Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Reading Challenges Sign Up Post

I like reading challenges.
I really do.
But, not for the same reasons a lot of other readers like them.
I like challenges because they help prioritize my reading; for me, a reading challenge is a commitment to read a certain kind of book(s) with others.  If something happens and I don't get the books read, then I haven't hurt anyone nor does it cost me anything...except the enjoyment I would have received from the process.
Challenges add pressure...but not so much that reading becomes a chore.  
I chose my reading challenges for 2012 because I either already read that category of books and enjoy them or because the category is one that I'd like to read but need someone to hold my hand and read them with me (War and Peace, anyone?)
I also don't read 100's of books a year, so I don't feel I'm in any kind of reading rut; I just simply want to read more of the books I want to read.

As reading challenges began popping up after Thanksgiving, I opened up a post and began copying and pasting URL's for ones I was interested in.  I made my final decisions yesterday; there are a bunch of them, but I'm ok with that because the worst thing that could happen would be that I would read more this year than 2011 and 2010.  That would be a good thing.

For each of the reading challenges below, I've provided a tidbit about each one with my specific goals, but please visit the blog site via the links provided for more information.

November's Autumn is hosting the Classics Challenge.  From January 2012-December 2012 we will read 7 classics.  What I like about this one is that you actually post every 4th of the month to check in on your progress as well as talk to the other doesn't matter where you are in your progress; you just have to check in.  I like checking in :) 

Since I'm supposed to make a list for this one, I will...intentionally, the classics listed here are ones that are already sitting on my shelves or ones I've already committed to read along with others.
1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
3.  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
4.  Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier
5.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
6.  Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Yes, I was an English major and somehow, someway finished my education without having ever read the above titles.  

I surprised myself with Ebooks last year so signing up for this challenge was an automatic decision.  Workaday Reads is the new host this year.  Since I read 16-17 Ebooks without blinking last year, I'm going to go ahead and sign up for the CD level - that's 25 Ebooks.  Workaday Reads will have a post at the beginning of each month for participants to link their monthly reviews.  Monthly reviews will count as a chance on a monthly giveaway with another giveaway at the end of the year for those who meet their goal.  How cool is that?  I'm in.

I'm a regular reader at Beth Fish Reads and a participator in Candace's memes Weekend Cooking as well as Wordless Wednesday from time to time.  I've wanted to jump into the What's in a Name challenge both of my previous blogging years, but for some reason was a little nervous.  Since I'm from the South and we got grit, by damn I ain't nervous no more.  
This challenge uses categories for the books we'll be reading over the course of they are:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley
  2. A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Ape House
  5. A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah's Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary
  6. A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: Day of the Jackal, Elegy for April, Freaky Friday, Year of Magical Thinking

Candace has already posted the 7 pages with Mr. Linky for everyone's posts as they finish each category and the last post for the end of the challenge post...creativity is allowed, thank goodness...although 4 of the labels above feature examples using titles of books I have on my TBR...I hope that's not cheating ;)  I'd like to see Little Bee, Ape House, Sarah's Key, and Year of Magical Thinking jump right off my TBR pile this year!  I'll keep working on #1 and #2.

Ellie over at Musings of a Bookshop Girl has started a new challenge called Mixing it Up.  She lists 16 different categories of books and challenges us to read at least one book from each category this year...the number of categories you choose becomes your reading goal.  From Ellie's list of categories, I chose Young Adult, Classics, Biography, Cookery, History, Modern Fiction, Crime & Mystery, and Travel, which are all categories I read already.  That puts me into the Cupcake mix level with 5-8 categories to tap.  My "Pie in the Sky" self wanted to sign up for all 16, but my realistic self knew that was a death sentence.  

My TBR shelves are embarrassing...especially some of the older books I've never gotten around to reading.  So, here I go...committing to reading 12 of those books right off the shelf.  Roof Beam Reader hosts this one each year.  The rules for this one are a little more strict than the one I participated in last year, so I'll have to be on my p's and q's.  That's a little scary.  I do have to make a list...and I do have to stick to it.  Yikes.  All books have to be at least 1 year old.

