Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Challenging Year Ahead (Literally Speaking)

This is how it happens. This is how a person goes from zero reading challenges ... to participating in 11.

Oh, not to mention, hosting one of her own. An even dozen! (Feels like a lot more.)

When I first discovered book blogs and started blogging about the books I'd read, I started noticing that there were these ... things ... called Reading Challenges. I'd never heard of them, couldn't really understand them, and truth be told, wanted little or no part of them.

And then Dewey passed away, and the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge was born out of a collective cyberspace grief, and I thought, "There are so many books on her list that I wanted to read anyway, so what would be the harm in signing up? " Which I did. And didn't finish.

And then I signed up for My Friend Amy's 50 Books for Our Times challenge, which is based on the list Newsweek published a few months ago. And I took one look at my selection, Winchell by Neil Gabler) which looks very interesting but not interesting enough for me to dedicate nearly 600 pages of my reading life to. So ... scratch that one. Love you, Amy and I loved the idea of this challenge but ... no.

And then Book Dragon was my BBAW buddy, and if you don't know Book Dragon, she is the Queen of Reading Challenges. I don't think there's a challenge out there that she is not participating in or hosting. I thought ... hmm, maybe I could do a challenge or two next year. And the Fall Into Reading Challenge over at Callipidder Days came along and I actually did pretty well at that one.

And now I need to create a spreadsheet of all the Challenges I've signed up for in 2010. What a difference a year makes, huh?

As of this writing, these are the ones I'm doing. I know, I've truly lost what is left of my mind. Consider this my official sign up post for these, even though most of them will receive their own posts with my reading lists. Eventually.

November 1, 2009 - November 30, 2010

Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies,’ which according to Merriam-Webster is "the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender."

I'm going for the Suffragette Level on this one, which is to read 8 such books. I've already finished my first one, which was:

1. The Curse of the Good Girl, by Rachel Simmons


November 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010
Grab a copy of SHELF DISCOVERY and pick out what six books you want to read (of course, you can read more than six!) Then, after you read a book, just write a "book report" to share your thoughts with others!


Clearly, I still have to do this ....

September 27, 2009 - September 30, 2010
Hosted by Trisha at electic/eccentric, who says: "the top 100 challenged books in the 90s are listed here. I thought it would be fun if we could compile reviews for these books. So if you've reviewed one of the books from the list, leave your link in the comments section of the post that includes the book you reviewed. If you haven't, go out, read a book, review it, and come back."

I've read one book for this challenge, which was In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (and really, since it was a picture book, I really do need to read a few more.)
(Pssst! There are a lot of overlaps with Shelf Discovery on this list, so if you're participating in that one ....)

Colorful Reading Challenge
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

Rebecca of Lost in Books is hosting the Colorful Reading Challenge again in 2010. Here's what she says: Read 9 books with 9 different colors in the title. Six colors are required, while the last 3 can be your choice. Books may be overlapped with other challenges. At least 6 of the books should be new to you (doesn't matter which 6).

The Six Required Colors are:
1. Blue
2. Black
3. Red
4. Gold/Yellow
5. White
6. Silver
The 3 remaining colors can be anything from purple, orange, and green to magenta, crimson, and cream. It doesn't matter as long as their is a color in the title. There is no need to make a list of books and if you do you may change it at any time.
I have A Mango Shaped Place on my night table, so I'm hoping to get to that for this challenge. I do have my doubts about being able to finish this one, but it sounds like fun so I'm going to try.

Woolf in Winter
January 15 - February 26, 2010
Four book bloggers listed below have decided to read all four of Virginia Woolf's novels this winter. They are calling it Woolf in Winter.
Here's what Frances of Nonsuch Book says:
Reading Virginia Woolf. In the heart of winter. With friends who are both coming to this modernist master for the first time and those who will be enjoying the consuming stream-of-consciousness prose as repeat readers. Four of us would love for you to join us as we spend January and February reading through four Woolf novels - Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando and The Waves.

