The Pre-Printing Press Challenge

Elena Gwynne at All Booked Up has got a challenge for the likes of me!  She is hosting a Pre-Printing Press Challenge for 2014.  Elena says:

I've seen a lot of challenges for reading romances, fiction, award winning books and many more. Challenges on various themes (King Arthur etc.) and challenges to fit certain criteria, such as the What's In A Name Challenge.
What I haven't seen is a challenge for reading books that pre-date the Printing Press. There's so many good pieces of writing that fit in this category (and I'm not asking you to read them in the original language unless you want to). So, for my first reading challenge, the pre-printing press challenge, I'm asking people to give these ancient and medieval books a try.

I started running this challenge back in 2009 and ran it again in 2010. Since then, I haven't run it, but I'm going to give it another try this year.

The rules of the Pre-Printing Press Challenge:

  1. All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.
  2. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  3. Books can be translated into the language of your choice.
  4. All the books you've chosen must be read by December 31, 2014.
  5. You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you're feeling particularly ambitious.
  6. The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don't have to set one when you join.
  7. Post your blog address where you'll be posting your comments on your choice of books in the comments of this post when you join, and tell me how many books you've chosen. I'll set up a link to participating blogs from here.
  8. Above all, Have fun.
The challenge starts December 1st. 

Well this sounds like lots of fun!  I think I'll focus mostly on medieval texts, but I have a couple of ancient ones in mind too.  If I get really ambitious I'll try to read my beautiful, untouched Landmark Thucydides.  I had to read Thucydides once in college and probably didn't understand a word (reading the entire Peloponnesian War in a week is not conducive to understanding).  So I am signing up for 10 books.  I don't think I'll get started until the New Year.  Still, you never know.


  1. I have the Landmark Thucydides as well, also untouched. Good luck with the challenge, and I hope you are successful with your ambitions.

    Thanks again for joining too.

  2. What a good idea for a challenge. I hope to read some relevant books next year - mostly Icelandic, but also Chretien de Troyes, now that you have suggested it. Who knows, we'll see, etc.

  3. Oh, Icelandic, what a good idea. I've been meaning to get to that one book of sagas on my shelf for a while...


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