Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Challenge Wrap Up

Time for Ye Old Final Challenge post of the year.

 Even though I did not successfully complete all of the challenges I signed up for, I am still ok with my overall progress on challenges in 2011.
 My first year of challenges (2010), I didn't do so well, so I decided to look at challenges a little differently in 2011.  In 2011, I signed up for challenges in categories of which I already enjoy reading books, and for the most part, I only signed up for the minimum number of books for each challenge.  Some might find that lacking as a "challenge," but keep in mind that I don't read 100's of books each year.  I'm totally impressed with those who do (Wowie Wow Wow as Junie B. Jones would say), but I'm just not there yet.
When I finished my Ph.D, I promised myself I would return to the world of reading for pleasure; it has taken me a while to get back in that groove; old academic habits die hard, it seems.  In 2010 I only read and reviewed 22 books :(  But, in 2011, I read and reviewed 35 (or 37)...I kept reading after I counted...and never recounted.
(Please remember, I have never pretended to be a math major ;)

Anyhoo, even though those numbers are small, I'm proud of them.  It means progress.  It means that in 2011, books were even more a part of my life than they were in 2010.  And, that, in a nutshell, is my overall goal right now.
I do have some ideas for 2012, with some gently placed pressures to move myself on forward even more...but that's tomorrow's post :)

Here are the 2011 Challenges and my results; I reviewed most of them so those reviews are linked:

The Reading from My Shelves Challenge was held by  Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea

I have a very difficult time letting books go...I surround myself with books in every room of our house, so I knew this challenge would be difficult for me, but surprisingly, after I let go of the first couple of books, it became a little easier to let go...especially of books I was not so fond of.  I still won't be able to let go of books I love, but that's ok too.
I didn't meet my goal of giving away 12 books, but I gave away 11!! That's pretty dang good for me.
I'll be signing up for this challenge again this year.

1.  Seven Up by Janet Evanovich - left this one on an airplane after I finished
2.  Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich - left this one on an airplane after I finished
3.  Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - left this one on an airplane after I finished
4.  March by Geraldine Brooks - gave this one to the library (after I bought the hardback for keeps ;)
5.  Affinity by Sarah Waters (this one was easy to give away)
6.  Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich - donated to the library
7. Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich - passed this one along to my stepmother
8.  Bossypants by Tina Fey - donated to the library
9.  The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart - donated to the library
10.  Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich - threw in the garbage can donated to the library
11.  The Tenth Anniversary by James Patterson  - donated to the library

The 2011 YA Reading Challenge was held at Jamie 's Bookshelf

I signed up to read 12 YA books this year, thinking that would be easy.  I've always loved YA and even taught a YA Lit class for a couple of years at the local university.  
Unfortunately, I hit a big bag of concrete this year with YA and only read 5 :p  
I can't even really tell you why.  I'm still mulling over ideas.
I've put my firstborn in charge of getting me out of my YA funk in 2012.  She's in charge of my YA reading list this year, with the best of the best, one at a time, starting immediately.  
Her bedroom is a YA library, so it shouldn't be a problem :)  

1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Sea by Heidi Kling
3.  Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
4.  The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
5.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Back to the Classics Challenge was hosted at Sarah Reads Too Much...I honestly almost forgot about this one and had to fill in the blanks near the end of the year as I looked back over what I had read.  I could have easily filled in the two categories that were left out if I had just been paying attention.

A Banned Book - I didn't purposely read a banned book...and for this I am upset with myself.  I WILL fix this oversight IMMEDIATELY!

A book with a Wartime Setting (can be any war) - March by Geraldine Brooks

A Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) Winner or Runner Up:  The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

A Children's/Young Adult Classic - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

19th Century Classic - House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

20th Century Classic - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

A book you think should be considered a 21st Century Classic: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Re-Read a book from your High School/College Classes:  Whoopsee...forgot this category too...I don't re-read very often, but it would be very interesting to read a book from high school through an adult lens.  Will do better on this as well next year.

Margot at Joyfully Retired hosted The Foodie Reading Challenge

I have a stack of these books on my shelf as well...and only read 1??  I'm not sure why.  I think I just kept passing them up for something else...doh!