1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3.  Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier
4.  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
5.  School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
6. Books by Larry McMurtry
7. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
8. My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
9. Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette
10.  Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen
11.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
12.  My Life in France by Julia Child  

Did you notice how I overlapped these with my Classics, Foodies and Memoirs?  I did that on purpose :)  That's not cheating.  Whew!

Have I mentioned lately about how I LOVE ReadAlongs??  For whopper books, or particularly dense ones, I need a hand to hold and someone to bounce ideas off of...Kate's Library is hosting a ReadAlong of Les Miserables this year and I am soo in.

Sweet Jillian from A Room of One's Own extended her War and Peace 2011 ReadAlong into 2012, thanks be to God.  I got a little behind on this one and it was just impossible to catch back up.  I have a new schedule now though and have already written the sections into my calendar between now and Summer when this one finishes.  New sign ups are allowed if you're interested.

peoples history A Peoples Readalong

Jenners @ Life with Books and Jill @ Fizzy Thoughts decided to read A People's History of the United States between now and Summer.  This book is an alternate history of the U.S. from what we all learned in school...a history of the U.S. from the perspective of all those who've been traditionally left out of history.
  I'm looking forward to this casual ReadAlong; I've read various reviews of the book already and am intrigued by the controversial policital conversations Zinn's book will produce.   
That's fun stuff.

Teresa's Reading Corner is hosting the AudioBook Challenge again this year; I totally bombed this one last year and am signing up to redeem myself.  It turns out I'm a narrator snob.  Oy. 
 I'm signing up for the lowest level, the Flirting level, and am committing to listening to 6 AudioBooks this year.  Teresa also hosts monthly check ins...I really think I do better with check-ins...remember, the whole "hold my hand" thing?  Yeah, yeah. I really don't want to dislike AudioBooks...there's so much potential in my life for Audio...I'm hoping these ladies will open my ears to some great choices :)

Why Buy the Cow is a brand new challenge by The UnReader.  For this challenge we have to read legally downloaded free books from the web.  If for some strange reason you are not aware that Amazon puts free ebooks up regularly (sometimes only for short period of time), now you know.  How can you not take advantage of FREE??
I'm signing up for the Why Buy the Cow challenge at the Coupon Clipper level, 12 books.

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf  created a Witches challenge this year...she might as well have sent me an engraved invitation because I've been a Witch person all of my life...some of my students would probably tell you I AM a witch ;)  (That was a joke, students would use the B word instead **SNARK ALERT**).  Oh well, if the broom fits...
I'm committing to 5 books Witchy books...I'm an Initiate at this level.  I don't have to create a list but Melissa created one with books to look into and 5 of those jumped right out at me.  These are the 5 I'm interested in right now:

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (no, I haven't seen the movie)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Margot at Joyfully Retired is hosting this wonderful challenge again this year.  I can't tell you how many "foodie" books I have on my TBR shelf that fit this challenge...I also can't tell you why I didn't read any of them for this challenge last year???  You tell me and we'll both know.  I think I thought this challenge would be easy so I concentrated on others...happens to the best of us, I guess.  For 2012 I will do better.  I'm signing up for the Pastry Chef level...that's 4-8 books; I'm not letting myself cop-out on this one with the lowest level, so I will be pushing myself (in a nice way)

I'M GOING TO IRELAND THIS MARCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My firstborn and I will be traveling together with her soccer team...her coach is from Ireland, so she set up an educational tour for the girls (and parents who wanted to go).  
What better way to prepare myself for this trip than to read about Ireland?
Books and Movies hosts this challenge.  I'm signing up for 4 books, Shamrock Level, and am really interested in everyone else's ideas of books from a variety of categories since this is new genre for me.

Did I mention I'm going to Ireland in March????????????????????????????????

Memorable Memoirs is another challenge for which I have a stack of books already on my TBR shelves to read.  I bombed this one last year as well...I'm just a goofus, I guess.  I have no other excuse.   Due to my lax attitude toward this challenge last year, I'm not allowing myself to commit to the bottom level.  I will be signing up at the Autobiographer level and reading 5-9 memoirs in 2012!
WAHOO!! More books off my TBR shelf!!! 

