I'm not generally very good at reading projects and challenges but sometimes it feels like a good idea and I've got one brewing. I enjoyed making my way through Trollope's Barchester chronicles in conjunction with Mrs Oliphant's Carlingford chronicles and am still enjoying the Palliser books (half way through; it might be time for volume 4 soon, reading them in order and with the intention of working my way through the lot has definitely encouraged me to tackle books that might have looked off puttingly chunky otherwise (and which in fairness wouldn't have worked as well independently). I've also found it helpful to have no particular time scale in mind - I'm not sure it's a good idea to rip through a series of books in a matter of weeks or months which were years in the writing (to much of a good thing isn't always a good thing) also it doesn't feel helpful to pile pressure on to an activity that's meant to be fun.
The project I have in mind is to tackle Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, it seems like a good idea for a few reasons. I've never read much literature in translation; something that bothers me more when I think about the classics than about contemporary fiction (which I don't read a lot of anyway so I don't feel that I'm being particularly prejudiced there) and Zola is probably as good a place to start as anywhere in a quest to broaden that particular horizon. He's also a writer who I see referenced enough to make me feel particularly ignorant for not being better acquainted with him and one whose work should be cheap if not free on Kindle when nice paperbacks prove hard to find. Also I already have a copy of 'The Fortune of the Rougons' to get started with and it's undeniably the time of year to line up something Victorian and classic so really there's nothing holding me back.. Watch this space.