Is that a challenge???

I’ve been checking out all these reading challenges. I like the idea of theme reads & reading projects, but as I have mentioned previously, I also really really love to browse and choose books at random. Also I am not super keen on being told what to read, even if it is I myself who is doing the telling, ya know?

On the other hand, lately I have not been doing a very good job of setting aside time for myself to read. Between work, family, and other obligations my “free” time is quite limited, and it’s all too easy to let the hours slip away while engaged in the vitally important work of stalking people on facebook. Reading in bed for 5 minutes before falling asleep is just not enough. Perhaps if I take up the gauntlet I’ll be able to stay more focused on the really important things in life, i.e. books. Plus this seems like a great way to meet other bloggers.

So, I’m going to try it out. I’ve decided on two: Back to the Classics and Mount TBR. This will amount to at most two books per month of “required” reading — enough to keep me focused but not enough to preclude spontaneous trips to the library.

Mount TBR

This challenge, issued by Bev at My Reader’s Block, specifies: “Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2012. No ARCs (none), no library books. No rereads. . . . The intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents. . . . Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.”

I actually don’t have a towering TBR stack. I get the vast majority of my books from the public library. Still, there are a few. Mostly gifts — some off my wishlist, others chosen by people who know me well. And there are a few that I have bought for myself, usually on a whim. Oh yes, and there are some lingering volumes from about twenty years ago when I belonged to one of those book-of-the-month clubs.

I think for now I’ll declare myself at the lowest level, Pike’s Peak. That’s twelve books over the course of 2012. I can do that! I’m not going to declare them in advance; I’ll just list them as I read them.

Back to the Classics

This challenge comes from Sarah at Sarah Reads Too Much. It’s a good one for me because many of the books in my TBR pile also happen to be classics. The goal is to read one book from each of the following categories during 2012. The first thing I thought when I saw this was, well how exactly do you define classic? Not to worry. Sarah defines a classic as “any book that has left its mark on the world. I want to say ‘literary world,’ but that is not always exactly the case, is it? It is a book that is remembered, or can conjure an image in anyone’s mind whether they have read it or not. In most cases, these books are old. But I also believe that some more recent works could be considered classics.”

Fair enough! So, here are my picks:

Any 19th century classic — Anthony Trollope: The American Senator

Any 20th century classic — Saul Bellow: Herzog

Reread a classic of your choice — Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

A classic play — Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler

Classic mystery/horror/crime fiction — Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep

Classic romance — D.H. Lawrence: The Fox

A classic in translation — Stendhal: The Charterhouse of Parma

Classic award winner — Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses

A classic set in a country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime — Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart

Leave a comment


  1. Love the picture from the Lion King :) Thanks for posting the link to novelchallenges – it looks really helpful for finding new challenges. I can’t wait to check it out.

  2. Aha! Another one who’s planning to re-read Little Women next year! :D I haven’t read anything on your list besides the Alcott. I’m hoping to get myself the Achebe trilogy towards the end of the year…but there’s the element of doubt….

    Happy reading!

    • I feel like I’m kinda cheating by listing Little Women — I’ve read it so many times I’ve practically memorized it. But I find something new in it every time, and it’s been a few years. Hope you have fun with it too!

  3. Thanks for joining in the challenge! You’ve got a great list… I was also considering The Satanic Verses… but truthfully I haven’t settled on my list at all yet!

    • Thanks! I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had the Satanic Verses on my shelf for years actually but for some reason I’ve always been too intimidated to read it. This challenge is just the incentive I needed!

  4. Welcome to the Mountain TBR Challenge! Glad to have you as a fellow mountain climber!

    • Thank you! It’s such a great idea. I’m looking forward to reducing my guilt load. Those TBRs always seem to be staring at me so reproachfully, you know? :-)

  5. You chose some fabulous challenges! Even now, I find it pretty hard to resist one, but I love the perpetual ones – they never leave me guilty.

  6. These sound like great choices, especially if you’re still unsure how reading for a challenge will mesh with the twinned desire to read whimsically. I find challenges work well for me to keep reading as a priority in my everyday life; as you’ve said, it’s too easy to let time slip past doing other things and then find, at the end of the day, that you’re too tired to properly enjoy the book you’ve been eyeing all week and haven’t yet finished. But I agree that choosing the right challenges is the key to having fun with them. Enjoy!

  7. Jillian ♣

     /  November 19, 2011

    I’m also rereading Little Women for this challenge! I look forward to your posts. :-)


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