Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday Salon: The One in Which I Quit a Few Challenges

It is one of those mornings that feels and looks too nice to stay indoors. The sun is shining bright in a deep blue sky, only one or two small clouds in sight. It's not even 70F degrees out. Perhaps this means the 100 degree weather is behind us for now. I won't count it out yet. Summer has a tendency to fight to stay until the very end in Southern California. She does not give up easily.

I received the questions from my BBAW interview partner this weekend and am hoping to spend some time today answering those. I did not get the chance to work on my blog like I had planned yesterday, and so I may do that today as well. It goes without saying that I hope to visit many of your lovely blogs today.

My reading has fallen into its predictable pace, which means I have not been reading nearly as much as I would like. Those snatches of time when I read seem to be few and far between. I currently am reading Ru Freeman's A Disobedient Girl. The novel, set in Sri Lanka, follows the lives of two very different women, Biso and Latha. It has been described as both a "beautiful and hearbreaking novel." I hope to step into Biso and Latha's lives more today, perhaps making more headway than I have been able to so far.

The setting of Freeman's novel is what first made me decide to read it. I am drawn to books set in foreign locales, especially ones I do not know much about. Sri Lanka stands out for me for another reason as well. I once had a pen pal from Sri Lanka. He was actually living in Saudi Arabia at the time I wrote to him, but he often wrote about his home and family in Sri Lanka. I wish now I had held onto those letters.

It is quite a coincidence that Carrie from Books and Movies would post about her decision to drop out of a few of her challenges this week. She weighed whether she would be able to complete certain challenges by the end of the year versus her current reading obligations and decided to drop three challenges. For about a month now, I have been considering the same thing for the very same reason. In fact, I was trying to decide if I wanted to make a big announcement or go out quietly.

Last year I made the decision to stay in the challenges I knew I would not complete on the off chance that I might anyway. This time I am going to go ahead and drop out early. Looking over the numbers, there are a few challenges I keep telling myself I might be able to slip a few more books in. But am I really being honest with myself or is it wishful thinking? After going back and forth with myself, I am dropping out of the majority of the challenges I am in, hanging on to only two which I have not yet completed. This was not an easy decision to make. I hate giving up on anything. At the same time, it will be one less obligation on my plate. And right now, that's the priority.

I do not feel guilt about dropping out of the challenges. They are meant to be fun. Sometimes our reading has a mind of its own and takes us in directions other than where we originally intended to go. I appreciate all the hard work the challenge hosts put into their challenges and wish all of the participants the best of luck.

(Note: I am behind on posting reviews and updating lists. While the below numbers are accurate to my knowledge, it may not be reflected in my sidebar or on the challenge posts themselves as of yet.)

Challenges I Am Saying Goodbye To:
What's in a Name Challenge - 3/6
Themed Challenge 1/4 (deadline passed)
TBR Challenge - 4/12
Classic Challenge 2009 - 0/4
Cozy Mystery Challenge - 4/6
Nonfiction Challenge - 1/5
1st in a Series Challenge - 6/12
2nds Challenge - 3/12
Buy One Book and Read It Challenge 5/12

Challenges Continuing or Completed:
War Through the Generations: WWII Challenge - 3/5
Chunkster Challenge - 2/3
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge - Technically I have completed this one. I am keeping this open, however, in case the author publishes a new book in the series before the challenge deadline.
Herding Cats II - I met the minimum requirement for this one--the pre-challenge phase, which is all that was required.
2009 Pub Challenge - Completed (update and summary pending)
ARC Challenge - Completed 1st & 2nd tier (update and summary pending)
New Authors Challenge - Completed (update and summary pending)

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reviews Posted:
The Promised World by Lisa Tucker (Interview with Author)
The Glass Devil by Helene Tursten

Currently Reading:
A Disobedient Wife by Ru Freeman

New Additions to my TBR collection (over last few weeks) :
Ritual by Mo Hayder (giveaway win ~ many thanks to Melody of Melody's Reading Corner)
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (from the author for review)
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (TLC Book Tour)
Hardball by Sara Paretsky (from the publisher for review)
Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (from publicist for review)
Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (from publicist for review)
Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan (from publicist for review)
Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein (bought at discount table at B&N)
Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny (recommended by Sandy Nawrot of You've GOTTA Read This!)
The Impostor's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (giveaway win ~ many thanks to Suzanne from Chick with Books)

Other Posts of Interest This Week:
Monday at the Movies: District 9 & A Bit of the Outdoors
Random Fun. Not So Bookish Thoughts. Well, Mostly Not.

Coming Attractions:
At the Movies: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Review of Sometimes We're Always Real Same-Same by Mattox Roesch
Guest Post by Author Clea Simon: In Defense of Leisurely Lit
Review of Shades of Grey by Clea Simon

© 2009, 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.


  1. Good for you in dropping out of challenges. As you've reminded me before, reading should be fun! And if impossible challenges make it not fun, then it's time to quit a few.

    Enjoy your reading freedom!

