I love reading challenges. Not that I need any, but I like how they tend to shuffle my reading pile. Still, after feeling overwhelmed in 2010 I decided to be very careful with challenges in 2011. So I accepted only five! #goodgrrl :)
- Tanabata’s Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge
- Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge #5
- Chinoiseries’ Chinese Literature Challenge
- Beth Fish’s What’s in a name #4
- Margot’s first Foodie’s Reading Challenge
What’s the status now that December is around the corner? Am I getting stressed like last year? Do I feel accomplished? Need to get my act together and READ?
Completed 2011 reading challenges
Before I go any further I humbly bow my head and confess that even though I’ve read all the books I commited to for the following three challenges, I reviewed hardly any. 2011 has not been a great year of blogging for me. But as we’re talking reading challenges, I’ll consider my missions accomplished!
HARUKI MURAKAMI READING CHALLENGE
For the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge I chose level TORU (named after our dear friend from The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, the first Murakami novel I ever laid my hands on). That means reading 5 books by the master (here’s my admission post). So far I’ve read 6 (!) and I plan to read one more before the year has ended — ask Elsje if you don’t believe me. ;) If I live up to my promiss that collection of short stories will lift me to the level of Nakata (from Kafka on the Shore).
Hear the Wind Sing
1q84 Boek 1
1q84 Boek 2
1q84 Boek 3
And yes, the Dutch translation of 1Q84 was published in three seperate volumes, coming out in June 2010 and April 2011. Also, the title is deliberately written with a lower case ‘Q’ because it much resembles a ‘9’. I like that and have no idea why it should be different in the Japanese original and English version. Us Dutchies are pedantic. ;)
Last week Elsje and I went to a lecture about Haruki Murakami by translator Luc Van Haute in Leiden’s Sieboldhuis. He explained to us how the often stated opinion that Murakami’s novels are not typically Japanese is just plain wrong. It was fun — I have a huge reading list of Japanese authors to follow up ;) — and we also got to see the Hello Kitty exhibition and meet ennazussuzanne and Seraphine, who surprised us with the gift of an origami bookmark! Aw, that’ll come to good use when reading… JLit!
JAPANESE LITERATURE CHALLENGE #5
The fifth Japanese Literature Challenge only started in June and runs to February, but on October 1st I had already finished the 6 books I commited to. That day I turned over the last page of 1Q84 Book 3. As I still plan to read Sōseki’s Kokoro for the Japanese Literature Book Group (I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!), and Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes together with Elsje, I’ll probably up my level by the end of January 2012.
The Woman in the Dunes ~ Kobo Abe
Underground ~ Haruki Murakami
Thousand Cranes ~ Yasunari Kawabata
1q84 Boek 1 ~ Haruki Murakami
1q84 Boek 2 ~ Haruki Murakami
1q84 Boek 3 ~ Haruki Murakami
FOODIES READING CHALLENGE
In the Foodies reading Challenge I
cowardly safely labeled myself a NIBBLER, going for 1 to 3 books (admission post). So far I’ve read 5, and –YAY– even reviewed two!
I hope I can find the time and energy to write some more reviews!
But I’m not there yet. With only five weeks to go I need to finish two more challenges… Will I be able to do it???
CHINESE LITERATURE CHALLENGE
I was half a year late in joining the Chinese Literature Challenge and I full-heartedly use that as an excuse for why I haven’t reached my goal of 1 book yet. ;) Here’s what I plan to read. Cheer me on and maybe I’ll be able to cross of this challenge before the year has passed!
WHAT’S IN A NAME CHALLENGE #4
The What’s in a name challenge is always one of my favourites. It’s a thrill to pick your next book just based on a random word in the title. Call me crazy. ;) Alas, this year I’m having trouble finishing: even though I read several more than one fitting titles for four of the six categories, two are still open!
Pinball, 1973 ~ Haruki Murakami
2666 ~ Roberto Bolaño
1q84 ~ Haruki Murakami
Travels in the Scriptorium ~ Paul Auster
I’ll Steal You Away ~ Niccolò Ammaniti
Model Flying ~ Marcel Möring
Poelie the Terrible ~ Frans Pointl
Crime School ~ Carol O’Connell
Categorie LIFE STAGE
Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America ~ Linda Furiya
Still hoping to get around to:
The Moonstone ~ Wilkie Collins
Vernon God Little ~ DBC Pierre
BTW you can always follow my progress on the special Challenge page on Graasland!
What’s new for 2012?
2012 is more than a month away but I have already lined up some reading plans. Wanna know what they are?
Of course I can’t resist participating in the new What’s in a name challenge. I must say that I never buy or borrow books specifically for this challenge — picking titles that are already on Mt TBR, or have been on my wishlist for quite some time, is part of the fun. So what are the categories for 2012 and which books fit the bill?
- A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title
Choosing from: Last Night in Twisted River, Sunset Park, Lunar Park, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms
- A book with something you’d see in the sky in the title
Choosing from: The Moonstone, Sunset Park, Lunar Park, A Ride in the Neon Sun, Noorderzon (sun), Dead Air, Star of the Sea
- A book with a creepy crawly in the title
Choosing from: Little Bee, Een tafel vol vlinders (‘A table loaded with butterflies‘)
- A book with a type of house in the title
Choosing from: The Graveyard Book, Black Box, Het huis op de plantage (‘House on the plantation‘)
- A book with something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title
Choosing from: Dreaming Water, Water for Elephants, Met bonzend hart : brieven aan Hella S. Haasse (‘With a throbbing heart: letters to Hella S. Haasse‘) [open to suggestions]
- A book with a something you’d find on a calendar in the title
Choosing from: The Eigth Day, Silence in October, Nocturnes
Don’t you think I have a whole lot of books available just to pick from? :))
THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES GROUP READ
Let me state first that I haven’t commited to the following task yet. I’m only considering it! Caravana de Recuerdos hosts a Roberto Bolaño The Savage Detectives readalong in January. I have the book on my shelf — it was a recommendation by the great author Kazuo Ishiguro — and I guess now is as good as ever. Especially since I didn’t much appreciate Bolaño’s 2666, which I read together with Leeswammes & Co. earlier this year. I’d better say it’s now.. or never!
Are you making plans for 2012 yet?
Looking back on your accomplishments for 2011?
I’d love to know!