Monday, December 31, 2007

Going Back for 2nds


I wasn't sure I was going to be able to complete this challenge, but I did! A big thank you to host Joy of Thoughts of Joy for the encouragement!

The idea of the challenge was to read three books "by authors that you have only read one other." I ended up reading Tara Road by Maeve Binchy, The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve, and Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith. (Links are to my reviews.)

The word around the blogosphere is that Joy will be hosting a similar challenge toward the end of 2008. I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Published in 2000. 227 pages.


Nearly two years ago, I read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency with my book club. I found it to be delightful - a unique concept with a charming protagonist! For some reason, though, I put off reading Tears of the Giraffe, the second novel in this series (which now stands at eight books, with a ninth scheduled for release in 2008).

Tears of the Giraffe is just as delightful as The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, though it seems to do more setting up of the future novels than to stand on its own. I do plan to continue with the series, as well as look into some of McCall Smith's other work.

2007.76

Cardathon Challenge


I signed up for Becky's Cardathon Challenge many months ago. At that point, it seemed a very long time before January 1 would roll around - but now it's knocking at the door. So I guess it's time to make a plan for my participation. I think I'll start with a list of twelve books - basically one a month - but note that I will be cross-listing many, if not all of them to other challenges.

    Books by Orson Scott Card:

    • Enchantment

    • Ender's Shadow

    • Invasive Procedures

    • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

    Books Reviewed by Orson Scott Card:

    • Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

    • Flip by David Lubar

    • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

    • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

    • Interworld by Neil Gaiman

    • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

    • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

    • "T" is for Trespass by Sue Grafton

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

Published in 1997. 279 pages.


When I posted my original list for the 2nds Challenge, I asked for suggestions for an Anita Shreve novel for the list. Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of rave reviews, so I kept pushing back my decision. With the end of the challenge fast approaching, I read a review of Sea Glass that Trish had posted and considered that one. Trish also recommended The Weight of Water and for some reason that one appealed to me more than Sea Glass, so I picked it up at the library. I finally got to it on Tuesday night, and I finished it yesterday morning.

The Weight of Water was a quick read, and I really enjoyed the structure of the book. I also was intrigued by the title of the book - and I'm still contemplating the various meanings and symbolism it contains.

The plot centers around - and is told from the viewpoint of - a photographer named Jean who, with her husband, young daughter, and brother-in-law and his girlfriend, spends some time on a boat off the coast of Maine on an assignment related to the true events of the Smuttynose Island murders of 1873. Jean's thoughts and experiences are interjected with an account of the murders and events leading up to them, usually without any warning about the switch in storyline. In taking her photos, Jean becomes somewhat obsessed with the murders, and the biggest part of the book contains a (fictional) translation of the journal of the survivor of the murders, which Jean finds in a museum and "borrows."

I don't know that Anita Shreve will be a favorite author, but I'm glad I took the opportunity to read a second of her novels for this challenge.

By the way, The Weight of Water was apparently adapted into a movie starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley, Sarah Polley, and Catherine McCormack.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Highlights of the Year



It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?


I already wrote some thoughts about books published in 2007. Here are some thoughts about the rest of the highlights of the year. (Links are to my reviews.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In the Pub 2008

3M (or Michelle)
is at it again!
In an attempt to read more books published in the current year,
she's created
The Pub.


The challenge requirement is to read at least eight books published in 2008 - but no children's or YA titles, since we're "in the pub". The challenge blog (with more information) is here - and I just have to play along!

Looking at my local library website's "New Titles" list, I note several early 2008 releases by favorite authors that I'll want to get my hands on. I'll add more titles as I discover them.

  • The Appeal by John Grisham

  • Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman

  • First Patient by Michael Palmer

  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

  • Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

Published in 1998. 502 pages.


This is the second novel by Maeve Binchy that I have read, following Evening Class earlier this year. I loved Evening Class and wanted to read another Binchy book, so I put Tara Road on my Fall into Reading list. (By the way, since I'm so far behind with the 2nds Challenge, I am going to count this one for that too, although it wasn't on my original list.)

I was somewhat hesitant to read another Binchy novel. When I absolutely love a book by a new-to-me author, I am sometimes afraid that I'll be let down by future reads. (I felt that way about reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams after loving The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven, but once I finally read Animal Dreams, I discovered that I liked it even more than the other two books!) But so many people encouraged me to read more of Binchy that I decided to take the plunge.

I did like Evening Class better than Tara Road, but Binchy is a great storyteller and I thoroughly enjoyed Tara Road as well. I'm sure this won't be my last Binchy read!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Like I Need a Hole in My Head

    Who: Hosted by Joy
    What: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.
    When: January 1 to December 31, 2008.
    Why: Because I am addicted to challenges!


My Preliminary List

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale
The Goose Girl

Cardcaptor Sakura by Clamp
Cardcaptor Sakura 1

Carlotta Carlyle Series by Linda Barnes
A Trouble of Fools
(I discovered this series from this review.)

Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Series
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
In the Bleak Midwinter

Cliff Janeway Novels by John Dunning
Booked to Die
(I keep hearing good things about this series from booklogged.)

