Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All About the Brontes Challenge 2010

As 2009 quickly draws to a close, I find myself adding one more challenge to my list for 2010. This challenge is hosted by Laura's Reviews.

The All About the Brontes Challenge runs from January 1-June 30 2010. In this challenge you can read a book, listen to the audio version or even watch a TV or movie adaptation. Any texts related to the Bronte sisters in any manner are acceptable. Participants are encouraged to reread past favourites. The goal is to read, watch or listen to 3, 6 (or beyond) anything Bronte.

I reread Jane Eyre this summer and found that it is one of those classics that gets better and better each time it is read. I was assigned the novel in a Victorian literature class in University, but that was close to 20 years ago now. I know that I really loved the novel back then, but wonder if I truly absorbed all that it had to offer. You know when you watch a movie multiple times and think, "How could I have missed that part, that nuance, that 'look'...?" I was particularly enthralled with the first half of the novel where Jane endures a horrific childhood with Mrs. Reed and then later at Lowood School. For me, the most poignant part of the novel was Jane's relationship with Helen Burns. I could barely breathe through the section where Jane snuck into Miss Temple's room to see Helen as she was dying. It was so much more than one little girl should have to endure. I also wish that Charlotte had written some more about the demise of the Reeds. I'm not sure that I felt completely vindicated on Jane's behalf. How I wanted to hear more details of the downward spiral of Mrs. Reed and her detestable and abusive son!

I also reread Vanity Fair by Thackeray which is another all time favourite. Becky Sharp is the ultimate (anti) heroine. I'm also considering returning to novels I did not enjoy and the top of that list would be Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. How I plodded through that novel at the time... but did I miss out on a terrific story?

I love Dickens and Austen and Charlotte Bronte, but the Bronte's as a family, I have largely neglected. I believe I read Wuthering Heights in High School but do not remember much of it which is surprising because I love grand, gothic, moaning, on the wild untamed moors, type tales.

Here is my list for the challenge:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To Be Read Challenge 2010

Here is another challenge that suits me. I have to pick 12 books to read in 2010 from my "To Be Read" list. They should be books that I have been waiting to read for at least six months (not a problem!) and cannot be re-reads. They can overlap and be in any format and genre. However, this challenge is a bit different from the others that I have joined in that once I post my list and as of January 1st, these selections must be adhered to. I can post an alternate list of 12 titles to give myself some options in case some titles are just not working for me.

Thanks to MizB for hosting this challenge. I will post my list and alternate list before January 1st.

The Tudor Book Challenge

This challenge is being hosted by Michelle from Benedictionary. From January 1-December 31, 2010, participants are asked to read books about or inspired by the Tudor era of the English Monarchy.

I liked that the rules were flexible in that I can select my reading format which is most likely going to be mainly from my Sony e-reader. The selections can also overlap with other challenges that I have joined and can be fiction or non fiction texts.

I have finally collected all of Philippa Gregory's texts and have blogged in the past about how the movie The Other Boleyn Girl actually led me to the author. I wanted to read her novels in their historical order, and now I'm finally ready. The Literate Housewife has posted some great suggestions of books that can be read alongside Gregory's books that pertain to the specific people and time periods of which she writes. Another great resource is the Tudor Books Resource as listed on Benedictionary.

I am entering this challenge as a commoner which is a 5 book commitment. I hope to read the following books:

1. The Constant Princess

2. The Other Boleyn Girl

3. The Boleyn Inheritance

4. The Queen's Fool

5. The Virgin's Lover

6. The Other Queen
I have to admit that I have not yet seen the TV series, The Tudors. Many of my friends have raved about it to me. I think that what I'll do is rent a season at a time - but not until the summer - and this will give me time to read the books first.

Monday, December 14, 2009

451 Challenge

I'm just amazed at the endless number of challenges that are available to join in the book blogging community. Which to join? What level to choose? What are the rules? Oh, I'm such a rookie. I've decided to just jump in with both feet and join challenges that will allow e-book reading, overlapping, and have the end of 2010 as the deadline. I thought 26 books was a big challenge for the year but the bloggers I've been following often have in the hundreds and join 20+ challenges in a year! Here is another challenge that I have joined.

451 Challenge hosted by As Usual, We Need More Bookshelves
Inspired from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, in which the idea of keeping books alive for future generations leads the Book People to becoming the book , a group of book bloggers post on "451 Fridays" about the books they feel most passionate about. From these posts, a master list of books was compiled for which the bloggers deemed so important they would be willing to take on the challenge of becoming. From this master list, the 451 Challenge was born.

Between Jan 1 and Nov 30, 2010 participants are to read books from the 451 List and may choose to participate at one of the following levels:

Spark 1-2 books from master list
Ember 3-4 books from master list
Flame 5-6 books from master list
Blaze 7 or more books from master list

Re-reading is acceptable, books can cross-over with other challenges and audio, print, and ebooks are permitted. Participants are asked to post their reviews on the challenge blog and are then entered into a drawing for a prize.

I looked over the master list and decided to enter at Blaze level. There were so many remarkable books listed that I had 7 quickly selected. I'm not sure that I'll stick to these first 7 but here is my tentative list:

1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
(I have never read this book and felt that if I'm going to do a challenge inspired by it, I should read the book)
2. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
3. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan *re-read One of my favourite authors
6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
7. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

26 Books and other Challenges

Well my course is finished (Peter's last, he's on to his thesis- keep sending me book suggestions) and the Christmas Holidays are fast approaching. I've finally had some time to think about my personal reading and the commitment I intend to make to this in 2010.

As many of you know (Ok, I use the term "many" very broadly here) I have blogged about my intent to complete a "26 Books" challenge over the course of the year. I have hundreds of books just waiting TBR all stored securely in my ereader. But how to pick 26?

I subscribe via RSS feeds to several book blogs through my Google Reader. I can read multiple book reviews and add to my reading wishlist. Through one of my favourites Book Addiction I heard about the "What's in a Name? 3 " challenge. I thought that it might be fun to incorporate a few mini challenges into my bigger one and make connections with other book lovers and bloggers.

What's in a Name? Challenge

Between Jan 1-Dec 31 2010 I need to read one book for each of the following categories:
My selections are in brackets.

1. A book with a food in the title (Chocolat by Joanne Harris)

2. A book with a body of water in the title (Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie)

3. A book with a title in the title (The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - I may even try and make this one work with a series challenge)

4. A book with a plant in the title (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton)

5. A book with a place name in the title ((My Life in France by Julia Child)

6. A book with a music term in the title (I'm still thinking about this one)

The books do not have to be read in any particular order, do not have to be selected ahead of time, and this challenge is ok to be imbedded or overlap with others.
I'm not sure where I'll start but it has already been fun selecting books for these categories. I hope for a few January "snow days" to kick start my initiative!