Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Challenges, Challenges!

Holy Toledo! I am soooo behind. I've had this poem running around in my head for a couple of weeks, now, probably because it's about how I feel. I thought it was by Ogden Nash, but it turns out I'm wrong. Still, I've always loved this one:

The Ostrich is a Silly Bird

The ostrich is a silly bird,
With scarcely any mind.
He often runs so very fast,
He leaves himself behind.

And when he gets there has to stand
And hang about till night,
Without a blessed thing to do
Until he comes in sight.

Author © Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

I love that.

Okay, Challenges I plan to attempt:

Winter Classics Challenge:

Hosted by Booklogged at
A Reader's Journal. The five classic books I plan to read during January-February:

1. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
2. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitgerald
3. Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Greene
4. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
5. The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

OR whatever floats my boat, strikes my fancy, crumbles my cookies, etc.

There's going to be some cross-over, here. Great Expectations, for example, has been sitting on the good shelf since I was working in a bookstore. The bookstore moved away about 5 years ago. Sheesh. So, here we go . . .

TBR Challenge:

Hosted by Miz Books at Literary Cache.

I think the requirement is to read one per month and they must have spent a year on your TBRs. Ha. No problemo.

12 books that have been sitting around forever in my TBRs (believe me, there are plenty more) and which I plan to finish, by golly, in 2007:

1. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
2. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (this one has followed me everywhere, for about 25 years and I've failed to get beyond the first 50 pages, twice)
4. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
5. Maybe Baby - Lani Diane Rich
6. Whole Lotta Trouble - Stephanie Bond
7. An Italian Education - Tim Parks (if that's okay - it's nonfiction)
8. The Hunt for Red October - Tom Clancy
9. Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field - Melissa Nathan
10. Baggage - Emily Barr
11. A Girl's Best Friend - Elizabeth Young
12. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbbeck

Again, subject to change based on my whims. When it comes to the TBRs, I could go on all day. But, it's a little difficult to get to the oldest books because our so-called "reading room" is sort of buried due to the alleged painting/tiling job we're "going to do this weekend". How many "this weekends" will pass before I can get to my bookshelves, again, is something I'm afraid to lay odds on.

And, of course, the Chunkster Challenge, hosted by Yours Truly.

I'm going to choose from a stack and hope to read as many as possible, but hope to read a minimum of 3 from January to June, 2007 from the following pile:

1. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (duh)
2. God is an Englishman - R. F. Delderfield
3. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
4. The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George
5. Just Between Us - Cathy Kelly
6. The Way the Crow Flies - Anne-Marie McDonald
7. Little Women (unabridged) - Louisa May Alcott
8. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
9. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
10. An Instance of the Fingerpost

There are more, but there's no way I'll get through all of my fatties, so I shall cease and desist.

And, I'll try to get those ding-dang buttons figured out, ASAP.

Finished another book, last night, so I'm now three reviews behind: Holly by Jude Deveraux

Currently reading: Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates



  1. Wow, I'm impressed with your challenges and goals. The only goals I have so far for my 2007 reading are:
    1. Vanity Fair (there's supposed to be a read along sometime in February on bookcrossing, which is happily also my vacation time!
    2. Read the complete Bronte canon. I've read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, so that leaves Anne's two novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall and Charlotte's other novels: The Professor, Villette, and Shirley.

    Speaking of Ogden Nash, I always liked his Octopus poem:
    O Octopus, of thee I begs/are those arms or are they legs?/I marvel at thee, Octopus/If I were thou, I'd call me "Us".
    I've had that poem running through my head because frankly, they serve it up in the cafeteria quite often here!

  2. Bybee,

    Vanity Fair is one heck of a chunkster and I don't see you on my list. Want me to add you to the Chunkster Challenge?

    Oh, yes, I love that octopus poem! I had a book of silly poems during my elementary years and I just loved that thing. It had quite a bit of Ogden Nash's poetry. I'm not a fan of octopus - as I recall, it's kind of gummy. Am I right? It's not a common thing in Mississippi, but my husband likes to order unique seafood when we're close to ocean water. :)

  3. Ambitious lists!!! We have a few books in common too, can't wait to see what you think of them.

    I was always partial to whatever trips your trigger, but that's just me. I say floats your boat a lot too.

  4. I have The Way the Crow Flies on my Chunkster Challenge list, too. I think I'll read it in January if you're interested in a buddy read/discussion (as if we'll have time to talk about books, what with all these challenges!!). Eeek!

    BTW, I love that poem!

  5. Heather,

    I've never heard trips your trigger. That sounds like a scary one to say in the South and reminiscent of what I've been thinking, since noticing the Black Cat tents. It never fails to surprise me that they put up tents to sell fireworks, this time of year, but then I was thinking that if you can blow it up or shoot it, it's a Southern tradition. LOL

    It'll be fun seeing what everyone thinks of their challenge books, I agree!


