Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Two thousand twelve was a mixed bag for reading challenges.  I tried.  I did better in some than in others, and in my own I had to adjust my expectations.  I had hoped hosting my own challenge would jump start my book blogging, but it proved to be too much too soon given everything I have had to deal with this year.  It's my own fault.  I bit off more than I could chew.  Still, I am extremely grateful to those who took part in the Merely Mystery Challenge. I hope you had fun!  

In my other reading challenges, I did surprisingly better than I thought I would.  My reading had a mind of its own this year and the books I chose to read had little to do with my challenge commitments, and yet somehow, just somehow, I did pretty well considering.




Crime/Mystery Fiction - No Mark Upon Her by Deborah Crombie
Your Favorite Genre - Mystery - A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

I completed the Eclectic Reader Challenge!  I wasn't sure I would make it, but I was able to complete Lolita just in time. The goal of this challenge was to step outside one's comfort zone--which I definitely did.

Although it wasn't part of the challenge per say, I took on more audio books this year, Lolita being one such books, which was a challenge in and of itself.  I'm still not completely sold on the whole audio experience, but it was a start!  Lolita itself was a big step outside my comfort zone.  Not because it is a classic, but because of the subject matter.  I tend to shy away from books that deal with issues of sexual abuse of a child in general.

Another book that took me outside my norm was E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey (and the sequel).  I am not a big romance reader, preferring my romance on the side rather than as the main dish in any book I read.  I don't mind hot and heavy or lots of steam, so it's not that.  It's a matter of taste really (some people like coffee--I don't).  It doesn't mean I won't pick up a romance novel--I know I will.  It may not be my favorite genre, but I know there are good romance novels out there worth reading.  Jane Austen, after all, is one of my favorite authors.

Horror is not a genre I turn to often, although I suppose my forays into the supernatural worlds can sometimes count in that direction.  Still, tackling Stephen King's The Stand this year was huge for me.  I've always found King's work to be extremely readable, but not all of his books appeal to me.  The Stand didn't particularly, although it's one of those books everyone said I had to read.  So I did.

Although I enjoy reading nonfiction occasionally, I tend to avoid reading biographies of celebrities or famous people.  It was really the fault of my book club that I picked up Massie's Catherine the Great earlier this year.  And I'm so glad I did.

At first glance, I was sure The Eclectic Reading Challenge would be a breeze.  I have always read a wide variety of books and am not afraid to try something different--at least not most of the time.  Still, looking back, it wasn't quite as easy as I thought--I really did challenge myself and am coming away from the challenge with some new experiences under my belt.

Many thanks to Shellyrae for hosting The Eclectic Reading Challenge!





I challenged myself to read at least 10 essays this year, which I knocked out at the beginning of the year when I read Between Interruptions: 30 Women Tell the Truth about Motherhood edited by Cori Howard . Although I began the book in 2011, I read the majority of the essays in January of 2012. I also read and reviewed Orwell's essay entitled "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell.  I attempted to listen to Me Talk Pretty One Day, a collection of essays by David Sedaris, but gave up five essays in.  I confess it was hard to read independent essays (outside of collections), and it was easy to forget to even try after awhile.  I think essay reading is a habit I need to work on . . .

Thanks to Carrie from Books and Movies for hosting this great challenge!




A book with a topographical feature - The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli (According to Wikipedia, a tree counts as a topographical feature.)

A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title - A Trick of the Light by Louise Penney

A book with a creepy crawly in the title - The Case for the Only Child by Susan Newman (Yes, a child does creep and crawl!)

A book with a type of house in the title - An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd (It is a house for dead people--sort of.  And bugs!  Some insects consider graves their home, you know.)

A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1 by Susan Helene Gottfried

A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title - Think of a Number by John Verdon

The What's in a Name Challenge is one of my favorite reading challenges.  Books can be read from any genre--the only thing that matters is that it fits an assigned category.  The hostess allows for creativity, which I took full advantage of this year.  As always, I had great fun in completing this year's challenge.

Thank you to Candace from Beth Fish Reads for hosting the What's in a Name Challenge!






I committed to reading two books for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, and I read five!


Every time I read a book with a historical element, I let out a sigh of contentment. History has long been an interest of mine and what better way to combine two loves, fiction and history, than by participating in a challenge like this?  I am eternally grateful to the ladies at Historical Tapestry for hosting this challenge again this year.  I had such fun stepping into the past.



My plan was to catch up with two series I love and have fallen behind in: Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries.  Yeah.  Not so much.  I did catch up with Linda Fairstein's Alex Cooper series.  That counts for something, right?  Maybe just not this challenge.

Many thanks to Yvonne of Socrate's Book Reviews for hosting this challenge!




The Stephen King Project

Kathleen and Natalie hosted this year's The Stephen King Project and decided to join in the fun.  I signed up for the Novice level, agreeing to read one book by the author.  I ended up joining in the the Stand-along, reading King's  The Stand by Stephen King.  Whew.  I am glad I finally have that one under my belt.  Now to tackle Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace!

