Reading Challenges: R.I.P. VII & The Literary Others

Even if I disregard all the challenges I’ve signed up for over at GoodReads (at least 3 or 4, if I remember correctly) and leave the oh-so-very overwhelming ONE READING CHALLENGE outside GR, I’m not doing too well. Should I bother to look at the books I’ve read this year, I’m certain I will spy a few translated works. Not to forget that I am currently staring at another several translated books for this particular challenge, yet I experience a ridiculous time trying to sit down and actually read them. My problem is not only hoarding books (which results in some conflict, attempting to choose one book, only to succeed in not reading anything because I’ve been too busy book-hopping). In fact, I have second problem: reading challenges. I have somehow stuck the idea in my head that why yes I can read these 10 YA books in three months and these 10 historical fiction novels in the next six months and I can probably manage another 5 classics, and oh — I forgot about the YA alphabetical challenge! Only 13 more…

I shouldn’t neglect the number of books I pick up at random — books that have no relation to any challenge whatsoever, and I grab these books by multiple truckloads like a book-obsessed, caffeinated terror (because that is what I am). It is fair to assume, then, that completing even one challenge feels like a special accomplishment for me. Regardless of the fact that I can admit to this — that the chances of me finishing any challenge by the end of 2012 appears highly unlikely — I’m going ahead with two more! Woo.

The first reading event I’m joining is R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII (September – October), hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. This “challenge” is intended to be a FUN event (but aren’t they all?), so the goal is to read as many or little perilous stories as you wish. Should you click over (which I hope you do and think you should), you’ll find there are several R.I.P. happenings taking place this September and October. Currently, there is a read-a-long of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, and I may take part in October’s read-a-long (Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book). While I am eager to attempt Peril the First (4 books), I may wind up with 2 or simply 1 book — who’s to say? Here is a list of some books I’m considering:

I’m not about to claim I will read even 3 of these, but a girl can try. If you have any good recommendations, shoot them my way, please.

The second challenge, The Literary Others, is another event hosted by Roof Beam Reader occurring in October. In light of LGBT History Month, pick however many books you wish to read as long as they are LGBT-related/themed OR written by a gay author. If this interests you even slightly, I suggest you head over to the sign-up post and comment before October 10th! (Psst: Participants who register early can enter giveaways.)

My list so far consists of:

The last few YA LGBT books I read were disappointing, so I’d especially love it if someone has good young adult books in mind for this event — please share with me? (So long as you do not recommend The Vast Fields of Ordinary. I will absolutely not read that again.)


Quarterly Reading Challenge #5 (Books 6-10)

My e-mail has shot up to an unpleasant number and I’ve considered nuking my inbox. I’d like to say I’ve been busy with important real-life details, but even those have semi-spiraled out to a point beyond taming. Rather, I’ve been busy doing the usual, which involves anything I consider a distraction. Yet I implore: academics take some priority.

Partially consumed by Life’s sharp, nondiscriminatory teeth–swallowed and nearly eroded by its stomach acid–I briefly emerge. A mountain of schoolwork awaits review this weekend, as finals live in the future of next week. I feel diminished to a high schooler when I say, “Studying? Eww.” To succeed, my reading obsession calls for an interlude and I have difficulty accepting that (obviously). Since last Sunday, I have zipped through seven books, but in my defense: three were children’s books, one a short Lorca collection, and another a graphic novel. (If you want to include last Saturday, I have read ten.) Also in my defense: despite study time, I am no closer to grasping conic section formulas than I was a week ago. Math is always a cruel beast, and I doubt half of it will apply to my future job.

“Wow, glad I knew how to locate the foci to your parabolic-shaped Scabies rash,” said no one.

But here I am, ready to list off the remaining five books for the fifth YA quarterly challenge. To see books 1-5, click here. I commence: Continue reading

Reading Challenge: Books in Translation.

I punched the sun to where it belongs: behind the clouds.

Today’s weather took a turn for the beautiful: 56°F. Clouds did their usual (which is to say they smothered the sky in fantastic grey), and I believe the faintest splatter of rain graced my skin. I’m ecstatic and thankful: a hiatus from dry air! As to be expected, the chilly interlude will end as warmer days heat up and resume skin-melting terror. Once again, I am reminded of that time of year: summer.

It’s not that I despise the sun per se, but I can’t deny my love of grey skies and rain clouds. I love the smell of crisp, fresh air when temperatures are in the single digits, I love snow, wind storms, lightening, thunder, and crazy-mad rain. I love yuck-weather all-around, so a pregnant rain cloud is the very first sign of delight.

But the sun? No. I do not like the sun. It sends scorching heat waves that threaten to melt skin off my body. It causes the air to boil with *temperatures so hot that I lie motionless on the floor for hours—days, even—dehydrated. It reminds me that my body is not something I want to see in shorts and t-shirts because I chose to eat and hibernate like a bear. No freezer blast of cool air can save me.

(*75°F is excruciating.)

In consolation, summer holds several prospects that send just a pinch of surging excitement. For starters, my prick of a neighbor moves out July 20th. I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me. All I have to say is good riddance — I hope he’s moving off the planet and shrivels inside the stomach of a black hole.

In other news: three class-free months and an ocean of reading time!  (How many hours does an ocean of reading time translate into? My guess: a lot.) While stacking a bunch of books to fill my future free-time, I sought reading challenges over the weekend. The idea is that I’ll start one or two challenges after classes end, and so I came, conquered Google, and made discoveries. Alas, the saying is true: so many books, so little time! I wanted to take on this challenge, that challenge, and those, and these, and oh my.

Click picture to read Allie’s post!

To deny these challenges felt more frustrating than the day I sat as a distraught kindergartener. I was nearing a hot mess of tears and my hair was in danger of being yanked out by my own hands, because: god dammit, which letters of the alphabet construct my last name? It was a distressful afternoon as I watched my peers exit one-by-one to have a merry blast on the playground. Well, at least they could spell their names.

I remained indoors to wallow in disappointment, imagining letters H and A coming together and maniacally laughing.

But enough of that — fast forward back into the present moment. I fought off the temptation to take on ALL READING CHALLENGES, but I did agree to one: the Books in Translation challenge, hosted by The Introverted Reader.

The challenge–need I even say it?–is to read translated works, of course! You can sign up any time during the year and set a goal at one of the following levels:

  • Beginner (1-3 books)
  • Conversationalist (4-6 books)
  • Bilingual (7-9 books)
  • Linguist (10-12 books)

For once I’m playing it safe and aiming for the beginner’s level. (Because reading is risky business. After all, a paper cut awaits at every turn.) Books I have planned are Battle RoyalThe Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and Siddhartha. I would normally welcome more, you know, but with fifty-four books already marked as summer reads — not to mention several of which have quite the page count — three is a good starting point, I think. If all goes well, I may step up the conversationalist level and tack on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or 1Q84.

Look at me read! I can even spell my last name.