Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Challenges

I think it's quite funny that most of us said we were going to scale back on challenges this year...and then we signed up for more than ever :)
As I began to be teased by everyone else's challenge postings and lists, I saved a list of challenges I was interested in and kept referring back to that list...kinda like deciding you want to buy some big ticket item but forcing yourself to sit on it for a while...

Then, as I added to that list I picked challenges that matched my reading interests instead of picking challenges to "make" me read something I don't normally read.  I also didn't pick any challenges that forced me to make a list ahead of time and stick to it.  I like structure and organization, but I didn't want to feel penned in.  At times when I began to feel a little panicky about the number of challenges I was considering, I started thinking about how many books would fit into multiple challenges...for example, Pat Conroy's My Reading Life fits into Memorable Memoirs, Southern Literature, and Okra Picks.  All of the challenges I chose are 1 year challenges and are pretty laid back...kinda like me ;)

I've noticed in my blog reading that book bloggers seem to either really enjoy or feel frustrated by book challenges.  I'm using Book Challenges this year to help me prioritize and organize my reading.  When I say "prioritize," I don't mean what I "should be reading" vs. what I "shouldn't be reading"...I just simply mean READING. 
Only other book lovers can really understand the joy that reading brings...I've been fortunate to re-discover that love during 2010 and I want to foster it even more.
That was corny, wasn't it?

The only other challenge that I know I will sign up for before the end of the year is the RIP challenge in October...can't keep me away from spooky books during the month of Halloween :)

I would also like to find a library challenge...I found one, but honestly I was offended by the button (sorry, I'm weird) :(  We all have our sensitive issues and that one is mine.

Here goes my Challenge List for 2011:

1.  A Year of Feminist Classics - when this one was announced several months ago I knew I was in.  I stumbled into early women's literature while working on my Ph.D. and would have minored in this area had it not been for the gazillion hours I was already required to take.  I was on a 2 year leave from work and needed to finish up my on campus coursework on schedule.  The Year of Feminist Classics is a challenge but also feels like a ReadAlong to me...we'll be reading one (sometimes two) selections per month and having discussions before, during and after the reads. 

January: A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft AND So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba 
February: The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill
March: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
April: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
May: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
June: God Dies by the Nile by Nawal Saadawi
July: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
August: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
September: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
October: Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks AND Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism Anthology
November: Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
December: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

2.  Audio Book Challenge - this one was a no brainer for me as well...I do most of my listening in the car...I've read about other bloggers who actually walk or otherwise exercise and listen to audiobooks! That's something I never even imagined but am pondering.  My goal is 6 audiobooks this year; I think I'll probably end up with more but I'm trying to set reasonable goals this year.  I'll feel better succeeding at reasonable goals than I would for failing unreasonable goals.

3.  The Ebook Challenge was another one I didn't have to think much about...with an Ipad, a Nook and 2 Kindles in our house, I think it's probably another reasonable goal to think that some E-reading will be going on in our family during 2011 :)  I've read 3 books since receiving my Kindle for Christmas!  I'm also setting myself a goal of 6 E-Books for 2011...again, I think I'll read much more than that, but I don't want to overwhelm my little brain :)

4.  Foodie's Reading Challenge - there are so many books floating around right now that are focused on food.  I had a bunch already on my TBR list when this challenge popped up.  Nothing like a challenge to give me the incentive to go ahead and read something I want to read anyway :)  The definition of a "foodie" book is pretty general, but I'll probably be sticking to more of the food fiction selections.  Again, my goal is 6 books.

5.  War and Peace Read Along - the first War and Peace Read Along I stumbled upon was a 2 month Read Along and I knew that wasn't going to much as I would have liked for it to...this one is more my style...365 chapters in 365 days :), 6 check-up posts along the way...Whoo Hoo!

6.  Classics Read Book Club - I stumbled on this great group of bloggers towards the end of last year and read Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in a Castle with them.  This is a laid back Read Along and that's exactly why I like it...good books, good folks and some great book talk :)

January - March 2011 - The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck hosted by Andi from Estella's Revenge

April - June 2011 - A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf hosted by Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot

July - September 2011 - Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert hosted by Michelle from My Books. My Life.

7.  YA Challenge - just from reading others's reviews of YA titles this past year and listening to my firstborn talk about the awesome books she's read, I wanted to give myself permission to delve more into the YA realm myself :)  Many moons ago I taught a YA lit class for secondary education majors...I loved reading the selections then and think I'll really enjoy seeing what's out there now.  I'm shooting for the "mini" level with this challenge...12 books over 12 months :)

8.  2011 Reading from my Shelves Project - I liked the idea of getting to some of the books that have been sitting on my shelves for too long...and I really liked the idea of donating them somewhere.  I love my books but I also love sharing them.  The library is my favorite place to share but I am willing to loan out my favorites (as long as they are returned).  For this challenge though I will specifically have to choose books on my shelves and then those books, after being read, must leave my house.  My goal is to let go of 12 books off my shelves after I read them this year. This is gonna be fun!

9.  Southern Literature Challenge - ahem, this one has my name written all over it, ya'll.  I can handle the top level of completion on this one (4 books) with my eyes closed ;)

10.  Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge - I've always been a bio/autobio/non-fiction/memoir kind of gal...even when I was much younger I enjoyed reading books about real people...especially those in colonial America for some reason?  Anyhoo, seeing that there are no less that 7-8 memoirs on just one of my TBR shelves, I think I can take this challenge as well.

Yes, I know I've lost my mind.
Oh well!


  1. Sheesh, I'm overwhelmed just reading your challenges! I put a few audiobooks on my ipod and hope to read them on walks after baby. I hope that they motivate me to get out there and move.

  2. Good luck with all your challenges and thanks for participating in mine. I am also doing the eBook and audio book one.

  3. I'm tired just reading about this! It sounds wonderful :)
    I too, LOVE Southern Fiction. I will follow along with you on this one.
    I am pondering making challenges for myself... or at the very least, goals.
    Reading more is at the top (along with more exercise!) After touring some of the historical summer homes here in Newport, I really want to read about the people who lived here and some of the history of the Gilded Age.
    I'm planning to hit the library tomorrow to get started! I want to read at least two books a month. It won't hurt me to cut down on TV time.
    I can't wait to follow your journey with this.

  4. Good luck with all your challenges, and thanks for signing up for mine! I can't wait to see what you choose! I'm going to look at the Classics Book Club. I sometimes need a little push to get me reading those.

  5. Thanks for joining the E-Book Reading Challenge! Good luck with all of your challenges!

  6. We are in several of the same challenges (Feminist Classics, Audio and E-Books, and Reading From My Shelves). But I am especially happy that you are joining in on the Foodies Reading Challenge. We everything you have on your challenge list you are set for a great reading year. Good luck.

  7. It's so funny...only yesterday I'd been thinking the same thing about the reading challenges. I've mostly chosen challenges that the books I've planned to read fall into!...the irony! And I've got my plate full with 10 or 11 challenges as well. I'm not too nervous about keeping them though as I've taken the easiest levels to stick to.:D

    Oh, and thank you for introduing me to the Classic Book Club...I see that The Good Earth is being done over a period of three months. I'll try and join in after all!

    Good luck with those numerous challenges!!:)


  8. Wow, that's a lot of challenges! I've signed up for 4 year-long challenges, with some overlap between titles, all making lists beforehand. I'm trying to do a combination of pushing myself to read stuff I wouldn't otherwise and also deepening my reading in areas I'm already interested in. I'll be checking back in to see how yours go!