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