2011 Book Resolutions – The Details


In the post previous I said I would detail the ‘book promises’ I intend to roll out for the year 2011. So here they are. Feel free to click on the book challenge title links – they’ll take you through to the challenge websites which you can peruse and maybe even sign up and commit yourself!

I’ll also link each book review contained in the challenges back to this very post.

The Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2011

I’ve said it dozens of times, but I really need to read more Murakami. He’s one of those authors that I suspect I might fall in love with, if given more of a chance. So I’m going to try my hand at ‘Sheep Man’ level, which requires me to read three Murakami works. My choices being:

1. Hardboiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World
2. A Wild Sheep Chase
3. Norwegian Wood

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011

I love book challenges that are both genre-specific and incredibly broad. My obsession with historical fiction should fit this challenge to a T. As an historical fiction glutton I’m going to be trying for ‘Undoubtedly Obsessed’, so the goal is fifteen books. In truth I may read more, but my thoughts so far are:

1. The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber
2. Cross Stitch, by Diana Gabaldon
3. Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See
4. Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
5. Waiting for Columbus, by Thomas Trofimuk

2011 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge

This book challenge is pretty self-explanatory…hopefully I’ll exceed the target!

2011 Page to Screen Reading Challenge

Basically, any book adapted to the silver screen! I’ll start of with Level Two – ten books to read:

1. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres
2. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (coming out as a movie in 2011)
3. The Tempest, by William Shakespeare (coming out as a movie in 2011)
4. The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
5. Contact, by Carl Sagan
6. Inferno, by Dante Alighieri
7. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman
8. Dune, by Frank Herbert
9. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
10. Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Chunkster Challenge 2011

Again, a fairly self-explanatory challenge. Just call me a chunkster-lover! I’m going to be a glutton with this one as well and aim for the highest level, ‘ Mor-book-ly Obese’, which requires eight books to be read, three of which must be 750 pages or more, all of which must be at least 450 pages of adult literature! I’m sure that some of the books I read this year will slip into the chunkster category.

1. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell [502 pages] (Thoughts)
2. The Likeness, by Tana French [693 pages] (Thoughts)

3. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins [609 pages] [Thoughts (Pages 1 – 309); (Pages 310 – 609)]

4. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness [592 pages] (Thoughts)

5. Lady Audley’s Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon [512 pages] (Thoughts)

6. Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray [672 pages] (Thoughts)

I’ve run out of room in this post, but there’s more challenges to list, so stay tuned for next post!

The Utter Insanity of Book Guilt


Being part of the blogging community, particularly being part of the book blogging community, is a fun, informative, and – if you want it to be – a largely collaborative experience. If you’re a social internet creature with a book fetish, there is a whole plethora of groups you can join to help hone your book goals and meet likeminded people who will comment on your page, and recommend you books they think you’ll love. Oftentimes joining these groups, and regularly participating in these groups, can be a really productive thing.

Joining a book challenge is probably the most popular way to go about group participation with a common goal in mind: someone hosts the challenge on their blog page, sets the rules, and those who are interested in that particular challenge will hopefully follow those rules, maybe even post their experiences following the challenge on their own blogs. It’s a great way to feel part of the blogging community, and to knock the dusty top off your never-ending TBR pile.

One particular challenge that I thought I could handle is Wolf Hall Wednesdays. The gist of the challenge is this: Read 100 pages of Wolf Hall, weigh in with your thoughts at the hostess’ blog page, and see what everyone else thought of it in return. Once a lively and colourful discussion has been had by all, you crawl back in your hidey-hole until the next Wednesday, at which point you discuss your thoughts on a further 100 pages. In theory, this is brilliant idea with a substantial payoff to the individual– it’s like an online book club, where everyone supports everyone else in getting through a fairly chunkeriffic read that you otherwise might be too intimidated to finish on your own.

Except I haven’t really been holding up my end of the bargain.

You would perhaps think that since the internet isn’t ‘real life’ you can easily drop book challenges that you’ve committed to online without psychological repercussions. Not so, my friends. The guilt I feel is disproportionate to what I SHOULD be feeling, considering I don’t have a boss to report to on a failed deadline and the other challenge participants probably don’t give a rat’s if I contribute or not. But the guilt is definitely real. I panic as the Wednesdays roll around like the next car in a city cab rank, and I am barely past the third paragraph each and every time.

So instead of writing my discussion post on pages 300-400 of Wolf Hall and feeling some sense of accomplishment, I am here writing this warning post and wallowing in self-pity. If I could go back to my younger self when I signed up for this challenge (all of four weeks ago), I would say “Don’t do it!!” or “Do it next year instead!!” But it’s too late for me. Maybe not for you.

Like I said, book challenges are a fun way to participate in the blogosphere, and accomplish some long-held book goals. My advice for newbies, however, is: don’t bite off more than you can chew.

You’ve just gotta know when to stop, I guess.

So here’s to 400 pages of Wolf Hall to catch up on before next Wednesday. It’s gonna be a long week.