reading challenges 2011


I read 17 books for the 2nds Challenge 2011 hosted by A Few More Pages and achieved my goal of 12 books.

I enjoyed all of the books I read for this challenge and intend to continue with most of them. This year, I read three 2nds books from my favorite authors, so I can’t choose between them: A Local Habitation, Flying too High, and City of Ruins were all excellent. Bear and Cherryh are also among my favorite authors but for some reason, I didn’t enjoy these books as much as their previous ones. However, I will continue with these series, too.

Books read:
1, Marjorie M. Liu: Darkness Calls
2, Seanan McGuire: A Local Habitation
3, Tara Maya: Taboo
4, Kerry Greenwood: Flying Too High
5, Tim Powers: On Stranger Tides
6, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: City of Ruins
7, Ben Bova: Vengeance of Orion
8, Layton Green: The Egyptian
9, Jocelynn Drake: Dayhunter
10, Susan Wright: Star Trek: Dark Passions, Book 2
11, C. J. Cherryh: The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir
12, Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots
13, Linda Hawley: Guardian of Time
14, Elizabeth Bear: By the Mountain Bound
15, Carrie Vaughn: Kitty Goes to Washington
16, Baroness Orczy: The Elusive Pimpernel
17, Elizabeth Bear: Chill

I thought I would reread for the Chunkster Reading Challenge but I ended up not rereading much at all this year. Still, I had fun with the challenge!

I reached my goal and read six books for the Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? level:

2 books which are between 450 – 550 pages in length;
Kim Harrison: Fistful of Charms: 518 pages.
Marie Brennan: A Star Shall Fall: 494 pages

Both of these books were continuation to the series. I’ve already read the next book in Brennan’s series. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy Fistful of Charms as much as the previous books and I don’t have any plans to continue with the series currently. Maybe, when I get the TBR lowered.

2 books which are 551 – 750 pages in length;
Bram Stoker: Dracula: the Finnish translation with 607 pages
C. J. Cherryh: Cyteen: 680 pages

Both of these books were great! Cyteen does has a rather depressing atmosphere, though.

2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length
Kate Elliott: Traitors’ Gate: 877 pages in the paperback.
Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel’s Scion 943 pages in soft cover

Traitors’ Gate is currently the last book in the series but if Elliott writes more, I’m likely to continue. Scion is the first in a trilogy and I already have the second book which is as enormous as the first one. Ah, to be back in school with long holidays! Sadly, being self-employed doesn’t leave much reading time. It took me about four weeks to read each of these books. Of course, I did listen and read other books at the same time or my blog would have been pretty sparse this year. :) And let’s face it, reading any of these chunksters in a bus would have been a bit difficult.

There are still a few weeks left to go but I don’t think I will start another series this year. I’m very happy with the books I read for this challenge. I aimed for 12 books and ended up reading and listening 25, which surpassed the Obsessed level!

I wasn’t unhappy with any of the books and ended up reading more in most series. I even found a new favorite author, Kerry Greenwood. Most of the books were fantasy and science fiction with a few mysteries, too. I’ll sign up for next year, too!

Books read for the challenge:
1, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
2, Seanan McGuire: Rosemary and Rue
3, Tara Maya: the Unfinished Song: Initiate
4, Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
5, Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass
6, Ben Bova: Orion
7, Kerry Greenwood: Cocaine Blues
8, Amanda Quick: Second Sight
9, Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
10, Evangeline Walton: Prince of Annwn
11, Jon Courtenay Grimwood: the Fallen Blade
12, Philippa Ballantine: Geist
13, Joe Haldeman: the Forever War
14, Linda Hawley: Dreams Unleashed
15, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: Hôtel Transylvania
16, C. J. Cherryh: Gate of Ivrel
17, Raymond Rose: The Fire Inside
18, Elizabeth Bear: All the Windwracked Stars
19, C. J. Cherryh: Faded Sun: Kesrith
20, Susan Wright: Star Trek: Dark Passions, Book 1
21, Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel’s Scion
22, Donna Andrews: Murder with Peacocks
23, Julia Spencer-Fleming: In the Bleak Midwinter
24, Peter Clines: Ex-Heroes
25, Cherie Priest: Boneshaker

The R.I.P. challenge has ended. I managed to complete both perils I took part in.