Cork O'Connor Mysteries by William Kent Krueger
Iron Lake

Frank Clevenger Series by Keith Ablow

Denial

The Ink Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
Inkheart

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
The Kingdom Keepers

Lincoln Rhyme Series by Jeffrey Deaver
The Bone Collector

The Sunday Philosophy Club Series
by Alexander McCall Smith
The Sunday Philosophy Club


By the way, I'm attempting to keep track of the series I read here. (It's definitely a work-in-progress!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Published in 1998. 226 pages.
Awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999.



Brilliantly conceived and beautifully written, The Hours juxtaposes a few pieces of the life of writer Virginia Woolf with the lives of two other women. One is Clarissa Vaughan - nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway by her friend Richard after the character in Woolf's novel (first published in 1925); Clarrisa lives in Greenwich Village in the present day. The other woman, Laura Brown, who lives in California in 1949, is reading Mrs. Dalloway and struggling with her perception of her roles as wife and mother.

The 2002 film starred Meryl Streep as Clarissa Vaughan, Julianna Moore as Laura Brown, and Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf. Kidman won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Here are a few quotes about the book that put into words a lot of my own thoughts:

"[The Hours] is both a clever tribute to the life and work of Virginia Woolf, and a brilliant examination of the quietly desperate lives of three women." - Seattle Times

"Cunningham here undertakes perhaps one of the most daunting literary projects imaginable.... Cunningham's portrait of Woolf is heartbreaking.... With The Hours, Cunningham has done the impossible: he has taken a canonical work of literature and, in reworking it, made it his own." - Yale Book Review

"Brilliant... haunting - winding skeins of words that, as they unspool, render vividly the three heroines' complex interior lives." - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Hours was not on my original Book Awards Reading Challenge list, but because the Yahoo Book Awards group was reading it - and the Yahoo Classic Lit group was reading Mrs. Dalloway - I decided that I'd like to read them both. (I started with Mrs. Dalloway, but I got bogged down in Woolf's writing style, so I set it aside for The Hours. I'm committed to finishing Mrs. Dalloway before the end of the month though.) I'm also committed to watching the film version this coming week.

I can't say that The Hours is a "favorite" book - but I do think that it is noteworthy, and I'm glad that I read it.

2007.73

2008 TBR Challenge

I created this blog at the beginning of 2007 and thereby entered the fun, adventurous world of book blogging! Little did I know what was in store, as I soon discovered the even more fun, more adventurous world of reading challenges. One of the first I stumbled across was the 2007 TBR Challenge, hosted by MizB - but it was too late to join up. This year I'm in! And I'm going to join the Yahoo TBR Challenge group as well.



Basic Idea of the Challenge
  • Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2008 - that I've been wanting to read (that have been on my "To Be Read" list) for six months or longer, but that I haven't gotten around to.

  • Create a list of 12 "Alternates" (books I could substitute for my challenge books, given that a particular one doesn't grab me at the time). (Optional.)

  • Then, starting January 1, 2008, read one of these books from my list each month, ending December 31, 2008.
Additional information and a sign-up Mr. Linky
can be found at the challenge blog.


My Main List
(alphabetical by title)
  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

  • The Birth House by Ami Mckay

  • Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

  • Bellwether by Connie Willis

  • A Dance for Three by Louise Plummer

  • Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voight

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel

  • Light from Heaven by Jan Karon

  • The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

  • Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan


My Alternates List
(alphabetical by title)
  • 1776 by David McCullough

  • Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger

  • The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of the Molokai by John Tayman

  • Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

  • Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love by Dana Sobel

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

  • Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis

  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

  • Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey by Rachel Simon

  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fall in Reading 2007 Wrap-Up


It's hard to believe that just three months ago I was relieved that it had started to feel a little like autumn - and today it feels like it's been winter for a very long time! Regardless, it's time to wrap up Katrina's Fall into Reading 2007. Thanks for the fun, Katrina!

These were my six picks for the challenge, in alphabetical order:


How I Did: I've linked the three books I finished to my review posts. I am also part way through both Don't Know Much About the Universe (I'm on page 218 of 344) and Tara Road (I'm on page 234 of 502). During the period of this challenge I also completed fourteen other books, most of which I read for other challenges.

What I Thought: Of the three books I finished for this challenge, I liked If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period the best and Eragon the least. But I did like all three books - as well as the two I'm currently working on. I'm definitely going to read more of Gennifer Choldenko's work, and I'm looking forward to the reportedly in-process sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society. Tara Road is the second of Maeve Binchy's that I've read, and I'm sure I'll read some more of her too.

What I Learned: There will always be more books on my to-read list than I'll be able to read - but that's okay - and I will always have to balance my reading time with my other pastimes, as well as with my work and my family. But I love reading about books and thinking about to-read lists and writing reviews of what I read almost as much as I love reading itself - so I'll continue to maintain this book blog and to participate in reading challenges.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Best of 2007


  1. What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007? (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

  2. What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007? (Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

  3. And do “best of” lists influence your reading?

Of the more than seventy books I've read in 2007 (so far), these are the twenty that were published in 2007 (with links to my reviews):

As I look over this list, I note that many of these were new releases in series that I read or by favorite authors. (In two cases - Jodi Picoult and Stephanie Myer - I hadn't read anything by the author until this year but now count her among my favorites - and the 2007 novels were part of reading a number of her books this year.) There is not a single work of non-fiction on the list, so I'm not able to weigh in there. As far as best fiction of 2007 - well, I think I'm going to have to go with the two that I think will stick with me the longest: If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period and The Last Summer (of You and Me).

