Expanding Reading Horizons

A personal goal of mine for my 2014 reading is to expand my reading horizons. To that end I had thought about possibly even creating/hosting a challenge to read books with origins of a country aside from the United States. As I was thinking about this I saw an article on MediaBistro’s GalleyCat about journalist Ann Morgan who decided to read a book from every country. Here is Morgan’s blog about the challenge she set for herself. Since I am setting this challenge more for myself, I am not sure where my reading will take me, but I will certainly be turning to Morgan’s list for some guidance. As you know about me, I am not a speed reader, and with thesis work, work and running training, I won’t hit all the countries Morgan did this year (this will certainly be a challenge of mine for many years to come). But I will once a month do a post of what my book will be, and its country of origin – and at the end of the month I will do a review. If you want to join me, let me know and I will happily put something a little more formal together. Or if you just have some recommendations, please send them my way!

Another article on GalleyCat directed me to a reading challenge hosted by the blog Somerset Books “The 50 States Reading Challenge.” Another opportunity to challenge myself, and maybe find some new writers, styles and voices – I’m in! I’m setting a goal for myself of “Frequent Flier” (16-20 states visited), which will be around 2 books per month (giving me some wiggle room, too). I’ll be sure to post on what I will be reading and doing a review for those books as well.

It’s already the 12th, I’m a little behind (good thing I gave myself that wiggle room), but I am not one to worry about starting all resolutions immediately on Jan 1st. So I am now ready, let the challenges begin!

Who’s with me?

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Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

I spent my Christmas holidays with Harry Potter (and of course my family). I was looking for something that would be fun and fast moving (so I could hit 50 books before the end of 09) and HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban and HP and the Goblet of Fire fit the bill.

Now I know I am not the last one to read Harry, but sometimes it feels like it. I mean I entered the Harry Potter Reading Challenge not only not having read the books, but also not having seen any of the movies (I have now seen about ½ of the first movie – but that’s really it).

There is a lot to like about this series (seriously I get so excited reading about the owls probably more than anything else and these two books had plenty of owl appearances). But what I appreciate most about the books is the growth of Harry, Ron and Hermione (and not just the growth in page number with each book) but in the way they act and how they think. Yes it’s a fantasy book, and yes they are wizards but they are still kids, now teenagers, and you can related to their experiences (even if they are in class learning how to make potions, or tell the future; playing games on broomsticks and fighting magical creatures).  To me, the journey is as fun as the adventure.

Thanks again Michelle for hosting this challenge, otherwise I might not have picked up these books.

What Are You Reading Monday, 4 January

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Welcome to the first full week of 2010! I for one am looking forward to the year ahead and working towards my reading goals.

Still in the throes of holiday mode, I was a little lax on reading over the weekend, and much like the rest of my resolutions, look to the first day of the first full week of the new year as when to begin working towards my new year goals.

Having finished 50 books in 2009, I (slowly) started my first book in 2010 so that it and all the others will also count towards my challenges. While of course all books will count towards J. Kaye’s 100+, my first book is also on my TBR Challenge list.

So happy new year, happy new week and happy reading!

What will you be reading this week?

BOOKS I COMPLETED
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
2. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

BOOKS TO READ
1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
2. Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman (book sent by author)

A Look Back at December 2009

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season. I certainly did – happily getting in some reading time, but not much time writing here or commenting on your blog posts (this will certainly be a resolution for 2010).

For my year, I had a few different reading goals. My initial resolution was to read 45 books (I had an “at least” number for non-fiction or award winning fiction, which I don’t think I met). As I began this blog and tried to make more reading time I tried  to push myself, and signed up for the 75 books list on LibraryThing. As some point I realized 75 wouldn’t happen, but pushed to at least hit 50. Well, without a day to spare, I did. Now for 2010 I signed up for J. Kaye’s 100+ more as an aspirational goal, and will sign up again for the 75 list on LibraryThing, and try and make even more time for reading.

Speaking of challenges, the Everything Austen challenge hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word ended on January 1. I was doing well during the summer, but think I needed a little Jane hiatus towards the end of the year, so I finished 3 out of 6 books. I will definitely read the ones I planned on at some point in 2010. I was glad to find this challenge to revisit Pride and Prejudice as well as finally read some of the “new” Jane as well. My two other challenges from 2009 are on track, and as you may have seen from my previous posts and new 2010 Challenge page, I have a lot of challenges on my plate for 2010 (and am sure I will be adding more as we get in to the year).

So that’s a little look at my December. As the holiday season draws to a close I will be back book blogging on a more regular basis, and hopefully keeping on track with some of these bookish resolutions.

How about you, any resolutions for your reading or book blogging?

A Look Back:

Books Read
1. Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox (sent from publicist)
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
3. Fallen by Lauren Kate (sent from publisher)
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
6. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Reviews
The Lost Symbol
Decoding The Lost Symbol (sent from publicist)

Challenges
Everything Austen hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word
Challenge Time: July 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010
Books Completed: 3 (of 6)

Harry Potter Reading Challenge hosted by Galleysmith
Challenge Time: August 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010
Books Completed: 4 (of 7)

Sookie Stackhouse Challenge hosted by Beth Fish Reads
Challenge Time: July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010
Books Completed: 4 (of 9)

Ending the Year at 50

Yes, you read that right – even with Harry trying to thwart me at 700+ pages, I was able to close out 2009 with 50 completed books on my shelf. No, #50 did not go to The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (I only got about 10 pages in, so I will start fresh for 2010 so I can count it towards J. Kaye’s 100+ Reading Challenge ), #50 goes to Sookie and Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris.

I want to thank you all for your comments of encouragement for this, and throughout the year as I started this blog – I truly appreciated them.

And I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I look forward to chatting with you all in 2010. All the best!

What Are You Reading Monday, 21 December

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Well last week I finished #47. I had a few books lined up so I could make a valiant attempt to complete the Everything Austen challenge (I have finished 3 of 6 books, and the challenge runs through Jan 1st), but with the approaching holidays I was in the mood for something fun and light. I settled on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which I am reading for the Harry Potter reading challenge. I do also have a bookmark in the first few pages of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen so maybe by the end of the year I will add another one or two to the Austen “completed” list.

I’m not really sure what my reading plans will be for this week. Once I finish HP I might decide to keep going with the series or go with an Austen book, or a totally different way altogether. We’ll see where the mood takes me.

How about you, what will you be reading this week?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. Fallen by Lauren Kate (sent from publisher)

BOOKS TO READ
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
2. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
3. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters (Contest win)

My First Challenge of 2010

I am so excited about the coming of the New Year. I started book blogging in the middle of 2009, so I am looking forward to starting the New Year with this blog.

As I am starting to review all of the challenges to start on Jan 1, 2010, what better place then to enter a challenge of the number of books I will read this year? But J. Kaye’s 100+ Reading Challenge … Am I nuts?!?!

I will be lucky to finish up 50 books this year (and this is up from the 43 I finished in 08). But still – a challenge is about setting goals, maybe pushing yourself a little and most definitely about having fun. So what better way to start my 2010 reading intentions than with this challenge.

Want to join me? Check out J. Kaye’s 100+ Reading Challenge page with all the details (and of course Mr. Linky).

Here’s to lots more reading in 2010! (And yes, I am sure many more challenges, too.)