Sunday, September 25, 2011

State of the Blog: Part Three, the Challenges

Fall is in the air! I am running out of time to finish my challenges.

To keep track of my reading for the year, I like to do quarterly blog assessment posts.  This one takes a look at the challenges I'm working on in 2011. The first part addressed my lists. Part Two dealt with my author lists.

NOTE: If you are working on any of these same challenges, please leave a comment here on on my main challenge post. I would like to read your main challenge pages and any reviews.


I am hosting the two Battle of the Prizes Challenges again in 2011. The challenges run from February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012.

2011 Battle of the Prizes: American Version

Like in past years, this challenge pits National Book Award winners against Pulitzer Prize winners. There are two ways to participate -- either read one book that won the Pulitzer Prize, one that won the National Book Award, and one that won both; or read two Pulizer winners and two National winners.

I'm going with the 4-book option this year.  I've read one of each so far:
Possible National Award winners for my second choice:
  1. The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
  2. Them by Joyce Carol Oates
  3. Morte d'Urban by J.F. Powers
  4. The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams (from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program, so I could scratch it off two lists)
 Possible Pulitzer winners for my second choice:
  1. One of Ours by Willa Cather
  2. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

2011 Battle of the Prizes: British Version

Just as in 2010, this challenge is to read books that won the Man Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.  This has the same set up -- either read one winner of each prize and a double-dipper, or read two of each.

I will have to go with the 4-book option, because I've read all three of the double-dippers. So far, I've read:
Other possible Booker picks are:
  1. How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman 
  2. Shindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Other possible James Tait Black picks are:
  1. The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch
  2. White Teeth by Zadie Smith


The challenge titles link to my main challenge posts.

Foodie's Reading Challenge

Margot at Joyfully Retired is hosting a challenge for 2011 that I am very excited about: The Foodie's Reading Challenge!
I signed up at the "Bon Vivant" level to read four to six books.  I've already read four, and will probably read some more before the end of the year. I am on a Food Freedom kick, so food books are stacking up on my nightstand.

So far, I've read:
  1. The Food of France by Waverley Root (reviewed here)
  2. Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin (reviewed here)
  3. American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen (reviewed here)
  4. The Onmivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (which I haven't reviewed yet, but discussed here)

Others in the running include (in no particular order):
And it might be a good idea to include this one:

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano

Chunkster Reading Challenge 

Wendy at caribousmom is hosting this fun challenge again this year.  The challenge sign-up post is here.

Since I didn't reach my chunkster goal in 2010, I am scaling down a bit in 2011 and signing up for the "Chubby Chunkster" level this year.  That means reading four books over 450 pages long.

So far, I've only read one chunkster with my eyes. I've read a couple more with my ears, but audiobooks don't count -- the tactility of big fat books is a main point of the challenge.

So far, I overlapped with the Foodie challenge on The Food of France by Waverley Root (reviewed here), is quite the Chunkster.

I'm still planning on Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  That's my "big book" for 2011.  I don't know which others will strike my fancy.

The Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge

The Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge is hosted by My Reader's Block.  The goal is to read mysteries written before 1960.  I signed up at the "In a Murderous Mood" level with the goal of reading four to six books, by at least two different authors, by the end of the year.
So far, I have read six, but I only reviewed one. So I have completed the challenge, but in a pretty half-assed way.
  1. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthor Conan Doyle
  2. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout
  4. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers (reviewed here)
  5. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
  6. Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers 

    Birth Year Reading Challenge 2011

    I am participating in this challenge, but I keep forgetting to put up a post.  Or to read the books.

    But I finally got my hands on a copy of The Anti-Death League by Kingsley Amis (on the Burgess list), so I am going to get at least one candle.

    Any ideas for other books published in 1966?

    International Anita Brookner Day

    I had good intentions for participating in International Anita Brookner Day.  I finished my one book, A Friend From England, but I didn't review it. I hope that Thomas at My Porch hosts the challenge again next year so I can have a second chance.


    1. Glad to see your list for the Vintage Challenge--I'll get you updated on the progress site ASAP. Also, I read books from 1966 for the Birth Year Challenge (I used the Time Machine option). Here's a link to my list:

    2. PS: Reviews are not required for the, as far as I'm concerned you may claim your prize any time. Just email me at phryne1969 AT gmail DOT com and I'll fix you up with the prize list.

    3. Hi Bev! I am going straight over to your 1966 list. Cool!

      And I'm glad I don't have to do reviews for the Vintage Mystery Challenge. I had good intentions, but didn't get around to them.

      But I absolutely LOVE the VMC! It finally got me to start my set of Sherlock Holmes books. And to try Agatha Christie again. I haven't read her books since high school and I had forgotten how witty and clever they are.

      I hope you do the challenge again next year, because now I am on a role.

    4. Wow! You've got a lot of lists going! I loved Cold Mountain, as it kind of felt like an American version of Homer's The Odyssey.

      Cather's One of Ours is an amazing novel, and I hope you get to it sometime soon. I visited Red Cloud, NE, with my oldest daughter, and we actually went and visited the grave of G.P. Cather, upon whom Willa probably modeled the novel's protagonist, Claude Wheeler.

      Enjoy Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, it is a novel that I re-read every four or five years. I highly recommend the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky too, it is magnificent. Cheers! Chris

    5. Christopher: Thanks for visiting. It's true, I can't resist a list!

      I grew up in Nebraska, so went to Red Cloud for many school trips. I'm a real Willa Cather fan. You make me want to read One of Ours right away.

      Anna Kerenina too. I have the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition, which I have read many good things about.


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