1.  The United States of Arugula/ by David Kamp

The Audiobook Challenge was hosted at Teresa's Reading Corner
I signed up to read 3 and only read 1.  I've found that I am an incredibly picky audio listener/reader.  For example, a less than perfect fit in narrator can absolutely ruin even the best book for me.  I don't seem to be able to separate the book from the narrator.  
I'm not an overly critical person, so I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this would be.  The only thing I can come up with is that with audiobooks, someone else is choosing the voice through which I hear the book...even when the narrator is the author, I still can find fault with him/her if the voice doesn't match the one I have in mind.  How ridiculous/selfish/egocentric is that?  I do think audiobooks for me slide over into the movies made from books category though.   I'm a hard sell...I can't help it.  I'm 43 and that ain't gonna change...nor am I gonna worry about it.  I will, however, keep looking for the best of the best in audiobooks :)

1.  South of Broad by Pat Conroy

The Ebook Challenge was hosted over at The Ladybug Reads
I stunned myself with this challenge.  Last Christmas was the e-reader Christmas at our house.  I had slowly kept up with everyone else's progress/opinions on ebooks, not willing to put down my paper copies just yet.  But, I didn't want to miss out on something cool I signed up the least amount of books (6). And, then I read 16!!!!!!!
My e-readers (Kindle, Nook Color, Ipad and apps on my laptop and Blackberry) will never take the place of books I can hold in my hand.  BUT, I love reading e-style sometimes.  On airplanes, on trains, at night in the dark, when my eyes are tired, etc.  (I've found that even when my head hurts and my eyes are blurry, my Kindle is the softest read...and even seems to have a calming effect for me...I have no scientific research to support this, so don't go getting all excited ;)  
Let me also mention again that I'm 43; my eyesight is slowly deteriorating and I don't enjoy wearing those reader glasses...they tend to make my eyes more tired than they were to begin with.  With my e-readers, I can adjust the light, font, etc. to whatever feels best for me...I'm all over that.
Yay e-readers!!! 

1.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
2.  Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
3. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
4. High Five by Janet Evanovich
5. Hot Six by Janet Evanovich
6. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
7. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
8. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
9. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
10.  Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
11. House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
12. A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
13.  This Fine Life by Eve Marie Everson
14.  Faking It by Elisa Lorello
15.  A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman
16. Water for  Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Memorable Memoirs Challenge was hosted at Betty and Boo's Chronicles.  As surprised as I was at myself for embracing e-readers, I surprised myself even more by only reading 1 memoir this year.  As long as I can remember, I have loved this genre...I can remember vividly scanning the middle school library for bios of my favorite historical characters, Sacagawea, Pocahontas, Molly Pitcher, etc.  One of my favorite memoirs of all times is Lauren Bacall's By Myself, and I read that in high school...before I had even heard of Lauren Bacall.  Brooke Shields Down Came the Rain had me sobbing right along with her because I too experienced true post partum depression after my youngest was born (not to Brooke's extent, thankfully); the timing of this publication was inpeccable for me...and yes, I think Tom Cruise is an asshole.
So why the heck did I only read ONE memoir in 2011 when I have a stack of them on my TBR shelf???  I have no idea, but that won't happen again in God is my witness...;)

1.  Bossypants/Tina Fey

The Southern Literature Challenge was hosted at The Introverted Reader.

My name is Peppermint; I'm a Southerner born and bred, tried and true...and in 2011 I only read two books that took place in the South.  I didn't fail this challenge though because I only signed up to read 1.
I'm so ashamed.

1. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
2.  South of Broad by Pat Conroy

And there you have it...2011 in Challenges!
Moving on to 2012 tomorrow :):)


  1. Impressive, I'm going to refer to this post a number of times!

    Happy New Year!

  2. You did great! Nothing to be ashamed of at all!

  3. You did a heck of a lot better than me, I failed them ALL except for the RIP Challenge. My track record doesn't bode well for The Stephen King Project that I'm now hosting... :) Yikes, what have I gotten myself into? :)

  4. I just finished Explosive Eighteen and I declare myself done with Stephanie Plum. She needs to grow. Characters need to grow!

  5. Patti, It seems like you had a busy and fulfilling year period. Congrats on letting go of 11 books...that is a start. Enjoy 2012.

  6. Wow, those are a lot of challenges! Happy reading in 2012!

  7. You did great, and I know that many challenges is a lot to handle at one time! Awesome job!