Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tea & Books Reading Challenge 2013

Hosted by: The Book Garden

Aim: to read books with more than 650 pages. Fiction & non-fiction counts, as well as re-reads.  

My Goal: no goal! I simply read what I want and at the end of the year I’ll tally up how many of the books were over 650 pages long.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The 2013 Middle East Reading Challenge

Hosted by: Maphead

Aim: “Read as many books as you'd like. Eligible books include those which are written by Middle Eastern writers, or take place in the Greater Middle East, or are concerned with the Greater Middle East and with historical and contemporary Middle Eastern issues.”

My Goal: Diplomat level: 5 to 10 books

Comments: As with other challenges, I have picked some books that I already own to read as part of this challenge. While there are no imposed categories, the challenge host gives ideas and suggestions about what to read as part of the challenge. I have included their suggested categories in brackets.

My tentative book list:

Ahmed Khaled Towfik, Utopia (translated fiction)
Anne-Marie Drosso, Cairo Stories (short story collection)
Rafik Schama, The Dark Side of Love (written by the MENA author, set in the MENA countries)
Olivia Manning, The Levant Trilogy (set in the MENA countries)
Robin Wright, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East (explores historical and contemporary MENA issues)
Lord Edward Cecil, The Leisure of an Egyptian Official (a memoir)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Back to the Classics Challenge 2013

Hosted by: Sarah Reads Too Much

Aim: Complete at least one book in each of the 6 required categories by the end of 2013. For bonus points: complete at least 3 out of 5 bonus categories. The hosts do not subscribe to any particular definition of classic. Challenge crossovers are allowed.

My Goal: I want them all! So I am going for 11 books altogether! 

Comments: As the host points out, it IS more fun to pick the books before starting the challenge, even if the list is not binding in the end.

So here are my picks:

(Unless otherwise noted, all of these are the books I own/have in my TBR pile)

A 19th Century Classic - Charlotte Bronte, Villette (* ebook)
A 20th Century Classic - W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil 
A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic - William Shakespeare, Richard III
A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience - Toni Morrison, Beloved
A Classic Adventure - H. Rider Haggard, She
A Classic that prominently features an Animal - no idea, drawing a blank!

Re-read a Classic - either Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (* ebook) or Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
A Russian Classic - Varlam Shalamov, Kolyma Tales (* ebook)
A Classic Non-Fiction title - either Johann Burchard, At the Court of the Borgia or Walter Pater, The Renaissance (* ebook)
A Classic Children's/Young Adult title - Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Classic Short Stories - Ray Bradbury, The Stories of Ray Bradbury (* ebook) 
in progress

Monday, 7 January 2013

2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Hosted by: Historical Tapestry

Aim: Read any kind of Historical Fiction, including Fantasy, Young Adult, etc. As simple as that! Challenge crossovers are allowed.

My Goal: Renaissance Reader - 10 books

Comments: I have settled on this reading level in part because I like the way it sounds, in part because this gives my a comfortable and strain-less reading goal, and in part because I actually have a some Renaissance-based fiction to get through.

My Alterations: to make this more interesting for myself, I was inspired by the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge to pre-select the books I will attempt to read as part of Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! Now, unlike with the TBR Pile challenge, I do not consider these selections obligatory. In other words, failure to complete them all will not automatically mean failure to complete the challenge, as long as I will have read other books to make up the number I have committed to. Still, I think it will be quite interesting to compare my actual read books tally at the end of 2013 with what I had in mind at the start of the year!

Books I plan to read as part of this challenge:

(All of them are from my TBR pile, unless otherwise marked.)
  1. Karen Essex, Leonardo’s Swans - completed
  2. James Cowan, A Mapmaker’s Dream
  3. Sarah Dunant, In the Company of the Courtesan
  4. Sarah Dunant, The Birth of Venus (*a reread)
  5. Marina Fiorato, The Botticelli Secret
  6. - completed
  7. Andrew Miller, Pure
  8. - completed
  9. Michelle Moran, The Heretic Queen (* ebook)
  10. - completed
  11. Michelle Moran, Cleopatra’s Daughter (* ebook)
  12. - completed
  13. Robert Graves, I, Claudius (* ebook)
  14. - completed
  15. Philippa Gregory, Wideacre
  16. James Clavell, Shogun
  17. Leonid Solovyov, The Tale of Hodja Nasreddin, Disturber of the Peace (* a reread)
  18. Kate Williams, The Pleasures of Men (* ebook arc)
  19. - completed
  20. Toni Morrison, Beloved