Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekly Geeks #9: Challenges


Dewey's challenge for Weekly Geeks #9 gently urges us reflect upon the challenges we've participated in, and where we are now, in terms of progress. I'm glad she thought of this, because I was totally unaware that I had gone completely off-course with my Graphic Novel Challenge.

1. The Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? - This one finishes at the end of this month, but stick a fork in me already -- I'm done. I managed to read books from 6 provinces: Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I feel extreme guilt spikes for not getting to Ontario since good friends CanadaBoy and Aaron are from there. Thank goodness for...

2. The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? - I was going to say that my compulsion to join these challenges is all John's fault, but upon reflection, I think it all started about 20 years ago when I first became a rabid Jeopardy! fan and Alex Trebek would look so disappointed/disgusted when the contestants wouldn't know.... caribou droppings about whole Canadian categories. Anyway, I'm in. Here's my list.

3. In Their Shoes Reading Challenge - I was so looking forward to this challenge starting. Giddy with excitement, I made and unmade and remade my list several times, but surprisingly, I've only managed 5 books from it so far this year. I blame this lapse on my besotted and blinkered involvement with The Pulitzer Project.

4. The Graphic Novel Challenge - Yikes! I've completely deviated from this list, but I have read some good stuff like Pyongyang, which is now my new favorite graphic novel, and a really well-done graphic novel about Lizzie Borden from Rick Geary's Victorian Murders series. I was less impressed with a well-researched but cluttery-looking graphic biography of anarchist Emma Goldman. The upcoming Readathon (June 28-29) is a perfect chance to get a little more caught up on this particular challenge.

5. Orbis Terrarum Challenge - 9 books, 9 months, 9 countries! My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is always beating me over the head with a rolled-up map for not reading more authors from other countries. What the hell...? She didn't act like this before we became expats three-and-a-half years ago!

I'm off to a good start on this one -- US, Argentina and South Korea. I was thinking about substituting The Little Prince for Cousin Bette (my pick for France) because I want to get something out of that whole wretched experience, but my curiosity about Balzac's work has stayed my hand. I need to get back to work on this challenge. You can read my original post, full of naive energy and misty-eyed enthusiasm here.

6. The Pulitzer Project Challenge - This is the one that's been taking all my attention lately, and the challenge I'm enjoying the most. Luckily, my book group read The Known World and Middlesex lately, but I've also completed A Summons To Memphis and The Executioner's Song since joining back on April 9. I don't know why, but this list of prize-winning fiction is my glittering object.

7. The Triple-Digit Challenge - This is my own personal challenge to myself -- I'm actually surprised that it's not a real challenge already out there! Proud bookworm that I am, I've never managed to read 100 books a year. I think my current record is in the low 70s somewhere, so I've got my work cut out for me...I just finished book #48 for 2008.
I got the idea to do this from 200 Books, who is trying for the number in her title. She's nuckingfuts...married, two tiny kids, co-owner of a business and an Everyman's Library reading list! I hope Mandi makes her goal, but I also hope she doesn't lose her sanity in the process. She finished The Aeneid and Sense And Sensibility this week. Damn!!! I feel dull, unwashed and illiterate in comparison. My T&CIB is muttering something about quitting me and going over to live with Mandi permanently.

13 comments:

Marg said...

There is a 100+ Reading Challenge - details can be found here

Bybee said...

I knew it!

Rebecca Reid said...

I just read a review on Amazon of Pyongyang; I'm glad you liked it. I thought it sounded good. I was looking for more "serious" graphic novels.

Now I just have to find it. I'm in Australia right now and libraries are very short on graphic novels supply. Moving back to the USA soon, though, so maybe better luck there.

info said...

So who/what is coming to live with me? I'm nervous...

Mandi
200books.com

Bybee said...

Rebecca,
Oh yes....this is one that is definitely not to be missed!

Mandi,
My Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm...she's my alter ego. A real lit snob. I'll try to hold her here by placating her with Great Expectations very soon...you don't need any more company..not even imaginary people! Best wishes and keep rollin' on...

Les said...

I think you've done a fabulous job with your challenges! I, on the other hand, have thrown in the towel.

How did you like The Executioner's Song? I've been meaning to give it a read for many years now. As far as the Aenid, I think I'd rather poke myself in both eyes before trying to read that again! D+ on a paper in Freshman comp after attempting to read that sucker! Ugh.

Susan said...

At least I'm not the only one who hasn't managed to read 100 books a year, even though it has been my goal for the last 15!! My total is somewhere in the 60s, I think. You're right, how can we call ourselves bookworms? :-( Tell your T&CIB that my Cool Literary Bookworm is making me read *gah!* the 1% challenge books and I'm already struggling with the first book! I want something to happen in it! Where's my fantasy??? Even though there are ghosts in this book (The House of the SPirits) they don't seem to be real and I'm sooo disappointed. How am i going to get through the other 9 books?? Maybe your Tough Bookworm and mine can rent a house somewhere where they can talk pointedly about middle-class Susans with ideas of being well-read!!!

Susan said...

highest total books read in a year, I mean....

Susan said...

they can laugh, jeer and sneer at us, instead of just talk pointedly. My cool inner bookworm likes this idea so much that she'd like to meet yours in France, seems a nice meeting place, halfway from Korea and Canada.......and home to her compatriots of 'coolness' and well-read in books....hey wait, Canada is fun too! Ok, we do not have a super literary scene, other than Margaret Atwood, Carol shields, and Mordecai Richler, but we have bears and wolves! ok, they eat books *sigh* pot au chocolate, mon ami?

Bybee said...

Les,
Re The Executioner's Song: It was pretty raw in places, but an interesting portrait not only of Gilmore, but of American society in general and how we make such a cult of personality out of outlaws.

Susan,
I hope your Cool Literary Bookworm isn't as harsh to you as my T&CIB is to me. France is good...I'm willing to listen to those two harpies complain about us if I can soften the effect with some french wine and a little cheese and baguette. But Canada's good, too! You pick the province!

Re our reading totals: My co-worker, Baldy, says that our perspectives about this are whack. He thinks if we'd just take the majority of the population into account (in America or Canada) our [poop] would smell like roses. I think he's trying to console me, but it just makes me feel bad for a whole different reason!

John Mutford said...

The Graphic challenge appeals to me. I'm just so underexposed to that genre, I feel it's time to remedy that.

I like personal challenges, like your 100 books thing. Remember when the two of us made lists of 20 books we were embarassed to say we still haven't read? I've been using that as an open-ended personal challenge as well, and I've managed to get it down to 16.

Bybee said...

John,
I'm glad you mentioned that list...I'm gonna go back and check it and see what progress I've made...if any...

Mandi said...

Your T&CIB sounds cool. She's welcome but she'll have to sleep in the closet between piles of books. But then she'd probably like that...

Mandi