Reading Challenges - Weekly Geek #9

And this week’s theme is: Reading Challenges. Dewey says:

If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

I participate in two reading challenges (and I use the term 'participate' very loosely!) - the Man Booker Prize Challenge and the Orange Prize Project. (Some of my blogging buddies are signed up for multiple challenges - ten or more! Even though there is some crossover, I don't think I could wrap my brain around keeping track of all that. More power to 'em!)

What's the purpose of a book challenge and why sign on to them? Well, given that I love a good challenge and I love lists AND I love to read, it feels like a good fit. The two I signed up for (besides my Library Thing 100 books in 2008 challenge) have long lists of books that I'm already interested in and some of my favorite authors (Margaret Atwood, Jhumpa Lahiri, Carol Shields, Kazuo Ishiguro). What do I get out of it? Satisfaction. And sharing with a community of people who are interested in the same kind of literature I am.

Most challenge participants write reviews of the books they've read. I haven't been reviewing many books lately, so for this WG installment, I posted updates to my book lists -- books I've read since I joined the challenges in March and books I plan to read in the next six months. Here's my Orange update and here's my Booker update.

I'm excited to be participating in "Orange July" -- fellow book blogger Jill came up with this bright idea: devote the month of July to reading Orange Prize books (winners, short- or long-listed or new authors). This annual literary prize is awarded to women who've written full-length novels in English that were published in the United Kingdom (but not exclusively). I love contemporary women's writing, and these are some of the best novels written today, so devoting a month to reading them is like a slice of heaven. Plus this will move me along in my Orange challenge. Here are the books I've chosen:
  • The Girls by Lori Lansens
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (4/5)
  • The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (4/5)
  • The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney (4/5)
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (3.5/5)
  • What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (4/5)
  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (4.5/5)
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka (3.5/5)
  • Sorry by Gail Jones (4.5/5)
Check back at the end of July to see how I fared.

For other Weekly Geeksters' thoughts about challenges, check out these websites:


Terri B. said...

I've been very judicious in joining book challenges. I've only joined 2 since I want to leave room for compulsive and serendipitous reading! Besides, I think if I have too many "must reads" I might start feeling pressured about my reading. A few challenges are good though since I get a little structure and set some goals. The 2 I'm participating in run Jan - Dec, so I did just join a third that begins Aug - Jun. I think I can handle that.

Terri said...

Terri, yes I know what you mean. I really like these two because they're open-ended and I had quite a few of the books already on my TBR list. "Required" reading can be a bit of a drag, especially if it's something I don't enjoy much. I did enough of that in college!

Jill said...

We only have to wait six more days! Can't wait to compare Orange July notes with you! =)

Rebecca Reid said...

I prefer open ended challenges too...but I already joined the Pulitzer and the Nobel challenges so I think I'll give Orange and Booker a pass right now. I also join for the satisfaction of completing a book on a list!

Dewey said...

Ha ha, I love those oranges with faces.

Yeah, the too-many-challenges thing really is hard to keep track of. I remember saying I would sign up for no more than 3 challenges in 2009, but I think I already might have committed to three. At least two. Plus there are my own challenges I want to start! But this year, it was insane. You're so smart for doing only two.