New year, mostly the same old challenges

Happy New Reading Year!

May your year be filled with good friendship, good cheer and good reading!

I ended the year 2009 with four reading challenges on the go: the Top Mysteries challenge, the TBR challenge, the challenge to read more Icelandic books, and a fourth challenge I'm not sure I have ever mentioned here.

The Top Mysteries challenge is an ongoing project that is probably going to take me until 2012 to finish, so it will continue this year. I started with 120 books (counting one trilogy as a single book) and ended with 89, meaning I finished 26% of the listed books. This puts me right on plan, as I had hoped to reach that percentage by the end of the year.

The TBR challenge will continue as well. To recap the rules: it is a challenge to read more books than I buy, choosing books that have languished in my TBR stack for over a year.
I failed in that aim in 2009, ending up with more TBR books than ever, mostly due to BookMooch. But I am not giving up, and this year it looks like I may be able to succeed, simply because postal rates have gone up and my salary has gone down and I have stopped offering books for mooching which means that sooner or later I will run out of mooch-points with which to acquire books. Because of said salary decrease (due to a new job, and not to pay cuts) I will also have less money to spend on books, which will help me with the challenge as well.
The challenge will go on, but in modified form. Since August I have been using the arrangement of choosing 5 books that fit the rules from the TBR stack as set reading for each month, to be finished before any non-challenge books can be read and then adding more TBR books I might read to the tally as I go along, but I am changing this for the more flexible arrangement of simply choosing TBR books from the stack when I feel like reading them, trying to read at least 5 of them each month.

The read more Icelandic books challenge went pretty well until the end of September, when the sudden loss of my job derailed me from my reading plan. During October I read only what I felt like reading at any time, and since I have read most of my Icelandic books and I never went to the library, this only included one Icelandic book. In November I was in India and didn't read any. In December I was back on track, but no more than that. The final tally is 41, which is 36 more than in 2008. This is enough to make me happy even if I didn't complete the challenge, which was to finish 52 Icelandic books in 2009. I am not going to make reading Icelandic books a challenge for 2010, but I will make it my goal to read more of them than I have in recent years.

And the fourth challenge? Well, I finished it, but not without a little cheating. In 2008 I acquired a copy of The Faber Book of Diaries, an anthology of diary entries by different diary writers that spans several centuries. It happens to be arranged in the day-by-day manner of a diary, with 1-2 pages devoted to a day in the lives of anything from one to five writers. I decided to read it in the course of a year, reading each day's entries on the day of the year they describe. This I did, although I didn't take it with me on a few trips I made, and had to read several (and in one case many) day's entries to catch up (thus the cheating). I will be replacing it with the only new year-long challenge I am setting myself: To read one short story or fairy tale per day, for one year. I have a number of TBR short story collections (4 of them big, thick books) and three collections of fairy tales I would like to make headway with, so there is plenty of choice. If I really like the story of the day I will make a mention of it on this blog for others who like to read short stories, but I will (probably) not review any of them.

I will continues to participate in interesting short term and mini-challenges I might think of or come across. Here is one that I am thinking about joining.


Rose said…
Wow! Your New Year's resolutions are so much more intellectual than mine! I am envious. Do you have many Icelandic books in English that you might consider putting up for Mooch? Because if you do I will surely mooch them--and with good access to several excellent used bookstores here in town I could likely find a number of things on your mooch list (even though you are trying to cut back, there must be books out there that you simply must get your hands on ;-) ). And I know one can designate mooch books for certain people. Something to think about ... my bookmooch want list is full of Icelandic books, so I thought I'd mention it.
I'd like to try to short story world challenge with my high school students.And I'm going to look for the Faber Book of Diaries--sounds fascinating.
My lame resolution

My bookmooch want list
Bibliophile said…
Thanks for the comments, Rose. The Icelandic books I have been reading are all in Icelandic and mostly come from the library, so I will not be putting any up on BookMooch, but I will keep you in mind if I see English translations when I go browsing in the second-hand book shops.
The Faber Book of Diaries IS fascinating, as I am sure you will agree if you do find a copy.

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