A special thanks to Kathleen and Natalie for hosting the The Stephen King Project this year!




My initial goal was to complete the Shamus Who Has Seen It All category, but I knew by September I would be unable to do it.  I did complete the Down on Her Luck category, reading 25 crime fiction novels from the varying subcategories this year. So, while I had to readjust my initial expectations, I feel pretty good about my accomplishment just the same.

A Killer Read by Erika Chase

If anything, this challenge re-ignited my love for all things mystery.  While not every book earned my love, many did.  I am still kicking myself for taking so long to try Louise Penny and Deborah Crombie.  Lisa Lutz was a pleasant surprise and I am finally caught up with Linda Fairstein's series.  Many of the authors I read for this challenge will be ones I visit again in the future.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the progress I made in this year's reading challenges, even if my progress was more of a case of circumstance rather than intention.  Regardless, I went in with the goal of having fun with my reading and that's exactly what I did.  

How did you do with your reading challenges this year?


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a good reading year, challenge-wise. Lousie Penny rock!

    Thanks for hosting the Merely Mystery Reading Challenge!

    ^_^

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    1. Eustacia - Thank you! I am surprised I did as well as I did on my challenges! And thanks for participating in my challenge. :-)

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  2. Wow, Wendy, look at all those books you read! I'm so glad you decided to read Deborah Crombie and Louise Penny, two of my favorite authors. You have lots of fun ahead with them.

    Happy holidays to you and your family!

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    1. Kay - It wasn't until I was tallying my reads for the year that I realized just how many books I'd read. I think my e-reader had a lot to do with it. Hopefully I won't have to wait long before diving back into Crombie and Penny's series. I really enjoyed their books.

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  3. You had a great year in challenges! I'm still working on 2 perpetual challenges - other than that I signed up for 1 and I didn't complete it. :(

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    1. Kathy - As long as you enjoyed what you did read, it's okay that you didn't complete your challenge. :-) I've never tried a perpetual challenge, although I like the idea of not having a deadline.

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  4. Wow. That is impressive that you did so well! My one quibble is that I really don't consider 50 Shades to be a romance! I guess it MUST be, but it's so different from most.

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    1. Lisa - The second book, Fifty Shades Darker has the happy ending that usually comes with romances, so maybe that'd be a better fit. Or I could have counted Sandra Hill's books that I read . . . Paranormal romance, but romance, nonetheless. :-)

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  5. This year I only did the TBR Double Dare, which I ran, and The Japanese Literature Challenge. I comleted both and the Norwegian Wood Read-a-long which I was very late finishing.

    In 2013 I'm just doing the TBR Double Dog Dare at this point, but who knows?

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    1. C.B. James - Sounds like you did very well with your challenges! I was late finishing my read-along book too. I'm just glad I did finish it!

      The TBR Double Dog Dare is a REAL challenge. My hates off to anyone who can stick to their guns and finish that one. I considered joining you this year, but I'm too chicken. Although, one of my goals this year is to spend less on books . . .

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  6. Thank you for joining The Stephen King Project!! I would definitely recommend 11/22/63 if you're interested in a different style of King. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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    1. Natalie - Thank you for hosting! I am glad I finally got to read The Stand. I would have liked to tried more Stephen King, but there's always this year, right?

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  7. It looks like you did really well this year! Congratulations!

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    1. Michelle - I am happy with how I did--although still amazed I managed to do as well as I did.

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  8. I gave up on reading challenges completely this year. Hopefully next year would be less stressfull. You did good though :)

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  9. You did a great job, congrats! I'm going to try my hardest to stay away from challenges in 2013. I've joined a TBR Pile Challenge but that will be it. I want a pressure free year :)

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    1. Jennifer - Thank you! The fewer commitments, the better!

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  10. I think you did a fantastic job and I have to admite to being a bit inspired by your accomplishments!!!

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  11. Wow! You really knocked it out of the ballpark on reading challenges this year. I definitely need to go through your list of mysteries, as I am always looking for good ones. And the book of essays on motherhood sounds intriguing.

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    1. Steph - I am stepping it down this year. I got lucky last year in my reading choices challenge-wise. I hope you find some books you'd like to try on the list!

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  12. Thanks so much for hosting the Merely Mystery Challenge! It prompted me to read much more crime fiction than the past few years, and I enjoyed it so much. :)

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    1. Carrie - Thank you for participating in my challenge, Carrie! I think I read more crime fiction this past year than I have in previous years too. It felt good!

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  13. Well, you've done a whole lot better with your challenges this year than I have! I do love the What's in a Name as well, it is so entertaining finding titles to match the categories. I'm signing up for it again this year, I hope you do too. Even if I don't complete challenges, I find that they open up reading possibilities. Fun stuff!

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    1. Melanie - I wish I could take full credit for it, but it was mostly luck. I'm in when it comes to the What's In A Name Challenge this year too! I couldn't resist.

      Challenges really do open the doors when it comes to reading options, don't they?

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