A bit before New Year’s, inspired by annual reading challenges like the POPSUGAR and BookRiot ones, I had an idea: what if something like this, but based entirely on linguistic features of the book titles? My first ideas were syntax-based, but with a little more brainstorming I came up with ideas to represent a number of other linguistic subfields as well. And then I decided to pare down my loong list of ideas to just 10, in recognition of the fact that many of us are too busy to do a lot of reading and those who do read a lot may already be planning to do other challenges. I hope that the shortened list is doable, but also, if you like this idea but don’t feel up to checking off the whole list feel free to do just a few. This is for fun! There are no rules! I didn’t get around to writing this post until well into January, so I’m certainly not judging.

I thus present:

The 2022 Linguistic Reading Challenge

In 2022, Read a Book Whose Title…

  1. Is a prepositional phrase
  2. Starts and ends with your two favorite phonemes (of those available in the language you’re reading in)
  3. Contains a compound
  4. Involves lexical, syntactic, and/or scope ambiguity
  5. Contains apposition
  6. Contains a word with at least three morphemes
  7. Gives you an N400
  8. Has three consecutive consonants with the same place of articulation (intervening vowels are fine)
  9. Contains a relative clause
  10. Contains a word borrowed from a different language family

If you do this, I’d love to hear what books you pick for each of the items! Tweet at me or something! StoryGraph users can also join the challenge here.