Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Quick aside - 2011 Self-Challenge Recap

I opted not to officially sign up for any challenges in 2011, instead setting aside a shelf and starting what I called my "One Shelf at a Time Self-Challenge." Anybody want to place bets on how well that went?

Let's just say there won't be a big party with streamers and champagne. Of the books pictured above (my self-challenge shelf), I only finished the following:

All three were wonderful books. I also dipped into and rejected a few:

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald - probably just not the right moment,
Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda -whose book of short stories, I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere is one of my all-time favorite short-story collections, and
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs - did not like the way she fictionalized the Biblical account of Eve and couldn't talk myself into going on to the next character, not knowing whether or not I'd know the real story well enough to get anything out of the fictionalized retelling.

One book was taken off the challenge shelf by its owner (my eldest son), who said he couldn't wait any longer for me to read it because he had a friend who wanted to borrow it:

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

The rest just sat there, eventually forgotten as I became overwhelmed by review books. It wasn't till November that I realized I'd forgotten about the shelf entirely, probably somewhere around July because I do recall thinking, "I should do a 6-month recap" and not getting to it. By the time I remembered I had a challenge shelf it, was obviously too late to read all those books; however, I did read Garlic & Sapphires and attempted Hunting & Gathering because they were borrowed books and I didn't think I should keep them beyond the end of the year.

This is a good example of why I don't join in on challenges. I'm a challenge failure. But, apart from the books I've rejected, I still do want to read all the remaining books on that shelf. During 2011 I managed to read The Goose Girl, which was published prior to Enna Burning (both by Shannon Hale) and therefore needed to be read first, anyway. So, there Enna will sit until her time comes.

I have some Christmas cookies to work off. Must dash, for now. I may inundate you with more reviews, later.

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  1. I'm a challenge failure too, so I can relate. It's almost like challenging myself makes me not want to do something. Maybe deep down inside, I'm a teenager.

  2. Hey-three is faaaar better than zero, right? :)

  3. Kathy,

    ROTFL! Yes, I think I've got a little of that inner teenager trouble, too. That's exactly how I feel -- like I have this little mini-rebellion about feeling obligated to read a particular set of books. It works better for me to mix a few ARCs into my reading and let the rest just call out to me from the shelves. It's so much more fun when reading is spontaneous.


    It certainly is! Plus, I knocked a couple others off the shelf by rejecting them, so I still managed to get rid of about 6 or 7 books (would have liked to read the one my son snatched back, but at least it's not wasting space, here).

  4. Oh well, I say... regarding the challenge! The cookies look yummy though! :)

  5. Those cookies look fabulous! I have decided that this is my year of freedom and I'm reading at whim from my shelves for a while (all except for the Indie Lit awards books, but I have to admit I'm pretty psyched about that). I am about 60 pages into my first book off my shelves and it is really slow going - lots of sci-fi world building.

    Anyway, good luck with your reading this year!

  6. Suey,

    Yeah, "Oh, well." It was worth a try. :)

    The cookies were way too good. My daughter-in-law's family has a cookie-decorating family tradition. We had fun with it, but I'm afraid I will be working off cookie calories for a while.


    They were really good. I need to get the recipe from DIL.

    I've been working on freeing myself up to read mostly books I already own, for a while now. And, I've finally reached the point that I think I've struck a decent balance. It is definitely freeing.

  7. This makes me smile. Pretty cookies.

  8. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Just give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back for reading three and move on. To better books. :-D

  9. Carrie,

    Thank you. Those are the batch I decorated. Sarah's family has some fun traditions!

    O Fizzy One,

    Well . . .OK. You've convinced me.

  10. I can't do challenges if there is a set list... I swear once I put books on a list I lose any and all interest in reading said books. So, I just don't...

  11. Kelly,

    Yep, I've always found that if I list books I'm going to read (and especially if I gather them together), I start to avoid them. But I thought I'd do okay with a mixed bag of books that I specifically selected for the sake of variety. Oh, well. I guess I was wrong!

  12. Hi my name is Insideabook and I am a challenge reject. I have started a self-help group and recognize that only by stating my problem can I deal with it!! Say it with pride! I FAIL at challenges! There, it wasn't so hard, was it?

    BTW, thanks for eating those cookies for me. Now I can go and drown my sorrows in my book (which is not a part of a challenge!)

    You're too funny...I can't take a photo of my TBR shelf (floor!!!) because it won't fit into the photo. (Think wide-angled lens!)

  13. Gaye,

    Haha! I don't mind admitting I'm a challenge failure. They're not necessary to make me feel "challenged" by my reading, so the only thing I dislike about sucking at them is the fact that it means I'm not joining in with other people. I do hate missing the fun part.

    LOL The cookies were awesome.

    I also could not possibly photograph my TBRs. I often tell people my home is pretty much a library in which a few people sleep and eat. I am not joking when I say that!

  14. I also don't do well with challenges, though my problem is usually failure to launch. It's ok though, because I realize that about myself, and this year is going to be a lot less stressful in terms of reading since I have not made a whole bunch of commitments. I am actually looking forward to it.

    By the way, those cookies look fantastic!

  15. Zibilee,

    I tend to start out well and then just let go of challenges. I'm fine with that, though. I read such a wild mix that I don't feel like I'm not challenging myself. I just miss being a part of something. I've lowered my commitment level, gradually, and it does make reading a lot more fun. :)

    The cookies were awesome.

  16. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I like your idea of a self-challenge shelf. Although I'm intimidated, too; I'm afraid I'd have similar success. :) I will mull it. Thanks for the idea - happy reading in 2012!

  17. Julia,

    I thought it was a great idea, too! LOL I'm still going to hack away at that shelf and I *did* finish a few and reject a few, so I guess it's not a complete failure. It's worth a try, anyway. You're welcome! Happy reading to you, too!

  18. I might have laughed out loud a bit at this post. But with you, right? ;)

    On another note, do you have a yummy recipe for frosting you'd like to share? We usually use a buttercream recipe but it's too thick to "flood" the cookies and have them looking as purty as yours.

  19. Trish,

    LOL I'm glad you're with me!

    I don't have the recipe, but that is a really drippy frosting that was great for decorating (note the one on the lower left that I tried to marbleize by stirring the colors together -- too fun!) so I'll pass the recipe on to you when I get it from DIL. Might be a while, since she works ridiculously long hours and has almost zero personal time. Just remind me if I forget, okay?

  20. I tried to do similar marbling this summer for 4th of July but the icing recipe was icky. :( Love the taste of buttercream but...

    So how fun is it having a DIL? ;)

  21. Trish,

    Well, then, obviously you need that recipe! It worked pretty well, I thought. It was funny, though, because I wasn't *expecting* it to be so drippy and I started out frosting my cookies from the middle because I thought it was horrifying to see it dripping off the sides. Meanwhile, Kiddo was happily flinging his frosting and trying to convince me that it was going to solidify just fine. We had a blast.

    Having a DIL is awesome!!! We have such a tiny family and I have really, really missed the big gatherings we used to have when I was young and my father was still around. We're still a small family, but it's so exciting that we've grown -- even by 1! And, of course, she's perfect. :)

  22. Eh what's the rush, many years left to finish the shelf ;) Good luck with it this year!

  23. Amy,

    You say that because you're young and your world is uncluttered. LOL But, yeah, that's how I'm looking at it. They're still there; I still want to read them. I'm happy. :)

  24. Amy,

    You say that because you're young and your world is uncluttered. LOL But, yeah, that's how I'm looking at it. They're still there; I still want to read them. I'm happy. :)


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