Reading Challenges

August 10, 2011

Mid-year Progress

Initially I planned to write a six month progress report in June detailing my reading during the first half of the year for various reading challengesread-alongs, etc. that I've signed up for. At long last, here's my progress report in the 8th month of the year...better late than never, right?. 

TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ: As of 8/2011 I have read 31 titles (hmmm...I had hoped for more, but it's no so much about the number of books read, but rather the quality of what is read--not to dish fluff reading because I do it too, but there's a big difference between packing away a paranormal romance a day versus reading classics that merit a bit more reflection).


First the good news: I've completed the Forgotten Treasures reading challenge. I went for Level 2 (7 books that are at least 25 years old). I actually went on to book #11 that qualifies for the challenge before realizing that I had achieved my goal (no matter--I wasn't reading said books specifically for the challenge). Perhaps by 2012 I'll have made it to the bonus round, who knows? For now, these are my reviews (click on the title) for the completion of the Forgotten Treasures challenge level 2:

1.) Persuasion - Jane Austen (1816)
2.) Pages from Cold Point & Other Stories - Paul Bowles (1950)
3.) Destination Unknown - Agatha Christie (1954)
4.) The Voices of Marrakech - Elias Canetti (1968)
6.) The House Without a Key - Earl Derr Biggers (1925)
7.) Of Walking on Ice: Munich-Paris - Werner Herzog (1978)
8.) The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (1859)
9.) Wuthering Heights - Emily BrontĂ« (1847)
10.) To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf (1927)
11.) The Railway Children - Edith Nesbit (1905)

-In regard to other challenges, I thought I'd be further along. For example, I've only read two titles for the wonderful Vintage Mysteries Challenge (see above list for The House Without a Key and Destination Unknown) where I signed up to read 10-12 books, so I'll need to step up my vintage mystery reading (it's not as if that's a chore!).  

-I'm not faring too much better with the equally fun Gothic Reading Challenge, for which I've only read two titles towards the level "the darkness within", which requires 5 books. 

-My progress for the Cozy Mysteries Reading Challenge is going much better: I signed up for "super sleuth" level and have completed 11 of 13 titles. I'll be listing those in a wrap-up post when I finish the challenge.

-For the Chunkster Reading Challenge (fiction or non-fiction greater than 450 pages), I've completed half of the challenge (soon to be 3/4, if I can get crackin' on a new review) with the titles Sophie's World and The Woman in White. Recently I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, which will soon be added to the list. I'm confident I'll finish this challenge with a bang, since if all goes well, I'll have finished War and Peace, as well as Don Quixote before 2012 rolls around. 

- I haven't said much about the Into the Old World Reading Challenge because that one encompasses a vast amount of books; any title published before 2009 qualifies. I post my reviews there monthly, but as there are no levels or titles to work towards, I'll wait until January to write a wrap-up post.

-The most recent challenge I've joined is the Japanese Literature Reading Challenge, but this challenge only involves reading one work of Japanese literature. With The Tale of Genji and Akagatawa's short stories on my TBR list, I'm not concerned about completing this one. 


-In July I completed reading Virgina Woolf's To the Lighthouse in four installments with Unputdownables. You can see a list of my four weekly reviews by clicking on them in this post.

-In January I signed on to read a chapter every day from Tolstoy's epic novel, War and Peace for one year at Jillian's blog, A Room of One's Own. While I discovered that I love War and Peace, the chapter-a-day model just isn't working for me. I love to sit down with a book and move through it intensely, not reading in such a choppy fashion. Even spreading To the Lighthouse over four weeks was a challenge for me. Soon I plan to sit down with Tolstoy and read War and Peace from cover to finish as an alternative to reading a chapter a day (in case you're wondering, the book has 365 chapters which is the root of the chapter-a-day idea). 

Do you have any reading goals in 2011? Are you satisfied with your progress? 


  1. I really like the chapter-a-day thing, but I fell off the wagon and will have to catch up by reading about 1/3 of the book in a chunk. I'm thinking it will give me a great way to compare the two reading styles. :-)

    I moved my blog, if you were looking for the readalong page - sorry! All the discussions transferred over. :)

  2. Thanks for the update, Jillian! Love the look of the new blog! Best wishes for all your coursework, moving, etc.!

    I look forward to hearing how you compare the two reading approaches to War and Peace. :-) Happy reading!

  3. 31 books is fantastic , I've read much less.

  4. Thanks eclectic reader, I guess it just doesn't seem like much when I look at my TBR pile... I know we all have towering TBR piles and I want so badly to get to every single one of them! :)


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