Challenge


June 20, the last day of my two challenges has come and gone.  I hang my head in failure of completing Once Upon A Time IV and Spring Reading Thing 2010.    Shame, shame as only a half read book stands in the way of a satisfying finish.   Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand is my Waterloo.

Blame should not fall on this book.  On the contrary, Mortal Love is very intriguing and seems to be well written; however it is the kind that demands more than the usual attention and a certain amount of concentration I could not give.  Reading a few pages at a time isn’t the right way to approach this novel.

It would be unfair to review a book  one has not thoroughly read down to its last page.  So I shall set this book aside for a better time and mood.

In the meantime, there is still no getting away from the fact that I did not complete challenges which I undertook to goad me to read what was on my shelf.  Nevertheless, despite my failure to stick to the challenge list, I deviated to light reading borrowed from others in these hectic months so as not to miss out on a good hobby.  At least I still got some reading done.  🙂  Guess I now have to get down to brass tacks with my Chunkster Challenge.  Only about seven more months to go!  Yeah, there’s still time but with a mountain of pages and my schedule, good luck to me!

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Since I’m on a roll here with challenges, I decided to add just one more to get around to reading what has been forever in my TBR — my chunksters.   Every time I look at those daunting mountains of pages, I silently give them a promise of tomorrow. Tomorrow for these doorstops, though,  never comes.

February 1, 2010 - january 31, 2011

Hence, the 2010 Chunkster Reading Challenge for all those lazy bones, too weary to read a 500-page tome from their pile!  This challenge runs from February  1, 2010 ’til January 31, 2011.  Although this post is over a month late, there’s still time to hunker down with our thick, fat books and get reading them over and done with.  Who knows, six hundred pages  may just not be enough if you’re loving the story.

To participate in this challenge, you need to pick an option (with their funny titles) and commit to  them for the year :

1.  The Chubby Chunkster — at least 3 books

2.  Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? — at least 4 books

3.  Mor-book-ly Obese — at least 6 books  OR 3 tomes of 750 pages or more

Not any thick volume , though, qualifies as a chunkster.  A chunkster in this challenge is an ADULT fiction or non-fiction book ,450 pages or more if printed with an average typeset or 525 pages or more if done in large fonts.  A book categorized as YA then does not qualify as, being light and easy reads, do not really fit in the host’s idea of a challenge.  Tee hee!  Tough luck, huh?

Since I’ve been eyeing my tomes with trepidation, I choose the easiest option, The Chubby Chunkster.

My three picks for this challenge are :

1108 pages

Review :  The October Horse — Colleen McCullough

650 pages

Review :  Wolf Hall —- Hilary Mantel

900 pages

Review :  The Crimson Petal and the White — Michel Faber

Ok, no turning back now….

March 20 - June 20, 2010

Since I signed up for the Once Upon A Time reading challenge, I wondered what Callapidder Days, another blog where I joined last year’s Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009, had up for this season.  I was delighted to find out that it started Spring Reading Thing 2010. Its time period of March 20-June 20, 2010 coincides nicely with my other reading challenge.

Although spring is non-existent where I’m at, and instead I’m right smack in the middle of a burning summer, this challenge is still right up my alley because one has the choice of piling on the pressure or not. That and the fact that I love to collect pretty buttons for my sidebar.  😀

All this challenge wants is that you set your reading goals, whatever they may be, and simply enjoy your books.  No pressure for reviews, blog posts, number of books to read, and all that.  Hopefully on the way, this challenge will help you discover new books and authors through reviews posted by more blog-inclined members.

For this challenge, I shall use the same list of books I have set in  Once Upon A Time IV .  Kill two birds with one stone, and all that…

Again, my list :

1.  Anansi Boys —- Neil Gaiman  

2.  Last of the Amazons —- Steven Pressfield 

3.  The Secret Ingredient — Jane Heller 

4.  Mortal Love —- Elizabeth Hand

5.  Hush, Hush —– Becca Fitzpatrick 

I’ll definitely be adding more if I get to be done with this list before time’s up, my ultimate goal being to reduce ze TBR pile.  In this vein, another self-imposed law then is necessary:  no new books! Everything must come from my pile as of this date, March 23.

With these two goals in mind, it’s on with the challenge…

Pat of Here, There and Everywhere (2nd Edition) writes about another reading challenge by Stainless Steel Droppings.  A great site with a very gothic feel to it,  it hosts the annual  R.I.P.  Challenge which leads readers to discover new books in the gothic, horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, and dark fantasy genres.

This year, between March 21 to June 20, the site poses the Once Upon A Time IV reading challenge.  To get into the spirit, the “challengee” must settle on a book or books on any or all four categories :  fantasy, folklore, mythology,  fairy tale.

As with the other challenges of the site, Once Upon A Time IV strives to be flexible.  From allowing  just a one-book read for the entire period to demanding a tackling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” in addition to four books,  the challenge permits readers  to choose just how much pressure they would like to take on.

My option of choice,  Quest the First, challenges me to read a total of five books in any of the four genres mentioned.

