Xanadu Reading Challenge – January 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 January is New Beginnings.


  • a book published in 2020 or 2021
  • a book given to you as a present (or bought with a book token) in the last couple of months
  • a book about a new hobby or interest
  • a book to do with a New Year’s resolution
  • a New Age book

Reading suggestions:

I’m reading:

The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski, received as a Christmas present in 2019.

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

Update: it’s been suggested that we have a live, in-person discussion group once a month (online) to discuss what we’ve been reading – if that’s something you would be interested in, please comment below, or email notesfromxanadu@hotmail.com.

17 comments on “Xanadu Reading Challenge – January 2021

  1. I started reading The Lady of the Lake last night. (I was previously reading a book that doesn’t fit into the January category, Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber – very good.) Like I said above, it (The Lady of the Lake) was actually a Christmas present in 2019, not 2020, but my reading schedule last year was so heavy that it’s become my New Year book for 2021. I’m only on page 27, but I’m enjoying it very much so far. I will probably go on to watch the TV series, The Witcher, which is based on the books, afterwards. Has anyone else started the challenge yet?

  2. I am reading a few things in January, of which one fits in this theme: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness that I received as a Yule-gift. I am also reading Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), Sorcerer to the Crown (Zen Cho), and The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). And I will in addition be listening to a handful of fantasy-audiobooks whenever I have time.

  3. Glad to have you on board, Karin and Marianne. I read A Discovery of Witches when it first came out in paperback, and I’ve watched the first episode of the TV series – just downloaded the rest of Series 1 today. 🙂

  4. You’ve given a great range of categories, thanks. I think it’s a really exciting challenge. I, unknowingly, started my reading year off with two books that fit the first category – That Old Country Music by Kevin Barry and A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghriofa. I had a look through my bookcases and found plenty of books that I haven’t yet read to fill out the other categories. Thanks for organising!

  5. Hi Síne, that’s great. I know Kevin Barry, but I don’t think I know Doireann Ní Ghriofá. Looking forward to hearing your opinion on them both.

  6. I ended up reading a second book in this category as well – The Shelf by Helly Acton. It was new in the online library and was a nice easy read.

  7. We had a great discussion group in the theatre yesterday. If you weren’t there, or even if you were, we’d love you to comment letting us know what you thought about your book(s) for January. 📚

  8. That sounds very interesting Marianne. I used to love trains, particularly the London Underground.

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