Category Archives: Challenges

#NewYearBooks Wrap-up Day #SundaySalon

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeGood morning, one and all — and especially the Sunday Salon and New Year’s Resolution Challenge participants. Welcome to the final link-up for the 2015 New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Link your progress reports and book reviews or play along in the comments. How are your New Year’s resolutions going, one month into 2015?

Besides this link-up post, we’re also celebrating the end of the challenge and the beginning of a new month with a Twitter chat tonight. Check out all the details in this post, especially the giveaways!

The goal I set for my New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge was four books to support three resolutions. And, I met it!

Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes
I love the castle in the clouds in the metaphor and the subtitle

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield was a book about combating resistance. It’s especially good for writers and other creative types, but helpful for any goal that generates resistance including ones related to health and social change. This was our Read Along book and we rounded out our discussion yesterday with talk of muses, territories, and putting in the work. I intended this book to support all three of my resolutions and it has been very helpful.

A Blueprint for Your Castle in the CloudsMake the Inside of Your Head Your Favorite Place to Be by Barbara Sophia Tammes did the trick to help my meet my resolution to Improve my Mood. I’m also sleeping better! When I can’t sleep, I go to my Castle in the Clouds instead of fretting about things.

A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus helped with my resolution to Live Healthier. But I know I’ll need more help with that resolution, so I’ll continue reading books to support my healthy lifestyle as part of the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge.

Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier helped me with my resolution to Write the Darn Book! Well, it helped a little. It turned out it was more for people who haven’t figured out that the darn book is there Great Work Project.

What books have you read so far in 2015 that are helping with your New Year goals, resolutions, and projects?

Hope to see you at the #NewYearBooks Twitter chat tonight at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian.



Live Healthier Resolution #NewYearBooks #SundaySalon

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeGood morning, one and all — and especially the Sunday Salon and New Year’s Resolution Challenge participants.

We’re into the last week of January — how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? This is our second-to-last link-up for the New Year’s Resolution Challenge. There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

I completed the book I wanted to read for my Live Healthier resolution. I’ll link to the review of A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus below. From the perspective of my resolution, the book assured me that when I’m at the top of my game I’m doing pretty well — which is motivating. I’ve been motivated with New Year energy this month, so I’ve been at the top of my game. Now, I just need to keep it up!

Thinfluence by Walter WillettFor me, I know from experience that motivation isn’t enough. I need structure. That’s why I set up the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge of 2015, so that I’ll keep reading books like this for the whole year. My next pick will directly help me build structure to sustain my healthy life choices — Thinfluence by Walter Willett, Malissa Wood, and Dan Childs. On the cover, thinfluence is defined as “the powerful and surprising effect friends, family, work, and environment have on weight.” Walter Willett is one of my heroes in the weight loss world for consistently looking at the scientific research and pulling out what has been proven to work and what hasn’t. He’s a voice for reason in the face of whatever the latest diet trend is.

So, I have two books left to meet my New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier proved to be a workbook, which is a bit more effort than just reading. I’m getting some good results, so I’ll keep plugging along with it.

My last book is our Read Along book for the New Year, The War of Art. It’s a short book — you could still catch up if you want to join us for the last discussion. Let me know if you want to participate. I’ll send out discussion questions on Wednesday in advance of our final discussion post on Saturday.

A Twitter Chat. Next Sunday, we’ll chat about The War of Art, creativity, and our New Year goals in a Twitter Chat. Join us on February 1 at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian. It will be a great way to start the second month of 2015 energized to continue making it a great year.

In order to spread the word more widely about the Read Along, the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge, and the Twitter chat, I’m linking this post to two Sunday link-ups. Check out Small Victories Sunday at Mom’s Small Victories for posts about living well. The Spread the Love Linky Party collects bookish posts.