I love to read "best of" lists! I won't necessarily use such lists to direct my reading, but it's fun to compare notes and to add books to my to-read list.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Series Challenge

Back in September, I stumbled upon Kathrin's Series Challenge and decided that I would like to play along. Because I read a lot of different series and wasn't sure where I stood with many of them, I created Confessions of a Serial Reader to help me sort it out. I'm still working on posting series lists there, but because the Series Challenge has already started, I decided I'd better post my list. I'm going to commit to catching up with five series, reading a total of six books by May 31:


Catching up on the other series I read will have to wait until later!

(By the way, I'll be cross-listing the mysteries with my Escapism Reads category in the 888 Challenge.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Expanding My Horizons


Melissa is hosting the Expanding Horizons Challenge from January through April. The purpose of the challenge is to read works by authors of ethnicities other than your own. I'm always looking for ways to expand my horizons, so I can't pass up this opportunity. (I also fell in love with the challenge graphics; there are two more besides the one I chose to use.)

There are two ways to approach this challenge: either read four books by authors in one of the six categories, or read six books, one from each of the six categories. The categories are as follows:

  1. African/African-American

  2. Asian/Asian-American

  3. Hispanic/Latin American

  4. Indian/Indian-American

  5. Middle Eastern

  6. Native Peoples
After looking at a lot of books - and at a map to help me understand what is considered "Asia" and what is considered "Middle East" - I've finally decided that I'm going to attempt the first option, focusing on Asian/Asian-American authors. These are my four books:
  1. Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki (Pakistani raised in Britain)

  2. Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) by Justina Chen Headley (Asian-American)

  3. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Korean-American)

  4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistani-American)
Books I considered in some of the other categories - and which are now on my to-read list - are as follows:
  1. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (African-American)

  2. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Mexican-American)

  3. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (Indian-American)

  4. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (Maori)
Links to other participants' lists can be found here.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How Can I Not?!

Dewey of the hidden side of the leaf - who was the terrific host of the 24-Hour Readathon in October - is hosting three challenges for 2008. With my love of young adult novels, together with my "Oh, To Be Young Again" category in the 888 Challenge (which is cross-listing with the Young Adult Challenge), my participation in the Printz Award Challenge is pretty much a no-brainer!

I was not familiar with the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature until I saw Dewey mention it a while back. It has been in existence just since 2000, and a list of the winners and honor books can be found here.


The requirement of the challenge is simple - to read six of the Printz winners or honor books during 2008. Overlaps with other challenges are allowed, as are changes in the list. Here is my list as of today (listed alphabetically by title):


Of course, as many of the books that I read in 2008 as possible will be cross-listed with the 888 Challenge.

By the Way

Challenge host Katrina has links to the reviews published by participants in Fall into Reading 2007 here. The link to my review of The Mysterious Benedict Society was number 392 - so there are many, many books there that might warrant checking out!

The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart

Published in 2007. 485 pages.
Illustrations by Carson Ellis.


First sentence: In a city called Stonetown, near a port called Stonetown Harbor, a boy named Reynie Muldoon was preparing to take an important test.

Plot summary: A newspaper advertisement asks, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" The result is a team of four very special children, under the direction of Mr. Benedict, going undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to save the world from subliminal messages that are creating a phenomenon known as "the Emergency."

Why I picked up this book: A couple of months ago, when I took Sugar Plum to her pediatrician for a well-care visit, the doctor mentioned that she was reading a great book that she thought Sugar Plum would enjoy. That book, of course, was The Mysterious Benedict Society. I decided to include it on my Fall into Reading list.

Readers most likely to enjoy this book: School Library Journal, which included The Mysterious Benedict Society on its list of the Best Books of 2007, labeled the book as Grades 5-9. I think it would particularly appeal to kids in that age group that enjoy puzzles and problem-solving. As an adult, I loved the book's puzzles as well as its exploration of the themes of giftedness, teamwork, bravery, and family. Towards the end of the story, I found myself in tears several times.

Three favorite passages:

"You see," Mr. Benedict began again, "although most people care about the truth, they can nonetheless - under certain circumstances, and given proper persuasion - be diverted from it. Some, however, possess an unusually powerful love of truth, and you children are among the few. Your minds have been resisting the hidden messages." [p. 102]
[Again from Mr. Benedict to the children:] "You are a team now. Whether you always agree is inconsequential, but you must take care of one another, must rely upon one another in all things. I don't exaggerate when I say that every one of you is essential to the success of the team, and indeed, to the fate of us all. You must remember that." [p. 119]
[In a mental letter Reynie writes to his tutor in the orphanage in which he has lived:] I can't say for sure, because I have no experience, but - well, is this what family is like? The feeling that everyone's connected, that with one piece missing the whole thing's broken? [p. 255]

Up next: According to Wikipedia, Stewart is currently writing a sequel. Assuming the accuracy of that statement, I am definitely looking forward to it!

