms.  With this in mind, we have created a reading challenge for 2021.  Each month there will be a theme, with several sub-categories, and the challenge is to read one or more books each month to fit the topic.  Feel free to add sub-categories, the only rule is that one book each month should be a new read.  The entire challenge can be downloaded in pdf format here.  We also have an Excel spreadsheet, thanks to Karin Hammarstrom, one of our participants, which you can also download, and use to track your progress.

Every month, we’ll introduce the theme and sub-categories in a post like this, and also give some reading suggestions.  Please leave a comment and tell us what you are reading, and whether you are enjoying it, or any other information that you would like to share with your fellow readers.

The theme for February is Spring Awakenings.


  • a book about nature
  • a coming of age story
  • a novel where the protagonists are animals

Reading suggestions:

I’m reading:

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow.



Come back next month for our March suggestions, and don’t forget to leave a comment below to tell us how you got on in January!  Happy reading!

The discussion group for our January reads will be on Sunday, 7 February, at 4pm GMT. February’s will be on Sunday, 7 March, at 4 pm GMT.  If you would like to attend either of these, please email notesfromxanadu@hotmail.com if you haven’t already done so.

5 comments on “Xanadu Reading Challenge – February 2021

  1. Life of Pi is a good one for this category. I’m going for some metal chewing gum and choosing a book that half fits two categories – the bright side sanctuary for animals.

  2. I read a few books in January, the one I enjoyed most though was A Ghost in the Throat, by Doireann Ní Ghríofa. I have a few potential books for the February theme. I suppose I better make a decision soon… 🙂

  3. What a cool idea (the reading challenge, and the categories).
    Top-of-head, drive-by ideas:

    NATURE: Walden 🙂 too obvious?
    COMING OF AGE: The Outsiders – yes it’s bleak but they’re teaching it in Irish Junior Cycle, and there’s a fine Coppola movie to refer to. Or Huckleberry Finn,
    ANIMALS: These can too easily also be bleak (Animal Farm, Maus, Watership bloody Down!…) so let’s go with something more positive – The Wind in the Willows. If genre fiction’s okay, there’s The Once and Future King (fantasy) or The Children of Time (a recent SF masterpiece)

  4. Some great ideas here! I have just finished my first choice (The Other Bennet Sister), and I have The Children of Time on my to read list, so maybe I’ll start that now. I’ve never read Walden, but I second The Outsiders, The Wind in The Willows, The Once and Future King – Charlotte’s Web is another classic that fits the bill.

    I’ve read Life of Pi, so look forward to talking about that as well.

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