November, the month of ALL the reading challenges!

Anyone who knows me knows I like a good reading challenge and I know that a few of you do to!

It’s always a crowded calendar in the book-blogging world, but the busiest month is undoubtedly November, which, at my latest count has no less than FIVE reading challenges on the go!

  • German Literature Month
  • Novella November
  • Non-Fiction in November
  • Australia Literature Month
  • Margaret Atwood Reading

I’ve decided to plan some of my reading around these challenges, and like any good participant, I’ve worked out how to kill two challenges – and in one case, three! – with one book.

It all started to get so complicated that I’ve devised a nifty little Venn diagram to keep my plans on track 🤣🤣

I can’t promise I’ll read all of these of course, but I do like to have a plan, so I’ll do my best!


This will be the first time that I have participated in German Literature Month, hosted by Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat) and Lizzy (Lizzy’s Literary Life) which is now in its tenth year! I was delighted to come across two books in the 746 by Patrick Suskind which I have yet to read – The Double Bass and The Pigeon and they have the added bonus of being novellas which means I can also read them for Novella November! I have been meaning to read Stefan Zweig for a long time, so have his novella Chess lined up next.

Lizzy and Caroline are focusing on four German authors during November as follows:

1st – 7th – Sophie von La Roche

8th – 14th – Max Frisch

15th – 21st – Ingeborg Bachmann

22nd – 28th – Siegfried Lenz

I also hope to read Homo Faber by Max Frisch. I became interested in Max Frisch after performing in a production of his play The Fire Raisers, so although I have read a few of his plays, I have yet to read any of his fiction.

Finally, last year I read and LOVED Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck and have her new non-fiction book Not A Novel on pre-order, so if I can get my hands on that one on time then it will cover German Literature Month and Non-Fiction November.


Novella November seems to have been around in various guises over the last few years, but I am not completely sure where it has originated from. Laura from Reading in Bed has hosted the challenge in the past and in 2018 put together a very interesting history of the challenge but it doesn’t seem to have ever had a regular home! I’m not sure if Laura is hosting this year, but I’ve pulled together a little list of possibilities which happily work with some of November’s other challenges.

Three of my German reads fit in with Novella November, and I have a couple of others in the 746. The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West is well overdue a read as it The Spare Room by Helen Garner, which didn’t quite win last month’s Reading Roulette, but is a perfect choice because it will also tick the Australian Literature Month box as well! I purchased Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima on the back of Jacqui’s wonderful review and I have a feeling I am going to love it!


I really enjoy NonFiction November, hosted by Rennie over at What’s Non-Fiction (if you aren’t following her brilliant blog, you really should!), as it spurs me to read more non-fiction and highlights some great books I hadn’t heard of before. Rennie hosts alongside Katie at Doing Dewey, Julie at Julz Reads and Leann at Shelf Aware and they have different weekly themes, along with an Instagram challenge. It’s well worth following along, although, be warned, your reading wish list will be groaning by the end of the month!

I have a few books lined up for this challenge. My recent read of The Nothing Man by Catherine Ann Howard has led me to dig out The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, her account of working alongside notorious serial killer Ted Bundy.

Cathy Rentzenbrink’s Dear Reader sounds like just the kind of book for cold autumn nights in front of the fire and Jia Tolentino’s collection of essays Trick Mirror sounds entertaining and timely.

Helen Garner pops up again this month with True Stories: Selected Non-Fiction which I’m very much looking forward to. I have only read This House of Grief by Garner but I thought it was a stunning and sensitively written book.

Anna Funder’s Stasiland is a real winner this month as it covers three of these reading challenges – albeit a little tenuously! Funder is an Australian author (tick one!) who has written a non-fiction book (tick two!) about East Germany (tick three!) – how could it not be on my list? Thanks to Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best, who brought this to my attention when Stasiland began a recent Six Degrees of Separation chain.


Australian Literature Month is hosted by the lovely Brona over at Brona’s Books and to my shame I have never taken part, despite the fact that it has been running for a whopping eight years!