Peril the first:
Jocelynn Drake: Dawnbraker (Dark Fantasy)
Giulio Leoni: The Mosaic Crimes (Mystery)
Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel’s Scion (Dark Fantasy)
Donna Andrews: Murder with Peacocks (Mystery)
Julia Spencer-Fleming: In the Bleak Midwinter (Mystery)
Peter Clines: Ex-Heroes (Horror light)
Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots (Horror light)

I’ve also listed Bear’s By the Mountain Bound but I’m still in the middle of it.

And Peril on the screen:
Hellboy: Sword of Storms
Hellboy: Blood & Iron

I watched a couple of more peril related stuff, such as Underworld, Monk’s sixth season, and started Bones’ sixth season, but I didn’t review them.

It was a resounding success and fun! Thank you, organizers!

Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the R.I.P. challenge. It has a variety of challenges for people to read books in the mystery, thriller, dark fantasy, supernatural, gothic, and horror genres. And a quest on the screen for viewers. It runs from September 1st through October 31st.

I’m going to take part in

Peril the First: Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (my very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming or Edgar Allan Poe…or anyone in between.

Happily, these books are most likely going to come from my to-read-pile. I’m planning to read
Elizabeth Bear: By the Mountain Bound (Dark Fantasy)
In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Mystery)
Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews (Mystery)
Mosaic Crimes by Giulio Leoni (Finnish translation) (Mystery)

I also ended up taking part in
Peril on the Screen: This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows, or your favorite film.

Watched:
Hellboy: Sword of Storms
Hellboy: Blood & Iron

Read:
Jocelynn Drake: Dawnbraker (Dark Fantasy)
Giulio Leoni: The Mosaic Crimes (Mystery)
Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel’s Scion (Dark Fantasy)
Donna Andrews: Murder with Peacocks (Mystery)
Julia Spencer-Fleming: In the Bleak Midwinter (Mystery)
Peter Clines: Ex-Heroes (Horror light)
Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots (Horror light)

The High Summer read-a-thon hosted by The True Book Addict has ended and it went well for me.

I managed to finish Raymond Rose’s The Fire Inside and
Astonishing X-Men vol. 3: Torn.
I read Elizabeth Bear’s All the Windwracked Stars and started The Sword of Damocles by Geoffrey Throne. I also wrote reviews for the books I completed. All this despite having a stressful work week and having a, thankfully short-lived, phone malfunction.

Also, my brother visited me yesterday and we had a great time swimming and relaxing in the nearby island. Even though I’ve lived here for years, this was the first time I visited the Viikinsaari Island.

The True Book Addict is hosting a week long readathon from July 25 to July 31 and since I’m reading anyway, I decided to take part.

I’m working through the week, so I’m listing just three book:
Fire Inside by Raymond Rose, an ebook that I’m almost finished with,
All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear, and
Geoffrey Thorne: Sword of Damocles, a Star Trek Titan book.
I’m also going to read the Astonishing X-Men vol. 3.

Since I read a lot of fantasy anyway, I decided to join Once Upon a Time V reading challenge. It has a variety of challenges that encourage people to read books of the fantasy, fairy tales, folklore, and mythology variety. The 5th annual Once Upon a Time Challenge runs from March 21st through June 20th.

I’ll be joining
Quest the First: Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

Most of my books will be in the fantasy category, although I’m tempted to add at least Seanan McGuire’s books into the fairy tales section as well because they draw a lot from traditional fairy knowledge.

Quest the Third: Fulfill the requirements for Quest the First or Quest the Second AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream OR a viewing of one of the many theatrical versions of the play. Love the story, love the films, love the idea of that magical night of the year and so this is my chance to promote the enjoyment of this farcical love story.

I’m also currently watching Angel season 1, so I’m joining Quest on Screen as well.
Stories are not just limited to the printed page. Many entertaining, moving, profound or simply fun stories are told in the realm of television and film. To participate in this quest simply let us know about the films and/or television shows that you feel fit into the definitions of fantasy, fairy tales, folklore or mythology that you are enjoying during the challenge.

