Fat Books & Thin Women

2011 in Reading Challenges & Goals

I am not a big one for crafting reading goals, other than vaguely defined and aspirational ones (like: this year I am going to read way more Edith Wharton, and start on Henry James, and read more about the Balkans since I am living here and all), and I am also new to this book blogging thing. For months I’ve seen mentions of “reading challenges” on other people’s blogs and been kind of clueless about what they are, and not all that interested (to be honest), but I did sign up for a couple to do this next year. I want to do just the ones that are going to stretch my reading a little bit beyond where it is now, to introduce me to new authors or (in the case of one) give me the chance to do some rereading and reevaluation.

Without further ado….

Global Reading Challenge

I’ll be doing the “easy” level of this challenge, which means I’ll be aiming to read one novel from each of these continents in the course of 2011. Because of the way I find my books, usually from the Peace Corps library or those that are out of copyright, I don’t have a real idea of what books I’ll be reading for this challenge.

Australasia: Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
North America: Leslie Marmom Silko, Almanac of the Dead
South America (please include Central America where it is most convenient for you)
The Seventh Continent (here you can either choose Antarctica or your own ´seventh´ setting, eg the sea, the space, a supernatural/paranormal world, history, the future – you name it): Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge

Again, went for a pretty easy level here – the “Sheep Man,” or three books by Murakami. I’ve read a fair number of his novels and story collections but still have mixed feelings on him; sometimes I’m into his style and sometimes it seems to me like he is too stylistically repetitive. I’m planning to reread The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, which I first read maybe five years ago, and whatever else turns up in the Peace Corps library.


A Year of Feminist Classics

Looking at the list of books I’ve read in the last year, most of them are by men, and the female authors I’ve read have mostly been young adult writers. This is kind of weird, and although I’ve always known I lean towards male authors (surely this is worth exploring some day) I’d like to try shifting my reading to the female side, a little bit. I won’t be able to read a good number of books on the feminist classics reading list for the simple reason that I can’t get ahold of them over here, but I will be catching up on some I’ve meant to read for a long time, like Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

January: A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft AND So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba
FebruaryThe Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill
March: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
April: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
May: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
June: God Dies by the Nile by Nawal Saadawi
July: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
August: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
September: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
October: Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks AND Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism Anthology
NovemberGender Trouble by Judith Butler
December: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde



2010 was the first year for me to blog as well – I’m excited with all of the challenges that have come up, and I’m doing the Victorian Literature Challenge and an Immigrant Reading Challenge. There’s also a Gothic one and an Elizabeth Gaskell challenge, too – I need to check those out!

I need to be careful that I don’t overwhelm myself, but it’s so much fun!

Comment by Coffee and a Book Chick

Oh, and I plan to read more Edith Wharton this year as well – I’m looking forward to The Age of Innocence and Buccaneers, along with some short stories!

Comment by Coffee and a Book Chick

sweet, i can’t wait to hear wait to compare thoughts on wharton with you!

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

Each of these challenges sound really interesting. I especially like A Year of Feminist Classics and The Global Reading Challenge. I tried not to sign up for more than 2 challenges this year, but I may have to secretly participate in the Global Reading Challenge. Good luck!

Comment by Brenna

Those are some nicely varied challenges! I look forward to seeing what you read and what you think of the books you choose. Good luck, and happy 2011!

Comment by Erin

I’m doing challenges for the first time too! I think I might participate in that global reading challenge too – it sounds fun!

Comment by Jennifer Marcketta

Having just started blogging in 2010 too, I’m not too sure what the ‘challenges’ are all about. Sounds like a great way to change reading habits and discover new things though!

Murakami is an author whose books I have always wanted to read, and I particularly love the A Year of Feminist Classics one.

(good luck!!)

Comment by Marie / Little Interpretations

Thanks for joining the Murakami Challenge. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Murakami books you read this year. I re-read Wind-up Bird last year and, similar to you, had first read it a few years earlier so it was great to re-visit it. Happy reading!

Comment by murakamichallenge

I got REALLY into reading challenges when I started blogging. Now I’m burned out of them. I’m just going to read slowly and surely and eventually get through all the books I own…

Comment by rebeccareid

already i am proving an unsuccessful participant. i’m finding that i prefer the ones (in theory, anyway – since i’ve been reading exactly what i want, still) that don’t have deadlines but just go, “read books by such-and-such author this year.” i think a little part of me misses going to college classes and talking about one book for an hour and a half; it’s always a little more fun to talk about a book when you’re doing it with other people.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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