One Book Done, Three to Go #NewYearBooks #SundaySalon

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeFor many of us participating Sunday Salon and the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge, it’s our first long weekend of 2015! This is a great time to re-group and re-energize our New Year’s Resolutions. I know I’ll spend part of my weekend working through the book Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier in the hope that it will help with my resolution, Write the Darn Book!

Would a book help you with your New Year’s Resolutions? Join the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge! There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

I finished A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes and it really did help with my resolution to Improve my Mood. I’ll link the review below.

I’m still working on A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, as well as Do More Great Work.

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldA group of us are doing a The War of Art Read Along to get the New Year started right by combating the Resistance that keeps us from our goals. It’s a short book, so there’s still plenty of time to join in. I’ll email the second set of questions later today in advance of our discussion post on Wednesday. Let me know if you want a preview of the questions.

Join us on February 1 to discuss creativity, resistance, and New Year goals during a Twitter chat. We’ll gather at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian.

Have you read any books that help with your New Year goals, resolutions, and projects?



2015 Week One Report #NewYearBooks

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeWe just finished our first full week of 2015! I hope every one participating in Sunday Salon and the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge got the year off to a great start!

Are your New Year’s Resolutions still going strong? Would a book help? Join the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge! There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldSome of us are reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield to get the New Year started right. Don’t miss yesterday’s announcement of the giveaway of The War of Art and other creativity books by Steven Pressfield. We started our discussion yesterday — but it’s a short book and we have the whole month. There’s still plenty of time to join us.

I’ve already finished one of the other books I’m reading for the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge — A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes. I haven’t written a review yet, partly because I keep consulting it like a reference book, so I don’t feel finished with it. I’ll try to get a review up next week.

I started the other two books I mean to read for The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus is a provocative but helpful book. I’ll come away with a handful of things to work on in 2015 — and some that I’ll decide not to worry about this year. Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier turned out to be a lousy bathtub book — I really need to work through it, not just read it. So, I’m going to have to figure out a time and space for that book.

Have you read any books that help with your New Year goals, resolutions, and projects?

Join us on February 1 to discuss creativity, resistance, and New Year goals during a Twitter chat. We’ll gather at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian.



Happy New Year! report #NewYearBooks

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeHappy New Year, one and all! I hope every one participating in Sunday Salon and the New Year’s Resolution Reading challenge is having a great first weekend of 2015.

Are you thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this week? Would a book help you get off to a good start on them in 2015? Join the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge! There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldWe’re doing a read along of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — details in the New Year’s Day announcement. It’s a great book for tackling any creative project — and, really, is there any project that doesn’t involve some manner of creativity?

I started my re-read of The War of Art on New Year’s Day and it’s already made me more aware of my resistance to doing the things I want to do. Now, I just need to figure out what to do about it!

Besides The War of Art, I chose 3 other books for my New Year’s Resolution reading challenge. I’ve yet to start A Short Guide to A Long Life by David B. Agus. I’ll try to at least open that up today. I started Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t seem quite right for the holidays. Time to pick it up again.


Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes
I love the castle in the clouds in the metaphor and the subtitle

The book that did seem right for the holidays was A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes. This was the book that I chose for my resolution Improve my Mood and, I’m pleased to report, it’s working! So far, the most effective room in my castle is the Head Office where I can put any situation in files labeled with feelings to help me figure out what I’m feeling. I’ve always been more comfortable with thoughts than feelings. The file metaphor has helped me understand and label my feelings. I’m discovering new things every day!

What have you read this week that supports your 2015 projects, resolutions, or goals?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll



The War of Art by Steven Pressfield #ReadAlong #NewYearBooks

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeHappy New Year! Are you setting New Year’s Resolutions or goals? Check out the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge and choose a book or two to help you meet your goals.

We’re doing a Read Along in conjunction with the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge — feel free to do either one or both, whatever works for you. If  you are participating in the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge, go ahead and count The War of Art as one of your books — I am!

Our Read Along book is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The subtitle is Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. But, I’m not sure even that is broad enough to explain how useful this book can be for almost any goal or project you might have in mind, whether you think of it as creative or not.

