Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Reading Challenges

In 2011, I started the POC Reading Challenge in July (6 months late). My goal was to reach Level 3: 7-9 books, but I only managed to read and review 6...not too bad, I guess. In 2012, I started The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge in August (7 months late). This challenge was based on number of pages read and while I did manage to read 4, or maybe it was 5, books, I only actually managed to post reviews for 2; I blame this on the fact that I was spending my time training for a half marathon and raising funds for charity. You can read all about that adventure on my other blog: 21K for Change (which I still need to update with a final Race Day post).

Now for 2013 - onward and upward! I am going to sign up for a few challenges this year in the hopes of actually participating for the entire year. I'm thinking signing up in January is a good first step!

Here are the four challenges that I am committing myself to:

What's in a Name 6 happening over at Beth Fish Reads
1. "Up" or "Down" (or equivalent) in the title. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; I'd say that qualifies as an equivalent of "up"...wouldn't you?!
2. Something you find in your kitchen in the title. While these may not be found in everyone's kitchen, I am going to go with Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor (mother/daughter authors) for this one.
3. A party or celebration in the title. I've already read this once, but since  it's been quite a while and since I'm currently working on my Creative Writing Thesis which is based on my trip to Botswana and because of that I need all of the travel writing references I can possibly get, I'm going to do Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner here. 
4. "Fire" (or equivalent) in the title. PrairieFire is a Canadian journal of new writing that is published quarterly in Manitoba. I have the 2009 Writing Contest Winners volume because one of my friends is published in it. The journal is 107 pages long and includes work from 20 contributors. I have actually only read Kirsty's piece. I think it's high time I read the rest!
5. An emotion in the title. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. 650 pages. Let's do this!
6. "Lost" or "Found" (or equivalent) in the title. The first book that comes to mind here is She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I'm going to go with that for now.
Off the top of my head (I'm not sitting in front of my bookshelf right now) I can't think of suitable books for any of these, but I am excited to look!

