Challenge Wrap-Up: 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge (5/5)

December 30, 2009 at 3:10 am (Challenge Wrap-Up) ()

Nely at All About {N} hosted a 2009 Holiday reading Challenge!

Though I didn’t win any of the goodies offered during the length of this Holiday Reading Challenge, I definitely enjoyed it. Yes, I cross-posted three of the reads with the Christmas Challenge, but I still read a number of excellent holiday related books–and also have plenty to choose from next year.

Holiday Books Read
1. The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
2. Christmas Stars: Fantastic Tales of Yuletide Wonder ed. by David G. Hartwell
3. The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s [sic] A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford
4. A Yuletide Universe: Sixteen Fantastical Tales, ed. by Brian M. Thomsen
5. Shivers for Christmas, ed. by Richard Dalby


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Challenge Wrap-Up: Christmas Reading Challenge (3/3)

December 30, 2009 at 3:10 am (Challenge Wrap-Up) ()

Over at The True Book Addict, Michelle hosted the Christmas Reading Challenge.

christmas reading 2

The Christmas Reading Challenge:

I love themed reading and challenges, and I love Christmas, so how could I resist? Handy for those with very busy holidays, The Christmas Reading Challenge was only three books long. This was by far the quickest challenge I’ve participated in, but then, I do get enthusiastic about the holidays.

Christmas Challenge Books
1. The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
2. Christmas Stars: Fantastic Tales of Yuletide Wonder ed. by David G. Hartwell
3. The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s [sic] A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford

Some books I considered included
Christmas Forever (SF anthology)
Christmas Stars (SF anthology)
A Yuletide Universe: Sixteen Fantastical Tales (SF anthology)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (old favorite)
The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Shivers for Christmas ed. Richard Dalby (horror tales anthology)

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Challenge Wrap-Up: 100+ Reading Challenge

November 28, 2009 at 3:52 am (Challenge Wrap-Up) ()

One of the first book challenges I joined was the 100+ Reading Challenge, hosted by J. Kaye over at J. Kaye’s Book Blog. As the name would suggest, the goal was simply to read over a hundred books in 2009. I joined a little late (I didn’t even start this blog till mid-April), but I had a good feeling that this was one challenge that would present few difficulties for me. I had always wanted to keep track of my reading, but I always lost lists, or just stopped adding to them. The 100+ Challenge kept me organized, both with my read list and posting reviews both here and with links on the challenge pages.

This Challenge also helped alter my reading habits, getting me out of my re-reading rut (I do love re-reading books!), and provoking me into looking for new and interesting books at the library, something I hadn’t done for some time. I didn’t like that my re-reads were so far outpacing my new books in my tracker, so I made a lot of effort to change that–and read some damn fine books in the process. I also liked going through reviews by other participants, just to see how they were doing, and what sorts of books they were reading.

I’m sure I’ll participate again next year, but I think I’ll try to hit the 200+ Club in 2010. Wish me luck.

100+ Reading Challenge: 20 April – 6 November

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Challenge Wrap-Up: Classics Challenge 2009

November 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm (Challenge Wrap-Up, Classics)

One of the first things I did when I began this book blogging thing was check out reading challenges. It seemed like such a fun, novel (WORDPLAY!) activity, and like one I’d be good at. (I still cherish my elementary school participation in Book It! Where’s my Personal Pan Pizza, yo?) As is my wont, I jumped right in, joining one-two-three-SEVEN challenges right off the bat. One of the first I found was the Classics Challenge 2009, hosted by Trish.

Being enthusiastic, and a fairly avid reader, I signed up for the Classics Feast, meaning I would read six classics between my April join date and 31 October. No problem, right? Well, it wasn’t so easy. I kind of forgot about and neglected my challenges (save 100 Books, because well, it requires no thought or effort) for a few months. There were a number of unread classics that I wanted to read for this challenge, but for various reasons, I just didn’t get to them. Perhaps I was too ambitious. Perhaps I didn’t take into account the time I’d need for other activities (hello, school!). It wasn’t until I was involved in Carl’s RIP IV–a very short, focused challenge–that I began actively participating in and updating the rest of my challenges. So now I have learned that getting started is easier with that sort of quick challenge–though the knowledge probably won’t apply anymore, at least not at the stacks my destination.

classicssmallCompleted Classics
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
2. White Fang by Jack London
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
4. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
5. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
6. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Alternate: Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, ed, by Phyllis Cerf Wagner & Herbert Wise

(Find my challenge page here.)

I didn’t have a set list to begin with, really, other than some ambitious projects I wanted to get to like The Red and the Black and Tom Jones. I ended up just erasing my list entirely and winging it. There are several re-reads on my list, from the early period in which I had trouble being motivated (1-4). The Turn of the Screw and Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural were cross-posted for RIP IV, which again, was a big help. Brideshead Revisited is probably my favorite (though the re-reads were all old favorites, save perhaps for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm) on the list; I just read this it past week, and it was profoundly moving and lovely.

I look forward to trying the Classics Challenge again next year, and actually having all my ducks in a row. Thanks, Trish, and also to all the other participants.

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Challenge Wrap-Up: RIP IV

November 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm (Challenge Wrap-Up, Horror, Suspense, Thriller) ()

rip4banner200Like a lot of people, I participated in Carl’s RIP IV Challenge. And as is my habit, I went a little overboard. Not content to simply read four books for the Perils the First Challenge, I read eight. (Like many a classic overachiever, I sometimes exert myself for one massive burst of achievement.)

Books read for RIP IV
1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
2. The Terror by Dan Simmons
3. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
4. Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, ed. by Phyllis Cert Wagner & Herbert Wise

RIP IV bonus books
5. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me
6. Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Sixteen Skeletons from My Closet
7. Hell House by Richard Matheson
8. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

(You can also find my challenge page here.)

Dan Simmons’ The Terror was definitely my favorite, and one I look forward to re-reading. I was glad to finally get around to Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, which was as enjoyable as promised, and also glad to finally have Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw under my belt! Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural might not be the best for another RIPer to read due to its length, but it provides an excellent background in horror tales.

It was a really fun challenge, and the first I’ve completed since beginning the stacks my destination! (Which is kind of funny, since it had the shortest time limit. Actually, participating in RIP IV, and keeping myself organized for it, really helped with some of the other challenges that I had joined when I first started this blog, but neglected since. So as far as participating in challenges goes, it might be best to start with a short, quick one to get your feet wet. Lesson learned!) I particularly enjoyed seeing what other people were reading for it, and though I didn’t get to some of the books on my list, that just means I have some to read next year–if I can wait that long! Thanks to Carl, and to all the other RIPers. See you next year.

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