Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge

Andi and Heather have come up with a flexible list of intimidating books for the "My Year of Reading Dangerously" Challenge. Since I've decided I'm truly meant to be a fickle reader and dislike lists, this is the only challenge I plan to participate in during the year of 2008. I'm making some substitutions because I also plan to read only from my TBR stacks - no buying in 2008. And, you believe I'll last an entire year without purchasing a book, right? Well, actually, there are some qualifications to that little personal goal, but we'll save that for another time.

The Twelve "Official" Novels by month and My Substitutions:

January: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens --- A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens

February: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison --- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami

March: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood --- The Blind Assassin or Oryx and Crake by

April: Transformations by Anne Sexton (Poetry) --- Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems ed. by Nathaniel Tarn or Passions and Impressions by Pablo Neruda

May: Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote --- The Secret History by Donna Tartt

June: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov --- yep, I've been wanting to read Lolita for years.

July: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier --- The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

August: Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman --- Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

September: The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy --- there's no substitute for this one; I'll reread it.

October: The Human Stain by Philip Roth ---
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

November: A Month of Classic Short Stories, Various --- cool by me.

December: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck --- East of Eden or Of Mice and Men

Subject to change at my whims, as always, but I'm pretty happy with this list. I've already read Great Expectations (loved it!) and The Grapes of Wrath (not as terrifying as expected, actually). It's possible that I have a copy of Cat's Eye, but my husband has buried the room in which my pile of Atwoods resides, so I just don't know. Most of my choices are books that have been languishing on the shelves, either scaring the tar out of me or just in need of a reading; I
don't always know why I put off the reading of a particular book. Simon's book, of course, is just so brilliant, moving and infinitely quotable that there's simply no substitute.

I think the biggest obstacle to this challenge will be making sure that I pack the right books in my suitcase. Wish me luck on that. If I leave a book behind, though, I've got some others I stashed at my mother's house. Of those, the most intimidating is the set of two volumes of The Forsyte Saga. Oooooh, scary.

Hawaii pic of the day:

Wishing everyone a calm and safe weekend!

Bookfool, who finally put a mini Christmas tree out on the table (but there's not much under it)


  1. Looking at Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in your sidebar are three poppets, but it looks to me like two Violets! Am I going blind? Or is it just the light?

  2. Oh, you're making it very difficult to stick to my guns and NOT join any challenges in '08. I think I could do this one. Hmmmmm.

    Love the picture of ice plant. I haven't seen it in many years. When we were kids, we used to break a piece of the "stem" in half and use the juicy insides to write stuff on the sidewalk. The "graffiti" lasted forever, as I recall. We had an entire hillside covered with the stuff. It's a great firebreak and helps prevent erosion. Perfect for San Diego. Anyhow, it's a pretty plant and your picture took me trippin' down memory lane. Thanks!

  3. You're not buying any books next year? Is that physically possible?

    If you can do this, you are one strong lady. And definitely have my admiration.

  4. Great list! We'll have to compare thoughts on A Tale of Two Cities in January. I've read the Murakami and the 2 Atwoods you listed but none of your other choices. I'm hoping that having a book to read each month will keep me on track instead of putting them off till the end of the year like I did this year, and running out of time.

  5. Bonnie,

    Aha! Eagle-eyed Bonnie strikes, again! Yes, I accidentally picked up the wrong poppet bag and took along an extra purple poppet, which I'd intended to hold for gift-giving (no extras, now, darn it!). Since she traveled all the way to Hawaii, I decided I couldn't just *leave* her there, in the bottom of my purse. So, I named her Mahalo and I'm calling her Molly, for short. You're not blind. :)


    Yeah, this particular challenge was just too tempting to pass up. It's easy to use books you've already got and I really want to get some of those titles off the shelf and read. Plus, only one per month is required!! How can you lose, right?

    I had no idea what kind of plant that was, but I was assuming it's a succulent?? The African Cattle Herons walk around in it and snatch up bugs - very fun to watch. Thanks for informing me!!!

  6. Nikki,

    It's my goal not to buy a single book in 2008. If you saw my house, you'd know I really need not ever buy another book in my life. But, people keep writing new stuff! Misery. I'll do my best, but don't admire me, yet. LOL


    That'll be great! Now, I have to find a way to *get* to A Tale of Two Cities. I'm packing up to leave, but hubby still has my good shelves blocked off (he emptied the den to redo the flooring and we're still walking through a narrow corridor between piles of furniture and books).

    I've read part of that Murakami, but I kept grinding to a halt. I hope I can get through it, this time. The Atwoods just terrify me. :)

  7. Yay you are in the challenge too! I'm really looking forward to The Secret Lives of People in Love.

  8. Iliana,

    Yep, it's just the perfect challenge for me - I need to tackle some of those books I've been putting off. I'm glad you're joining, too! I'll have to zip over to see what you've chosen to read.

    Simon's book is soooo good. I read it very slowly, let each story sink in a little before reading the next. And, then I reread most of them before interviewing him (till I spilled a bottle of water on the book - oops). So, it'll be my third reading, really. It's that good!!!

  9. Yay! It's sooo good to have you along for the challenge.

  10. Thanks, Andi!

    I managed to squeeze my way to the good shelves and my January book is all ready to pack. :)

  11. I had to pull the iceplant off our hill one year. Easy, but boring.

    No, not tempted into the challenge! and not buying a book for a whole year? My, my.

  12. Carrie,

    Pulling things out of the ground is always boring. I wish I could hire people to clean up my yard, now and then.

    Not tempted? Really? I'm excited about this one. I've already picked out my bookmark for A Tale of Two Cities and stuck it inside the book.

    Yeah, a year. How long do you think I'll last? I mean, really. There are some great bookstores in Oklahoma and a girl needs her entertainment, after all. It could be rough.


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