  2. I think you're doing great. I'm only in 2 challenges and feel sure I'll complete 1, but I haven't read the first book for the other one.

  3. I hope the changes you are making bring much more pleasure to your reading life. :) There no reason to make a beloved hobby into something dreaded.

  4. Well, gee, you DID take on an awful lot of challenges! You're right, tho - they are meant to be fun. You've still read a lot of great books and it looks like you've got more good ones in your TBR pile! Happy reading!

  5. I think it's good to drop out of challenges when they become overwhelming! :) I was going to drop out of the Reading Dangerously Challenge, but then realised I just needed a new list of books to read for it.

  6. You were working on a lot of challenges--good for you to drop back to a manageable number! They all sound like so much fun when you see them, don't they?!

  7. I'm only doing ONE challenge (I think!) and I might not finish it. Good on you for knowing your limits.

  8. I don't think there's anything wrong with dropping out of a challenge either. Sometimes it's just too overwhelming.

    It hit 98 here today which is much better than the 105 that it was last week at this time. I'll take it!

  9. The last thing anyone of needs is to feel pressure doing something we love; good for you.

  10. I think it is fine to drop challenges. I know there are some I will not complete this year and figure this is a learning process. Being a new blogger I just couldn't reist all the ones that looked exciting at the time, not thinking about all the other books I want to read.

    I'm going to go read your post about District 9. I saw it and an interested in what others think of it. Have a great week.

  11. Glad to know I'm in such good company! :) Enjoy your Sunday.

  12. Those are alot of challenges! Don't blame you a bit. It's not like the host of the challenge will come and hold you hostage if you don't complete...we all understand the issues we run into when we sign up for a million challenges and life gets in the way. I know I will not complete one challenge (Outlander) on time, but will forge ahead and finish the readings, even if I am a couple of months behind!

  13. I don't blame you for quitting challenges. They're supposed to be fun, and who needs extra stress from something that just isn't working out? Me, I'm a total challenge wuss: I don't sign up unless they're really free-form and I'm 99% sure I can finish. :)

    Good luck with the challenges you've kept!

  14. Here's hoping that your weather stays cool and beautiful and that you get some reading done today!

  15. Looks like you made a good call dropping out of those challenges. I generally find that trying to get in enough reading time at all is enough of a challenge for me :-)!

    You're so right about the way summer hangs on in SoCal, but it is nice to have a cooling trend. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend, Wendy!

  16. I think it's a good idea to drop out of the challenges. You are right...reading is supposed to be fun. If you are not constrained by the challenges you will let yourself read whatever you are in the mood for and will probably end up enjoying your reading more as a result.

  17. I don't think I'd complete all those challenges I participated, but at least they're fun! :) I kept most of my reading lists open because I always change my mind at the last minute, LOL.

  18. We must be on the same tours this month...I just finished A Disobedient Girl for my tour stop later this month. I enjoyed it, but I think I need more info on Sri Lanka!

  19. You have made a sound decision to drop out of challenges. Reading is supposed to be fun and it's time to quit if you are burned out feeling that challenges become a chore. Read what captures your interests and suits your mood at the moment. :)

  20. I love your attitude towards the challenges. That is one reason why I tend to shy away from challenges... I hate being committed to certain things and what I am going to read... it's supposed to be fun!

  21. I feel it's a really good decision to drop out of challenges. I was planning to review my challenges too, but I haven't joined as many as you have, so I still have a good chance of completing them. Good luck with the challenges you have decided to stick with.

  22. Hi Wendy, like you I've quitted a few challenges. I didn't post about it but the one I let go was 999 Challenge. If you notice, it's been gone for a few weeks from my sidebar.

  23. You know, I think I'll end up doing the same. I'll probably hold on to my wishful thinking for a little longer, but yeah :P I just don't feel like sticking to those lists!

  24. Good for you! There's nothing worse than when challenges start to feel like pressure instead of fun.

    Ritual is fabulous!! Just make sure you've read the first two in the series first, ok??

    I won & received The Impostor's Daughter this week too! But from a different blogger.

    The Last Dickens is good. Hope you enjoy it.

    Haven't read any of the others but I'm entering tons of Cleopatra's Daughter's contests hopping I'll win a copy!

  25. I agree, challenges are meant to be fun! I joined only a few and I don't even know if I'll get the chance to finish them. You're right to let them go, no need to put more "pressure" on your reading!

  26. I'm still holding out hope I'll finish most of mine, but if I don't that's ok too. The challenges are absolutely meant to be fun and shouldn't make us feel guilty, so you've obviously made the right choice for you. Enjoy your cooler weather and the freedom to read whatever you want. :)

  27. No reason to feel guilty at all! Right around this time of year we all start to feel that pressure. Good for you deciding to just let them go!


  28. I totally understand where you are coming from with dropping out of challenges. I'm going through that decision-making process now. Even though I've been able to make some books work with some challenges, I think I just want to read whatever suits my mood at the time.

    I'm probably going to stick with the challenges, but I probably won't finish them.

