(For the purposes of this fantasy, let's all ignore the fact that I would never in a million years want to ride in a helicopter, shall we?)
I'm making about as much progress as expected toward the peak of Mount Blanc represented by 24 books: I've read 5 books since I joined in June. It helped that we spent a week at a remote cabin recently, where I had lots of uninterrupted reading time. Now that I've returned to the sometimes hectic schedule of regular life, if I can keep up this pace I should finish in time, without rushing. No last-minute dashes at high altitude for me (if I can help it).
It's been a few years since I did any challenge reading and I am enjoying the focus. Having a reading list is like having a trail map. There are plenty of surprises along the way -- but it's nice to know where you're going.
So far the surprise has been how much I enjoyed the two Man Booker Prize winning books by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. They came out years apart but I read them back to back and despite the fact that they total about 1,000 pages, I couldn't get enough of them. Usually I find historical fiction rather too full of needless period details, slippages of modern tone, and dull court intrigues, but this was a gripping story right from the get-go and I enjoyed every page. (Full review here, in case you want to know more.)
Thank goodness Mantel has a third novel in the works to finish the tale of Thomas Cromwell. I know he's going to come to a bad end, and in England in 1540, "bad end" means having your head chopped off in public. I'm already feeling a bit sad about that. Mantel has made him an extremely likeable character, whether he deserves it or not, and I've thoroughly enjoyed his company so far.