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.)


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.)


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."


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


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.


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.
    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?