  29. Laura - It was time to let go of a few challenges. I do enjoy doing them, but the ones I knew I couldn't finish were beginning to weigh on me.

    Kathy - Thank you! Sometimes our reading takes us in different directions than we planned, doesn't it?

    Joy - I'm sure they will. Now if only I could find more time to read. I know I said I wouldn't complain about that, but it's hard not to. LOL

    Gwendolyn - I definitely took too many on, and I think that was part of my problem.

    Eva - One of the great things about many of the challenges this year is the flexibility of them--being able to switch out books like that. And for others, not even having to make up lists at all. Good luck with your challenges!

    Lisa (Lit&Life) - They really do! It's hard to resist an interesting challenge. Maybe next year I'll just make up the reading lists for all those I'm interested in, and just not join them. ;-)

    Lisa (Books.Lists.Life.) - It takes a while, but eventually I catch on. :-)

  30. Ti - Yes, and knowing when to let go is a good thing.

    It looks like today will be even cooler than it's been. I'm grateful for that.

    Diane - Thanks, Diane! It's good not to have that extra weight hanging over me now.

    Gavin - There are just too many enticing challenges out there for my own good. LOL It can be hard to say no.

    Carrie (B&M) - Yes, I was glad to see I'm not the only one who needed to shed some of those challenges. :-)

    Sandy - I sometimes do overcommit. One of my fatal flaws. I definitely do plan to read all of the books on my challenge lists--it just won't happen as soon as I had originally planned.

    Memory - And right now, I definitely don't need the extra stress. I like the free-form ones best too--but even those, I'm not always likely to complete.

    Thanks, Memory!

    Staci - I hope so too! It's been so hot lately.

  31. Florinda - So true. I wish I would remember that when I'm signing up for all the challenges. :-)

    Kathleen - Exactly. I need some more "me" reading time.

    Melody - Yes, they are definitely fun! I kept my reading lists open last year in hopes I might change my mind. And I might surprise myself and finish one of the challenges I've dropped out of and then kick myself for dropping out in the first place. LOL I think, though, that I made the best decision for me this go around.

    Jill (Softdrink) - I am glad to hear you enjoyed A Disobedient Girl, Jill. I look forward to reading your review! I have a feeling I'll be googling Sri Lanka once I finish the book.

    Matt - Thank you. I really think it was time to let go.

    Kristie - Thanks! Sometimes I do well with commitment and other times not so much. This time, not so much. :-) I guess knowing my limit is the key.

    Violet - I think so too. I really overdid it this year, which was part of the problem no doubt. Thanks and good luck with your challenges!

  32. Alice - I seriously considered not mentioning it. I'm not sure anyone would have noticed. LOL That 999 Challenge is such a huge undertaking. Kudos to you for even attempting it in the first place. Sometimes though it's just not meant to be.

    Nymeth - Good luck whatever you decide, Nymeth!

    Nicola - Thank you. I think I made the right choice. :-)

    I am really looking forward to reading Ritual (and the first two books). I loved The Devil of Nanking.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on The Imposter's Daughter. It looks like it will be good.

    I hope you win a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter!

    Kay - And right now, more pressure is the last thing I need. LOL

    Nat - I agree, it's definitely okay not to finish challenges. As long as you have fun in the process, that's all that matters. And thanks!

    Lezlie - Thanks, Lezlie. The coming of fall does seem to encourage re-evaluation, doesn't it?

    Yvonne - I wish you the best whatever you decide to do, Yvonne. It isn't an easy decision, is it?

  33. I hear you about the challenges. There are so many I'd love to participate in, but I've managed to get realistic (amazing!) and only joined a few this year. I've also made sure the reading commitments were flexible (like, one book or however many I want to read). I don't like to quit either, but I also hate it when something fun becomes an obligation. Sounds like you do to.

    Wasn't Sunday nice? I went out walking from about 8am until 10am and it was lovely.

  34. Terri - Being realistic? What's that? LOL It's like having a yummy slice of cheese cake in front of me. I want the whole thing to myself, but once I start eating, I realize I won't be able to eat it all. I'm like that with challenges too.

    I'm so glad for these cooler mornings!

  35. As soon as challenges start to overwhelm or feel like obligations, then it's time to drop out. I think you did the right thing, Wendy. After all the point of these is to read good books and just have fun.

    I am not dropping out of any challenges but I know I won't be finishing most. I'm currently reading four books that are for challenges but who knows what next week and after will bring you know. I'm such a moody reader.

    Anyway, there's always next year and more challenges! :)

  36. The challenges were making me crazy! But they did have some pretty fabulous ones. The 15 decades was really interesting.

    I'm glad you feel no guilt! You shouldn't.

  37. Iliana - Thanks, Iliana. I tend to be a moody reader too. Dropping out of a few challenges was a good choice for me, I think.

    Carrie (Patience) - There are a lot of great challenges out there, aren't there? They're all so tempting!

  38. I really need to drop a few challenges too. Theres no way I will get through them all...


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