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.


  1. Cool they sound interesting. Not decided what I'm doing with challenges next year. Reading more magazines as my photography hobby grows so may combine the two somehow.

  2. I did pretty well with challenges in 2010, so I signed up for way too many this year and just bombed. Since I hate "failing," I've decided to keep challenges at a minimum next year.

  3. I've been avoiding challenges, but I do like the look of that Classics Challenge! And since I want to read a few classics next year, this challenge might be what I need!

  4. Rhinoa, I love me some photography, though I don't indulge in the hobby as often as I'd like. Looking forward to your combination of challenges!

  5. Kathy, I've been pretty consistent at not meeting the challenge goals I set for myself, but it's all in good fun, so I don't mind too much. Still, I try to keep it minimal. 4 challenges at the most.

  6. Good luck with your challenges! I haven't actually decided if I am going to join any next year or not...

  7. I've thought about avoiding challenges next year but decided to only participate in a few. Maybe we can do a read-along of The Glass Room. That book has been on my shelf for ages.

  8. Even if you don't finish, making lists and revelling in bookish anticipation is half the fun :P Some great possibilities in there... I'm reading Persuasion at the moment and loving it.

  9. If you do a Tournament of Books challenge then I'm totally in.

  10. Looking forward to following your progress if you join any challenges, Kelly!

    Natasha, I would love that!!! I downloaded it with best intentions, but somehow I just never get around to reading it. I could use the motivation of reading with a buddy.

    Ana, I do so love the anticipation!!! Glad you're enjoying Persuasion. A lot of book friends have told me I'll really like it.

    Will let you know, Brooks.

  11. I'm definitely with you on the Tournament of Books next year! I gave up formal challenges a couple of years and now focus more on awards and books I want to read. I think 2012 will be a bit more open in terms of reading. I don't want to overly proscribe my reading, but I do love the awards (and ToB!)

  12. Just let me know when you're ready to start reading! :-)

  13. I'm absolutely AWFUL when it comes to finishing challenges as well but I do have fun participating. This is the 1st year that I haven't gotten the challenge bug so I've yet to sign up for any challenges. Who knows if that will change though :) Good luck with these!

  14. In 2010 I overloaded on challenges, so this year, I kept it to a bare minimum of one, that I will finish with the book that I am currently reading.
    I've only signed up for one 2012 challenge, and that's just a January thing. I'm better off not doing challenges because I find that I rebel the minute I think I "have" to read something, lol.

    Your classics list has some great ones on it -- I enjoyed Madame Bovary and The Woman in White both of which I read for the first time last year.

  15. I was wicked gung ho when I signed up for challenges in January this year...and promptly failed every single one. I do better at short-duration challenges than the stretched out all year ones. When it's shorter, it's a bit like cramming for a test. And I just so loved doing that in college...? Wha? Anyway, I'm better at the shorter challenges :)

  16. I didn't sign up for too many challenges in 2011, but I'll do a few more in 2012 - but definitely not trying to stress over it by doing too many. And welcome to the Awards Winners challenge :-)

  17. I've heard great things about Madame Bovary, although I've yet to read it. And I love Austen's Persuasion! We'll both be reading Collins' Woman in White next year, looking forward to comparing thoughts!

    Thank you for joining the Classics Challenge, Estella! :)

    Happy New Years wishes.

  18. I love Vanity Fair and Persuasion! I think I'm reading everything else off your classics challenge list, except Edgar Allen Poee. (I do want to read him eventually...)

  19. Wonderful categories and books you chose.


    I need to read more classics. My favorite is REBECCA!!

    Silver's Reviews


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