For book-related fun: Check out the book's webpage here.

2007.72

Sunday, December 02, 2007

November in Review

I completed just five books in November (links are to my reviews):

I was also working on Silvia Nasar's biography of John Nash, A Beautiful Mind, as well as reading more of Don't Know Much About the Universe. Right at month-end, I started the children's sci-fi novel The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Needless to say, this pace is too slow to reach my on-going goal to read 104 books in one year. This month's pace was even slower than my pace for the year - as these books were the 67th through 71st I've read this year. I'm still striving for 80 books this year; do you think it's possible?

The progress I made in the many and varied challenges I'm participating in:
  • I completed the R.I.P. challenge just a few days late, having read four novels.

  • I added two more to the seven I'd already read for the "Something About Me" challenge. My original plan was a "five-plus-five" list, but I've picked up two more along the way. By the end of challenge, on December 31, I'm planning to read at least the remaining book on my "first tier" list, Marley & Me.

  • I neglected to complete the Book to Movie challenge, which ended yesterday. Three books were required, and I finished the first one back in October but my second selection, A Beautiful Mind, is going more slowly than I had hoped. (It's very interesting, but it's not a fast read.) I needed to get the first book read back in September but didn't, so I've really been behind from the start - but I think I'll persevere with the challenge and maybe I can get partial credit for turning in a late assignment. This really was a great challenge idea - there are so many books that have made their way into movie form - and you can see links to the many reviews of the participants here. (By the way, I may change my third selection to Bridge to Terabithia, which I need to read for the Newbery Challenge anyway.)
The reading I want to accomplish in December:
  • Read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf for the Yahoo Classic Lit group

  • Read The Hours by Michael Cunningham for the Yahoo Book Awards group

  • Read Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons for Book Buddies

  • Complete the Fall Into Reading Challenge by December 21 (four of six books remaining, although I'm part way through two of them)

  • Read Marley & Me for the "Something About Me" Challenge by December 31, which will count for the Book Awards Reading Challenge as well

  • Complete the Newbery Challenge by December 31 (four of six books remaining), which will also result in progress on the Book Awards Reading Challenge

  • Complete the Reading the Author Challenge by December 31 (one of three books remaining)

  • Complete the 2nds Challenge by December 31 (three of three books remaining)

  • Read Christmas Jars by Jason Wright, which was sent to me for review
I just did the math: that's seventeen books in December! I guess I'd better get reading!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

Published in 1993. 453 pages.


My enjoyment of Jodi Picoult's novels continues with Harvesting the Heart, which was her second novel and the ninth I've read. While I think it is apparent that this is one of her early novels, it still contained the elements for which I enjoy her writing: the switching of perspective between characters, and the use of symbolism.

This one explores a topic with which I have first-hand experience, that is, postpartum depression. But the storyline goes well beyond that, exploring the relationship between parent and child in many ways. Evocative and compelling, this was a great read for my Thanksgiving vacation. (Yes, I'm a little slow getting the review up.)

I read this novel for the Reading the Author challenge. As I started reading, it occurred to me that this was on one of the lists for the "Something About Me" challenge too - so I'm counting it "double."

2007.71

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith

Originally published in 1943. 493 pages.
The edition I read has a foreword by Anna Quindlen.


I can't believe I hadn't read this book before now!

My slight aversion to "classics" may have something to do with that, but this past summer - after hearing another glowing recommendation - I thought that Sugar Plum and I would read the book together. She started it but didn't get into it, so I put it off some more. Because I had put A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in the "first tier" of my "Something About Me" reading list, I felt some obligation to follow through with it. When I discovered that it was the November pick for the Yahoo Classic Lit group, that was the incentive to finally get me into the book. I am so very glad I did!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - which is based on the life of the author - is the coming-of-age story of Francie Nolan, who lived in Brooklyn at the beginning of the twentieth century. As Quindlen says in the foreword: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is not the sort of book that can be reduced to its plot line. The best anyone can say is that it is a story about what it means to be human."

I'm not sure I've ever had such a sense of grief about having to say good-bye to a character in a book. As I neared the end, I just didn't want to finish, as I knew this would be the last I heard about Francie. (The only other book that has ever given me a feeling close to that was Anne Tyler's Saint Maybe.)

2007.70

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne

Published in 2006. 218 pages.


I had The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on my to-read list earlier this year, so I jumped at the chance to read and discuss it with the Book Buddies. I knew the basic premise of the book - a young boy whose father is a commandant at "Out-With" befriends a Jewish boy of the same age on the other side of the fence - but I was completely unprepared for how profound I would find it to be.

The subtitle of this book is A Fable. It can be read as a simple young adult historical fiction novel, but I think that it is much more. My thesaurus says that fable, allegory, and parable are synonyms, each meaning "a story intended to teach a basic truth or moral about life." To me, that is what this book is. I do not think the book was intended to be read literally - although the setting and situation are historical. It is because the book is a fable that it has great power - power to make us contemplate its message, power to alter our thinking, power to stay with us for a long time.

