Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Challenges

In 2012 I failed to make about half of my challenges, but I learned something about myself along the way.  For one thing, I learned that I set way too many challenges for the number of books that I can possibly read in a given year!  Also, I learned that I use my challenge lists more as "selection" lists than as "I am going to complete these lists by the end of the year" lists.  For example, at the end of the year, I could have read a couple of very short, fluff books that were both on my physical shelf and published in 1995, and thus completed both my Pick a Year and my Trim That TBR Challenges.  Instead, I chose to read the 560+ page All Soul's Rising, off my Randomizer Challenge, which I didn't stand a chance of finishing, and finish a rather heavy nonfiction work on Libya that I had promised to review for a publisher.  In essence, I want my "challenge" lists to serve me, not to be my master.

With those thoughts in mind, I am still going to set many of the same "challenges", but with the idea that they will serve as my "selection lists" throughout the year.  I keep a virtual shelf of books on the online site "Shelfari"; my dream list there of book that I would like to read currently exceeds 1,100 titles, so having a smaller selection of books here to pick from is helpful when I am pondering that ever present query, "What shall I read next?"  So, here are my "challenge" lists for 2013:

Share-A-Shelf Challenge: (read 5 books selected off from each of the Shelfari shelves of four different friends-20 books total. This is the one challenge which I really intend to view as a "challenge" as opposed to a "selection" list.  These great reading friends invested a fair amount of time in helping me to put together these lists.  You can see all of their great comments and their suggestions for books that didn't make the cut on my Personal "To Be Read" Shortlist blog page.  Michelle and I are still working on her list at present.) (completion dates will be annotated)

My list from BooknBlues's Shelf:

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
Doc by Mary Doria Russell 
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
River of Doubt by Candice Maillard 

My list from Mary B.'s Shelf: 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
A Room with a View by E.M. Forester
The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
The Greatest Traitor by Ian Mortimer
Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone

My list from Michelle G.’s Shelf: (these are tentative-still discussing with Michelle)

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
Canada by Richard Ford
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

My list from Regina's Shelf: 

Desert Queen by Janet Wallach
The Girl from the Coast by Pramoedya Anantya Toer
Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernières
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander

Randomizer Challenge 2013: (These books are selected by taking the number of books on my virtual "To Be Read" shelf on Shelfari and entering it on  I matched the first thirty numbers generated with my books in list format on Shelfari, and these were the titles.  It is doubtful I will get all of them read, but it gives me a nice selection to choose from over the year.) (completion dates will be annotated)

The Wreath by Sigrid Undset
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Harlot’s Ghost by Norman Mailor
The Titled Americans by Elizabeth Kehoe
Them by Jon Ronson
The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin
Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Slaughte-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien
Making Toast by Richard Rosenblatt
The Measure of Our Days by Jerome E. Groopman
The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt
Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
Whiteman by Tony D’Souza
We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Sukkwan Island by David Vann
Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant
McKinley Station by Tom Walker
Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
No More Words: A Journal of My Mother by Reeve Lindbergh
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr 

Long Book Challenge: (I would like to read at least 4,000 pages in books 600 pages or longer.)

Classics Monthly Group Read: (I would like to read all 6 group reads)
Jan/Feb North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (will fill in date when completed)

PBT Monthly Tag Read: (I would like to read at least one book for each monthly tag-if I read more, I will only record the first one here.)

This will be the format for my challenges page, which will be found as a tab from now on at the top of the blog.  I wish all of you the best of luck in your reading challenges and selections this New Year!


  1. Share a shelf challenge - now there's a great idea! I love it!
    I don't think I am going to get to it this year, but I totally am going to try it for next year!

  2. Good luck with the challenges, Care! I won't be joining the Shelfari ones as I committed to some other challenges already. But they sound like fun!