Daily Archives: August 17, 2008

Taking Stock – Reading 2008

With 4.5 months left in 2008, I thought it would be a good idea to re-evaluate my reading goals and take stock of where I am and where I want to go. I’m already thinking ahead to 2009 and have made one major decision regarding my reading: not to join so many challenges and be more focused on some of my long-term, perpetual challenges.

As of today here are the reading challenges I’ve completed:

  1. Winter Reading 2008 (2/29/2008)
  2. Unread Authors (2/22/2008)
  3. The Pub 2008 (3/14/2008)
  4. Book Awards 2007 (5/24/2008)
  5. Remembering Nattie (5/31/2008)
  6. Book Binge 2008 (5/31/2008)
  7. Themed Reading 2008 (5/31/2008)
  8. 48 Hour Reading Challenge (6/8/2008)
  9. Man Booker Challenge (6/17/2008)
  10. 24 Hour Read-A-Thon (6/29/2008)
  11. Chunkster Challenge (7/29/2008)
  12. ARC Challenge (7/29/2008)

Here is my progress on my time-limited challenges (follow the links for more information on each challenge):

It is obvious I won’t complete all of these – but, I have a new attitude about reading challenges these days. I join them to expand my horizons and push myself to read in areas I might otherwise ignore; and I also use them to clear books from my huge, towering TBR mountain. I will accomplish both those goals even if all the numbers don’t add up.

I am also working to read from some perpetual lists of award winners. Here’s how I’m doing with those (again follow links to learn more about each challenge):

I’m also working on two other perpetual challenges:

Science in Fiction Project – Completed 5 (3 in 2008)

Reading the World – which is a long-term (life long) project I started in 2007 to read books around the world. So far my progress in this project is as follows:

So what does all this mean for me today? Well, I will likely finish at least 11 of my challenges which end on December 31, 2008 which means I will nearly double the number of challenges I completed in 2007. I will continue to chip away at my perpetual challenges. And I will certainly read 100 books this year.  Some of my time-limited challenges bleed into 2009, otherwise I will resist the temptation to sign up for more time limited challenges and instead focus my reading in 2009 on the Award Challenges and Reading the World.

What about you? Do you have goals for the remainder of 2008? Are you thinking of changing things up in 2009? Whatever you are doing, I hope you are having fun like I am! Happy reading!

Index Librorum Liberorum Challenge

September 1, 2007 – August 31, 2008

UPDATE August 17, 2008: I have officially thrown in the towel on this challenge. I’ve failed miserably having only read one book out of the six I had hoped to read. Part of the reason for this has been my ever growing pile of Advance Readers Editions. At any rate, I thank Imani for hosting this challenge!


Imani over at The Books of My Numberless Dreams has come up with an intriguing challenge…to read books banned and censored by the Roman Catholic Church.

Ideally, I would read the actual books banned, but Imani is being a bit loose with the rules and allowing participants to read any book by a banned or censored author. There are no specific number of books to be read, but the challenge runs for a year…so I’ve picked six. Participants must read books from a minimum of three countries. There is a participant blog for all those readers taking up the challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing other reader’s lists and reading their reviews! Should make for some interesting discussion.

So without further preamble, here are my list of books for this challenge:

1. The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene (Mexico)
2. The Woman of Rome, by Albert Moravia (Italy)
3. Consuelo, by George Sand (Austria, Italy and Bohemia)
4. The Toilers of the Sea, by Victor Hugo (Channel Islands)
5. Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe (England)
6. Candide, by Voltaire (Multiple countries) – Completed December 30, 2007; rated 4.5/5; read my review.

Sunday Salon – August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008


Another Sunday, another week. My days have been very hectic of late with lots of work, a search and rescue call-out on Wednesday, and the Olympics (I was so thrilled last night to see Michael Phelps win his 8th Gold Medal of the games, AND Dara Torres astonishing come-back with two more Silver Medals to make it three for these games). But despite all the excitement and busy days, I still have found time to read.

I finished reading On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan (read my review) and found it to be a gem. McEwan writes succinct prose better than anyone out there and this book is a real discussion generator. I’d recommend it for a book club read.

Then I picked up The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink and struggled over four days to finish it (read my review). What a disappointing read. I know quite a few people who liked this book, but it did absolutely nothing for me.

My current read is Sweetsmoke, by David Fuller which I got as an early review book though Library Thing. So far it is pulling me in and the pages are turning quickly (a sure sign of a good book). I’ve been talking to the author and publisher to set up a giveaway for a signed, hardcover edition of this novel which is due to be released on August 27th. Watch my blog around the 20th when I post the details of the giveaway along with a review of the book.

I am happy to report that I remain on target for 100 books read in 2008. Last year I just missed the mark, but I’m determined to hit it this year.  Sweetsmoke is book number 65.  How about you? Do you have a goal for reading a certain number of books a year? Do you keep a reading journal? I got really organized in 2007 with my reading goals and journal keeping (thanks in large part to this blog) and found my reading increased from 4 books a month, to an average of 8-9.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day of relaxation and reading. See you next week!

Friday Finds – August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008

Most of my book finds come through the lit-blogs or reading groups, but this past week I got one from the librarian at my local library. I stopped at the library in Shingletown, CA on Saturday to browse their sale books (they hold small sales once a month) and struck up a conversation with one of the librarians who noticed my book choices. She encouraged me to read:

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew and The Heart of the Middle East, by Sandy Tolan. Apparently Victoria Lindsay, an Amazon reviewer, also feels the book is worth a look. She writes: ‘Who has a heart large enough to contain compassion both for the longing for Zion, for sanctuary, for homeland, of the Jewish survivors who emigrated to the nascent Israel after WWII, and at the same time the longing for return, for justice, for homeland, of the Palestinians who were expelled from the homes they had occupied for generations to make room for what was to become Israel?  Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree, has, and when you read this remarkable book your heart, too, will stretch until it is large enough to encompass the whole.‘ I’ve added this to my wish list.

Want to see other readers’ finds? Visit the weekly post at Should Be Reading and check out the comments.