    Someone else asked me to buddy read a chunkster in January and I can't remember which one it was. So, let me say "maybe", for the moment. I'd love to buddy read with you, but I know I won't be able to do two chunksters at once and the ones I attempt will likely be spaced out.

    The poem is a childhood favorite. I completely forgot my book of silly poems when I was doing the poetry meme!! I don't know how I could forget that little Scholastic book! I read it over and over, again. Another favorite:

    An optimist fell ten stories,
    And at each window bar,
    He shouted to the folks inside,
    "Doing all right, so far!"


  6. Anonymous7:13 PM

    What delightful poems. I think I'll copy and memorize the optimist one. My husband refers to my method of keeping track of my money as the ostrich method. Sad, but I'm improving. I saw a poster once that showed an ostrich with his head in the ground. It said, when you bury your head in the sand, you should be aware of what is showing. Something like that.

    I am going to join the Chunkster Challenge - it's just too good to pass up - but I haven't put my list together yet. When I do I'll let you know.

  7. Anonymous7:49 PM

    WOWOWOW I love your chunkster list especially the M george. everthing by her is golden it is. Also, Tim Park's book... I read that years ago at the age of 12 and loved it. My dad would only buy me fiction if I got some non fiction too and that was one of them. Its really great and the sequal is even better!!!!

  8. Booklogged,

    Yippee! I was hoping you'd join in. :) Love the quote and glad you like the silly poems! The ostrich method of finance is kind of a scary one. I think my husband qualifies, hence the savings account I started a few years ago. It would be better if he didn't know about it, but the credit union required him to be on the account as my "sponsor". Sigh. It's helped a lot, though, having an account that's totally separate from our regular savings/checking. I highly recommend setting up an account you can't withdraw from without a little extra effort. ;)


    I've been terrified of that Cleopatra book since the day I brought it home. I keep looking at it and thinking, "I'll apparently buy anything with pages and a cover." But, I've heard her books are wonderful. I'm glad to hear you're a George fan!!! That's one more shove toward reading it!

    Sounds like you have (had? - mine's unfortunately past tense) a wise father. The Tim Parks book has been on a shelf that I seldom even look at because it is loaded with mostly children's books from our homeschooling days. Yay! Glad you liked it!! I'm always thrilled to hear good news about what I've chosen to read! Uh-oh on it having a sequel, though. If I like An Italian Education, I'm sure the second book will end up on the wish list. Yeeks.

  9. Anonymous10:43 PM

    Sequals and series do that to you.

    My Dads still around & kicking. He likes to read a lot though a) not as much as me and b) always non fiction. Thats him though... southern italians... we all have hard heads.

  10. Wow, that's quite a list!! I hope you love Great Expectations as much as I do. Ideally I'd like to re-read it over the holidays and re-acquaint myself with my bloggy namesake, Estella.

    The Great Gatsby is another favorite. In fact, it's the book I've re-read the most. I think I'm at 4 or 5 times through it--and that's since 1999 or so.

    What is Maybe Baby about? The reason I ask--Hugh Laurie was in a film with the same title. And he was YUMMY.

  11. I love the poem and your lists. I read "Gone with the Wind" before I saw the movie and I like the book better. And I'd forgotten "God is an Englishman." I read it years ago and really liked it. I need to get my lists done for these challenges, but I need to do a lot of things. That's why I love the poems.

  12. Nessie,

    I come from a hard-headed mix of European ancestry, myself. My mom once asked my husband, "Does she follow you around and nag, nag, nag you to do something? That's the Prussian in her!" Oh, boy. It's good my mother is 500 miles away, I think. Glad your dad's still with you. I'll never stop missing my dad. Yep, a series can suck you in, all right. Series books should be marked with a bright yellow "Danger" label. :)


    I've missed visiting your blog! I've got to kick the husband on the DSL thing, so I can get back to regular blog-hopping.

    Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby have been lingering on the "good shelves" forever. I hope I enjoy them as much as you did . . do.

    Maybe Baby is by Lani Diane Rich and it looks like a romantic comedy. A woman's mother is being held ransom and the guy she left at the altar, six years ago, knows how to find the ransom. The ransom is a parrot. Hmm. Lani Rich's first book, Time Off for Good Behavior was the first book written during Nano that found a publisher. I bought this one on a whim, threw it on a stack and left it there, but the copyright is 2005 so I doubt it's been made into a movie. I'll have to look for that movie, though.

    What did you think of this week's House? It kind of pissed me off.

  13. Framed,

    God is an Englishman has been screaming at me for months. I've actually held off, just for the challenge. I can't wait to read it. Now, Gone With the Wind is another story. When I tried it, before, I was first a high school student and then working in a bookstore (with a toddler and an elementary-age child at home). I think it required more concentration than I could handle, so my fingers are crossed that this is the time.

