What I need is a fresh start.
I was way too ambitious this year on the challenges, and now I am buried under an impossible deadline. Even if I spend my entire Christmas vacation glued to a book, I don't think I can do it. And quite frankly, I don't want to spend the holidays that way, particularly on books that I picked out a year ago.
No doubt I will still read those books eventually. Most are from ongoing quests to finish a list -- the Bookers (including the ones I've never even seen before), the Man Asians, the Oranges, plus as many of the "classics" as I can manage in my lifetime, and the new-to-me Florida canon, plus assorted odds and ends that I hear about from time to time (for example, I'm still eager to read Born on a Blue Day, which if nothing else has a well-chosen, evocative title).
For the most part, though, I'm finished with reading on deadline. Particularly when the deadline is about two weeks away. From now on you'll have to check the actuarial tables to find out what my time frame is. Thirty years sounds about right.
And so I bid a fond, failed farewell to the 2011 versions of the 2nds Challenge, the Wendell Berry Challenge, the Book Masochism Challenge, and the Complete Booker Challenge. These are fine challenges and I wish them well. It's just that they don't fit in this new aired-out life I'm creating.
I will continue the Battles of the Prizes -- British and American -- because I am far along and they don't end until January 31. (Brilliant! Thank you, Rose City Reader!)
Without challenge reading to help me focus, I have started constructing a formal TBR list, which appears as a new page on this blog. Usually the TBRs just rattle around in my head, lurk on the wish list at Paperbackswap.com, and/or collect on the bookshelf. The challenge bankruptcy books will be the first ones on the formalized list. I'm sure I'll get around to all of them eventually.
Same books, different mind-set. That's the fresh start I need.