The Arthurian Literature Reading Challenge 2014

Jean over at Howling Frog Books has put together this great challenge for 2014:  The Arthurian Literature Reading Challenge.

The rules are as follows:

1.  The challenge runs from January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

2.  Sign-ups are open until November 30, 2014.

3.  To sign up, grab the button, write a post, and comment ON THE PAGE.
     Include the link to your sign-up post for it to count.  Keep track of your 
     reading and write a wrap-up post when you’re done, which you will submit
     at the end of the year.  She will follow your blog, and you follow hers, and
     you can discuss as you read.

4.  Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.

5.  Book can be translated into the language of your choice, though if you are
     game for trying out some Middle English or Old French, go for it!

6.  Arthurian “cousins” count.  If you wish to read up on Tristan and Iseult or
     Parzival, or go haring off after the Fisher King, feel free.

7.  It is OK to read something pretty tangential that still deals with the
    Arthurian tradition, such as Charles Williams’ War In Heaven.  If you can
    make a reasonable case for it, go ahead.  Still, she’d like to keep the main 
    focus on the medieval works.

8.  She has categorized works by date into Old (pre-1800), Modern (1800-
     1950), and Recent (1950+).  If you wish to read Recent works, that’s fine,
     but you must read more Old and Modern works than Recent.  No reading
     all of Mary Stewart (great as she is) and nothing else!  Don’t worry, quite
     a few works are short and/or not difficult to read.

9.  Levels will consist of:

     Page:  read 2 works, one of which may be Recent
     Squire:  read 3 – 4 works, one of which may be Recent and one must be
     Knight:  read 5 – 6 works, two of which may be Recent and one must be
     Paladin:  read more than 6 works, two of which may be Recent and two 
                     must be Old, unless you include a non-fiction work (see Bonus)

     Bonus achievement:  read a non-fiction work analyzing Arthurian 

I am going to aim for Squire with 3 -4 works and hope to reach the level of Knight with 5 – 6 works.  My list:

1.  Once and Future King – T.H. White

2.  The Way of King Arthur – Christopher Hibbert





Some of my choices I will take from the following books:


I’m really looking forward to this challenge and learning more about King Arthur and his knights!

14 thoughts on “The Arthurian Literature Reading Challenge 2014

  1. You have some excellent choices. I would have chosen The Once and Future King, but I allowed my 17-year old to keep it since he read it a couple years ago for school, and it mysteriously disappeared. Some day I hope to read Mallory and Tolkien. I read The Fairie Queene to my kids in the archaic language, but I needed to use Sparknotes for comprehension. We loved it, though. Good luck!

  2. Hi Ruth! I have read Once and Future King before but one of my book groups is going to be reading it, so it's time for a re-read. I'm excited about it though. LOL! Perhaps you can "borrow" it back from your son; the only time I don't mind my books "disappearing" is when I see them added to my daughter's collection. Isn't the Fairie Queene long? I assumed that it was a short book but when I was browsing around, I thought I read somewhere that it is over 900 pages. I'm impressed that you tackled it by reading it aloud to your children! I quaked in my boots when I saw the length, and then decided to include it anyway because it is one book that I really want to read. I will keep the Sparks Notes in mind!

  3. I forgot to mention that I read Book One! Once I ordered all four books-in-one from the library with the intent to read it to my kids when they were much younger. I returned that thing so fast b/c I knew I would never be able to read it to them. But I definitely am curious about the other three books and hope to tackle them some day.

  4. Great list, Cleo! This is going to be a lot of fun. I think I've read the firstbook of FQ twice, but never gotten farther except in an old storybook version, which does not count. Someday I will manage it! If anyone is a C. S. Lewis fan, he did some lectures on Spenser that are wonderful motivation to read FQ.

  5. I'm a huge Lewis fan, and I didn't know about the lectures so thanks for the tip! I have his commentary on Paradise Lost that I hope to get around to reading some day.

    I'm trying to cut down on my "chunksters" for next year (too much Dickens) so I may have room for one super-chunkster. Fairie Queene, here I come …….??? We'll see …….

  6. Thanks so much for this recommendation! I can't believe that I'd never even heard of the Spencer's book. Perhaps I will ask for it for Christmas. It isn't inexpensive but I'm certain the cost will be worth it. You just can't be disappointed when it comes to Lewis.

    Great reviews! I agree with you; a lavishly illustrated Fairie Queene would certainly give me the push to pick it up and start reading!

  7. I'll be interested to know what you make of The Faerie Queene. I read in last winter – it was so very very difficult for me! Not a success!

    Le Morte D'Arthur is also on my TBR pile 🙂

  8. With regard to The Faerie Queene, the mental hurdle for me is its size. And I think I should read Jean's recommendation of Lewis' lectures on Spenser before I begin, so I'm wondering if I will have time to get to it.

    My Goodreads group, The Dead Writer's Society is reading Le Morte d'Arthur in January if you'd like to join us! 🙂

  9. Cool stuff! You have a really nice blog here 🙂
    I'm joining in on this challenge tomorrow – I need some time to write an intro post…
    Also, on a completely different topic, I'm glad to find another C.S. Lewis fan! I haven't written too much on my own blog about him, but considering that his is my favorite author of all time, he will find his way into a post someday. 🙂


  10. Thanks for the complement, Sophia! I'll be watching for your post.

    Perhaps you might consider joining the C.S. Lewis project or are you overloaded with challenges like the rest of us and just can't add one more? I'm trying to control myself but I keep seeing other challenges that would fit in nicely with the challenges I already have.

    Your favicon/avatar is really great! May I say that you seem extremely intelligent and well-read for your age? 😉 Hee hee!

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to hear from you and have you join in the discussion!