Roof Beam Reader in 2016

As we head into December, many people have reached out to ask me about my reading plans for 2016, especially my annual TBR Pile Challenge, my Austen in August event, and other such things.

This year, I will be doing exactly three things with my blog:

  1. Hosting a Shakespeare reading event.
  2. Hosting/tracking a read-along of the Christian bible.
  3. Posting monthly updates (on personal things, other reading, articles written, etc.) .

As I work on my dissertation and teach full-time, there’s just not much time for anything else. Roof Beam Reader has thus been rather quiet this year, and will remain so in 2016.

This means I will not be hosting the TBR Pile Challenge in 2016. It’s been an amazing six years & I’ve been so thrilled by its success and popularity, but it’s too big a project for me right now. I will also not be hosting Austen in August. It’s been my favorite event of the year for the last few years, but it, too, is an incredibly complicated and time-consuming project, and it’s just not going to work for me next year.

I’ve also canceled my formal participation in The Classics Club. I’m a co-founder and current moderator of that group and plan to continue my work there to the extent possible, but any reading that I complete which corresponds to my original Classics Club Challenge list will likely be coincidental and will not be tracked (unless I think of it after the fact and mark it off as finished).

I will not be participating in any other challenges at any other blogs. Sorry! 

If, however, you’d like to join me in reading through Shakespeare (12 plays) or the Christian bible (cover-to-cover), then please click either of the links above to be directed to the sign-up posts for each! You’ll also find all the details for those events on their corresponding pages. 

I’d love to hear your plans for 2016. What are you looking forward to?

Reading the Bible as Literature


Welcome to the Sign-Up Post for the 2016 Reading the Bible Event!

About the Event: The Christian bible is one of the most influential texts in western literature. As someone who reads literature for pleasure/edification and who teaches Literature in English at the college level, I frequently re-familiarize myself with many historically rich texts from a variety of mythologies and cultures.

As such, I’ve read the Christian bible many times, but only twice from cover-to-cover. I usually revisit specific passages depending on what I’m working on at the time, or which political/philosophical debate I’m getting into, etc.  For 2016, I thought another cover-to-cover read through, with company this time, would be helpful and fun!

As a special note, I will be reading the bible as literature and crafting my posts as such. This challenge is not specific to nor exclusively meant for Christians; instead, it is for readers who are interested in learning more about a very important text in the western canon. As such, I invite anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of faith or lack thereof. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, Hindu, Agnostic, Mormon, Humanist? Come along!

What I would love is a lively and spirited discussion of the stories, philosophies, history, and cultural issues. We might discuss allegory, parables, comparative religion, metaphor, and symbolism to name just a few topics. The text will be treated respectfully and the discussions will follow in that same spirit — disparaging remarks about anyone’s beliefs will not be tolerated (and therefore all comments will be moderated). We’ll do our best!

1403190609407R48R5tYI’ll be reading from The Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV), illustrated by Gustave Doré and published by Barnes & Noble, but you can feel free to read any version you’d like. There are many newer editions that are much more “readable,” in my opinion. Keep in mind, of course, some textual changes have resulted in meaning changes as well, and of course the contemporary versions lose some of the poetic qualities.


The Reading Plan

  • January: Genesis 1 through Exodus 40
  • February: Leviticus 1 through Deuteronomy 4
  • March: Deuteronomy 5 through 1 Samuel 17
  • April: 1 Samuel 18 through 1 Chronicles 2
  • May: 1 Chronicles 3 through Esther 10
  • June: Job 1 through Psalms 89
  • July: Psalms 90 through Isaiah 17
  • August: Isaiah 18 through Ezekiel 8
  • September: Ezekiel 9 through Zechariah 14
  • October: Malachi 1 through Luke 18
  • November: Luke 19 through 1 Corinthians 8
  • December: 1 Corinthians 9 through Revelations 22


I will be reading the above list of titles during the months given. Furthermore, on the last day of each month (so, beginning December 31st 2015 for January 2016), a list of passages will be given for daily reading. This is really just to make it easier on myself; I find I can keep up with reading the bible, especially the rather dull bits, if I do a little bit every day. So, I’ll share this list with all participants every month & will base my weekly and monthly check-in posts on those daily goals.

Every Monday: I’ll post my thoughts on the passages that I read in the prior week, with some discussion questions, favorite quotes, questions, literary references that come to mind, etc. I hope these Monday posts will encourage discussion among those who are also reading along at a similar pace.

Month’s End: I will post an update with the books/verses that I read during the previous month and list the readings (chapter and verse) for the upcoming month in a “readings per day” format. My goal is to read about the same amount each day, week, and month, but you can do whatever you want! I hope these monthly posts will be another place for everyone to discuss their experience with the readings.


  • Sign-up with the Mister Linky Below.
  • Read along with me in a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule (whatever works for you) and participate in discussion as much or as little as you like.
  • Post your thoughts on the bible readings somewhere on your blog, Tumblr, Goodreads account, or in the comments on any given post.

