Literally challenged: nearly there

It’s been a long haul but I’ve almost reached the end. What with diversions into uncategorised books (like the recent The Invisible Library)  completion of the 2015 Reading Challenge has at times seemed around not just one but several corners. But the finishing tape is — huzzah! — nearly in sight.

I’m not grumbling really:
I’ve enjoyed being creative about categories, and occasionally pushing myself to read something I’d stalled on or tried to delay reading. It’s also meant I’ve managed to offload some more books to friends or charities, and I’ve had a proper excuse to seriously browse the shelves at the local library.

So here’s the update. Batman: the Chalice is a graphic novel which I’ve manage to reread, review and recycle, while Sirius (a book with non-human characters) was a first-time read, reviewed and returned to the library.

I cheated a bit with The Bloody Chamber, calling it a book with a colour in the title when strictly speaking it’s not — my original choice of Angela Carter’s Black Venus didn’t quite fit in with Lory’s readalong on The Emerald City Book Review, but her dark rewriting of fairytales did, and I hadn’t previously managed to finish it. Review still to come. Close to the Wind was a book at the bottom of my TBR list only by dint of the fact that thanks to I was kindly sent a copy by the author. Read, reviewed and now recycled to a good home.

The Ultimate Book Guide became a book with a number in the title (600 recommended books for children) and will remain a handy reference tool even after being reviewed. Another reread now: Foundation, a book set in the future, has also been reviewed but has been passed on.

A library copy of The Book Lover’s Tale — a book with a love triangle — distinguished itself as a book I read but almost wish I hadn’t, as my review pointed out. On the other hand, Heart of Darkness is almost certainly a book I should have read in school but didn’t, being the only Conrad title that seemed likely to have been proffered on my A-level reading course. Review being mulled over in my mind e’en now. Another African adventure, my current reading matter King Solomon’s Mines, was on the bookshelves when I was growing up, and as I’m also sure that my mother — a veteran reader of classic adventure stories and travelogues — will have devoured as well as recommending it, this counts as a book loved by my mother .

To date this leaves me with eight categories:
1. A book with antonyms in the title — no idea, any suggestions?
2. A book set where I’ve always wanted to visit (I’ve a couple of titles in mind)
3. A trilogy (as I’ve read the first two this year I’m certain to count the third as fulfilling this category)
4. A book which made me cry — racking my brains over this
5. A book with a hometown setting (hard as I’ve lived in a few places)
6. A play (probably A Winter’s Tale)
7. A banned book (yet to decide)
8. A Pulitzer Prize winner — I’ve got a collection of short stories by Pulitzer winner Malcolm Bradbury lined up

To avoid a long haul in 2016 you’ll be glad to hear my plans are to go open-ended in my choices…

And what about you?

20 thoughts on “Literally challenged: nearly there

        1. Me neither, Chris, though Cooper’s books were seminal works for me. I think if I hadn’t read her, I would never have wanted to write. If my stories could be a mixture of her and Neil Gaiman, I’d be a very happy woman! 🙂

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  1. Looks like you have some intensive reading in the next 3 weeks, Chris, but the crowd is cheering: Finish strong!

    I, too, was stumped by finding a book that would make me cry: how could I know before reading the book? (I had narrowed my options by not allowing any re-reads.) By luck, one came into my hands (and probably double luck, because in my life perhaps 3 books have brought me to tears, when key characters died. And nope, Little Women is not one of those books).

    As for the book with antonyms in the title, I cheated, using F Ross’s Oreo, where the opposites are implied. Here’s a suggestion: E L Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (“mixed-up” and “files”). Added incentive: you can probably finish it in one day.

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    1. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, Lizzie! Not worried if I don’t quite make it on the stroke of 12 as I’ll finish off early January. But it’s all for fun after all, and it’s good too to have something to aim for! Expect a wrap-up post …

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      1. I didn’t know it had been on TV so can’t say if it would spoil the book. I haven’t seen Brooklyn yet because I wanted to finish the book first. Generally I think that’s the better way round. Book first then film….

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  2. Christine

    (New to the blog, found it via a Diana Wynne Jones search) For books with antonyms in the title, I’m not sure if you’re still open to suggestions, but Gaskell’s “North and South” perhaps? Others I thought of include Natsume Soseki’s “Light and Dark” (which is an unfinished novel, incidentally) and Maupassant’s short story collection “Tales of Day and Night” (which contains one of his more notorious tales, “The Necklace”). Oh, and I’ve never read Dan Brown, but I suppose “Angels and Demons” would do the trick as well.

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  3. Well done for your reading year. A really interesting exercise. As for your remaining categories …
    I found Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro moving, though I can’t say I cried. Bits of the His Dark Materials trilogy are very sad. And, though it’s a children’s book, the most moving story I’ve read in years was The Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – absolutely heartbreaking, especially if you’re a parent.
    I’d endorse thebrightspark’s idea for antonyms – Over Sea, Under Stone. I was Susan Cooper obssessed as a child and wanted to be The Dark is Rising‘s Will Stanton so badly, it hurt.
    Sadly neither magical powers nor a change of gender ever kicked in 🙂

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