The hosting-posting schedule is as follows:
Sarah ~ Mrs Dalloway (Jan 15)
"Heralded as Woolf's greatest work of fiction, "Mrs. Dalloway" is not only a thorough rendering of a vivid human life, it is the outline on paper of human consciousness. In this vivid portrait of a single day in a woman's life, Clarissa Dalloway readies her house for friends and neighbors as she is is flooded with remembrances of faraway times."

Emily ~ To the Lighthouse (Jan 29)
"The most autobiographical of Virginia Woolf's novels. It is based on her own early experiences, and while it touches on childhood and children's perceptions and desires, it is at its most trenchant when exploring adult relationships, marriage and the changing class-structure in the period spanning the Great War."
Frances - Orlando (Feb 12)
"Originally published in 1928, this classic story by Virginia Woolf was modelled on her friend Vita Sackville-West's personality. Orlando chooses her own sexual identity as she lives through three centuries as both a man and a woman."

Claire ~ The Waves (Feb 26)
"Conveys the rhythms of life in synchrony with the cycle of nature and the passage of time. This book presents a searching exploration of individual and collective identity, and the observations and emotions of life, from the simplicity and surging optimism of youth to the vacancy and despair of middle-age." To join, go to Woolf in Winter

I'm going to try and get to Mrs. Dalloway before the 15th, but I'm not stressing about it since I read this one in college. To the Lighthouse has been on my TBR list for awhile, and this weekend I just purchased Orlando and The Waves.

January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010
J. Kaye from J. Kaye's Book Blog is hosting the 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge again, where participants are encouraged to read from their libraries.There are four levels of participation you may choose from for 2010:
-The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.
-Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.
--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.
--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.
(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.) Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.To join in, go to 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge

At first I was just going for The Mini, but then I realized that the kids' books count too. We could probably do the Super Size Me, but let's stick with Stepping It Up.
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
January 1, 2010 - December, 2010.

This is being hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog and has three levels. I'm going for The Mini YA Reading Challenge where one strives to read 12 Young Adult novels.

The Debutante Ball is a group blog for debut authors, all women. The blog is currently in its fourth year and has a track record of debuting some really great authors. Jen from Devourer of Books and Swapna from S. Krishna's Books are hosting this challenge. A list of all books by all members of The Debutante Ball can be found on the Debutante Ball books page. (Jen and Swampna say that they'd love for you to read all five books by these five lovely ladies, but as this may not be possible, you can join at the 1, 3, or 5 book level.)

I'm doing the Current Debs level for this, and committing to the 1 book level. Info here on the levels, the Debs, and how to sign up.

January 1, 2010 - November 30, 2010.
If you read a book of essays, that book can also apply to any other challenges you are working on. Choose a goal of reading 10, 20, or 30 essays, and then write a challenge post. Copy your challenge post’s link into Mr. Linky on the challenge post.~ You don’t have to list your essays ahead of time – just have fun reading throughout the year.~ Everyone who completes the challenge and writes at least one review will be eligible for the giveaway prize: A copy of Best American Essays 2010.~ New for 2010: You can earn extra credit – and an extra entry in the giveaway – by writing an essay of your own and leaving the link at the challenge page
I love essays and I'd like to read more of them, so this sounds like a great challenge. I'm going for the 10 essay level, although hopefully it will wind up being more.

January 1 - December, 2010.
There are four levels:

Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.
Fascinated – Listen to 6 Audio Books.
Addicted – Listen to 12 Audio Books.
Obsessed – Listen to 20 Audio Books.

Audio books only. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post.
I'm going for the Fascinated level - although there's a possibility I could make it to Addicted.