This year, Brona is doing AusMonth Reading Bingo – which looks like it will be great fun – but with so much else on, I think I will stick to just trying to read a couple of books.

As mentioned before, Stasiland, The Spare Room and Helen Garner’s True Stories all qualify for this challenge, but I’m adding The Yield by Tara June Winch to the list as I’ve been hearing some great things about it from my favourite Australian bloggers.


Margaret Atwood Reading Month is hosted by two of my favourite bloggers, Naomi at Consumed by Ink and Marcie at Buried in Print. They have been celebrating the work of Canada’s finest since 2018 and have a host of great reading tips plus a Bingo Card coming soon.

I have been threatening to take part in this challenge since it started and my unread copy of Maddaddam is lurking, unloved and unread on my shelf, so hopefully this will be the year I get it read!

So there we have it! A packed month awaits. If I get even half of these read I’ll be delighted, but my plan is to read at least one book for each challenge. Are you taking part in any of these challenges this November? Or do you know of any other reading challenges that I’ve left out? I’d love to hear!

Reading Challenge

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

77 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Wow, that is a lot of planning, good for you Cathy. I am just continuing with my Christmas reading and trying to fit in some books to finish up my yearly challenges (Popsugar, Finish a Series, Non-Fiction). I guess I am doing non-fiction November because I have several books to read to finish up that challenge. Enjoy all your upcoming books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How organised! I’m exhausted,but simultaneously impressed, Cathy! I’ve made a decision to eschew pretty much all reading challenges bar two or three over the year, but if I do join in any it will always be on the spur of the moment. But yet, I’m a teensy bit tempted, and I do like drawing up Venn diagrams… 😁


  3. Cathy, thank you so much for those kind words!! And I’m so excited you’ll take part in Nonfiction November again this year! I really liked Not a Novel, I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it. It was some of the most beautiful memoir writing I’ve read this year.

    And I LOVE Stasiland! Such a fantastic, atmospheric book. Excited to hear your thoughts on that one too. And thanks again for sharing and joining in Nonfiction November! Good luck with all your November challenges 🙂


  4. I, too, have been vaguely thinking about how busy November is looking, and I hadn’t even remembered German Lit. month (nor have I ever done Australian authors). I always take part in Novellas in November — Laura F. is the only previous host that I know of; I’ve thought about taking it over myself, but I don’t want to step on any toes and I’m also not gifted at making feature images or attracting people to challenges. I usually manage a goodly stack of novella-length fiction AND nonfiction in the month of November, one year even the equivalent of a book a day. And I will definitely read at least one Atwood book. I have Wilderness Tips on the shelf but could get others from the library. Nonfiction November I’m less drawn to simply because I read and review quite a lot of nonfiction as it is (about 40% of my year’s reading), but I do like their prompts and might try to fit one in.

    What a shame that no book was in the exact centre of your Venn diagram! You’ve found some clever overlaps, though. Stasiland was a great book, the kind of nonfiction narrative that reads as smoothly as fiction. I read The Day of the Locust last year and didn’t like it as much as Miss Lonelyhearts, but West is certainly worth reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haha! This is great! I love your diagram! I have also been trying to figure out how to hit a couple of events with one book, but am not having much luck. Partly because, at this time of year, I also have my Giller books on the go. But I absolutely love reading the novellas, so I’m going to try and go for that one. I actually tried to find an Australian novella so I could join in Aus Month, but didn’t have any luck with what we’ve got at the library. But it was fun looking. Planning is almost as fun as the reading!
    I hope you’re able to reach your goal, but at least you will have fun trying! Happy Nonstop November! (“Nonstop November” is a term I stole from Paula at The Book Jotter. 🙂 )


  6. Your diagram is terrific! And I love your comment above, about how at least one can control one’s reading choices. (Thanks for including a mention of #MARM; I’ve got my stack of books at hand. If you do read Maddaddam this year, you’ll be all set for the mini-series!)


