December 2023 Mini-Challenge

December 2023 Mini-Challenge

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things…

This month’s mini-challenge has been inspired by the classic film, The Sound of Music — and more specifically, the song, My Favorite Things (sung by Julie Andrews’ character, Maria, in the middle of a thunderstorm!) This December reading challenge is made up of items featured within the song, and while the prompts are a little more abstract this month, we think it’s going to make an excellent opportunity to get creative and have some fun!

What is a mini-challenge:

Mini-challenges are small, month-long reading challenges. They usually contain two or three prompts built around a specific theme. Match one book to each prompt, getting as creative as you like. If you think the book fits the prompt, it does! These mini-challenges are released sporadically and not every month will have one. (The surprise and anticipation are part of the fun!)

December Mini-Challenge:

The December mini-challenge is a MINI-BINGO challenge!

We’ve chosen nine different items featured within the song “My Favorite Things” and have created a mini-bingo for you to complete. For this challenge, you can choose to read anywhere from three to nine books. Match one book to any of the nine items to complete that square on the My Favorite Things Mini-Bingo. Complete three in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) to get a “mini-bingo” and complete the challenge! If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also go for a “blackout” and complete all nine prompts.

This is a December mini-challenge but the books chosen do NOT have to be winter or holiday-themed (although that could make an excellent add-on for your challenge, if you wish.)

Since the prompts are all items featured within the song, My Favorite Things, this challenge will require a little creativity to complete. Take the prompts as literally or abstractly as you like. As always, if you think a book fits the prompt, it does! (We have some suggestions below if you’d like some extra help!)

December 2023 Mini-Bingo Challenge:

*Prompts are listed according to the layout on the mini-bingo sheet*

1. Raindrops on roses

2. Brown paper packages tied up with string

3. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

4. Silver white winters that melt into spring

5. These are a few of my favorite things

6. Whiskers on kittens

7. Cream colored ponies

8. Sleigh bells

9. Warm woolen mittens

Match one book to each of the prompts (anywhere from three to nine books over the month). Share your picks in our Facebook groupGoodreads group, or on Instagram using the hashtag #the52bookclub2023. You can also find these listed as bonus prompts on our StoryGraph challenge.

Need suggestions? Keep reading for more ideas on how to interpret each of these prompts!

You can choose to read these books in addition to your regular 52 Book Club reads (this mini-challenge makes 78 prompts for the year so far, not counting our summer challenge), or you can combine them with prompts still left on your 2023 list. As always, get creative and have fun!

Shareable graphics:

Need some suggestions?

We’ve compiled some ideas for each of these nine prompts, but as always, this guide is just a starting point. Feel free to get creative, think outside of the box, and come up with other ideas! If you think a book fits the prompt, it does.

1) Raindrops on roses: This month’s prompts are extremely flexible and open to broad interpretation. Any book with raindrops or roses in the title or on the cover will work for this prompt. It may be a book with a very rainy setting, a scene featuring a beautiful rose garden, an author or character with the first or last name “Rose,” etc.

For more examples, see these Goodreads lists of books with Roses on the Cover or with Rain on the Cover. (Note: Due to the wide range of interpretations for each of these prompts, there are no specific 52 Book Club created Goodreads Lists for this challenge.)

Examples: A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Rose Code, The Perfect Marriage (by Jeneva Rose), All the Little Raindrops, Fifty Words for Rain, The Rose Garden

2) Brown paper packages tied up with string: For this prompt, you might choose a book with paper, packages, mail, or string on the cover or in the title. For those who exchange gifts during December, you may choose to use any book that you receive as a present or that arrives in the mail (whether or not it’s technically in “brown paper packaging.”) You may treat yourself to a “blind date with a book” or use a book that you received in a book subscription box, etc.

The book may also feature a scene in which a character receives a mysterious package or a character who works as a postal worker. For more examples, check out this Goodreads List featuring postal workers and mail carriers in fiction.

Examples: The Palace Papers, String Theory, Memphis (by Tara M. Stringfellow), The Measure, The Lost Package, The Postmistress

3) Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes: Books featuring the words “white,” “dresses,” “girls,” “blue,” “satin,” or “sashes” on the cover, in the title, or as part of the author’s name will fit this prompt. You may choose a character who is getting married (whether they wear a white dress or not) or a plot about a wedding.

You might decide on a character who is a dressmaker or who works in fashion (See this Goodreads list of Fashion Industry Books) or choose a book with a girl wearing a dress on the cover (check out this Goodreads list for books with gowns on the cover or a wedding on the front cover.) You can also find examples of books with blue in the title, here.

Examples: Girls in White Dresses, All Dressed in White, Something Blue, The Wedding Dress, The Dressmaker

4) Silver white winters that melt into spring: As with the previous prompts, any of these words appearing as part of the cover design, title, or author’s name will fit this prompt. You may also choose a book that is set at the end of winter or the beginning of spring, or a book published in winter or spring 2023.

