Threads

http://thegraphicsfairy.com/vintage-clip-art-phrenology-head-in-color/

I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space…

I’m not great with self-imposed challenges, as you may have noticed: I didn’t complete an author alphabet challenge a couple of years ago, barely started on an attempt to read more authors not from an Anglo-American milieu, stalling on my task of reducing my to-be-read pile of books. In fact by instinct I’m a bit of a flibbertigibbet, strolling from one random title to another, as the mood takes me.

Only, my randonneur leanings may not be as random as I thought.

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A reader’s dozen

books cardiff

It’s been a busy week or so for me, what with rehearsals for concerts and music examinations, homework for writing class, and the usual everyday stuff that throws up extras that you weren’t quite expecting. As a result, a couple of reviews in preparation have had to stay in that state as Life takes charge. So, I offer instead a return to a Goodwill Librarian‘s 2016 Reading Challenge I encountered earlier in the year on Facebook, a challenge that I’m happy to say I’ve virtually completed. Twelve specific categories were listed — a far cry from the 50-plus I attempted in 2015 — and I think I’ve covered them all bar one …

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Snail’s creep

book collection

We’re nearly halfway through November, and the end of the year is within touching distance. It’s nearly time to start taking stock of how my 2016 goals are progressing (as I’ve already done, back in July). Taking my author alphabet challenge I find I’m just five short of completion, with O, Q, U, X and Y yet to come. The good news is that I’ve lined up some books to cover three of these — Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Xenophon’s The Persian Expedition and some short stories edited by Jessica Yates — though I’ve yet to decide on who to choose for U or Q.

Authors read in 2016 (L: library copy and indicates recycled)

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Perusing progress

2016 reading challenge
2016 Reading Challenge posted by Goodwill Librarian on Facebook

Well, we’re way past the halfway mark of 2016, a year that so far has appeared more an annus horribilis than an annus mirabilis. But thank goodness we have the benefit of books and the leisure to peruse them: the consolation of reading helps mitigate some of the universal depression over world events that hangs over many of us like a pall of smoke.

This is a good point at which to pause and see how I’m getting on with my various Reading Wishlists. Hmm, not brilliantly. So far with re-reads I’ve only begun Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles, though I’ve managed the odd other reread (three in fact, listed below). With my Reading New England challenge I’ve managed … one book. Where non-fiction and classics and standalone fiction are concerned I’m making a little more progress. And I’m steadily filling up my alphabetical list of authors whose last names begin with each of the letters of the alphabet.

I’ve only just come across Goodwill Librarian‘s 2016 Reading Challenge on Facebook. It’s nowhere near as long as the 50-odd challenges from last year that I attempted, but I reckon I’ve a good chance to cover this with what I’ve already read and what I hope to read in the coming months without making any extra effort. So I’m not, as far as I can see, making myself a rod for my own back; though looking at the actual options I suspect that they may be angled towards less voracious and less omnivorous readers.

Here, for what it’s worth, is my current 2016 tally (feel free to skip this list):
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Literally challenged: The End?

Via Goodwill Librarian on Facebook
Via Goodwill Librarian on Facebook

Here’s a round-up of where I’ve got with my personal challenge to read at least 50 books in 2015 in 50 different categories. Now it’s officially 2016 (Happy New Year!) I see that I’ve fallen short of my 2015 objectives — though what with reading other books not in any of the categories listed I suspect I have in fact got through my allotted number, or very close to it.

Here’s the full list, with titles still to review in bold:

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Reading Wishlist 2016

books

I’m only a few books off completing my 2015 Reading Challenge, though I’m still a little behind with the reviews. As we rush headlong towards 2016 I think it’s only fitting to consider what I aim to read in the coming year after finishing the current challenge.

Actually, “challenge” is rather a pretentious term to use as I intend to make my goals a little more open-ended than this year’s rigid categories with their set number of books targeted. So for the time being I’m calling this a wishlist, a way of flagging up general areas which I hope to explore over the course of twelve months. I don’t expect to be alone in planning for next year — are you contemplating the same? — but do bear with me as I waft a wishing wand over my own vision for the New Year.

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Literally challenged: still going

cropped-tenbysteps.jpg

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 …