Tuesday, 9 December 2014

2015 Individual Reading Challenges

It's late Tuesday night and the wind has started to pick up again. The missus and I are watching the Victoria Secret Fashion show in London. They do know how to put on an excellent show, we both agree.

Yesterday I highlighted my 2015 Reading Group Challenge books, AKA the 12 +4 list. My Book Addicts group also has a thread for the members individual challenges. They are varied and basically challenges that each member (or those who participate) decides he or she would like to try and accomplish over the course of the year, when it comes to reading. Some people simply identify a specific number of books or pages they would like to read over the year. Others have very imaginative challenges, A - Z author name challenges, or read books set in each state in the US of A, etc. This year I've decided not to identify specific books necessarily, rather various genres and how many books within those genres I'd like to read. I've got books highlighted that I might like to read in each grouping, and I'll list a couple of those for each grouping here.

Firstly I will register for the goodreads total book challenge. This year I hoped to complete 90 books and I've exceeded that. For next year I will make my total 95 books. That will include my 12 + 4 challenge. Then this is how I hope to break down my other books -

Classics (Books written before 1900) (Read at least 4) Possibles might include -

1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1868) - I read Daniel Deronda this past year and enjoyed very much. I would like to try another of her books.

2. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (1848) - Jo and I enjoyed the movie version, starring Reece Witherspoon and I've been reading books of late, such as Parade's End, after seeing the movie/ TV versions. I'd like to try this as well.

Non - Fiction (History/ Biography/ Travel, etc) (try and read at least 4)

1. Citizens of London by Lynne Olson. I had previously read her book, Troublesome Young Men, which was about Churchill and the politicians who fought to get him in power and risked their careers to remove Neville Chamberlain from power during the critical years before WWII.

2. The King's Speech by Mark Logue - Once again, an excellent movie and I want to get more details on the story.

Science Fiction (Fantasy/ Alternate History/ SciFi, etc) (hoping to read at least 6 in this category)

1. Crash by J.G. Ballard - I've been reading one or two J.G. Ballards the past couple of years and while in university, had read his Drowned World and The Wind from Nowhere. Ballard is a strange and unique member of the SciFi community. Crash was definitely a weird movie. Is the book the same?

2. Goliath by Scott Westerfield - This is the third and final book in the Leviathan trilogy. I loved the first two books, such an interesting concept and well-crafted characters. I want to read the third, but don't as that'll be the end of the series. A conundrum.

Fiction (written after 1900) (planning to read at least 10 books)

1. So Disdained by Nevil Shute - Shute has written some of my favourite stories, Pied Piper, On the Beach, The Far Country. This provides me with an opportunity to explore another of his stories. I thin he is one of the best story tellers ever.

2. Peyton Place by Grace Metallious - As a youngster growing up in Chatham, New Brunswick in the early to mid -'60s, Peyton Place was one of those TV shows that I remember watching. I think I had a crush on Barbara Parkins who played Betty Anderson. A couple of years ago, Jo watched the original movie and I got drawn in as well. So when I discovered that it was based on a book, I had to get it. Some of the folks in my Book Addicts group read it that past year and thought it was excellent.

Mysteries (Series I've already started) (Mystery is my main genre these days so I hope to read at least 25 books in this category.

1. The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver - This is the 7th book in the Lincoln Rhymes series, which started with The Bone Collector. It's been a few years since I've read another and I want to get back into Rhymes and Amelia's lives and mysteries.

2. The Black Tower by P.D. James - This is the 5th book in the Inspector Dalgleish series, one that I've only recently begun to explore. What with James passing away this year, maybe it's a nice time to continue with these mysteries.

3. The Palace Tiger by Barbara Cleverly - This is Book 4 in the Joe Sandilands mysteries, a series set in India during the Raj. I've enjoyed the first three books, it's a series that seems to be finding its steam as the character and stories develop. Looking forward to this.

4. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King. The second book in the Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes series. I've only managed to get the first book read. I've got quite a few of the series sitting on my bookshelves now and I do want to read the next in line.

Mysteries (Standalones) - I did say that mysteries are my genre du jour. :0) I hope to read 10 books in this category, which features stories that aren't part of series.

1. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. This is Pearl's first novel. It is set during the Civil War and features various poets, Longfellow, Wendell Holmes, who while translating Dante's Inferno, notice similarities between murders described there and murders taking place during their time. Pearl has written other books as well and they also sit on my shelves and look very interesting.

2. Breaker by Minette Walters - One of my favourite mystery writers, I have read many of her mysteries. All have interesting characters and well-crafted, thoughtful stories.

Rereads (Old Favourites) This was a late addition to my challenge list but each year I tend to read a few books that I've enjoyed in the past and that still sit on my shelves. This year I'd like to read at least five in this category and see if the stories still strike a chord. For the most part the will probably be SciFi.

1. The Borribles by Michael de Larrabeiti - In my third year of university I took a Science Fiction novel course. The SciFi genre was my favourite at the time and this course gave me the opportunity to more deeply explore the genre. While this wasn't one of the books on my course, I found it while exploring the SciFi shelves in one of Toronto's book stores. Michael de Larrabeiti, an English writer, wrote three books of the Borribles. Looking at the list and my shelves, I see that I've only read the first two books. I may have to find the third (*hint hint, Jo - for Xmas prezzie idea.. :))

2. Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper - Another trilogy, this one by Piper that I discovered while at university. It's set in a remote planet, colonised by humans who live and try and co-exist with the Fuzzy Sapien race (think Ewoks maybe)

Well, there you go, my lists of genres. With my basic math skills this should leave me some wiggle room and 15 books as freebies or to add to the genres above.

I'm looking forward to 2015. :0) Take care!

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