Reading Challenges 2014

I have learned one thing about myself in 2013. I never learn.

And yes, I am aware of the absurdity of the above statement.

But it’s still true.

The thing is, I love to challenge myself to read. Both to read very different types of books but also to read a lot. But throughout this year, I’ve been wondering why I feel this need and why I just don’t read whatever I want to and feel like. And yet, despite these feelings, I have found some challenges for 2014, I really want to participate in… Yeah, I know!2014tbrbutton
But it’s hard when people post great challenges that I feel will help me get through some books that I want to get through. Like Adam from Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge. I own a lot of books that I haven’t read – and that I have owned for years but haven’t gotten around to actually opening or in fact reading. And each year I do challenge myself to read some books from my shelves so it seems obvious to be a part of this challenge. For this challenge, you have to read 12 books from your shelves – 12 books, that you have owned for more than a year. You are allowed to list two extras if for some reason you can’t finish any of the first 12 you pick – and here’s my list:

  1. Monica Ali: Untold Story
  2. A.S. Byatt: Possession
  3. Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
  4. Kenneth Graham: The Wind in the Willows
  5. Benjamin Hale: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
  6. Frank Herbert: Dune
  7. Robin Hobb: Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy)
  8. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  9. Steve Martin: An Object of Beauty
  10. David Mitchell: Ghostwritten
  11. Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus
  12. Bob Tarte: Enslaved by Ducks
  13. Extra: Paul Auster: The New York Trilogy
  14. Extra: Michael Chabon: Cavalier and Clay

russian literature 2014 (1)O from Behold the Stars are challenging us all to read more Russian Literature. I have already read War and Peace, Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov and I’ve loved them all. I own two more Dostoevsky books that I have owned since 2010 but haven’t read – and they are on my Classic Club list. So it seems obvious that I have to join that challenge as well – and besides, this challenge works well with the TBR Pile Challenge. I’m only going for level 1 for this challenge which is to read 1-3 books by Russian authors.

chunkster challenge 2014aAnd of course then there’s the Chunkster Challenge. I have participated in this one before and since I like reading chunksters, this one seems obvious as well. Add to that, that it’s very easy to combine this challenge with the two mentioned above and we have three challenges that feed into each other so maybe I have learned a tiny bit from this and the previous years. I’m hoping to read 10 chunksters, that is 6 books with more than 450 pages.

And finally – here’s my own reading challenge. This challenge has a tendency to just get bigger each year because even though I’m aware that I never complete it, I just keep adding books and challenges and then I transfer the things I didn’t read from the year(s) before and well, we end up with an unruly mess. And that’s where we are again. So I’m desperately hoping to actually complete this challenge and get everything read from it so I can start with a clear slate next year and maybe, just maybe, make a challenge that I actually have a chance to complete!

Christina’s Reading Challenge 2014

Read 52 books.
End the year with fewer books on my to-read list than I started it with (January 1st = 195 books.)

  1. Read at least one book by each of my five favorite authors:
    a. John Irving
    b. Stephen King
    c. Haruki Murakami
    d. Joyce Carol Oates
    e. Terry Pratchett

  1. Explore the following authors (ie read at least one book by each)
    a. Jasper Fforde
    b. Roddy Doyle
    c. Patrick Rothfuss

  2. Christmas Classic: Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence

  3. At least three non-fiction books

  4. Read at least one book by a Danish author

  5. Read 10 books from my Classic Club List

  6. Challenges:

    1. The Official 2014 TBR Pile Challenge: 12 books.

    2. Russian Literature 2014: 1-3 books

    3. 2014 Chunkster Challenge: 10 books of 450+ pages.

  7. Reread: J.R.R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings

+ the books I didn’t read from my 2012 list of reading goals:

  1. Don DeLillo: Underworld

  2. Finish Sherlock Holmes

  3. One non-fiction about philosophy: Coppleston vol. 1

+ the books I didn’t read from my 2013 list of reading goals:

  1. Margaret Atwood

  2. One non-fiction book.

Books from friends

From Henrik: Gene Wolfe: The Book of the New Sun

From Peder: Lauren Binet: HHhH

So there we have it. About a billion books that I want to read this year. We’ll see how it goes. Right now I’m determined, making plans about how I’m going to tackle all this and feeling good about it. But – I haven’t started work yet. This is the last day of my Christmas vacation so no wonder I have a lot of time to read. But tomorrow, it’s back to work, back to taking the girls to kindergarten and I know how busy we all are. So all my carefully laid plans may crumble tomorrow already – we’ll see. But even so, I’ll still try!

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!