Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

In 2010, I was all about reading challenges. I lost count of the total number and struggled to complete each one. I vowed never to do that again and only opted to participate in two specific challenges last year. While I didn’t feel that pressure that can come with reading challenges, I didn’t get that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing them either. In fact, I would say that my reading suffered last year because I didn’t have the diversity of reading challenges to break me out of the mold of reading nothing but review copies. As my goal this year is to read more from my own shelves, I am all about the challenges again.

Image: What's in a Name 5 Challenge Button

This is one of my favorite challenges of all time. This will be my third year of participation, as it was one of two challenges in which I participated last year. Candace does a tremendous job of creating unique and yet surprisingly difficult categories. I love scanning the categories and my books to see what I could read and then looking back to see what I end up reading for each. If you have never had the pleasure of participating in this one, then I highly recommend it!

Running from January 1 through December 31, the goal is to read one book that fits each of the following categories:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title – Bending the Boyne by J. S. Dunn
  2. A book with something you’d see in the sky in the title – The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan; Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title – The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper
  4. A book with a type of house in the title – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  5. A book with something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title – The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch
  6. A book with a something you’d find on a calendar in the title – The Good Father by Noah Hawley
Image: Chunkster Challenge Button

I participated in this one in 2010 and found it rather easy. I like big books and I cannot lie. There is something so satisfying about their heft and that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing them. Inexplicably, I moved away from big books last year, even though I would stare at them longingly as they sat on my bookshelves waiting to be read. In an effort to take back my reading repertoire, I want to bring back the chunksters, which according to the challenge is any adult book in print over 450 pages. Given how few adult books of this length I read last year, I know this is going to be exactly what it is – a challenge. Still, in the spirit of testing myself, I hereby proclaim to participate at the second level of participation, which is six books over the next twelve months. Any recommendations?

  1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (579 pages)
  2. The Search by Nora Roberts (488 pages)
  3. My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg (488 pages)
  4. The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy (592 pages)
  5. The Technologists by Matthew Pearl (496 pages)
  6. The Unseen by Katherine Webb (468 pages)
Image: Read Your Own TBR Button

This is a new challenge for me, but it fits perfectly with my focus this year. The dare, from January 1 through April 1, 2012,  is to read only the books on my To Be Read stack. This is exactly what I wanted to do this year anyway, so I am all about this dare! In fact, I relish the additional motivation to stick to my guns!

Update: I made it with this one! 100 percent of the books I read through April 1st were on my TBR pile at the beginning of the year. I would love to say I made a dent, but I did end up getting new review copies and purchasing one or two…or ten new books during this time. It really is an illness.

Image: RIP VII Button

My favorite reading event/challenge of the year, the purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural, or anything that closely resembles any one of those genres. This is one I never struggle to complete, and I cannot wait to get started. My goal is to not only finish four books (Peril the First) but also to watch a horror film (Peril on the Screen) and to participate in one of the group reads (Peril of the Group Read). It’s ambitious this year, but I cannot think of an event that best suits a majority of the books I have on my shelves.

  1. The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields
  2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  4. It by Stephen King
  5. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  6. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  7. The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
  8. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
  9. Dracula by Bram Stoker


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