Skip to main content

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.


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.

Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme