Category: DCL Reading Challenge

2017 DCL Reading Challenge

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-24-25-amThis time of year is perfect for reflection and looking ahead. What do you want to achieve in the new year? If some of your New Year’s resolutions include reading, we have a great challenge for you! Our reading challenge is back with new challenge items to encourage you to broaden your reading in 2017.

It’s simple to participate: Download our printable list. Read all 12 challenge items on the list. Fill out the PDF and submit it to to be entered to win a prize. Here are the 12 challenge items for 2017:


Our staff is compiling lists of book suggestions to correspond with each challenge item. You do not have to read a book they suggest to complete the challenge; they are simply options to help you get started! Check back here to discover more ideas or walk into any of our DCL locations to chat with a staff member for a personalized recommendation.

Reading Challenge: Hard Science Fiction


There are only a few more months of 2016 left to go! How are you doing on the 2016 DCL Reading Challenge? This challenge encourages you to read beyond your favorite genres by exploring new themes and book categories, such as hard science fiction. This category of science fiction is characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy or technical detail. Expand your horizon by checking out one of these fascinating hard science fiction books:





Armada by Ernest Cline
Unsure what his life will amount to, our hero discovers that his one passion in life (the video game Armada) is the only thing standing between our species and certain destruction from an invading alien force. Spiritual successor to Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game and the movie The Last Star Fighter.








Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
All his life, Ender – like hundreds of other kids – has been preparing for war.  Children are trained to pilot unmanned ships against a ruthless extraterrestrial force, but the secrets Ender’s commanders are keeping from the child warriors are just as dangerous, if not more so.  Classic young adult tale of violence, choice, and morality.








The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Earth has been blown up to make way for a new space highway, and the last human is flung out into the stars on a crazy road trip, learning firsthand that we are definitely not alone in the universe. Brimming with British humor and otherworldly twists.









I, Robot by Issac Asimov
Series of short stories written by one of the giants of science-fiction, all about robots and humans and the futuristic worlds they live in.  Sometimes utopia, sometimes frightening, definitely thought provoking.










The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson
An incredible epic in three parts, told from multiple perspectives about the terraforming and colonization of Mars.  The series has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Clarke, Locus, and Nebula.










The Martian by Andy Weir
Tale of survival harsher than any castaway or lost traveler on earth: astronaut Mark Watney has been marooned on Mars. Science fiction so real it feels like science fact, but reads like an adventure.










Redshirts by John Scalzi
Imagine that you were trapped in a world very like Star Trek: action, adventure, command crew members sometimes trailing off into meandering monologues, and wearing a red shirt on an away mission means certain death.  A silly and heartfelt romp in classic science fiction tropes and the ensigns trying to survive them.










Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Gorgeously drawn and written, this critically acclaimed graphic novel follows two traitors from opposite sides of a war who live on the run with their new daughter.  Intensely thematic space opera; think Game of Thrones meets Star Wars.










Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
When the moon splits apart in the sky, humanity scrambles to find a way to avoid certain death as fragments fall from space.  Some escape in an orbital “ark”, but most don’t.  In a story that spans thousands of years beyond the desolation of Earth, this speculative future is breathtaking in scope and realism.










Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
A man born on Mars and raised by the zen-like Martians returns to Earth, and the world is never the same again.  Part sci-fi, part political/religious satire, and one of the most classic and enduring examples of the genre.










The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
One act of horror committed decades ago can send ripples of reaction and causality across worlds. Between Earth, a virtual game world, and a place far beyond our planet, this is a complex and mind bending take on classic sci-fi by an excellent Chinese novelist.










The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The New People are not like normal people.  They are engineered, grown, and programmed slaves that serve mankind in a future of scarcity and bio-terrorism.  Emiko is a Windup Girl, one of the New People

Reading Challenge: Books in Translation

readingchallenge150Are you taking the DCL 2016 Reading Challenge? One of the challenge items is to read a book that has been translated into English. There’s an entire world of great literature out there! Get your literary passport stamped, by traveling to countries around the world through these translated works:






Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Translated from the German by Anthea Bell

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly it is Gwyneth who, in the middle of class, takes a sudden spin to a different era!









The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Translated from the French by Richard Howard

Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. The Little Prince describes his journey from planet to planet, each tiny world populated by a single adult. It’s a wonderfully inventive sequence, which evokes not only the great fairy tales but also monuments of postmodern whimsy.








Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Translated from the Spanish by John Rutherford

Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.









Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Translated from the Spanish by Carol and Thomas Christensen

Each chapter of screenwriter Esquivel’s utterly charming interpretation of life in turn-of-the-century Mexico begins with a recipe–not surprisingly, since so much of the action of this exquisite first novel (a bestseller in Mexico) centers around the kitchen, the heart and soul of a traditional Mexican family.







The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Translated from the Italian by William Weaver

The year is 1327; Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, and the empirical insights of Roger Bacon.





41zbeIroRRLThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Translated from the French by Robin Buss

The victim of betrayal by friends and an insidious plot to hide another’s perfidy, innocent young sailor Edmond Dantes is imprisoned for life at the island fortress of the Chateau d’If. After fourteen years, he makes a harrowing escape and works his way to the island of Monte Cristo, where he recovers abundant treasures whose location were made known to him by a fellow prisoner. Wealthy beyond imagination, Dantes sets about engineering the downfall and ruin of the men who stole his youth and robbed him of everything that he held dear in life.







Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Translated from the Russian by Max Hayward and Manya Harari

Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds.







The Three-Body Problem (Book 1 of the Three-Body Trilogy) by Cixin Liu

Translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu

With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.




1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 was an instant best seller in Murakami’s native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.







The Dinner by Herman Koch

Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett

A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened…







The Last Execution by Jesper Wung-Sung

Translated from the Danish by Lindy Falk Van Rooyen

Based on the chilling true story of the last execution in Denmark’s history, this award-winning, mesmerizing novel asks a question that plagues a small Danish town: does a fifteen-year-old boy deserve to be put to death? This remarkable, wrenching story is told with the alternating perspectives of eleven different bystanders–one per hour–as the clock ticks ever closer to the moment when the boy must face his fate.




A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon–the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul.




The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Translated from the German by Kevin Wiliarty

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.  When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.





My Brilliant Friend (Book 1 of the Neapolitan Series) by Elena Ferrante

Translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

Make 2016 the Year of Reading!

enhanced-buzz-wide-1148-1420484135-7January is almost over; how are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? One resolution we always can get behind is a reading one. Whether it is reading more (20 minutes before bed every night or 50 books in the year) or differently (the classics or female non-white authors), it is something we actually enjoy completing unlike a resolution to eat healthier by cutting out chocolate (the horror!).

We have a reading challenge for the year to get you out of your reading rut. We selected 12 distinct categories that will encourage you to read outside your normal genre comfort zone.

To participate, simply print off the DCL 2016 Reading Challenge List. Write down each book you read that fits in the category. (Yes, multitasker, you can include one title for two different categories if it fits!). Then take a photo or email a scan of  your completed list to to be entered to win a DCL swag bag plus an autographed book.

Let us know about your progress along the way by posting on social media using the hashtag, #DCLReadingChallenge.

Do you have any reading resolutions this year? Let us know in the comments!