Monday, November 17, 2008

Unfinished Business

Caribousmom ( has announced her 2009 Themed Reading Challenge and I have decided to take it! All the details are posted at the website above, and anyone can sign up and participate.

This will be my first challenge and I am excited about choosing my own theme and aiming for the deadline. Given my current reading pace--I'm knocking off about a book a week--6 books in 6 months seems very do-able.

(This seems like a good time to show some respect to C.S., who does his own challenge every year by reading all the National Book Award finalists between the time the short list is announced and the time the winner is named, i.e. about 6 books in about 30 days. Right now he is pushing hard to cover the last 200 pages of the final book before Wednesday.)

Coming up with a good theme is very important to me. (See ideas that didn't make the cut in the box at right.) Typically, I'm multi-tasking, too. So here's the challenge I've chosen:

Guilty Conscience Books
(books I've started but never been able to finish)

Selected Essays, Lectures and Poems, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
(I think I love Emerson, but I can't be sure)

Walden and Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau
(at least three failed attempts)

Light in August, by William Faulkner
(don't tell my 10th grade English teacher, but I probably deserved that "B")

Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust
(I bet I'm not the only one)

Because the challenge can include 6 or more books, I'm hoping for suggestions to add to the list. If you have a book on your conscience, here's your chance! Leave me a comment nominating your secret failure and I'll expunge it from your record by reading it in your stead. Meanwhile, you can sign up for the challenge and read a fun themed series of your own. What's not to like about that?


  1. Nothing secret about this failure: I gave up on Ulysses after 9 pages. Only interpret my comment as a challenge if you want to. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

  2. Thanks for identifying that sure-fire bugaboo! I finished Ulysses last August through an act of will (and some skimming).

  3. War and Peace? I was loving it, actually, but went on a 2 week hike and the damn book was too heavy to make it into the backpack. By the time I got back, I couldn't figure out who was who anymore.

  4. Gulliver's Travels. I guess when I was really, really young I had watched a cartoon adaptation of Gulliver being tied up by the little people and decided to read the book. Must have checked it out of the library and figured out after two or three pages -- maybe one -- that it was far beyond my level of comprehension. So I never did read that thing.

  5. Okay, Amanda, you're on! I'll add War and Peace. I read it years ago but can't remember a thing (It's about Russia, right???) so I don't think that counts. And I'm happy to take it off your 101 list.

  6. Duly noted and thanks, C.S. That's a good one that I have managed to miss until now. Yet more evidence that it takes years (maybe a lifetime) to be truly well-read.

  7. I'm honored you've chosen my challenge as your first one! Since you are only picking one theme, you actually only have to read FOUR books to complete it!

  8. (going back through old comments . . .)

    Maybe I can find another common thread through the books I've chosen, Wendy. Looking forward to the challenge and following everyone's progress!

    Thanks for the push in the right direction.


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