What happened to my reading in 2011?

I became a member of Goodreads back in October, 2007. I keep a shelf for each year and it’s interesting to look at and reflect upon. In 2008, I read 92 books. I also became a mother in august 2008 but had a lot of time to read before the birth of my daughter. She was a very quiet and easy baby so I also had a lot of time after so that was a good year. In 2009, the number dropped to 72. 20 books less. Then in 2010, my second daughter was born – and I only read 58 books. This year I had hoped to read 75 books. Instead, I end up somewhere between 40 and 45, probably at a meager 41. I’m really not happy with that. And it’s not the kids’ fault. I could have read way more if I had prioritized better – and not watched as much TV, played computer games and just surfed the internet. So I’m hoping to do better with this in 2012. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This post is a looking back post.

I participated in three challenges this year as well as a personal challenge (together with my boyfriend and my best friend). Let’s start with the challenges.

The Haruki Murakami Challenge

I failed miserably on the Murakami Challenge. I was to read one (1!) book by Haruki Murakami and since he’s one of my favorite authors, this should be easy. But I spent all year waiting for 1Q84 and when it was finally published, I didn’t feel I could commit to 900+ pages and so I postponed it … and failed the challenge. I promise to read some Murakami next year!

Chunkster Challenge

The second challenge was the Chunkster Reading Challenge – and I did good on that one. I went for The Plump Primer which meant I had to read 6 books of 450+ pages. I stopped counting after 7 so I’m happy with that.

Back to the Classics Challenge

So I thought this challenge would be really fun. And I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to read. But as with everything concerning my reading this year, this didn’t work as planned either. I did read some books with a wartime setting but not anyone I would count as classics. And I missed several of the other categories as well so this one I really blew.

  • Hosted by: Sarah reads too much
  • Duration: January – December 2011
  • Goals:
    1. A Banned Book: Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
    2. A Book with a Wartime Setting (can be any war)
    3. A Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) Winner or Runner Up
    4. A Children’s/Young Adult Classic
    5. 19th Century Classic: Charles Dickens: David Copperfield
    6. 20th Century Classic
    7. A Book you think should be considered a 21st Century Classic: Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
    8. Re-Read a book from your High School/College Classes

Personal Reading Challenge

I didn’t finish this one either – but I think I did rather good. I had given myself a really hard challenge – both with the amount of books I had to read as well as the ones I had picked out. I had named 26 books to read this year and as can be seen below, I didn’t get around to all of them. I was really excited about this list so I’m sad I didn’t finish it. I create these challenges for myself to try and make sure that I actually read the great books I have on my shelves. I will not transfer these books to next year because then it’s going to be a never-ending thing. I do hope to get around to reading all of these soon though. And next year I will try to work on my list all year and not just attack it in the last months of the year.

I’m a bit sad that I didn’t really follow through on my two themes – 2WW and China. I have read two of the China books and am currently reading a third, Yiyun Li The Vagrants, so I did do some of it. I was so excited about it when I created the themes so it’s a shame I didn’t make it to them.

  • A) read 75 books (41 books read)
  • B) reach a total of 100 books read from the 1001-lists (71)
  • C) less than 100 books on my to-read shelf (181)
  • D) 13 books/themes for 2011
  • 1. Jonathan Franzen ‘Freedom’
  • 2. Jack Vance: ‘The Complete Lyonesse’
  • 3. China Theme: Jung Chang: ‘Vilde Svaner’, Jun Feng: ‘Tiden er til fest’, Lijia Zhang: ‘“Socialism is great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China’, Pearl S Buck: ‘Pavilion of Women’, Yiyun Li: ‘The Vagrants’
  • 4. John Twelve Hawks: Fourth Realm trilogy
  • 5. Charles Dickens ‘The mystery of Edwin Drood’ & Dan Simmons ‘Drood’
  • 6. Gustave Flaubert: ‘Madame Bovary’
  • 7. Orhan Pamuk ‘Snow’
  • 8. WW2 Theme: Harry Mulisch: ‘The Assault’, Anne Frank: ‘The Diary of a Young Girl, Irène Némirovsky: ‘Suite Francaise’, Elie Wiesel: ‘Night’
  • 9. Hilary Mantel: ‘Wolf Hall’
  • 10. Academics:
    • a) philosophy: John Rawls: ‘A Theory of Justice’
    • b) art history/aesthetics: Sandro Bocola: ‘The Art of Modernism’
    • c) collecting: Randy O. Frost: ‘Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things’
    • d) animal ethics: Melanie Joy: ‘Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism’
  • 11. Henrik’s Choice: Paolo Bacigalupi: The Windup Girl
  • 12. Henrik’s Choice: John Fante: Ask the Dust
  • 13. Peder’s Choice: Chanrithy Him: ‘When Broken Glass Floats

So this was an overview over my reading goals and challenges in 2011. Soon to follow – my favorite reads of the year!

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