  7. I never hosted Novellas in November 😛 but I am an enthuiast and will probably post this year! If either of you have the incliination to formailze it you totally should!
    I’m planning to participate in MARM for the first time, and in fact, the book I plan to read is also novella length, so there you go. I’m all over this. It’s “Good Bones” which might even kinda-sort be non-fiction? It looks like poetry and fragments… I shall have to see.
    German and Australian literature (especially Australian) are blind spots for me. I read Go, Went, Gone by Erpenbeck and really liked it, and I’m intrigued by her memoir. I don’t think I’ve ever read an Australian novel, and I’ve had Terra Nullius on my shelf for quiet some time…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. omg so many amazing books that i wanna read too!! as soon as i saw that u were participating in Australian Literature Month i thought THE YIELD and then i scrolled down and there it was lol. Its at the very top of my TBR right now so hopefully ill get to it soon (i listened to a sample of the audiobook and it was so compelling) 👌 Also really wanna get to Territory of Light as i have a soft spot for Japanese lit — i hope your challenge-focused reading month is a wild success haha ☺


  9. Very impressed by your diagram! It’s criminal for obvious reasons, but I’m only participating in German Lit and NFN… ease my conscience with the fact that I do read a lot of Aus lit throughout the year 🙂


  10. Thanks for the heads-up… I don’t do challenges, but I do try to fit in something for Novellas in November, and Non Fiction November and since I’m always reading OzLit anyway, it’s easy to find overlap.
    LOL I’m racking my brains to see is I can come up with an Australian-German non-fiction novella but I assume since novellas are by definition narrative prose fiction i.e. not non-fiction, that it needs to be a work of creative non-fiction and I don’t read much of that.
    But I can help a little with OzLit-German overlap: on my blog, click on Diversity in the top menu where I identify the heritage of the Australian authors I’ve reviewed, and scroll down to Germany. My recommendation of the five that are there is TGH Strehlow’s epic story of his dying father’s quest to get medical help in the Outback in 1922. (Carl Strehlow with his wife Frieda Keysser was a German missionary in Central Australia). The book is called Journey to Horseshoe Creek and it is magnificent. It would tick the box for NF November, German LM and Australia LM, three birds with one stone!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m exhausted just reading your plans.:). If I can, I’ll do Non Fiction November again and Australian Reading Month (For the first time). But it will be probably just one book for each since I’ve found I don’t do very well when my reading is too structured.


  12. Hooray, nice Venn Diagram!

    I am doing Non-Fic November and Aus LIt Month. This is handy as I have one Australian novel on my TBR and the first part of the TBR is made up of non-fiction, as is a lot of my NetGalley shelf. I love Non-Fict Nov though and found a load of people to follow (and books to wishlist) when I did it for the first time last year.


  13. Thank you for the shout for AusReading Month & for reminding me of MARM. I’ve been meaning to read The Penelopiad for ages & was saving it for just such a reading event. It may even classify as a novella it’s so slim?

    I also have Stasiland saved for Nov, do thrilled to see it will work for 3 reading events in one go!!

    Im really hoping you start a run of Venn diagrams 😊


  14. Nonfiction November is my very favourite. I look forward to reading only nonfiction for a whole month AND adding a million titles to my list. The Stranger Beside Me is mindblowingly good. Also really enjoyed Trick Mirror!

    It’s gotta be because November is dark and cold and there’s not much else going on!

    You have a lot on your plate next month!


  15. Oh my goodness! I had no idea there were SO MANY! I was only across Non-Fiction November, and I’ve planned my reading and reviews accordingly… whoops. Particularly disturbing given that I’m Australian, I’d not even heard that there was a month for our literature. Love your picks, though, all winners! Enjoy!


  16. Hello Cathy,
    I’m a newby — thanks for looking at my blog, Little Smackerel. I thoroughly recommend Helen Garner’s The Spare Room and will be interested to know how you find The Yield — a very interesting structure. I’d never thought of using a venn diagram to plan my reading — brilliant! My partner has a library of about 30,000 books… so I know what it’s like to be surrounded by reading! Jennifer


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