Literally challenged: still going


It’s been two months since my last update on the Reading Challenge. The good news is I’m still going, the bad news is that it’s still slow going. Here’s where I’ve got to.

Titus Groan: this counted as a book more than 500 pages long; though I’ve yet to write a review I’ve published several posts about it. Five Go Adventuring Again: this was a book enjoyed in childhood, though it didn’t seem as familiar as some of the others in the series that I remember. Yes, I did get round to a review.

When it came to a book set in a foreign country it was lucky that the short stories in A Tranquil Star mostly featured Italy, either the real place or a fictional version of it. I also critiqued Printer’s Devil Courta book badly reviewed when first published and, I’m afraid, it got short shrift from me too.

I recently finished a couple of other novels, though reviews are still forthcoming. I Capture the Castle first appeared in 1948, making it a book published in the year I was born. The graphic novel, Batman: the Chalice is actually a re-read, but I wanted to recapture what I’d enjoyed first time around, when it first came out. And now I’ve got up to Olaf Stapledon’s Sirius, a book with non-human characters though, to be honest, it only really features one, and he’s a dog — but what a dog!

So, that’s thirty-five titles, around about the time that by my reckoning I should be on number forty-two or so. I’m not sure why I’m spending time writing about it when I could be reading …


14 thoughts on “Literally challenged: still going

  1. Looking forward to your reviews – sorry to put pressure on you to do more writing when you should be reading! – especially Titus Groan and I Capture the Castle, which I’ve never read and really get the feeling I should’ve done.
    Is that 35 titles this year? Surely not. If so, that puts me to shame. Not sure how many books I’ve read this year, but it’s probably only around 10-12. Such a slacker 🙂

    1. When I get round to the Peake and Dodie Smith reviews (soon, I hope!) you’ll be able to judge better whether you ought to read them or not — but I think you should, Lynn! I’m chuffed about the range of books read, nothing like a challenge to push oneself!

      1. Yes, you’ve been fantastically eclectic – I admire that as I’m an undisciplined, pick and mix kind of reader. There’s so much I know I should read, but never do – Hemingway etc etc. Will look forward to your reviews

        1. I’ve found the reading challenge — and before that the challenge of writing a book review blog — ideal for forcing me into reading more widely, and not just resorting to a familiar diet of non-fiction and my usual go-to authors. Now Hemingway, hmmm, yet to sample him …

          1. Have you enjoyed the reading challenge, though? Or has it been a chore? I’m not very good at book reviews – I don’t think I’m analytical enough and I don’t want to write bad, wishy washy reviews because when I see others that are like that it irritates me.
            Thank goodness I’m not the only one not to have read Hemmingway. I got involved in a discussion on another blog about which famous authors I hadn’t read and someone gave me a little ticking off for not reading him. He may be a great and talented author but not one of his books appeal to me. I really don’t want to read the work of a macho, posturing big game hunter who loved bull fighting – I suspect we have little in common :).

            1. I have enjoyed the challenge, Lynn, so much so that I’m already planning my 2016 Reading Challenge(s) — more on this later! Certainly not a chore, though I may be slightly struggling to fill the last few tricky categories. But I’ll get there!

              Reviews are not everyone’s bag, and I can see why your dissatisfaction with many other reviewers puts you off. But as for your not being ‘analytical enough’ you do yourself a disservice: your witty and incisive posts, seemingly scattergun but actually quite sharply focused, are testament to your razorsharp critical skills! (A bit OTT? Sorry.)

              Hemingway — maybe sometime I’ll tackle him — a short story perhaps — don’t want to prejudge him too much …

            2. Glad you’ve enjoyed the challenge – intrigued to see what you choose to do next.
              Haha! Maybe a bit OTT, but greatly appreciated, nonetheless – thank you, you’re very kind. I don’t think I’m incisive, but I do have pet peeves that can come out on the screen as reasonably intelligent because I’ve thought them through so often 🙂
              I’ve read Hemmingway’s famous six word story – does that count? 🙂

  2. earthbalm

    Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast” series ( is one of my ‘must reads’ for the next couple of years. I’ve just finished Joan Aiken’s “The Stolen Lake” which proved to be a very enjoyable, if slightly grim, romp. More on my blog a little later! Your comments regarding “The Dispossessed” have also triggered further thought about the book’s themes and I thank you for that. Like you, my must-read list seems to be getting longer and longer. Croopus!

    1. Looking forward to your comments on The Stolen Lake, Dale — I think it may have been the first Dido story I read, in the 80s probably. Definitely looking forward to re-read of The Dispossessed — but not until 2016.

  3. Well done and keep going. I’m enjoying this reading by proxy! I loved ‘I Capture the Castle’ which I read relatively recently. I’m not sure that I have the patience to read a graphic novel but there are a couple I feel I should read – perhaps if you can manage it I can too….

    1. Oh, some graphic novels are not hard to get through — a bit of browsing will reveal them soon enough — but I was a bit of a DC Comics fan in my youth so it was never going to be a problen for me! I Capture the Castle I can’t find enough superlatives for, but I shall definitely try …

  4. My dad has a Stapledon anthology (3 inches thick, with onion-skin pages), which many decades ago I read with great interest. Sirius was my favorite novel of the collection, but I also liked Last and First Men. Perhaps I’ll borrow that book again next time I visit (although Dad may already have given it to my brother).
    I hope the longer nights of fall and early winter will give you the time you need to complete the challenge.

    1. Thanks, Lizzie! I’m aiming for some slightly shorter titles, and not the odd blockbuster that takes me a few weeks to complete. I read Last and First Men as a student, but feel I need to revisit it for a fuller appreciation. I’m enjoying Sirius more than I expected after I felt was a slow start, and I’m not far off finishing now. Hope you manage to get your hands on the Stapledon compendium, even if it’s only temporary!

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