I’m also hosting a read-along of 12 Shakespeare plays in 2016. It may be fun to see where Shakespeare alludes to the bible — I’ll try to cross-post as appropriate. Are you in!?

Seasons of Shakespeare Reading Event

Seasons of Shakespeare

Welcome to the Sign-Up Post for the 2016 Seasons of Shakespeare Reading Event!

About the Event: I love Shakespeare, but I find that I continue to read the same plays repeatedly, leaving out far too many. I also don’t make enough time for Shakespeare. Considering the Bard is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) influences on the English language and literature, this is just a shame.  So, I’ve come up with a plan that will encourage me to read 12 Shakespeare plays in 2016.

I’ve decided to pick a few for each of the four seasons. Most of these will be new to me, and I’d be happy to have anyone join me along, for one or all of them. I plan to read one Shakespeare play per month, but I’m not going to pin the list down that narrowly. Instead, I’ll pick three plays for each season and decide as I go along which of the three I’m in the mood for in the coming month. Get it?

I’ll be reading from the Arden Shakespeare collection, but feel free to use whichever version you like (No Fear Shakespeare, Folger, etc.).

The Seasonal Plan

Winter 2016 (January, February, March)

  • The Winter’s Tale
  • Richard II
  • Julius Caesar

Spring 2016 (April, May, June)

  • King John
  • Othello
  • The Taming of the Shrew

Summer 2016 (July, August, September)

  • King Lear
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Cymbeline

Autumn 2016 (October, November, December)

  • Henry IV, Part 1
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Coriolanus


I will be reading the above list of titles during the seasons given. I may or may not read them in the order listed, but I will try to read all three for each season during that season.

Every Saturday: I’ll post my thoughts on the Shakespeare play that I’m reading at that time, and with some discussion questions, favorite quotes, adaptations of interest, etc. I hope these Saturday posts will encourage discussion among those who are also reading that play at the time (or who plan to read it in the coming weeks, or who finished it the previous month, etc.).

The 1st of the Month: I will post an update with the Shakespeare play that I read during the previous month. My goal is to read one play per month, but that’s just my goal. You can do whatever you want! I hope these monthly posts will be another place for everyone to discuss their experience with the play(s).


  • Sign-up with the Mister Linky Below.
  • Read along with one or more of the Shakespeare plays that I read during the given season. You can feel free to read exactly the plays I do, at the times I do, or choose one each season instead of all three, or whatever you want, really. Just read and enjoy some Shakespeare!
  • Post your thoughts on the Shakespeare reads on your blog, Tumblr, Goodreads account, or in the comments on any given post.

So, what do you say? Ready to read Shakespeare with me? What’s your goal? 4 plays in 2016? All 12?

November Giveaway: The Shelf by Phyllis Rose

Hello, Readers!

In 2014, I was fortunate to have received dozens and dozens of books, from publishers, friends, authors, and contests. Among all of these acquisitions, however, were a number of duplicates.

So, in 2015, I’ve decided to feature one of these duplicate books each month, and offer that book as a giveaway to one of you! Yes, it’s The Year of Giveaways!

This month, the spotlight is on: The Shelf: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose


Can you have an Extreme Adventure in a library? Phyllis Rose casts herself into the wilds of an Upper East Side lending library in an effort to do just that. Hoping to explore the “real ground of literature,” she reads her way through a somewhat randomly chosen shelf of fiction, from LEQ to LES.

The shelf has everything Rose could wish for—a classic she has not read, a remarkable variety of authors, and a range of literary styles. The early nineteenth-century Russian classic A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov is spine by spine with The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Stories of French Canadian farmers sit beside those about aristocratic Austrians. California detective novels about a picaresque novel from the seventeenth century. There are several novels by a wonderful, funny, contemporary novelist who has turned to raising dogs because of the tepid response to her work.

In The Shelf, Rose investigates the books on her shelf with exuberance, candor, and wit while pondering the many questions her experiment raises and measuring her discoveries against her own inner shelf—those texts that accompany us through life. “Fairly sure that no one in the history of the world has read exactly this series of novels,” she sustains a sense of excitement as she creates a refreshingly original and generous portrait of the literary enterprise.

If you would like to win a copy of this fascinating book, here’s what you need to do:


  • Must be an e-mail or WordPress subscriber.
  • –Must be 13+ with parental permission if under 18.
  • –Winners must respond to e-mail within 48-hours or new winner selected.
  • –Winners chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.
  • -Giveaway ends at 11pm Central Time (USA) on the last day of the month.

Enter by Completing This Rafflecopter Form

Catching-Up: Book Review Party!

I’ve been way behind in posting updates on my reading/reviewing, but I have been publishing book reviews,thoughts and the like. So, for ease of reference AND to secure my own sanity, here’s a compilation of my Book Reviews published July – September: