My personal yearly reading challenge

Recommendations are great, but only if they are done by a human being or if they are not algorithmically personalized. One of the best recommendation engines for what books to read are (literary) awards. I have used these awards to create my own personal recommendation algorithm.

Every year I try to read the following books:

  • All Booker Prize shortlisted books of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Booker Prize of a random previous year (only books that I haven’t read yet).
  • The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction of the previous year.
  • The winner of the International Booker Prize of the previous year.
  • A book of choice by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature of the previous year.
  • A book of choice by the winner of the P.C. Hooft-prijs of the current year.
  • The winner of the Pullitzer Prize for Fiction of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Royal Society Science Books Prize of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Libris Literatuur Prijs of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Socratesbeker of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Boekenbon Literatuurprijs of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Gouden Griffel of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Woutertje Pieterse Prijs of the previous year.
  • The winner of the Bronzen Uil of the previous year.

If there are no double winners/nominations, then this is a list of nineteen books to read, most of it fiction.

This list is very biased towards current and new books (which the Lindy Effect tells us, isn’t necessarily a smart idea). I am still thinking of ways of making myself read more great books that are a bit older.

It is also biased towards books from the languages that I can read. In the future, I might introduce winners of esteemed prizes in other languages (and give it a bit of time, so that an English or Dutch translation can come out), like the Prix Goncourt or the Booker equivalent for the Spanish language (if that exists).