(You can read more of my thoughts about the book in my posts on the Book Buddies blog here and here. But be forewarned: there are spoilers there, as the discussion is based on the premise that the participants have already read the book.)

2007.68

Way Down Deep by Ruth White

Published in 2007. 197 pages.


First sentence: To understand the name Way Down Deep, one must go back to the eighteenth century and the days of adventurers and pioneers.

Plot summary: A two- or three-year-old little girl is found on the steps of the courthouse in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, on the first day of summer in 1944. Who is she, and where did she come from? Taken in by Miss Arbutus, proprietor of the local boardinghouse, the little girl becomes a well-loved member of the community. But when she is twelve, the mystery of who she is and where she comes from begins to unravel, with life-changing results.

Why I read this book: This children's book, by the author of Newbery Honor book Belle Prater's Boy, was the November pick for the mother-daughter book club I attend with Sugar Plum. This was also an appropriate read this week, because it is Children's Book Week.

What I thought of the book: Absolutely delightful, this book is filled with fun, quirky characters and provides much insight into family, identity, and love!

Two favorite thoughts from the book:

    "Yes, it's nice to know who you are."
      - Lucy Elkins, previously known only as Mrs. Thornton Elkins
    "Your opinion doesn't count, nor does mine ... in the long run, it's only what one thinks of oneself that matters."
      - Mr. Doctor, the town physician
A favorite passage from the book:
"Miss Arbutus says that sleep is more important for the soul than for the body. She says when a person sleeps a lot like Mr. Crawford does, they are trying to work out their problems."

"And how does sleeping help?"

"Because, according to Miss Arbutus," Ruby said, "God is in that place where sleep takes us. Way down deep inside, where all the answers lie."

2007.69

What's in a Name?


Annie - who is the daughter of Debi - is hosting a creative reading challenge for 2008. It's called What's in a Name? and the six selections for the challenge must contain a specific element in the title:

  • A book with a color in its title

  • A book with an animal in its title

  • A book with a first name in its title

  • A book with a place in its title

  • A book with a weather event in its title

  • A book with a plant in its title

These are my picks:
  • Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Mind of an Autistic Savant
    by Daniel Tammet

  • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

  • We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

  • House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Back to History


The Back to History Challenge, hosted by Shannon, is "designed to encourage readers to stretch themselves in the history genre." The requirement is to read one historical fiction or non-fiction book each month in 2008. Cross-listing with other challenges is allowed, but the historical books should not all be from the same sub-genre.

Here is my preliminary list, with some alternates:

Historical Fiction
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
  • Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green
  • Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Non-Fiction History
  • 1776 by David McCullough
  • The Colony by John Tayman
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
  • Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
  • Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983 by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
    by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Memoir/Biography/Autobiography

I've listed a bunch of titles in this sub-genre for the "In Their Shoes" challenge here. I will plan to cross-list some of those to this challenge - but not more than four or five.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Children's Book Week

It's a great time to read a children's book!

Leaving Footprints


    Today’s question comes from Conspiracy-Girl: I’m curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?
I am definitely a Footprint Leaver! I love to highlight favorite passages and add my thoughts - that is, in books I own. For example, my copy of Gift from the Sea is absolutely filled with highlighting and notes because I've found new things to note each time I've read it. I do get most of the books I read from the library, however, and I'm very careful with those books.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Discovery

Last Sunday morning I discovered another of Wendy's fabulous blogs! This one is called

The Lists - Books for the Obsessive Reader.

One of those lists is the

100 Most Influential Novels By Women.


I've only read eleven of the 100 to date. These are the books:
    1. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
    2. Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire
    3. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
    4. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
    5. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
    6. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
    7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
    8. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
    9. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
    10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
    11. Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
    12. Nadine Gordimer, Burger's Daughter
    13. Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker
    14. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
    15. Willa Cather, My Ántonia
    16. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
    17. Erica Jong, Fanny
    18. Joy Kogawa, Obasan
    19. Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
    20. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
    21. Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
    22. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
    23. Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time
    24. Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
    25. Lore Segal, Her First American
    26. Alice Walker, The Color Purple
    27. Alice Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland
    28. Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon
    29. Muriel Spark, Memento Mori
    30. Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    31. Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina
    32. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
    33. Susan Fromberg Shaeffer, Anya
    34. Cynthia Ozick, Trust
    35. Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
    36. Amy Tan, The Kitchen God's Wife
    37. Ann Beattie, Chilly Scenes of Winter
    38. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
    39. Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer
    40. Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays
    41. Mary McCarthy, The Group
    42. Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps
    43. Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man
    44. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
    45. Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
    46. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart
    47. Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood
    48. Mona Simpson, Anywhere But Here
    49. Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
    50. Toni Morrison, Beloved
    51. Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
    52. Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mr. Fortune's Maggot
    53. Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools
    54. Laura Riding, Progress of Stories
    55. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
    56. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
    57. Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
    58. A.S. Byatt, Possession
    59. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
    60. Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle
    61. Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
    62. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
    63. Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
    64. Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
    65. Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
    66. Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
    67. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
    68. Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
    69. Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist
    70. Nancy Willard, Things Invisible to See
    71. Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
    72. Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Disturbances in the Field
    73. Rosellen Brown, Civil Wars
    74. Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
    75. Harriet Doerr, The Mountain Lion
    76. Stevie Smith, Novel on Yellow Paper
    77. E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
    78. Rebecca Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem
    79. P.D. James, The Children of Men
    80. Ursula Hegi, Stones From the River
    81. Fay Weldon, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
    82. Katherine Mansfield, Collected Stories
    83. Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
    84. Louise Erdrich, The Beet Queen
    85. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
    86. Edna O'Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy
    87. Margaret Drabble, Realms of Gold
    88. Margaret Drabble, The Waterfall
    89. Dawn Powell, The Locusts Have No King
    90. Marilyn French, The Women's Room
    91. Eudora Welty, The Optimist's Daughter
    92. Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries
    93. Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
    94. Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle
    95. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
    96. Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head
    97. Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day
    98. Alice Hoffman, The Drowning Season
    99. Sue Townsend, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
    100. Penelope Mortimer, The Pumpkin Eater
That's a list I'd like to read. Over time. Over a long period of time.