    There's no hurry on the lists, IMHO. I still need to do buttons in the sidebar. This is just such an overwhelming time of year. I'm glad you like the poems. The ostrich feels kind of timely, doesn't it? LOL

  14. I'm tempted by MizBooks challenge but my problem is that it's a whole year. I am a very moody reader. I have a hard time sticking with my lists of TBR books. Anyway yea you for all of your challenges! :)

  15. Bookgirl,

    I have a feeling Mizbooks won't care if you make substitutions, although I had that thought, also. I've got so many stacks, all over the place, and way too many are titles that have been sitting for a long time - and I'm a very, very fickle reader.

    I decided to just grab some that appealed to me and list them. I figure I'll misplace some of them along the way. It would be totally out of character for me to not lose something with a whole year's time to keep track of them. LOL I'm not worried. Either way, I'll figure out a way to read 12 books that have been sitting around for a long time!

    And, thanks for the yea. :)

  16. Not the same thing re: Maybe Baby, but you should definitely try to lay hands on the Hugh Laurie movie. Rawwr!

    This week's House was definitely frustrating, but that's why I like it. I love seeing all of House's facets and the finale scenes really stirred me up. Sad, pathetic, breaking through his walls, etc. Hugh Laurie is a god.

  17. I'm interested in God Is An Englishman. Speaking of God, has anyone ever read The Keys To The Kingdom by Cronin?

    Yes, bookfool, please do add me to your Chunkster Challenge!

  18. I'll definitely look for that movie, Andi.

    Yeah, Hugh is wonderful and I like the way they push the character to the limits. There were two things I disliked about that episode, though. I thought House was too out-of-it for Wilson to walk out in frustration. He's a doctor, after all, and didn't House appear to have OD'd? And, the other thing was that I figure if House was that messed up the night before, it didn't make sense that he would walk in and coherently give up, the next day. Just me. I'm picky. He was still a hoot and perfect in every way in the role. Can't blame Hugh if I don't like the writing. :)

  19. Bybee,

    I've added you to the list - so glad you're joining in!

    I haven't read The Keys to the Kingdom and, amazingly, I don't have a copy of that one in my house. It sounds fantastic, though. I just read about it on Amazon. If you read it, I'll look forward to your thoughts!

  20. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Great lists! And I love the ostrich poem. I'm working on my Chunkster list. It'll hopefully be up in the next day or 2.

  21. Anonymous10:54 AM

    I've never done a book challenge yet. The Chunkster Challenge looks interesting - perfect time to tackle my Waterloo - War and Peace. I've tried it twice but never got further than 1/3.

  22. Nat,

    Thanks. Can't wait to see what you're going to do for the challenge. You've already tackled some big ones, this year!


    That's a great way to put it, although I guess that means I've had several Waterloo experiences. Don Quixote is one of my favorite failures. I love it, and yet I never manage to get all the way through that book. I should have put Don Quixote on my list, also, but . . . nah, better not add anything more!

  23. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Turning away from the chatter about your lists, I want to know what you think about Black Water? I read it last year for a f2f book group and I was the only person who liked it. Even the person who selected it didn't care for some of it. I hesitate to mention what she didn't like not knowing where you are. Let me know what you think.

  24. Janet,

    I finished Black Water a few days ago - quick read, that one. I found it kind of disturbing but an interesting way to explore what happened and theorize about how it must have felt to know your life is ebbing away. Ick. Not sure exactly if that's what Oates' purpose was and I found the language bizarre - the run-on sentences, repetition, and lack of punctuation gave it kind of a bad dream feel. Really, I have mixed feelings. It was thought-provoking and I could see it generating an interesting discussion (unless everyone hated it - bet that wasn't fun). But it was also pretty horrifying.

  25. Anonymous5:43 PM

    I love your lists, bookfool! I see you have my all time favorite, "Peter Pan" on there, yeay! Did you know that there is now a sequel to the great classic? It's written by British author Geraldine McCaughrean and the title of the sequel is "Captain Pan" - it's about what happens to Peter Pan as leaves boyhood behind.

    And I love the Ostrich poem, it put a smile on my face, thanks!

  26. Hi Lotus,

    I didn't know Peter Pan was a favorite of yours! I have a biography of the author that I need to read, also. And, nope, I hadn't heard about the sequel. Are you going to read it?

    Glad the ostrich poem made you smile. It's a long-time favorite. I still can't believe I totally forgot my book of silly poems when I did the poetry meme. I read it over and over, probably more than any other book.

  27. Anonymous11:17 AM

    Hi again, bookfool!

    I have the sequel on audio (courtesy the BBC) so I will get to it one of these days. And yes, about the silly poems, I know what you mean, I also left out quite a few of my favorite poets and poems while doing Cam's meme. Too many to remember! :)

  28. Hi Lotus!

    I figured you must have that sequel. Great, I'll look forward to reading your thoughts, when you get around to listening. I need to see if we can locate the BBC channel you listen to.

    I've never thought of myself as an avid poetry reader, but since doing that meme I've realized I'm more interested in poetry than I thought. I guess it's not something I normally seek out, so that's what came to mind. I'm really glad Cam came up with that poetry meme!


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