I forgot about the Back to Classics challenge last year along with the Foodie and Memoir challenges, but got lucky enough to fulfill all categories except 2 with the books I had read anyway.  Here are the categories: 

19th Century Classic
20th Century Classic
Re-read a Classic
Classic Play
Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction
Classic Romance
Classic Translated
Classic Award Winner
Classic Set Somewhere You're Unlikely to Visit

I won't accidentally fulfill this one so I'll have to pay more attention...story of my life ;)

The Victorian Challenge is a new one for me, but if I am successful with Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist and my bio of Louisa May Alcott, I will have successfully completed this challenge as well.  So, why not?  The goal is to read, listen, watch 2-6 audiobooks, videos, books, poetry, etc, etc, etc. from the Victorian era or during the years Victoria was Queen of England.  

I love Historical Fiction that is truly historical...the author has obviously researched his/her subject(s) and has based the story on actual events...I don't care for the bodice ripping so-called historical fiction.  I wanted to sign up for the Historical Fiction challenge last year but happened upon it too late to work it into my plans.  As a challenge ingenue, I was also very nervous about signing up for too much.  I'm going to start out at Daring and Curious, 5 books during 2012.  I really should sign up for the Struggling with my Addiction level and 10 books, but that might be a little much to expect.  I can always go up a level later if I see 5 books is too easy :)  

My friend Natalie @ Coffee and a Book Chick is co-hosting a Stephen King project this year.  I was a classic King fan a long time the time he made it to IT, he lost me.  I'm willing to give him another chance...there are a few classics I missed out on and I do want to give his new one a try, so I'm signing up for A Lil Bit of King, 3 books.  We'll have a site just for this project where we'll all come together monthly and post our progress.  I would love to read more, but if it turns out King and I just don't get along anymore and I don't like his new stuff, I'm not going to keep reading.
So there.

Jamie's Eclectic Bookshelf is hosting this particular YA Challenge.  I've made it no secret that I had a hard time with YA in 2011...I  need to end that...right now.  My firstborn is picking out the best of the best from her shelves, and I WILL enjoy YA again.


I'm a Southerner...and I only read one book for the Southern Literature challenge last year.  Huh??
I'm signing up for the Ya'll Come Back Now, Ya Hear?  Level which is 4 books....I ought to be ashamed of myself if I can't do at least that much.

There you have reading life for 2012 :)
Yes, I know it's a what?  Good books make life better :):)
Time to get reading!


  1. I don't even know what to say about all these challenges! But thanks for joining the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge...and good luck with your reading this year. Lots of great books on your lists!

  2. Patti! You are a true reading challenge addict! Love that!!!

    Thanks for joining us for the Why Buy the Cow? And good luck with the challenge goals you have set for yourself. :)

  3. You are a brave woman! Good luck with all of these!

    Thanks for signing up for the Southern Lit Challenge! I hope you enjoy the books you choose!

  4. You reminded me that I forgot about Why Buy the Cow?! I meant to sign up for that too ... which will push my total up to 19 challenges. Yee gads.

    Glad you'll be joining us for the Memoir Challenge again this year!

  5. Welcome to the 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge!!!

  6. Now that is a lot of challenges. So glad the Back to the Classics Challenge is among them! Also, very jealous that you are going to Ireland in March. Very jealous!

    Good Luck!

  7. wow! That is a lot of challenges! I am doing a few of these challenges too, they should be fun. I read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the US a long time ago and I remember loving it- hope you do to!

  8. Laura @ Bunny TalesJanuary 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Holy Guacamole! That's so many challenges!! I would point out that we have some reading in common, but the odds were kinda for that :)

  9. From the look of this post, you are in for some excellent reading this year. I'm so glad you came back to the Foodies Challenge. There's a saying that goes something like this: If at first you don't succeed . . .  I think 2012 is your year to shine. Good luck and happy reading.

  10. Wow Patti - that's a great set of challenges you got there!  I like how you use your challenges to vary your reading instead of as a sort of reading battering ram.  That's why I've joined more challenges this year - although it doesn't matter if I don't finish them, it does tend to provide some gentle encouragement towards books on my shelves that continue to be overlooked...  Welcome to Mixing It Up anyway, and happy reading for 2012! :)


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