2011 Reading Challenges – Update

It’s just past the end of March–we’re about a quarter of the way into 2011, and it seems like a good time to update on my reading challenges.  Any links will take you to my review of the book.  Some of these may get reviews later on, I just haven’t got to them yet!

I decided not to count rereads, except for the library challenge; I’ve still listed relevant rereads, because I thought people might be interested (especially for the fairy tales retold and the classics), but they’re denoted with an R rather than a number in the list.

Here’s what I’ve read so far:

Hosted by A Few More Pages.  Goal: “Series Expert,” read 12 books that are first in a series.  I don’t know exactly what defines a series, but I’ve decided a minimum of three books.

R) Sarah’s Story by Ruth Elwin Harris

R) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (first by one numbering theory!)

1) Foundation by Isaac Asimov

2) The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston

3) The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

4) The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (really it’s a review of a later book in the series, but I mention this one too)

5) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde



Hosted by Stiletto Storytime.  Goal: read fifteen “classic” books (and I have it direct from the organizer that sci fi and children’s count!)

R) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

1) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2) Foundation by Isaac Asimov

3) Trilby by George du Maurier

4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

5) The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett



Hosted by Among the Muses.  Goal: Enchanted level, read 6-9 books that are inspired in some way by fairy tales.

R) Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley (Sleeping Beauty)

R) Beauty by Robin McKinley (Beauty and the Beast)

1) Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Cupid and Psyche / East of the Sun)

2) The Rose Bride by Nancy Holder (The White Bride and the Black Bride–it’s in Grimm)

3) Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (Sleeping Beauty)

R) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde (Rumpelstiltskin)

4) Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde (Little Red Riding Hood)

5) Straw into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt (Rumpelstiltskin)


Hosted by Home Girl’s Book Blog. Goal: read 100 books from the library.

1) Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

2) Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix

3) Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

4) Looking for Marco Polo by Alan Armstrong

5) Stolen by Vivian Vande Velde

6) Enter Three Witches by Caroline B. Cooney

7) The Blue Shoe by Roderick Townley

8 ) Skating Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

9) Beauty by Robin McKinley

10) The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan

11) Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

12) Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

13) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

14) Golden and Grey: A Good Day for Haunting by Louise Arnold

15) The Rose Bride by Nancy Holder

16) Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

17) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde

18) The Umbrella Man and other stories by Roald Dahl

19) Familiar and Haunting by Philippa Pearce

20) The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

21) The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts

22) The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston

23) The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

24) Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde

25) Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones

26) Little Sister by Kara Dalkey

27) The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

28) Straw into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt

29) The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

30) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

31) The Heavenward Path by Kara Dalkey

Obviously I’ve been focusing a bit on the Fairy Tales Retold… 

The library one, I must admit, I viewed as almost a non-challenge, since my regular pattern of reading is to go to the library.  This could be more difficult than I thought though, going forward.  I’m fine on numbers right now, but I have somehow managed to pick up a good dozen never-read-before books in the last month or so.  I don’t know how it happened, I never buy unread books!  But I had the chance to buy some super cheap classics, and then my book club had a book swap (free books!) and now I have a whole stack of non-library books to read…so we’ll see how that turns out going farther into the year.

The First in a Series Challenge was worrying me a bit through February, which may be why I jumped farther ahead with it in March, adding 3, 4 and 5 in the last couple of weeks.  I had felt like I wasn’t getting to the point of the challenge yet, to find new series (what’s the plural?  Serieses?) to read.  But I want to read the books that follow The Wee Free Men, and I’m completely mad about The Pink Carnation series.  I’ll probably read the rest of the Foundation series too, although I originally read that one thinking more about the Classics challenge.  And I didn’t realize The Eyre Affair was part of a series until I got to the end and found the part about the author’s other books.  Undecided yet whether I’ll pick any up.

The Classics challenge is the one I think will require the most concentration–in picking up the books, I mean, not necessarily in reading them (thought that could be true too).  I find Dickens more intimidating than, say, Robin McKinley.  I’ve been on good momentum for the classics in the last month, but I don’t know how long that will last…

So far I’m really enjoying all the challenges.  It gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment when I finish a book that can go on a list.  It’s also giving me incentive to seek out certain kinds of books…and since I love retold fairy tales and have been wanting to read more classics, it’s made for good reading!

6 thoughts on “2011 Reading Challenges – Update

  1. ensign_beedrill

    Holy guacamole. You either read quickly or read a lot… or both, I guess. I’ve read a total of 54 hours this year with nine books complete. Shakes out to six hours a book, and I find it a happy circumstance that the numbers turned out so nicely.

    I’m going back in time here, but if you want to get started on a good series, I’d suggest Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. It was and still is a favorite of mine. The books are geared toward children, and I read them all throughout middle school. But I reread the series two years ago, and it still held up. Some of the books are way better than others, but as a whole, it’s a pretty good series.

    1. I suppose I read quickly AND a lot… I’ve never tried to keep track of hours spent reading–I think it’s cool you track that, although I also think I’d go nuts trying to calculate it for myself! I tend to read in brief periods of time–I read in bed in the morning before I get up, I read with most meals (including all my lunch break), ten minutes here, ten minutes there…I almost never leave the house without a book, which is handy for long grocery store lines… It just sort of fits into the corners of my life and adds up to a lot of time. And I read quickly.

      I remember the Animorphs series from around middle school, but I don’t think I ever read any. Will have to keep it in mind!

      1. ensign_beedrill

        I don’t normally track it, actually, but it was a New Year’s resolution to read more this year, and I thought I might do better if I put it all in a spreadsheet to see how I’m doing. I mostly read when I work out or before bed. You must have some long grocery lines!

        1. I love the combination of spreadsheets and reading. They must be on different hemispheres of the brain. 🙂 My grocery lines aren’t that long usually, but I never mind reading in two-page snatches so it works out…

  2. Diane

    Wow! Looks like you are staying on track for your challenges. You have quite a list of books you’ve read already for the first quarter of 2011. At this rate, you’ll meet all the challenges just fine. Nice to get an up-date from you on how you’re doing.

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