Posted by: Mish | June 25, 2009

Challenges and Reviews

This year I’m trying to read more books from my shelves and constantly growing Dread Pile o’Reads. Sometimes they are one and the same, sometimes not. So far I’ve read three. I’m also trying to minimize the number of new books, as opposed to the secondhand strays, that follow me home. Three I purchased couldn’t be refused due to wanting to support their creators directly then and there. The absolutely necessary fourth, Ravens in the Library, was part of fundraising to help bard extraordinaire SJ Tucker.

For my first year of participating in reading challenges set by others, I opted for 100 Shots of Short from Robaroundbooks and Emily‘s drama challenge. Finding more than enough books to read on my own, I didn’t want to get involved with too many. I also tend to get distracted and it’s not uncommon for my “must reads” to wait and then wait some more because I had to read something else. Reading shorts and drama isn’t really a challenge since I would read them regardless and I’m a theatre geek. For the past couple of years, I’ve had at least one anthology bookmarked. If anything, 100 Shots has helped me organize the stories I’ve read. Thanks, Rob. When the Compass Rose by Ursula Le Guin is finished I’ll have taken 59 shots. When I began the drama challenge, I was in the middle of a compilation of five plays by Larry Kirwain, Mad Angels. So I don’t feel like I’m cheating, I’ll read another play from among my bookshelf’s mezzanine. Perhaps next year I’ll broaden my reading challenge horizons.

For some time now I’ve seen posts prompted by Weekly Geeks floating around and figured it time to join in. This week’s topic was about, you guessed it, reading challenges. Along with asking about participation and progress, it was asked:

Weekly Geek “Reading Challenges: a help or a hurt? Do you find that the reading challenges keep you organized and goal-oriented? Or, do you find that as you near the end of a challenge that you’ve failed because you fell short of your original goals? As a result of some reading challenges, I’ve picked up books that I would have otherwise never heard of or picked up; that, frankly, I have loved. Have you experienced the same with challenges? If so, which ones? Do you have favorite reading challenges?”

The previous week’s prompt was about unreviewed books. Below is a list of those I haven’t gotten around to yet, mainly due to the fact that I started reviewing last year and partially because I got distracted. So please pick or a book or two, ask a question or three, and give me a nudge to write a review.

Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series: Exile’s Valor, Exile’s Honor, Take a Thief, Arrows of the Queen

John Perkins: Shapeshifting
David Sedaris: Dress Your Family in Courdoroy and Denim
Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Charles de Lint: Memory & Dream
Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back
Peter Beagle: the Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle
Ursula LeGuin translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching
Margaret Atwood: the Handmaid’s Tale
Sarah Waters: Fingersmith
Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys



  1. Hey, several in that list could work for the GLBT Challenge. Just in case you decide to sign up for another one, haha!

  2. LOL can’t resist those poor strays, can you?!

    At least you’re in control about new books coming in. I don’t buy many new books myself since I have so much waiting for me on Mount To Be Read (TBR) already, but then there’s Mr. Gnoe… :\

    Maybe it would have been better if we didn’t have the same reading taste! LOL

  3. Gnoe, really I can’t. I also figure it’s a way to support the local shoppes and Big Chains get enough patronage. At least you can share books instead of buy for two tastes.

    Amanda, they could, except I read them in 2007. The challenge may give me incentive to read more from the Oscar Wilde anthology and Angels in America I & II for the ?X? time. Hmmm…

  4. You are doing well! I simply gave up!

    WG: Reading Challenges

  5. Sorry for the late one. Tough week, and literally just got back to blogging.

    Two questions:

    1. Dorian Gray: It’s an absolutely amazing book, with one of my favorite quotes of all times: I can resist anything but temptation. How well does that quote define the actual theme of the book?

    2. Handmaid’s Tale: The transition from being independent to being a handmaid seemed quite fast in the book. Do you think, if such a turn of events does take place, it will be that quick and easy? Would you condone women killing themselves instead of living the handmaid’s life?

    Looking forward to the reviews 🙂

  6. Such is the way.

    Good questions to mull over… Thank you.

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