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Last year I read War and Peace - it has 365 chapters, so fit neatly into one year at a chapter a day. It was nice having a challenge to finish such an epic book and gave me a reason to read every day.

I needed to come up with a challenge for 2013 (although it’ll probably spill into 2014). After writing down a list of books I wanted to read, I noticed that there was a string of authors with surnames starting with consecutive letters of the alphabet. I started expanding the list to fit other letters. The only rule is that I can’t have read the author before.

So, this is the start of the A-Z Book Challenge. My first three books were Money by Martin Amis, Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

My favourite was probably Money. It was interesting and fun to read an author who has been influential to other authors I’ve read in ways I didn’t realise. The central character, John Self, was one of the strongest and most fascinating narrators I’ve read in a while.

Labyrinths took me a while to get into. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve come across a lot of the ideas presented in other ways (e.g. science fiction movies), but some of the stories resonated. In particular, I loved The Form of the Sword, The Garden of Forking Paths and Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote. The last one in particular stuck with me, for some reason - maybe its relevance to copyright, plagiarism, etc. and the internet?

In Cold Blood was great. I went through it surprisingly fast - it was an easy read. I understand it’s probably more fiction than fact, but Perry Smith was a seriously likeable character(/person?).

Anyway, next up: The Book of Daniel by E. L. Doctorow.