Reading Full Circle


Joy is at it again! This is a "challenge", but it's not your ordinary challenge. There are no new books required! The purpose of this challenge is to have fun with words and see how all your books are linked together. Here's how to play: Use the common words from six or more book titles to connect each title with the following title. The last title in the list needs to share a word with the first title making it a full circle.

I'm going to work with my various lists and see what I can come up with. Then I'll come back and update this post!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's All Joy's Fault

About a month ago Joy stopped by and mentioned that she is hosting a Young Adult Challenge in 2008. How can I pass that up?!

The rules are "sweet and simple." I just have to choose twelve young adult novels and read them at my own pace during 2008. These are my tentative choices (listed alphabetically by author) - including six alternates:

  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

  • The Rhyming Season by Edward Averett

  • Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

  • Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell

  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

  • Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

  • John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth by Elizabeth Partridge

  • A Dance for Three by Louise Plummer

  • Finding Daddy by Louise Plummer

  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

  • Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

  • Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Note: I will be cross-listing some of the books for this challenge with other challenges.

Friday, November 09, 2007

How's the Volume?



    Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less? Why?

First, I guess I need to know what we mean by "when [I] was younger." As a child and teen, I was a voracious reader. Back then, obviously, I had a lot less responsibility and more "discretionary" time. Because I had a mother who encouraged reading, I grew up surrounded by books and opportunities to read.

During my college years, I didn't much besides required reading - except during school breaks, when I'd try to fit as many novels as I could. I do remember reading Chaim Potok's The Chosen one fall, probably over several weeks because of my limited reading time, and then taking the opportunity to discuss how its themes applied to me in an interview for a prestigious senior scholarship. In my opinion, using that reference from the world of literature - given that my field was accounting - greatly helped me to be awarded that scholarship! (By the way, when I was in graduate school, Chaim Potok visited the university and I had the awesome opportunity to hear him speak.)

When I entered the full-time workforce, most of my "discretionary" time was spent with friends or television, and for several years I did very little reading - at least for me. (I think I still read way more than the current national average!)

After becoming a stay-at-home mother, I started reading more. In 1992 - when my then only daughter Jelly Bean was one - I started keeping track of the number of books that I read. That year I read 55 books. The year before my second daughter was born - 1995 - was my biggest reading year, with 119 books.

In the past several years (with three school-age kids and a somewhat irregular work schedule) I've been hovering a bit under 100 books per year - except last year when I discovered the Blokus website (for playing games and chatting with other players) and also started blogging. In all of 2006 I read only 56 books - barely over a book a week! This year I've got the Blokus addiction a bit more under control, although I still struggle with what I call "the book blogger's dilemma" - that is, do I spend more time on reading or blogging about what I'm reading (or hoping to be reading)? I'm at 67 and counting ... and I'm hoping to end up with at least 80 books read this year.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Published in 2005. 642 pages.


My friend Kellie recommended The Historian to me over a year ago, but I was somewhat intimidated by the length of the book and kept putting it off. I ended up putting it on both on my "second-tier" list for the "Something About Me" challenge and on my R.I.P. II Challenge list though, so I decided October was the time to read it! I got a good start on it during the 24-Hour Read-a-Thon - and I finished it last night.

Genre of the book: Horror. (Yes, that is not a typical genre for me! If it isn't for you either, don't let that keep you from giving it a read.)

How the book starts: The first pages are "A Note to the Reader" from an unnamed woman who is the narrator of the book. The note is dated January 15, 2008, and the narrator makes reference to "the thirty-six years since these event transpired" and to the idea that what she writes is "a cri de coeur" (which means, according to Merriam-Webster, "a passionate outcry [as of appeal or protest]").

A summary of the three layers of the book's plot: In 1972, the unnamed woman, then sixteen years old, travels in Europe with her father and learns much about his past. In the 1950s, the father, Paul, then a graduate student, searches in Europe for his mentor, who may or may not have been kidnapped. In the 1930s, the mentor, Professor Bartholomew Rossi travels in search of information about Vlad Ţepeş (also known as Dracula).

