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Gnoe on pile of books

Gnoe (?) on pile of books

Oh no! NOW look what you made me do, Weekly Geeks! By asking me about reading challenges, I just joined TWO MORE! As if I don’t have enough problems handling just one…

When I failed last year’s personal challenge I decided to cut myself some slack and stretch it to 2009. I had gotten halfway my list of 12 books by December, so that seemed fair. But now… I have only crossed off one more title since January! That means that, of the books on the Best Foreign Books longlist that were already on my wishlist before the election, I still have another 5 books to go:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
  • a choice of 2 from The Sea, The Sea (Iris Murdoch), The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen) or The Pillow Book (Sei Shonagon) — whichever of these I can get my hands on.

Five might not seem a lot to you, but it’s 20-25% of all the books I can manage in one year!

And now I’ve put some more pressure on by joining the ‘What’s in a Name‘ and ‘Classics‘ challenges! Yes, you may call me stupid if you want to ;)

So why do I take on reading challenges?

I find having a challenge stimulates me in picking up books that I wouldn’t normally read, or that I wish to have read but never feel like starting, or that are almost totally random. And yes, sometimes I get stressed a bit when a deadline is nearing ;) But I think I might never have read the classics Slaughterhouse-Five, Don Quixote or Max Havelaar without these challenges! And I must say that I only enter challenges that (I believe) really stand a chance!

Each year at least one personal challenge just ‘appears’ to me. For example I notice a resemblance in some book titles, or a certain award long- or shortlist matches part of my wishlist, like last year. I’m curious to know if this happens to other people as well! So what reading tasks have I set myself in the past?

  • 2005:
    1) read a book from each decade from 1900 until 2005
    2) read a total of 15,000 pages (I failed that by 333 pages…)
    3) finish all Bookcrossing books on Mount TBR
  • 2006: read 10 books with numbers 0-9 in their title
  • 2007: read all books on the Best Dutch Book (ever) shortlist that I haven’t read yet

More about these challenges can be found in my post about my 2008-2009 challenge, except for 2007 which has its own blogpost.

Speaking about collective challenges, up until yesterday (LOL) I’ve only joined the SIY (Set It Yourself) challenge at Bookcrossing several times. I’ll let the title speak for itself ;)

Having said all this… (thanks for hanging on ;) it might just be that I grew up in the Eighties so that I’m addicted to making lists, like Rob Fleming in Nick Hornby’s book High Fidelity ;)

resemblance

The 42 books I’ve read in 2007

  • Rosalie Niemand, Elisabeth Marain (stopped reading)
  • The Geographer’s Library *ring*, Jon Fasman
  • Poppy Shakespeare, Clare Allen
  • Max Havelaar, Multatuli
  • Publieke werken, Thomas Rosenboom
  • Dance with death, Barbara Nadel
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • Arthur & George, Julian Barnes
  • Narziss en Goldmund (en andere verhalen) *slow ray*, Hermann Hesse (stopped reading)
  • Het huis van de moskee, Kader Abdolah
  • Het Bureau (deel 1): Meneer Beerta, J.J. Voskuil
  • The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
  • De brug, Geert Mak
  • De ontdekking van de hemel, Harry Mulisch
  • En dan zou jij zeggen, Elisabeth Keesing
  • Never let me go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The shape of snakes, Minette Walters
  • Greenwich Killing Time, Kinky Friedman
  • Het zijn net mensen, Joris Luyendijk
  • De lijfarts, Maria Stahlie
  • A cool million, Nathanael West
  • Het geheim van de krokodil, Alexander McCall Smith
  • De grote bocht, Peter Delpeut
  • Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
  • De uitvreter, Nescio
  • The inheritance of loss, Kiran Desai
  • Nooit meer slapen, W.F. Hermans
  • Helpless, Barbara Gowdy
  • Heden mosselen, morgen gij (kort verhaal), Hans Vervoort
  • Gods ingewanden (Métaphysique des tubes), Amélie Nothomb
  • Een heel huis vol, Boudewijn Büch
  • Everyman, Philip Roth
  • Bougainville, F. Springer (thank you for this RABCK to Linniepinnie!)
  • Black dogs, Ian McEwan
  • Een stoomfluit midden in de nacht (Yonaka no kiteki ni tsuite), Haruki Murakami (with special thanks to maupi!!!)
  • De Donkere Kamer van Damokles, W.F. Hermans
  • Met angst en beven (Stupeur et tremblements, ring), Amélie Nothomb
  • A place of hiding, Elizabeth George
  • Death in holy order, P.D. James
  • Asta’s book, Barbara Vine
  • In the country of men, Hisham Matar
  • In search of the distant voice, Taichi Yamada

