Friday, September 4, 2009

Another Challenge Completed

My husband has a little rule of thumb that he tries to impose with regards to my shoe purchases. That rule is "if you buy two new pair of shoes, you have to throw two pair away". Huh. Well, you have to give him credit for trying, and frankly, it isn't a bad mantra for some things in life. Like reading challenges.

I've signed up for quite a few lately, chastising myself on my weakness along the way. Employing my husband's "replacement" rule, I've been justifying the extra challenges by finishing some of the ones I've already started. I've recently finished my Southern Reading Challenge and my WWII Reading Challenge. The latest one that I've knocked out is the TBR Challenge. For this challenge, you only needed to pick 12 books in your TBR pile to finish in a one year period. Here are the ones I chose, and my reviews:

Resistance - Owen Sheers

Away - Amy Bloom

The House of Mondavi - Julia Flynn Siler

Remembering Blue - Connie May Fowler

Sugar Cage - Connie May Fowler

Before Women Had Wings - Connie May Fowler

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (Discussion #1 and Discussion #2)

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (audio)

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

Say You're One of them - Uwem Akpan (Kindle)

Sashenka - Simon Montefiore (Kindle)

The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb

All of the books were good reads; some better than others. I was glad to have read Wuthering Heights, but found the characters appalling and obnoxious. I think they all deserved each other. If I were pressed to pick a favorite of the bunch, I would probably have to pick Pride and Prejudice. What an amazing slice of genius! As soon as I finished the audio, I ran out and bought a full set of all of Jane Austen's works. I'm not sure how I've lived my life to this point without her.

I have one more book to read to finish my Classics Challenge. My intention is to start The Woman in White soon. Not only is it a classic, but will fulfill one of my RIP books!

I am hanging my head in shame, however, at my soon-to-be failure to complete the Outlander Challenge. I never in a million years thought there would be an issue in reading (or listening in my case) six books in 9 months. I seriously underestimated the commitment required to listen to over 200 audio discs of this intense piece of time travel/historical fiction. At the end of each book, I am wrung out and have found that I needed about a month to recover before starting the next!

How are you all doing on your challenges?


Andreea said...

I am so glad to hear that you've read Pride and Prejudice! It's one of my favorite books and a wonderful classic! You've read a lot of books!

Melody said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge!

P&P is my favourite Austen's book, and I need to read her other books soon since I've only read two of her books.

I look forward to your review on The Woman in White. I've seen it is a favourite pick for the RIP Challenge!

Kaye said...

200 discs? Holy penguins, Batman, what were you thinking? That sounds like a 3 year challenge.

The Woman in White is really good. I hope you enjoy it. I'm glad to see you finished the WWII challenge. I need to get in gear and get that one done. I can't believe we only have 4 more months before year's end. Where does the time go?
Have a good week and happy reading or listening.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Andreea - that is your genre, isn't it? I'm not all that well-versed in the classics, but what a great one to start with!

Melody - The only other Austen book I've read is Persuasion, which was excellent as well. I've got the whole set, so I need to get cracking! I am hoping to get to WIW late September or early October!

Kaye - yes, I am asking myself the same question. I don't even have words for the Outlander challenge. It feels like I've been listening for a lifetime.

Amy said...

Nice work! I'd say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite on that list. So far, I've resisted most challenges, but I'm about to join the "Back to School" challenge today!

ds said...

Congratulations on finishing the challenge, and on becoming an Austen fan (love your description: "amazing slice of genius" indeed)! Well done, Sandy.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Good for you for finishing a challenge! I'm afraid to sign up for them lest I never finish!

Unknown said...


I am doing terribly with my TBR challenge. I think I have only read 2 books! I am going to make a big effort to complete it though. It is stupid to realise that this challenge is the one I am having most difficulty with - I chose the books - it should be easy!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Amy - I try to resist the challenges, but often fail. I have no control.

ds - I've never read anything quite like P&P, and it just makes me mad that it has taken me this long to read it!

Jill - I was really cautious at the beginning of the year about joining challenges, because I hate not to finish something. I've gotten a little careless lately!

Jackie - yeah, you would think these would be the first books we would read, right? I had the same issue. What I found interesting in January was one thing, but then I get distracted!

Melissa said...

Hubby tried to impose that rule (1 book in, 1 book out). Needless to say, it didn't work....

Congrats on finishing the Challenge!

Literate Housewife said...

Congratulations! I haven't even started Outlander. I have one on audio that I'll eventually get around to it. I can't wait to get into Woman in White, too!

Anna said...

Congrats! You're just ripping through those challenges! I only signed up for two. I have 5 left for Everything Austen, and I guess you could say I've finished the WWII challenge. ;)

Diary of an Eccentric

The Bumbles said...

Well I think that rule is pretty tough. I think getting rid of one pair for every 2 is a fair compromise. But I see where he's coming from.

I've never read Austen - though I'm pretty sure that is on my To Read list trying to work in 3 or 4 classics each year.

I am still determined to read the first Outlander this year, but I'm waiting until hibernation weather to delve into it.

Lauren said...

I do the shoe rule too! And regarding reading challenges - that's why I don't do them. If I would, I'd never read the books I've been meaning to read! Good luck with this one!

Unknown said...

Congrats on completing a challenge. I have yet to complete any and yet like you still feel compelled to join more! I loved your discussion for Wuthering Heights, what fab questions. I absolutely loved this book and is one of my favourite books of all time. I think I saw Heathcliffe in a different light to you. Maybe I will read it again and then post my thoughts. Can't do it yet as have so many books to review but maybe in the new year.

I do love Jane Austen books too, I think they are amazing but there's something about all the Bronte sister's books that I love more.

I really want to read the Outlander series and I've heard so many good things about it.


Beth F said...

YAY!!!!! Good for you! I was just thinking this morning that I was going use September to get a handle on my challenges.

Literary Feline said...

Congratulations, Sandy! This is one of the challenges I'm thinking of dropping this year. I started off on the right foot, but haven't managed to keep my balance. Next year, I'm thinking I won't join many, if any, challenges, but still make the lists. That seems to be the part I'm the best at. ;-)

Iliana said...

Way to go on completing this one! I should do this challenge as I've got tons of TBR books :)

So far, doing ok with my challenges. You've reminded me that I need to do a challenge update post!

Serena said...

Congrats on finishing another challenge.

I don't know how you've lived with Austen! now, you know why I can not!

Molly said...

I found it curious that in today's post (9.24.09) you mention that you are not really a fan of romance novels, yet you have enjoyed the Outlander series so far.

I truly cannot imagine trying to listen (let alone read) all 6 books in 9 months time! I tried to read the first one and quit after about 350 pages. I just got so weary of what appeared to me, the same ole thing.

I would love to read your overall review of the series - and how a non-lover of romance was attracted to these particular characters. I really want to like the series, but am having a hard time doing so on my own :)