What I thought about the ending (without giving it away): The ending was actually somewhat anticlimatic for me, after so much action and revelations occuring thoughout the book.

What I think about vampires: I have not had an interest in reading about vampires in the past. Anne Rice, for instance, has never appealed to me - and I haven't read any of her books. Neither have I read Bram Stoker's Dracula. (I did read James Patterson's Violets are Blue, but that was because it is part of the Alex Cross series. The presence of vampires neither encouraged me nor discouraged me from reading the book.) I did read the first three books in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series this summer though - which changed the way I feel about vampires, at least the "vegetarian" ones of Meyer's tales. The Historian has given me more of the historical perspective on vampire lore, which I found intriguing.

Additional thoughts about this book: There has apparently been some comparison of The Historian with The Da Vinci Code, which was published two years earlier. Personally, I think there is no comparison! While I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, I found the writing of The Historian to be far superior, the research to be more solid, and its plot to be more compelling. Because Kostova wrote the book over a ten year period, she obviously didn't borrow her concept from The Da Vinci Code. I think that The Historian is an amazing book! Sony reportedly has the movie rights, and I think there are the makings of a great film in this book - if they don't ruin it in the process.

For more information: There is a fun interview with Kostova from 2005 here.


2007.67

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Every Month is a Holiday


Another fun challenge for 2008 is one being hosted by Kim. The idea is pick a holiday or other observance for each month and read a book relating to it. (For more information, click here.) I'm joining in the fun not because I don't already have enough to read next year(!) but because I like the idea of using books to "celebrate" the events of the year. I'm hoping to get my daughters - and maybe even my son - to assist me with these celebrations. Of course, where I can cross-list books to other challenges, I'll be doing that too! (By the way, I "borrowed" the graphic from Lynne; I hope she doesn't mind.)

This is my preliminary list of events and some of the related books:

Books About Books


Wendy is hosting the Themed Reading Challenge, which runs from January 1 through June 30, 2008. Participants must read at least four books that share a theme, any theme. This is the "long list" of my picks:

  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (This would be a re-read from my college days.)

  • Book Crush: For Kids and Teens - Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

  • Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

  • The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

  • Booked to Die (the first in the Cliff Janeway series) by John Dunning

  • Ex Libris : Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (This would be a re-read from my high school days.)

  • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

  • How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

  • Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

  • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

  • Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World by Lawrence Goldstone

  • The Readers' Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites by Victoria Golden McMains

One of my categories for the Triple 8 Challenge is "Books About Books" - so I am cross-listing these picks to that challenge and because I have to read eight books in each category for that challenge, I will be reading at least eight of these books in 2008.

Celebrate the Author


Becky is hosting a fun challenge in 2008, one designed to celebrate "the special bond - the connection - that occurs between the author and the reader" by recognizing authors' birthdays! The premise, simply stated, is to choose one author for each month of the year and read at least one book a month by that author. "12 authors. 12 birthdays." (You can get more details about the challenge as well as find out who is participating here.)

This is my preliminary list of authors (with two options for each month):

  • January - Shannon Hale or Virginia Woolf
  • February - Jerry Spinelli or Alice Walker
  • March - Lois Lowry or Dr. Suess
  • April - Barbara Kingsolver or Beverly Cleary
  • May - Jodi Picoult or Scott Westerfeld
  • June - Robert Munsch or Eric Carle
  • July - S. E. Hinton or Michael Connelly
  • August - Orson Scott Card or Ray Bradbury
  • September - Shel Silverstein or Elie Wiesel
  • October - Anne Perry or Anne Tyler
  • November - Madeleine L'Engle or C. S. Lewis
  • December - Emily Dickinson or Stephenie Meyer
I, of course, will be cross-listing the books I choose to other challenges as often as possible!

The Quintessential Challenge for 2008

Michelle (or 3M) is hosting the quintessential challenge for 2008! In the Triple 8 Challenge (or 888), participants "read eight books in each of eight different categories in 2008." (Further details are available on the challenge blog.)


These are my eight categories:

  1. Oh, To Be Young Again! (some cross-listing with the Young Adult Challenge)
    Eight young adult or older children's novels.

  2. Escapism Reads (some cross-listing with the Series Challenge, the First in a Series Challenge, and the Cardathon)
    Eight books from the genres of mystery, suspense thriller, science fiction, fantasy, chick lit, or maybe even romance.

  3. In Their Shoes (cross-listing with the "In Their Shoes" Challenge)
    Eight memoirs, biographies, or autobiographies. The "long list" of my picks is here.

  4. Bee Bonanza
    Eight books from the 2008 Beehive Book Nominees. (The Beehive Awards are sponsored by the Children's Literature Association of Utah (CLAU). Awards are given in five categories: Children's Picture Book, Children's Fiction Book, Children's Informational Book, Young Adults' Book, and Children's Poetry Book. Winners are chosen from the nominated books by the children of Utah, who vote for their favorite books. A list of the 2008 nominees can be found here.) These are my preliminary picks (in alphabetical order):

    • Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley*

    • Dairy Queen: A Novel by Catherine Gilbert Murdock*

    • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine*

    • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes*

    • Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant*

    • The Rhyming Season by Edward Averett*

    • She's All That: Poems about Girls by Belinda Hollyer

    • Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

  5. Salt Lake County Library Reader's Choice
    Eight books from either the 2008 nominees or past winners. (Twice a year the Salt Lake County Library staff selects a group of recently published books that they enjoyed reading and that they think library patrons will like reading too. Patrons vote for their favorites. A list of past winners is here.)