Review of The War of Art by Steven PressfieldDo you feel resistance about your resolution, project, or goal? You want to lose weight, but you’re not sure you have the will power. You want a new job, but it’s darn scary out there on the job hunt scene. You want to get organized, but it all just seems too overwhelming. The War of Art can help. That kind of makes it sound like self-help, though, and it doesn’t really come across that way. The War of Art reads as a series of thoughtful essays that make you think about ways you might improve your life.

This is a slim book. I read it too quickly the first time. With the Read Along, we’ll have the luxury of reading it slowly and considering how we can apply it to our lives right now and in the future. Here’s the schedule.

Now. Sign up. If you have the time and place, write a sign-up post and link it below. That’s the best way to get more people to join us. If not, that’s okay, too. But do leave a comment if you’re joining us so I have your email address to send discussion questions.

Book 1 (through page 57). I’ll email discussion questions to every one who signs up on January 7. We’ll have a link-up on January 10th. That’s the day we’ll discuss Book 1 in our own posts and/or in comments on all of our posts.

Book 2 (through page 101). I’ll email the discussion questions on January 18th. The link-up will be on January 21st.

Book 3 (through the end). I’ll email the discussion questions on January 28th. The link-up will be on January 31st.

I hope you’ll join us. This was the most useful book I read in 2014 and I’m looking forward to revisiting it at the beginning of 2015!



British Reading Challenges

After posting my reading challenges this morning, I spent much of the day visiting other bloggers’ challenge posts. That’s a great way to find more tempting challenges. Two of them fit right into my British Isles Friday meme, so I had to sign up for them! I’ve still got a couple of months of posts about our trip to England, but after that I’ll be looking for books to review for British Isles Friday. I should get lots of ideas from the participants of these two challenges.

Reading England 2015 logoReading England 2015

This is a county-by-county challenge. I’ll sign up for Level One — to read 1 to 3 books and aim to read books set in 3 different English counties. That will be a bit of a challenge for me. I read a lot of books set in England in 2014 and almost all were in London.

The Reading England challenge is hosted by Behold the Stars. There’s a helpful list of classics listed by county at the sign up post as well.


British Books Challenge logo

British Books Challenge

The British Books Challenge is to read 12 books by British authors in 2015. There are prizes! Although, only some are available to international bloggers — which, in this case, is defined by those of us outside of the UK.

Twelve seems like a lot of books but I read way more British books than that in 2014 and there are quite a few books that I wanted to read and never got to. So, I’m hoping that I can catch up on some of those.

Reading Challenges & Resolutions #Top10 #NewYearBooks #HealthBooks

Top Ten TuesdayMy favorite time of the reading year — choosing the challenges for the coming year. This time, I’m doing it in conjunction with A Month of Faves and Top Ten Tuesday. Today’s topic:  Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015 — bookish, blogging or otherwise! That seems like a good Top Ten topic for signing up for my reading challenges of 2015 along with talking about my resolutions.

I set three resolutions in my sign-up post for The New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.

Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading Challenge1. Live Healthier.

2. Improve my Mood.

3. Write the Darn Book!

Check out my sign-up post for the books that I plan to read to support those goals.

4. The “Live Healthier” resolution is going to need more than a month’s worth of reading, so I’m signing up for The Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge 2015 at the Marathon level of 15 books or more. That’s a lot, but some will be quick-reading cookbooks.

5. The cookbooks will also work for the Foodies Read 2015 Challenge hosted by Vicki of I’d Rather Be Reading at the Beach. I’ll sign up at the Sous-Chef level of 9 to 13 books.

6. Nearly all of the books I read for The New Year’s Resolution Reading ChallengeThe Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge 2015, and Foodies Read 2015 Challenge will be nonfiction. I also enjoy nonfiction on other topics like travel and history, so I’ll sign up for  The Nonfiction Reading Challenge at the Master level of 16-20 books. That one is hosted by The Introverted Reader.