The Beth Kephart Reading Challenge

Jan 1, 2010--June 30th, 2010 hosted by My Friend Amy.
Levels:Beth Kephart Newbie -- Read one book out of any category. This level is not eligible for the prize.
YA Fan--Read all the books categorized as YA. This level is eligible for the prize.
Memoir Fan--Read all the books categorized as memoir. This level is eligible for the prize.
Mix'n'match--Read any 4 books off the list. This level is eligible for the prize.
Entire Backlist -- Read the entire backlist. Definitely eligible for the prize.The prize is an ARC of Dangerous Neighbors not due out until the fall!In order to be eligible for the prize, you must complete the level you choose and link all of your reviews in the review linky that will go up on January 1st.
List of Beth Kephart's Books:
A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage, W.W. Norton, 1998 (Memoir)
Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things that Matter, Houghton Mifflin, 2000 (Memoir)
Still Love in Strange Places: A Memoir, W.W. Norton, 2002 (Memoir)
Seeing Past Z: Nurturing the Imagination in a Fast-Forward World, W.W. Norton, 2004 (Memoir)
Ghosts in the Garden: Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self, New World Library, 2005 (Memoir)
Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, Temple University Press, 2007 (History)
House of Dance, Laura Geringer Books: HarperTeen, May 2008 (YA)
Undercover, Laura Geringer Books: HarperTeen, 2007 (YA)
Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business, Berrett-Kohler, January 2008 (YA)
"The Longest Distance," in No Such Thing as The Real World, HarperTeen, May 2009 (YA--short story)
Nothing But Ghosts, Laura Geringer Books: HarperTeen June 2009 (YA)
The Heart is Not a Size, HarperTeen, forthcoming, February 2010 (YA)
Dangerous Neighbors, Egmont, Fall 2010

And finally, there's the challenge that I'm hosting. (Which goes nicely with The Beth Kephart Reading Challenge, if I do say so myself ... you could read all of Beth's memoirs and be done with my challenge!)

It's only four memoirs (or letters, or diaries, or autobiographies), overlaps are allowed, there's no need to list books in advance.

Whew! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a little reading to do ....


Literary Feline said...

Challenges are very addicting, aren't they? LOL I had such a hard time saying no to most of them this year. I'd join just about everyone of them if I could. Have fun with your challenges!

Care said...

STOP! Stop already! I didn't even know about a few of these, darn it. sigh...
I was like you the first time I was affronted by the concept of a READING CHALLENGE. In fact, my first year of attempting, I signed up for two and only completed the Novella one. The other I only get one book out of ten read. Then this latest year, I did really well considering. Now, I'm co-hosting and about to sign up for about thirty (cough,cough) and am having more fun choosing titles that overlap as many as possible. It's an addiction.

Florinda said...

"I'd never heard of them, couldn't really understand them, and truth be told, wanted little or no part of them."

Yeah, that was me, too. Life was so much simpler then...but I haven't plunged quite as deeply into the challenge pool as you have! Yet :-).

Book Dragon said...

Hey, I've got less than 50 on my list! LOL I'm sure I'm missing some great ones and will not complete all of these. As long as I do better percentage wise than last year....

I've joined your challenge and am proud to have you step into the dark side LOL

75 library books? I only signed up to read 50 because she said to aim high!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Literary Feline ~ absolutely, they are very addicting!

Care ~ 30 challenges! OK, now I don't feel so bad. :) Love it!

Florinda ~ it only takes one or two challenges to get the bug, it seems. And, it looks like you're heading in that direction, my friend... :)

Anonymous said...

No less than !@ challenges! Wow. For now I've only joined two and a half ;) The Japanese Literature Challenge ends this month -- so that's the 'half'.

Now you have me eyeing other challenges again... bad blogger ;)

Eva said...

You've picked some great challenges to join though! So I'm going to vote for you not being insane. ;) Just fyi, Rebecca changed the rules on the colour challenge, so all nine colours can be whatever you want. I think that makes it easier! And I LOVE Woolf, I'm so excited about that read-a-long! I *love* your button for the memorable memoir challenge, although at this point I think I'm overcommitted. It's still tempting, though...especially since I could make it an 'exotic places' theme. So you might see me signing up there before long. ;)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Eva - thanks for the heads up on the Color challenge! I didn't know that ... and you're right, it does make it much easier! Glad you like the button; I chose the photo and Florinda did all the rest.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Young Adult and the Support Your Local Library Reading Challenges! Both are such fun ones too.

Carrie K. said...

I'm so glad you're joining the Essay Challenge!

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

So happy to have you with us in the Deb Books challenge!