Personal challenge for 2007
YES! On the 3rd of December I’ve accomplished my personal challenge to read all books of the Best Dutch Book shortlist that I hadn’t already read!

(Look at this earlier post to view bookcovers :)

Het huis van de moskee, Kader Abdolah PC
De Donkere Kamer van Damocles, W.F. Hermans PC of Maaike
Nooit Meer Slapen, W.F. Hermans PC of BX-er wolfram-nl
De ontdekking van de hemel, Harry Mulisch BX-copy
Max Havelaar, Multatuli PC
De uitvreter, Nescio PC of BX-er nokawa
Publieke werken, Thomas Rosenboom PC of Maaike
Het Bureau, J.J. Voskuil PC of BX-er wolfram-nl

Books on the shortlist that I had already read before this challenge started:
Hersenschimmen, J. Bernlef
Titaantjes/Dichtertje, Nescio
De avonden, Gerard Reve

With this challenge I was participating in The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge. Ibis3 has made us a nice challenge page. I am not sure if I would have been able to accomplish my goals for 2007 without participating in the challenge!

Special rings and challenges I have participated in…
Special Bookcrossing rings & rays
De Bookcrossing theedoos
Het Nederlandse BookCrossers Kattenjournaal

Bookcrossing challenges
Breng wat kleur in de wereld in januari!
De Nederlandse Release Challenge
Movie Books Release Challenge
Four Seasons Release Challenge
2007 History Challenge
‘Words to Release By’ Challenge
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 1st and 2nd edition. You can also find them at Ibis3’s readalong blog.
Hiroshima Anniversary Peace Challenge.

This year’s personal reading challenge is to read all books on the Best Dutch Book (ever) shortlist that I haven’t read yet. The election took place in March this year but the original website has unfortunately been deleted (already!) so there’s no link to provide you with. Here’s the list:

cover Hersenschimmencover Huis van de moskeecover Donkere kamer van Damoclescover Nooit meer slapencover Ontdekking van de hemelcover Max Havelaarcover De uitvretercover Titaantjescover Dichtertjecover Publieke werkenmeneer Beertacover De avonden

Titles in italic I had already read before I started this challenge, bold titles are still to be read before the year ends…

Hersenschimmen, J. Bernlef
Het huis van de moskee, Kader Abdolah
De Donkere Kamer van Damocles, W.F. Hermans
Nooit Meer Slapen, W.F. Hermans
De ontdekking van de hemel, Harry Mulisch
Max Havelaar, Multatuli
De uitvreter / Titaantjes / Dichtertje, Nescio
Publieke werken, Thomas Rosenboom
Het Bureau, J.J. Voskuil
De avonden, Gerard Reve

The final contest was between Kader Abdolah and Harry Mulisch, and Mulisch finally won. It’s interesting that an immigrant came so close to winning the prize for Best Dutch Book ever!

I am now reading Publieke werken so I should be able to finish my challenge before the end of 2007. But because I had left some of the thicker books until last and I didn’t feel much like picking them up, I am participating in an international Bookcrossing challenge: the SIY (Set It Yourself) challenge. It helps motivate to complete my challenge – I don’t think I would have managed otherwise!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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