Monday, December 05, 2011

2012 Challenges, or Challenges I May Not Finish

I am a bit of a challenge glutton. I like to sign up for challenges, but finishing them is not always (usually not!!!) in the cards. Call it a bit of bookish tartery. I can deal with that. HOWEVER, in light of not always finishing, I always like to join. Here's what I have in mind for 2012...

2011 was my year of literary fiction, and what a year it's been! The quality of my reading is probably better than ever, even if I'm not seeing the numbers my gluttonous, bookish heart really desires. In 2012 I'd like to work more classics into my daily life, so I'm signing up for A Classics Challenge from November's Autumn. The goal is to read seven classics in 2012. Katherine has set this one up to include monthly prompts that bloggers are free to answer -- kind of like a reading challenge and a blog hop had babies. Works for me!

A potential seven books (though maybe not THE seven books)...

  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (because I stalled on it the first time and need to just start over!)
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (because it's about time I re-read it. First and last time was 1999.)
  • Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe (because it's embarrassing how little of his work I've read)
  • Madame Bovary by Flaubert (because I have it)
  • Vanity Fair by Thackeray (because I liked Reese Witherspoon enough in the film to try this big ass book)
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen (because I need to read another Austen)
  • The House of the Seven Gables by Hawthorne (because it's been on my physical shelves for over 10 years and that's just ridiculous)

I'm also keen to sign up for the 2012 E-Book Challenge. This will be hosted by Sarah at Workaday Reads in 2012, and thanks to her for taking on the challenge of hosting!

I'm going all-in at the "CD" level...10 e-books in 2012. There's always a good chance I could read more, but it probably depends mostly on the number of books I read overall. My reading is split roughly 50/50 between printed books and e-books.

Some potentials for 2012:
  • The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (stalled out on this one this year!)
  • I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (of The Fabulous Beekman Boys fame!)
  • Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber
  • Who By Fire by Diana Spechler
  • Affinity by Sarah Waters (because I am the worst readalong host EVER)
  •  Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (because I've had it forever)
  • The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (again, had it forever)
  • The Small Hand by Susan Hill (bought this year, still sitting)
  • ...and stuff to be announced that I'll impulse buy at some point! Oh, and all of the above listed for the Classics Challenge because they're all e-books, too. Ahem!
Another challenge I'm really excited about in 2012 is Reading the Awards hosted by Tanya Patrice at GirlXOXO. I've followed awards much more closely this year than usual (goes with that literary fiction reading thing I was doing). It's been great fun to try to keep up, and in this challenge, the goal is actually to read books that received an award in 2011. I have a good bit of catching up to do, so this is perfect for me. I'm going in at the Bronze level (1-5 books). Trying to keep it realistic here, people!

Some books I'm considering...
  • The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht is at the top of my list since I intended to read it in 2011.
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, Man Booker Winner
  • I would also like to read a National Book Award finalist. I am almost certain I cannot stomach the animal cruelty content in the winner, Salvage the Bones, so I might cheat a bit on that one. 
  • And of course there are more to come. No idea what the others will be just yet. :)

This last one is possibly my favorite. This was a personal challenge in 2011, but I might need to formalize this challenge if others are interested in joining, but I'll be tackling the 2012 Morning News Tournament of Books list!!!! I let the list guide my reading this year, and it's been WOOONDERFUL. I didn't come close to finishing the bunch, but I did enjoy trying, and it opened my eyes to some new-to-me titles I wouldn't have read otherwise. The tournament list won't come out until sometime in January, but in the meantime, the good peeps at TMN have asked US, the READERS to list our three fave books of the year right HERE.

I think I love this challenge SO DEARLY because it's a great mixture of books. Some really highbrow that will become award winners, some underrated titles that might never get much attention otherwise. Good stuff! It's like a literary grab bag.

And there you have it, friends. The challenges I'll be tackling, wrestling with, and triumphing over. And some that will take me to the mat. All worthy opponents.

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