I’ve chosen my five to be :

Genre : Fantasy

Review :  Anansi Boys — Neil Gaiman   

Genre : Mythology

Review :  Last of the Amazons — Steven Pressfield 

Genre : Fairy Tale

Review :  Mortal Love — Elizabeth Hand

Genre : Fantasy

Review : Hush Hush—Becca Fitzpatrick

Genre : Fantasy

Review : The Secret Ingredient — Jane Heller  

A red check mark indicates that the book  has been read.   You may find the links to my reviews just below each one.

I’m looking forward to an escapist summer.  Hope I get a vacation to go with my books.

smiley

Another good challenge completed satisfyingly earlier than the deadline.  I’ve enjoyed the no-pressure to read challenge although I took it upon myself to stick to the list I created and not deviate.  I started with eight titles and added two more to total 10 books (my list here) —actually a very lazy count given the generous three months the challenge runs on.    But at least I’ve made a small inroad, albeit a miniscule one, in my TBR pile and also in my On The Shelf books I’ve listed since I started this blog about a year ago.

As far as the Fall Into Reading 2009 is concerned, I have finished it; but I know my efforts are mediocre at best (in terms of volume)  and I hope to do better next time this challenge comes around.  So, I should have to dive into more books for next year’s Fall Into Reading challenge or pile on the pressure by joining more challenges, aside from this one.

For this exercise, I discovered wonderful Gothic authors like Elizabeth Kostova and Tobsha Learner with their books, The Historian and The Witch of Cologne, respectively,  as two of the best books I’ve read .   Both have exceptional writing styles and concepts that are worth your time imbibing.  But Richard North Patterson’s Exile comes out at the top as well being one of the best contemporary thrillers I’ve read in a long time for its current relevancy and well-researched, impartial presentation of the Mid-East crisis.   This is definitely a very informative book written to encourage your interest in very real world issues with a well-written exciting legal drama, that anyone concerned with the Arab-Israeli crisis should read.

A close second to these three would be William Young’s The Shack presenting deep Christian philosophies made simple for the average person, rendering the concepts even more inspiring with better understanding.

To Callapidder Days : a huge thank you for hosting the challenge.  I’ll certainly be back for the next.

Now that I’m done and done early, I promise to list several more next time this challenge comes around.

Another stumble on a reading challenge that’s right up my alley — Fall Into Reading 2009 is just the right push to get me to clean up what’s On The Shelf this year to feature fresh books for 2010.   I may not be able to read all, but this challenge will force me to get most of it into my head and out of the way.

Fall Into Reading 2009 book challenge is a low- to-no-pressure self competition hosted by Callapidder Days.  The whole point is to have fun while getting some reading done.

The challenge runs from September 22 – December 20 (the Fall Season in North America).

Anyone is free to join anytime.  There are no minimum number of books to read.  The whole goal is just :  read a book and enjoy it!

Sounds good?  Find out more here.

This challenge comes with prizes!  However, this is only for those residing in the U.S. or Canada.  😦 Awww……

No matter, this should help a lot of us lop off some from our towering TBR piles now, wouldn’t it?

For this challenge, I’ll be reading :

1.  The 5th Witch — Graham Masterton  

2.  The Ghost of Flight 401 — John G. Fuller 

3. The Shack —- William P. Young        

4. Exile —-  Richard North Patterson  

5.  Avalon —- Anya Seton 

6.  Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister — Gregory Maguire 

7.  Tongue in Chic ——- Cristina Dodd    

8.  The Historian ——–   Elizabeth Kostkova

Three books also figure in my R.I.P. IV  Reading Challenge.  Who says I can’t hit two birds with one stone?

Alrighty, here I go….

November 12 ….

Finished the last book, Avalon,  in the above list; but it’s too early to deem this challenge done. So far,  this challenge has been quite enjoyable.  I’m glad I’ve achieved my reading goals with lots of time to reach for more. So, I’m adding two more books which have been forever in my TBR pile:

Second Nature —- Alice Hoffman  

The Witch of Cologne — Tobsha Learner 




My stumble on Stainless Steel Droppings brought me my first book challenge.  I love gothic stuff and feel a guilty magnet toward the macabre.  So, a challenge to immerse myself in the dark side was too irresistible to declare my usual, “Oh, maybe next time.”

I accept Peril the First as my challenge from September ’til Halloween and to this I commit the following novels:

1.  The Historian —- Elizabeth Kostkova   (2006) 

2.  The Glass Books  of the Dream Eaters —-  Gordon Dahlquist   (2006)   

3.  The 5th Witch —- Graham Masterton    (May 2008)

4.  The Ghost of Flight 401 ——  John G. Fuller    (1976)  

5. Merrick ———-  Anne Rice  (2000)  

I think these are lot of  scary reads to indulge in, in just two months — a lot for someone whose choice of reading depends upon the mood at the moment.   For me, picking up a certain genre contrary to my reading mood is difficult in itself.  But then, that’s why it is a challenge! : )