What's in a Name Challenge 20157. I get a kick out of the What’s in a Name Challenge every year. I rarely seek out books to meet the requirements, but it’s fun to discover that a book I’ve just read counts. Check out the cool categories for the 2015 challenge on The Worm Hole blog.

8. I got over my fear of chunksters in 2014, meeting my goal to read 4 of them, so I’ll sign up for the 2015 Chunkster Challenge hosted by Vasilly of 1330V. I’ll aim for 4 books again in 2015.


Diversity on the Shelf 20159. I predict that 2015 will be a year when diversity is on our minds, so I’m signing up for the Diversity on the Shelf 2015 challenge hosted by My Little Pocketbooks. I’ll sign up for the 2nd Shelf level of 7 to 12 books.

10. For my last resolution / challenge, I’ll set my annual goal on Goodreads of 50 books. I sometimes go a lot over that. For 2014, the number currently sits at 72 and I might get it to 73 by the end of New Year’s Eve. But, I like to set this at a number that I’m pretty sure I’ll achieve no matter what happens in 2015.

What resolutions, goals, and challenges are you committing to for 2015?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

The Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge 2015

HealthBooks2015_200x224The Challenge: Read any book that supports your healthy lifestyle. Define “health” as broadly as you need to improve your life — physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

The Dates: This challenge runs for the whole year, January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. Sign up any time during the year. If you’d like a shorter-term challenge to get the year started off right, check out the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge.

The Levels: Levels make a challenge more fun! Let’s go with running-themed levels (even though I don’t run and you don’t have to participate in this challenge):

Fun Run: 1 to 4 books
5K: 5-9 books
10K: 10-14 books
Marathon: 15 books or more

The Rules:

You don’t have to be a blogger to participate. Feel free to link to your Goodreads review or put a review in the comments on the Health Books 2015 Reviews page.

Books counted for other challenges can count for the Healthy Lifestyle Books challenge, too. I suggest two of the challenges that inspired this one: The Foodies Read Challenge hosted by Vicki of I’d Rather Be Reading at the Beach and The Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader.

We’ll use #HealthBooks on Twitter for discussion and to share links.

The link-up below is for sign-up posts. Please consider writing a sign-up post — it helps encourage others to join us! Link book reviews at the Health Books 2015 Reviews page. A link to that page will remain in the top menu of Joy’s Book Blog all year so that you can find it again.

Questions? This is my first time hosting a year-long reading challenge. I might have missed something….



New Year Report #NewYearBooks

logo for The Sunday SalonI love the week between Christmas and the New Year — a calm oasis of time to close the old year and prepare for the new. In fact, I like it so much that I almost always extend it to the 12th Day of Christmas (January 6) and, occasionally, the whole month of January!


Graphic for New Year's Resolution Reading ChallengeAre you thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this week? Would a book help you get off to a good start on them in 2015? Join the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge! There are more details at the sign-up post. Or, you can just jump right in here. The link-up below is for progress reports, book reviews, and your best suggestions of books that support common New Year’s Resolutions. Or, you can play along in the comments.

Watch this week for more details about our January read along of the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — much wisdom for pushing past the resistance to complete any project.

Also, this week, I’ll set up a year-long challenge to help with those ever-popular “get healthier” resolutions — the Healthy Lifestyle Books Reading Challenge of 2015.

Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes
I love the castle in the clouds in the metaphor and the subtitle

I made some progress on reading two of the four books that I chose last week in my sign-up post for the New Year’s Resolution Reading Challenge. Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier is strong and inspiring, but it didn’t feel quite right in the days around Christmas. So, I switched to A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds: Make the Inside of Your Head Your Favorite Place to Be by Barbara Sophia Tammes and that’s been a lovely experience. It’s already helping with my insomnia — I’m sleeping a bit better and, when I’m not sleeping, I have such pleasant places to visit that I don’t mind so much.

How are you ending 2014 and beginning 2015?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll