2012 Challenges: Because I just can’t Help Myself

So, I’ll admit that I was hesitant about joining any challenges when I started thinking over starting this blog. I mean, I LOVE challenges (they appeal to both the love of the communal as well as my obsession with lists) and I always feel more comfortable with some kind of larger goal list in place, but this blog is created with purpose, you know, and I didn’t want anything distracting me from that purpose. But after thinking of how sad I would be to go almost two whole years without participating in a single challenge, and combing the interwebs to find some challenges that fit in to what I was already doing, I’ve decided that for 2012 I’m going to join two challenges, both of which will allow me to still pick books from my list to get through by December 2012 (yay for structure within structure!).

The Classics Challenge

The Classics Challenge is being hosted by Katherine over at November’s Autumn, and is, I think, a wonderful way to put together a challenge like this! As Kathrine laid out, the goal is to read seven works of ‘classic’ literature by December of 2012, only three of which may be re-reads. But rather than just having people post their monthly reviews and then compiling them, Katherine has decided to structure the challenge more like a blog hop! As she puts it:

Instead of writing a review as you finish each book (of course, you can do that too), visit November’s Autumn on the 4th of each month from January 2012 – December 2012. You will find a prompt, it will be general enough that no matter which Classic you’re reading or how far into it, you will be able to answer.

I love the fact that not only will prompts be available, but that there is so much freedom in what book to read when! It really means I’ll be able to take full advantage of my list while still getting through those seven classics! I plan on getting through the following books, at least, and hopefully in the month they’re assigned!

  1. March: Middlemarch by George Eliot (because I’ve been thirsting to read this book for ages, since it was recommended to me by a number of book bloggers that trust very much, and I finally tracked down a used copy)
  2. April: Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy (I’m going to try and cash in on at least some of my Goodread’s group discussion of this novel)
  3. May: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (because I loved the only other Hemingway I’ve ever read, and it’s about time I paid the man another visit)
  4. June: Room with a View by E.M. Forester (for some reason, it just jumped off the list at me)
  5. July: The Professor’s House by Willa Cather (one of my three re-reads, mostly because I’m still on the fence about Cather, despite being a full-blooded Midwest girl)
  6. August: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello by William Shakespeare (I figure, being plays – even Shakespearean plays – I should be able to get through two in a month, and I like the idea of paring a comedy and a drama)
  7. September: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (while I realize this may be on the borderline of actually being a classic, it’s certainly a classic for me, and seeing as how my wedding is at the end of September, I’m going to go ahead and hedge my bets by picking something light for this month)
  8. October: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe (October is my favorite months for seasonal reading, and I’ve never actually read the mother of all Gothic fiction – and its about darn time)
  9. November: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (November is my birthday month, and as this has been my favorite book since childhood, so it seemed like the perfect time to give it a read)
  10. December: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (another one that just jumped off the list as one I wanted to read sooner rather than later)

The Chunkster Challenge

The Chunkster Challenge is one that just SCREAMS to be to join. It’s being hosted this year by Vasilly at 1330V and Wendy at caribousmom. I mean, come on! This blog is a journey through the classics, and a great number of classics are quite hefty books! The challenge works as follows:

The 2011 challenge will still end on January 31, 2012. Definition of a chunkster: A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

The rules:
  • No audio books.(There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader.(There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.)
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
 Seeing as how it’s that last rule that’s had me thinking lately, I think I’m going to have to go big or go home, and choose the Mor-book-ly Obese level:
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.
So yeah! As you can imagine, that’s quite a few very big books, but I think that if I keep in mind over-lapping with other challenges, I should be able to knock this one out. I went ahead and created a list of nine titles, hoping to give myself a little lee-way in getting through all eight chunksters. I’ve listed titles with approximate page numbers beside them, with estimates taken from the Chunkster Reading Recommendation list.
  1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (450-550 pages)**
  2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (450-550 pages)
  3. The Woman in Whiteby Wilkie Collins (551-650)**
  4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (751-1000 pages)
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (751-1000 pages)
  6. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (751-1000 pages)*
  7. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (651-750 pages)
  8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (450-550 pages)
  9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (551-650 pages)

*I should admit that, while Bleak House isn’t actually on my list of 150 classics, there are a number of other Dickens’ works that are, and so I am planning on switching one of them out for Bleak House.

** These novels cross over with the other challenges I’m participating in.


One thought on “2012 Challenges: Because I just can’t Help Myself

  1. The Mysteries of Udolpho is an AWESOME story!! I read most of it during a 24-hour readathon last year. SOOO good. It kept me hooked. 🙂

    (Once I got past the first 100 or so pages, which are beautiful but don’t compare to the rest.) 🙂

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