Other ideas: An environmental thriller (see Goodreads list for Eco thrillers here) or silver foil lettering as part of the title work. For more ideas, check out these Goodreads lists: Best Books to Read When the Snow is Falling, Books Set in Winter, OR Spring is Here.

Examples: Winter Garden, Winter in Paradise, One Day in December (by Josie Silver), Peach Blossom Spring, Wintering

5) These are a few of my favorite things: This square is a freebie! Pick a favorite author, genre, or book and use it for this prompt. You may also choose a book that is a favorite of someone else, perhaps recommended by a friend or family member, or someone within the Facebook group. It could be a book that is highly rated on a book review site, or a part of a series that you love. It may also feature a topic that you love or are passionate about, or have any of the words “a few of my favorite things” appear in the title or author’s name.

6) Whiskers on kittens: For this prompt, anything kitten or cat-related will fit. Maybe there’s a cat on the cover or the main character has a pet cat. You could also choose a book described as a “game of cat and mouse” or a title that has the word “cat” appear in another word like “catcher,” “vacate,” “Catherine,” “educate,” etc. Maybe it’s a book set at Kitty Hawk, or a character nicknamed Kitten. The possibilities for this prompt are endless!

For more ideas check out these Goodreads lists: Great Cat Books or Cats on the Cover.

Examples: Did You Hear About Kitty Karr, Five Winters (by Kitty Johnson), Dawn Over Kitty Hawk, Catching Fire, The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers, Careless Whiskers, A Man Called Ove

7) Cream colored ponies: Similar to the prompt above, anything pony or horse-related will fit this prompt (regardless of whether or not they’re “cream colored.”) You may choose a book with a pony or a horse on the cover, a book set on a ranch or farm, a character who works with or loves horses or riding, etc. You might also choose a character who gambles and “bets on the ponies,” or a character named “Pony.”

Any book featuring the word “cream” or “cream-colored” will also work for this prompt. This may be the color of the book spine or cover, or a part of the title. This may also include whipped cream, ice cream, coffee creamer on the cover, etc.

For more ideas, check out this Goodreads list for Horses on the cover.

Examples: Pony, The Red Pony, The Outsiders, Chocolate Cream Pie Murder, The Little Book of Hygge (cream colored cover), Bringing Down the Duke, The Horse and His Boy

8) Sleigh bells: For this prompt, any book with sleigh bells on the cover or in the title fits! You may choose a historical novel in which the characters drive by sleigh. You may also choose any Christmas or winter-themed story, or any book that mentions or features “sleigh bells” somewhere within.

You might also focus on the word “bells” and choose a book with the word “bell” or “belle” in the title, series title, author’s name, or character’s name. This word might also fit inside another word, for example: Bluebells.

As a creative interpretation, you may choose a title featuring the word “slay” instead of “sleigh.”

Examples: Sleigh Bells Ring, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair, The Bell Jar, Dashing Through the Snow

9) Warm woolen mittens: Similar to the prompt above, any winter-themed read will fit this prompt. You may choose a book with mittens somewhere on the cover, or any of the above words featured in the title. (It may also include words that have those words inside them, for example: a book by Virginia Woolf, a title with the words “benchwarmer” or “swarm,” etc.)

Other ideas include: A character who enjoys knitting, or the word “knit” or “knitting” appears in the title. A book set on a sheep farm. A scene in which a character wears or loses a mitten. The words may appear in the author’s last name: for example, an author with the last name “Mitten” or “Warman.” It could also just be a book that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside — like putting on a pair of warm woolen mittens.

For more ideas, check out this Goodreads Lists for Gloves & Mittens, or Children’s Books about Yarn, Mittens, and Other Knitted Things. As a creative twist on the word “warm” check out this Goodreads list for Death in a Warm Climate.

Examples: The Wool Trilogy, Murder Wears Mittens, The Snow Child, We Met in December, The Friday Night Knitting Club, Miss Marple The Complete Short Stories

Other Mini-Challenge Tips:

– Do I have to complete this challenge in December?

Nope! You can complete this mini-challenge whenever you like! If you don’t finish this mini-challenge this month, feel free to carry the prompts over into the coming months.

– Is this a part of the main 52 books challenge?

Mini-challenges are related to our full 52 books in 52 weeks challenge but they’re also completely optional. You can choose to add it to your main challenge or not. If fifty-two books already feels like a stretch, feel free to skip the mini-challenges or double up the prompts. (Some members use one book to cross off a 52 prompt and a mini-challenge prompt. Your challenge, your rules!)

There are endless possibilities to complete this challenge! Which mini-bingo row are you going to try and complete?

1 thought on “December 2023 Mini-Challenge”

  1. I’d love to do all of them! I’m going to start with Girls in White Dresses, My Favorite Things, and Cream-Colored Ponies. I’ll work on the rest of the rows from there! What a fun challenge!

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