Sunday Salon: Challenges, Challenges, Challenges!

It’s that time of the year again…you know, the time where book bloggers swear they won’t sign up for (too many) reading challenges but end up doing it anyway?

I didn’t do as great in 2011 as I did in 2010. I’m going to come up a little short on the A-Z Challenge this year (sadface!). I don’t think I even dipped into the Take a Chance 3 Challenge, and the TBR Dare…ha! I knew when I signed up that I’d never be able to last.My Pulitzer 1s Challenge went as I thought it would: I didn’t go near John Updike’s wretched book and didn’t get to read Margaret Ayer Barnes’s Years of Grace because it was a bigger book, and interlibrary loan only allowed me 2 weeks with it (I was swamped at work at the time it came in). I was open to reading Conrad Richter’s The Town, but the copy at the library had funky mystery stains, and just…no. Luckily, I did manage to get all the other books on that list crossed off.

As for the challenges I did complete: the POC Challenge a piece of cake, as was the E-book Challenge. I just finished the What’s in a Name 4 challenge on Friday. My Cinco By Mayo challenge (which ended on Cinco de Mayo earlier this year) was also an easy one. I didn’t read as many feminist classics as I’d hoped, but I did get through The Second Sex, which is an accomplishment in itself.

As for a personal challenge: I officially hit my 100 book mark this week!

Anyway. I am cutting back on challenges in 2012, yet I’ve already signed up for 5. *blushes*

When Eva mentioned the Gender in Fantasy and Sci-Fi Challenge, I couldn’t resist. I am woefully underread in the fantasy/sci-fi genres. The challenge list had several titles that I’ve been wanting to read anyway, so I just went for it. My goal is to read six of these:

  • Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Octavia Butler – Wild Seed
  • Nicola Griffith – Ammonite
  • Ursula K. Le Guin – Left Hand of Darkness
  • Joanna Russ – The Female Man
  • Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
  • Sheri Tepper – Beauty
  • James Tiptree Jr – Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
  • Virginia Woolf – Orlando

I read 6 books by South Asian authors in 2011 (and acquired many more), so signing up for Swapna’s South Asian Challenge was just common sense. My goal is to read at least 7 books by South Asian authors next year.

Although I failed the TBR Dare last year, Adam’s TBR Challenge has much more reasonable terms (if you’re like me and have a limited amount of willpower). These were the 12 books I chose from my shelves. Some of them have been sitting there for years:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  2. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
  3. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  4. George Washington Gomez by Americo Paredes
  5. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  6. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent by Julia Alvarez
  7. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  9. Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen
  10. Native Son by Richard Wright
  11. The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  12. Animal Liberation by Peter Singer

I’m also bringing back the Pulitzer 2s Challenge. If you’re doing the Pulitzer Project, it’s like a challenge within the challenge: for 2012, I’m focusing on reading all the Pulitzer fiction winners for the years ending in 2. The 10 books are:

  • 2012 – TBA
  • 2002 – Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • 1992 – A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  • 1982 – Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
  • 1972 – Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
  • 1962 – The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor
  • 1952 – The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
  • 1942 – In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow
  • 1932 – The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • 1922 – Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington

And finally, count me in for What’s in a Name 5…my 3rd year doing the challenge!  Participants are given 6 categories, and something in your chosen titles much reflect each category. The categories for 2012, plus my tentative choices, are:

  1. Topographical feature:A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
  2. Something you’d see in the sky:The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
  3. Creepy crawly:Revolt of the Cockroach People by Oscar Zeta Acosta
  4. Type of house:Great House by Nicole Krauss
  5. Something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack:The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  6. Something you’d find on a calendar:The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

My head is swimming just looking at all those titles. *gulp*

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3 comments

  1. Alison

    Oooh…you’ve gotten me all excited for 2012 now! I’m not a blogger and only did the Goodreads challenge, which I met a few weeks ago. (Had set my goal at 50 because at the time I had a full-time job and didn’t think I could go beyond that. Then at the end of January my health went kaput – was heading there for a while – and I ended up leaving my job and moving out of my apartment and in with my folks, and have been on disability since, which led to much more reading time. I’ll probably end up at 58 or 59, which with the free time could have been higher, except during the brouhaha I had little time or focus for reading. Anyway, overshare :P)

    I’m not entirely sure how my next year will go in my life, re: health, work, etc, but I’m going to set my 2012 Goodreads challenge at 60 with the intention of surpassing it. And I definitely think I’ll incorporate some of these other challenges into my reading, even if I don’t actively join them since I don’t have a blog. But it’s still beneficial for broadening one’s reading horizons 🙂

  2. Melissa

    @Alison: You can still sign up for several challenges if you don’t have a blog! Most of the time, they’ll let you just leave comments rather than a links to your blog posts (I know What’s in a Name allows that).

    @Eva: Definitely. 🙂

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