  6. Banned Books (in conjunction with the Banned Books Project)
    Eight books from the many that have ever been challenged or banned.

  7. IRL Book Club Picks
    Eight picks from those chosen for my main in-real-life book club. (We meet eleven times during the year, so hopefully there will be at least eight picks that I haven't previously read. If there aren't enough, then this category will be expanded to include some picks of the book club of my church women's group.)

  8. Books About Books (cross-listing with the Themed Reading Challenge)
    Eight books (fiction or non-fiction) about books or reading. Among the possibilities I'm considering are the following:

    • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (This would be a re-read from my college days.)

    • Book Crush: For Kids and Teens - Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

    • Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

    • The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen

    • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak*

    • Booked to Die (the first in the Cliff Janeway series) by John Dunning

    • Ex Libris : Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

    • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (This would be a re-read from my high school days.)*

    • Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

    • How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen

    • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke*

    • Inkspell by Cornelia Funke*

    • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen*

    • Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World by Lawrence Goldstone

    • The Readers' Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites by Victoria Golden McMains
Note: Potentially overlapping picks (eight of which are allowed by the challenge) are marked with an asterisk.

I've done the math, and if I'm going to be successful with this challenge, I'm going to need to read at least five of these books each month (or a little more than one book a week) throughout the year. As of today I've read almost sixty-seven books this year - which is at a pace for a total of about seventy-nine for the whole year, or about one-and-a-half books a week. Even with the addition of a handful of additional books - for other challenges (either already in progress or yet to join), for other purposes (such as the Book Buddies picks and the selections of two Yahoo book groups I've recently joined - Book Awards and Classic Lit), or justforthehelluvit - it seems do-able. (I think.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Status Report on Challenges

These are the challenges in which I'm currently participating, in order of completion date, with my current status:

  • 2007 R.I.P. Autumn Reading Challenge, hosted by Carl.
    Links to reviews are posted here.
    Time remaining: Negative two days, and counting ...
    Current status: Completed two of three on original list; added an additional selection; about 100 pages (of 650ish) to go in The Historian.

  • Book Buddies, hosted by Bonnie Jacobs.
    Discussion of monthly selection is posted on the group blog.
    For November: I picked up The Boy in the Striped Pajamas from the library, but I haven't started reading it yet. I'm supposed to have the first half read by the 8th.

  • Book to Movie Challenge, hosted by Callista.
    Links to reviews are posted here.
    Time remaining: 29 days.
    Current status: Completed one of three required.

  • Fall into Reading 2007, hosted by Katrina.
    Links to reviews are tracked at Callapiddar Days.
    Time remaining: About seven weeks.
    Current status: Completed two of six on my original list.

  • Newbery Challenge, in memory of Nattie.
    Time remaining: Almost two months.
    Current status: Finished two of six required.

  • "Something About Me" Challenge, hosted by Lisa.
    Time remaining: Almost two months.
    Current status: Finished five of original five-plus-five, with one additional selection completed; about 100 pages to go in The Historian. After that one, I'd at least like to read Marley & Me and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn before the end of the challenge.

  • Reading the Author Challenge, hosted by verbivore.
    Time remaining: Almost two months.
    Current status: Finished one of the required minimum of three; checked out several others from library.

  • 2nds Challenge, hosted by Joy.
    Links to reviews will be tracked on Joy's blog.
    Time remaining: Almost two months.
    Current status: Still haven't started any of the three required.

  • The Unread Authors Challenge, hosted by Pour of Tor.
    Reviews are posted to the challenge blog.
    Time remaining: Four months.
    Current status: Finished two, but still constructing the list of at least six required.

  • Book Awards Reading Challenge, hosted by 3M (Michelle).
    Reviews are posted to the challenge blog.
    Time remaining: Eight months.
    Current status: Finished two of twelve required.

  • "In Their Shoes" Reading Challenge, hosted by Vasilly.
    Reviews are posted to the challenge blog.
    Runs: January to December 2008.
    Current status: Posted "long list" of my picks.

  • Cardathon Challenge, hosted by Becky.
    Reviews are posted to the challenge blog.
    Official starting date: January 1.
    Continuing for: "A year to whenever."
    Current status: Thinking about which of Card's books I'd like to read this year. Enchantment has been highly recommended. I'm also interested in Invasive Procedures.

  • The Newbery Project, hosted by Alicia.
    Reviews are posted to the challenge blog.
    Ongoing.
    Current status: Still trying to figure out which ones of the eighty-six (to date) I've read recently enough to count as "already read".
I'm still thinking about the other challenges in which I'd like to participate in 2008. There are just so many fun, interesting possibilities! I've almost settled on my eight categories for the Triple 8 Challenge. Besides those fifty-six to sixty-four books, how many more do you think I can read in one year?