Monday, August 20, 2007

Challenges, challenges

My usual m.o. when someone announces a new reading challenge is to immediately begin to compile a pool of books that would meet the challenge. It's only after the new list has been dutifully written down that some manner of reality sinks in--I'd have to buy new books to complete this challenge/I really have no interest in reading these particular books at this moment even though I already own them/ I'd love to read every last one of these books immediately except for all the other books I want to read just as much that don't fit the challenge/how am I going to read at whim if I commit to all these challenges!?!?!

Nevertheless, I have added three challenge buttons to my sidebar since yesterday. These are challenges that are a good fit with what I intend to read in the coming months and the amount of reading I'd have to do to be successful (I always want to be successful) isn't at all overwhelming--I'll still have enough wiggle room to read an unplanned book on the spur of the moment.

I am hoping, though, that the challenges will keep me from obsessing over the new and the shiny for awhile.

The challenges:

Carl's second Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. Runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. I'm choosing Peril the First, which has a commitment of four books.

The Turn of the Screw. William James
The Italian. Ann Radcliffe (started for the challenge last year, before I substituted something else)
The Shadow-Line. Joseph Conrad
fourth book still to be determined, but I'm considering either That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana or The Thirteenth Tale.

Imani's Outmoded Authors challenge. Runs Sept. 1 through Feb. 29. Minimum commitment of one book. I hope to read several from this group of authors:

Christina Stead
W. Somerset Maugham
Sybille Bedford
Elizabeth Bowen
Dawn Powell
D.H. Lawrence
Italo Svevo

Imani's Index Librorum Liberorum challenge. Runs Sept. 1 through next Aug. 31.The only requirement is that each participant chooses authors from at least three different countries. I'll probably be selecting from the authors below:

Leo Tolstoy
Rebecca West
Iris Murdoch
Lawrence Sterne
Daniel Defoe
James Joyce
Emile Zola
Victor Hugo
Alexandre Dumas
Gustave Flaubert
Graham Greene
John Milton


  1. I love The Turn of the Screw and The Thirteenth Tale, but both of them elicit strong views from readers who either love or hate them.

    Have intended to read The Italian -- or anything by Radcliffe for so long that I'm embarrassed to keep saying it. Maybe I will manage this year.

  2. I'm looking forward to the Turn of the Screw. I'm not sure that enough time has lapsed for me to forget all the hype surrounding The Thirteenth Tale, so that would may have to wait awhile longer.

    And I AM embarrassed about The Italian. I read all but the final 200 pages last fall--more than half the way through! I should have finished it then instead of setting it aside for an entire year.

  3. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I've decided to set a low threshhold of expectation for both challenges. If I can get at least one book read for each I will consider them a success. I'm also trying to choose books I already own and have been wanting to read. Somehow it's all got to balance out in the end!

  4. It's so hard to resist these challenges! The list of possible authors is so wonderful.

  5. The Turn of the Screw is one that I've always wanted to read, but one that I've never gotten around so many others. Maybe I should squeeze it into the RIP Challenge.

  6. It's true that the temptation to join challenges is very nearly irresistible. But I must say that you picked three outstanding ones. I particularly like the last one of banned books.

    Maybe this weekend I will be able to look at these and join before the deadlines.

  7. The Italian is one of my RIP selections, too. Will look forward to your reviews.

    I think I will need to check out Imani's challenge - if there is only a one book requirement, then I should be able to work it in :)


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