Outside the Box Book Challenge hosted by Musings of a Book Lover
1. To the Screen - Read a book that was adapted to the screen.  Right now, I am reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It's quite fitting how the first book I chose to read in 2013 just happens to fit the 1st challenge category - neat! #nerdalert
2. Another Voice - If you typically read books that focus on a female character, try a male protagonist. If you typically read books from a male point of view, see what it’s like from a woman’s perspective. I don't really think I have a "typical read," but I'll do my best to come up with something for this one. I'm thinking maybe Dune by Frank Herbert which might be a stretch for this category, but I have NEVER read Science Fiction...EVER so if that isn't reading outside the box, I don't know what is!
3. Opposites Attract - If you always read young adult or historical fiction try something that would be opposite – a contemporary read for those stuck in the past, for instance. Most of the bookblogs I come across tend to showcase Young Adult Lit, but that genre is just not an area that I frequent with my book choices. I'm unsure on a specific title, but, perhaps YA will be the way to go for this one. TBA
4. 5 Star Day - Is there a book you’ve seen featured on another blog that everyone raves about? Even if it isn’t your cup of tea – give it a try to see what the hype is all about. I feel the need, here, to report that I bought and started reading Fifty Shades of Grey for this reason; EVERYONE was raving about it. I made it to Chapter 6 when the female protagonist's virgin status is revealed and it now sits in my "too be donated" box. I am actually embarrassed to be donating it anywhere because that means admitting that I actually bought it! Awful trash for the mind! I don't know what I am going to read for this category yet, but I hope it doesn't end up being as disappointing as Fifty Shades of Grey was. TBA 
5. XyZ pdQ - Grab a book that has either an X, Z or Q in the title or try the author’s name. Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell is my choice for this one. I've had the book since I was 10 years old and Dana Starkell (Don's son) came to my elementary school and wrote a song with our class. I bought a signed copy of this book in 1995 and have yet to read the entire thing. I think it's time...and it has a 'Z' in the title! Booyah!
6. It's my Birthday! - Read a book that was published in either your birth month or birth year. I was born on January 29, 1984. George Orwell wrote a book that you may have heard of called 1984. Now I don't know if he published it in January or not, but I do know it was published in 1949. Do you suppose I could make a good argument for reading 1984 for this category? I've always wanted to finish reading it (I started reading it,  but never actually finished it in high school...yep, a LONG time ago). 
7. From one place - Read a book that was first published outside of your country. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea was originally released in Lebanon and was written in Arabic. This book has been very basically defined as 4 Muslim girls from Saudi Arabia meets Sex and the City. Can't wait!
8. It's All About ME! - Read a memoir of one kind or another. Chances are I'll have a number of selections for this section because I'll be reading A LOT of travel writing over the next four months to help with my Creative Writing Thesis. I just bought Without Reservation by Alice Steinbach, though so I'll jot that one down as my "official" choice for this category. 
9. Visit an Old Friend - Read one of your favorites again. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is my favorite book and has been for a very long time; I think I may revisit it. I am also thinking of my favorite book from my middle school days, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I've been meaning to re-read this one for a really long time to revisit why it has had such a lasting effect on me. Maybe I'll do two books for this category...oh my!
10. Look at the pretty pictures! - Read a Graphic Novel. It just so happens that my boyfriend loves graphic novels. I'm thinking Beowulf for this one because I think a fantastic way to get young people, or any people really, to read classic a.k.a. "boring" literature is by turning it into a graphic novel. 
11. She made me do it! - Read a book raved about by another blogger. TBA
12. I couldn't help myself! - Read a book that you fall in Cover Love with; was it worth it? I actually just went out and bought the book for this category today. Every time I walk into a book store I notice Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The cover of that novel always jumps right out at me and I've resisted buying it so many times. Now I own it; let's see if it's worth it!
13. To be or Not to be... - Read a play or memorize a poem and analyse it since it’s rolling around in your head! For this one I'm thinking I should read Othello by William Shakespeare. When I took a course on Shakespeare about 5 years ago as part of my undergrad degree, Othello was the only play on the required reading list that I didn't actually read. On the other hand, The Tempest was recently turned into a film, which I have not seen, so perhaps that would be a good comparative choice. I am also toying with the idea of memorising "The Flea" by John Donne, the poem in my Introduction to English Literature course that made we swear off reading anything else that wasn't modern literature. As I work my way through the chaos that is applying to do my Master's in English, I have been reflecting on my journey as an English Literature major and realising how far I have come in terms of my appreciation and understanding of the breadth of incredible works from Old English to 21st Century. Memorising and reflecting on "The Flea" could be fun! #nerdalertx2
I'm chosing the level No Box can Contain Me! which means I am going to attempt to read and review a book in all 13 categories! 

TBR Pile Reading Challege with the fine folks at Bookish
I have so many books on my bookshelf that are "To Be Read" that I had to include this challenge. I am shooting for A Sweet Kiss which is 21-30 books which should put a small dent in my collection. In reality, I likely have over 100 books (that's about 1/3) in my collection that I haven't read...sigh. to name one, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett...fitting, no?!

and, finally because I am a Janeite...
The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge showcased on Austenprose: A Jane Austen Blog
This challenge is in celebration of 200 years of publication (originally published in 1813) for Pride and Prejudice and the goal is to re-read the classic, read spin-offs of the classic, and/or watch film versions of the classic.
I am going with Neophyte for this one which is 1-4 selections, but if I get accepted into Grad School for September of 2013, during which I plan to do my Master's Thesis on Austen's work, then I may decide to increase my goal.
Right now, I am going to commit to reading:
-The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath
-Charlotte Pride & Prejudice Continues by Karen Aminadra
-Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott (is it just a coincidence here that the author's name is basically Anne Elliot...from Persuasion?!)
and watching (if I can find them)
-the 1940 film version of Pride & Prejudice
-the Off Broadway musical I Love You Because.
If I can find both of these and watch them that would bump me up into Disciple :)

Please join in my fun along with so many other book lovers! Here goes!