The Sunday Salon: 'Tis the season of challenges

Sunday, November 13, 2011


The Sunday 
Salon.com

It's been an unusually good week of reading so far at my end, having thumbed through two books, being three-quarters through a third and just starting off with a fourth. And I still have been busy with stuff, so it's nice to know that I have been reading a lot too. Now that it's close to the end of the year, we all know what that means. The challenge-and-list-making season! Although, mind you, I had perfectly good intentions this time. Yeah, you did notice the "had"?

Couple of mornings ago, I had typed up a post, scheduled for one of those days in December when no one's around reading blogs, and hence one can make any lofty promise and rest assured that no one's going to remind us about those posts. In that post I was making a promise not to join too many challenges for 2012, barring the one Helen has up on her blog (What? You haven't checked it out yet? You better go look it up. I'll be here, waiting till you get back), and the many reading projects I do on my own (which don't have any better success rate than the challenges I sign up for, but then at least I can quietly retire them). And what do you know, the very same day someone comes up with a challenge that I really cannot refuse.

Zohar @ Man of la book is hosting a perpetual (thank goodness for that) challenge to read all the books whose protagonists make up the main cast in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Many of those titles are on my PIE list too, and I had been meaning to read Alan Moore's comic book for many bookish eras, so when you combine an impressive collection of classics with a comic book based on famous literary characters, underline these books with science fiction and add a touch of perpetuality to the mix, you get a reader who cannot say No.

So these are the books that make up the challenge:

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker: I listened to this one two years back, expecting to not like it but instead loving it. I believe it's time for a reread to catch all those details I missed while I was gasping or OMGing or dreaming as I listened.
2. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne: I have only read Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne which is still one of my favorite classics ever, but I never had the chance time to read Twenty Thousand Leagues.
3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: This is probably the first classic I ever read, when I was 12 or 13. I still remember a good chunk of this book, because I actually read it twice or thrice back-to-back. To think about all the time for reading I had then!
4. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells: I read this shortly after Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and remember not being too impressed by it. We'll see if a reread changes my opinion.
5. The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells
6. Any Fu Manchu novel
7. Any Sherlock Holmes novel: All the Sherlock Holmes books I've read have been huge disappointments for me, because that guy solves mysteries before I've even started piecing the clues together, and sometimes apparently from nothing.
8. Any Allan Quatermain novel
9. Any James Bond novel
10. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel

So that's some fabulous list of books to read, and am pretty much tempted to start right away, which I may. My main pull to this challenge is the science fiction kick that I have been on ever since I read the cyberpunk novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One. Since then, I've been meaning to read more such works and been on the lookout for books of that genre. Since I'm still more of a literary fiction reader, and a capricious reader of most other genres, I decided to move all my science fiction ramblings to my Tumblr account - SCIdora. If you're on Tumblr too, feel free to add me or leave your tumblelog in the comments below.


18 comments:

Helen Murdoch said...

Thank you for mentioning my challenge! I still haven't figured out which challenges to do this coming year though I think I am going to do Story Girl's Alex Award challenge.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great list
I am SO anti challenge.

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I have seen some fantastic challenges around that it's hard to resist them.

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks!

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

I think I'm going to back off on challenges in 2012 because I just bombed at them this year.  They really felt like a burden and I haven't even completed most of them.

Athira / Aths said...

Yeah, they pretty much bombed for me too this year. There's something about being restricted by lists that turns me off, even though I love making lists. So I figured I could join a perpetual one and never have to write a "progress report".

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

That's a great idea for a challenge - I'm a great fan of the graphic novel (recently got the last volume). I'm especially curious of the Quatermain novels, so might join just to make myself read it.

Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness said...

I love that idea for a challenge -- it's an awesome list of books to draw from. 

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It's a very fun challenge idea!  I don't do challenges either on account of the failure problem!  But I love to keep up with what creative challenge ideas are out there!

Lisa said...

And this is just how it starts...you start with the best of intentions and then a great one comes along. And then another great one. And then another great one...

Athira / Aths said...

Yay! I hope you join in! It would be fun to discuss books!

Athira / Aths said...

It is! I can't wait to get started!

Athira / Aths said...

I can rarely get challenges completed either, so let's see if I get this one done!

Athira / Aths said...

So true! It always happens that way. :)

zibilee said...

What a fantastic challenge! Once again, you have tempted me, although I didn't want to get involved in many challenges this year, this one might be for me! I am hoping to start fresh with reading a classic a month this year again too, so wish me luck!

ChewDigest said...

The only challenge that I allow myself to do is to up my books read total for the year. Organization and focus are not my strong suits, so challenges end up like nightmares.

I think that I have beat Man of la Book's challenge without even trying! Might I suggest the new Sherlock Holmes? AKA The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. I just finished it and not only was it approved by Doyle's estate, but it was Fab-U-Lous! Less figuring things out from complete thin air and more actual nasty deeds. 

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely try that book, maybe that one will work for me. :)

Athira / Aths said...

I've also decided not to get involved in many challenges this year. Just a couple of so that are interesting and innovation, and contain books that I want to read.