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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

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Amateur Reader (Tom)

"awaiting the Parry eye" - I love that. I am going to borrow it. "Awaiting the Wuthering eye" - how dramatic!

My preference, like yours, is for short, single-book challenges. I guess I cook up more complex schemes for myself, but socially, one or two books makes the most sense for me. Short boks don't hurt, either.

That Marías book is the one I should read next myself.

Helen

Thanks Tom! Although 'Awaiting the Wuthering eye' looks terrifying, like sitting outside the headmaster's office after an unfortunate incident involving a conker and a smashed window. I imagine that books would tremble at the prospect of being Wuthered, no no, you go first, no you...

This weblog is littered with the graves of longer challenges I set myself, although some of them are due to be revived. Zombie reading. Even typing that post, I was thinking, one short story? No - let me read a whole collection - no, why stop at a collection of short stories, what sort of a challenge is that, how about a couple of books - and then afterwards I was thinking what an excellent opportunity it was to read some Cervantes, and I have a memoir about the Spanish civil war too, might as well read it as not... And then suddenly it's a list of books and all worry and failure. I am intrigued by people who have the self-discipline to adhere to a longer challenge. I want to know their secret. :)

Stefanie

I avoid most challenges for the same reasons you find it difficult to complete them. At first I thought they'd help me get to all those books I've been meaning to read but then I just end up feeling even worse about it when I don;t manage to complete the challenge. So now I only do one book read-alongs and those are few and far between. The one challenge that I do every year is RIP in the fall. For some reason I have found it enjoyable to look forward to and indulge in gothic novels with lots of swooning and the occasional spine tingler every fall. Good luck with your current challenges!

Alex

I'm no good with challenges at all. Nothing is guaranteed to put me off reading a book more than having the feeling that I have to get through it to meet a goalpost that needn't be there in the first place. I watch in awe and admiration those bloggers who seem to be able to sign up for three, four or even more challenges every year and succeed at every one. I just find that I stop reading altogether because I feel so guilty about picking up a book that isn't on the list. I wish you well, Helen but I'm afraid I won't be joining you, even though I really ought to read some Angela Carter.

litlove

I had to accept about three years into blogging that I was a hopeless challenge participant. They bring out my perverse streak, alas, and as soon as I have a list of books I really want to read, I ignore it completely and skip off towards something else shining temptingly at me. The only thing I will do is a readalong with someone I like, because I'm as curious to know what they will think of the book as I am myself. If I can get my excessive curiosity involved, I'm usually okay! :-) All this being said, I do love Angela Carter and I have A Heart So White on my own shelf that I look forward to reading, so I will be very keen to know how you get on.

Iris

I'd love to join both of these, but I think my books might still be packed by then.. I don't think I'd be organised enough yet. Good luck though! And yes to the books being short ones, that often helps for me when planning multiple challenges.

Helen

Hello everyone, I'm sorry to take so long to reply: it's been a long holiday here in Belgium and I haven't had much time on the computer during it. But lovely weather!

Stefanie, that is exactly what I fear about challenges and how my failure over the Anthony Powell felt. Happily, I am cheating a bit by already starting on the Angela Carter Week reading, and am halfway through 'Several Perceptions' and wondering why on earth I never read it before. So it has worked this time in making me pick up something wilting sadly on the bookshelf. Gothic novels in autumn sound fun. In fact, more seasonal reading in general might be fun.

Alex, yes, the guilt the guilt! I could represent Britain in feeling guilty. Thank you for your good wishes - and expect a lot of Angela Carter on the book weblogs next week, it might help you choose something with which to start reading her if you are thinking about it.

litlove, it seems that more of us than I expected are perverse, guilt-ridden wrigglers under the yoke of self-imposed schedules! I'm now trying a new approach, which is to mix books I'm reading to write about with shiny new ones which suddenly fit my mood perfectly. Not sure how long that will last...

I think why I am drawn to challenges is that I like the communal nature of it and the chance to have a discussion about what we've read. Too often I find myself writing about a book nobody has read, or reading about a book I haven't read or read so long ago I have nothing interesting to add in the comments. But maybe readalongs are better for that, I've not tried one yet.

Iris, heh, you have quite a lot on your plate at the moment! I am always impressed at the number of challenges you instigate, as well as participate in. Dutch Lit Month must be a tremendous amount of work.

Desperate reader

I'm another one who's rubbish at challenges, I will set myself projects but never with a time limit and join in with things less and less as at the moment it feels like unnecessary pressure when all I want to do is enjoy my reading and I can guarantee the moment I feel like I have to read something I'll feel no interest in it and a lot of interest in something else. I get that others thrive on book challenges but not me.

Helen

Yes, it's a question of knowing yourself, isn't it? And I seem to confuse knowing myself with wishful thinking! Your approach is much more sensible.

Richard

Helen, belated thanks for giving Spanish Lit Month another try. If it makes you feel any better, the festivities are actually an event and not a challenge--so no pressure! Anyway, happy reading for this and your other reading activities this summer (those Borges and Javier Marías titles are fine choices, by the way). Cheers!

Helen

Thanks Richard for trying to make me feel better! Actually, having managed to write a post for Angela Carter Week I am feeling quite chipper and wondering now about Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge... In any case, I'm looking forward to Spanish Lit Month, it always generates lots of interesting things to read. Thanks for organising it!

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