Quest the Third:
1, Seanan McGuire: A Local Habitation
2, Rachel Caine: Windfall
3, Rachel Caine: Firestorm
4, Marjorie M. Liu: A Wild Light
5, Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
6, Evangeline Walton: Prince of Annwn
7, Sarah A. Hoyt: Ill met in Moonlight
8, Tim Powers: On Stranger Tides
9, Jon Courtenay Grimwood: the Fallen Blade
10, Emma Bull: War for the Oaks
11, Poul Anderson: A Midsummer Tempest

Quest on Screen:
Angel: Season 1
Angel: Season 2

I decided to join one more reading challenge: The New Author Challenge.

Here are the guidelines:

1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.
3. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be. For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.
4. After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky. Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.
5. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome

I’m going for 25 authors and hopefully most of them will come from my to-read-pile.

Read:
1, Kerry Greenwood: Cocaine Blues
2, Bram Stoker: Dracula
3, Amanda Quick: Second Sight
4, Daniel Keyes: Flowers for Algernon
5, Khaled Hosseini: A Thousand Splendid Suns
6, Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
7, Evangeline Walton: Prince of Annwn
8, Sarah A. Hoyt: Ill met in Moonlight
9, Jon Courtenay Grimwood: the Fallen Blade
10, Philippa Ballantine: Geist
11, Emma Bull: War for the Oaks
12, Anne Perry: The Face of a Stranger
13, Joe Haldeman: the Forever War
14, Linda Hawley: Dreams Unleashed
15, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: Hôtel Transylvania
16, Poul Anderson: A Midsummer Tempest
17, Gayle Lynds: The Book of Spies
18, Ben Bova: Orion
19, Melissa Scott: Shadow Man
20, Sarah Jane Stratford: Midnight Guardian
21, Raymond Rose: The Fire Inside
22, Geoffrey Throne: Star Trek: Titan: The Sword of Damocles
23, Layton Green: The Egyptian
24, Giulio Leoni: The Mosaic Crimes
25, Baroness Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel
26, Peter Clines: Ex-Patriots
27, Donna Andrews: Murder with Peacocks
28, Karen A. Wyle: Twin-Bred
29, Julia Spencer-Fleming: In the Bleak Midwinter
30, Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder: Buffy: Halloween Rain

My final challenge to this year, so far, will be the Chunkster Reading Challenge.

February 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012

Below are the details and sign ups for 2011 … I’ve made a few changes which I hope you will like…ie: I’ve added another level of participation AND I’ve changed the number of books you need to read for each level.

Definition of a Chunkster:

* A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature (fiction or nonfiction) … A chunkster should be a challenge.
* If you read large type books your book will need to be 525 pages or more … The average large type book is 10-15% longer or more so I think that was a fair estimate.

The Rules:

* No Audio books in the chunkster. It just doesn’t seem right. Words on paper for this one folks.
* No e-Books allowed – we are reading traditional, fat books for this challenge.
* Short Stories and Essay collections will not be counted.
* Books may crossover with other challenges
* Anyone may join. If you don’t have a blog, just leave me a comment on this post with your progress (and to let me know you are playing)
* You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
* Once you pick a level, that’s it…you’re committed to that level!

You must pick a level of participation:

1. The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the reader who wants to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn’t want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
2. The Plump Primer – this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months.
3. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? – this option is for the reader who can’t resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 – 550 pages in length; 2 books which are 551 – 750 pages in length; 2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
4. Mor-book-ly Obese – This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to…..go on and give in to your cravings.

My level will be Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big?

The books so far:
2 books which are between 450 – 550 pages in length;
Kim Harrison: Fistful of Charms: 518 pages.
Marie Brennan: A Star Shall Fall: 494 pages

2 books which are 551 – 750 pages in length;
Bram Stoker: Dracula: the Finnish translation with 607 pages
C. J. Cherryh: Cyteen: 680 pages

2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length
Kate Elliott: Traitors’ Gate: 877 pages in the paperback.
Jacqueline Carey: Kushiel’s Scion 943 pages in soft cover

I’ve got quite a few unread chunksters in my to-be-read pile and I’m also been wanting to reread Brust’s Khaavren cycle and Carey’s Kushiel books.

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