January 18, 2012
2012 Reading Challenges
I am a bit of a reading challenge addict. I love the organization and strategy involved in trying to find books that I both very much want to read and can fit into tasks across various challenges - and preferably multitask those books to fit in to more than one challenge at a time. Perhaps it's a bit fussy, but I've read so many wonderful books through challenge task choices that I might not have ever read otherwise.
This year, I am being conservative regarding my challenge choices. I am going to steer clear of many challenges I know I would really enjoy but which are very specifically thematic (historical fiction, classics, debut authors, non-fiction, etc.) and focus on speculative fiction. I know this will help me not only to read more of the books sitting lonely on my home bookshelves patiently waiting for me to finally get to them, but also to review more of what I read and more consistently update this blog. Sometimes I need to find little tricks to help motivate myself, and this is one such trick.
So, this year I will be participating in three concurrent challenges (in addition to any thematic fun challenges in groups on Goodreads.com.)
The Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012, hosted by Adventures of 2.0: This is a straightforward challenge with few real rules other than to read and review works of speculative fiction, which makes it perfect for me. I am going to attempt the "In Nirvana" level, which dictates reading 24 spec-fic books in 2012. I am sure I will read more than 24 works of speculative fiction this year, but as I will also read other books from many genres and will probably read some series books (which I won't review on this blog,) I want to leave myself leeway for those titles, too.
The 2012 WWEnd Grand Master Reading Challenge, hosted by Worlds Without End: I'm very excited about this one, as my challenge list includes several classic sf authors I've never read before. The idea is to choose 12 authors from the 28 who have been awarded the Damon Knight Grand Master Award, presented to a living author semi-annually at the Nebula ceremonies "for lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy." As of this writing, my 12 Grand Master author picks are as follows, with italics indicating an author for whom I have never before read a full novel, although in many cases I've read some of their short stories: Alfred Bester, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fritz Leiber, Anne McCaffrey, Michael Moorcock, Frederik Pohl, Robert Silverberg, Clifford D. Simak, Connie Willis
The Tea & Books Reading 2012 Reading Challenge, hosted by The Book Garden: This challenge is inspired by a famous C. S. Lewis quote "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." The goal of this challenge is to read some of those doorstopper titles we may have wanted to read for years but never seem to pick up, because they require such an investment of time and attention. This may be just the incentive I need to finally get a few bucket list titles read! Books chosen for this challenge must be at least 700 pages in length and may not be audio books.
I am going to attempt the "Berry Tea Devotee" challenge level, which means I will read 4 chunksters in 2012. (I may end up moving up to the 6 books/"Earl Grey Aficionado" level later in the year, but for now I'll start by committing to 4 big books.) There are six qualifying books I have not read that are both physically on my shelves at home and are speculative fiction solitaires, making them suited to the general sf challenge and to review on this blog. I am dead-set on reading Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (879 pages in my edition) and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (925 pages.) Then I will choose two titles (per my taste at the time) from the remaining four possibilities: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (1006 pages,) Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle (1112 pages,) The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (763 pages,) and Anathem by Neal Stephenson (981 pages.)
Here's to another great (and challenging) year of reading and many wonderful discoveries!