Lists and Challenges Updates

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I love lists. Lately, I’ve been making lists of my books to read. Weekly Geeks a number of weeks ago was to update something: that tells you something that it’s taken me this long to get my lists updated.

My husband says I’ve been working on reading lists more than I’ve been reading lately. But that’s not true because I read a lot in October! Most of my posts were reviews of books I read.

In November, I’m not going to try so hard to make sure I have “X” posts a week: I’m going to get back to reading.


I’ve organized my fiction lists here, and I know I’ll keep adding lists. So far, I’ve got lists for the works in How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom, various “really old classics,” the Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists (for novel/fiction), the Nobel Laureates in Literature, and the Booker Prize winners and shortlisted authors.

I have probably a hundred nonfiction books on my “to be read” list as well, but I’m not going to post that, at this point, because my “up next” nonfiction book changes depending on my mood!

For each list, I link to any reviews that I’ve posted on Rebecca Reads. I want to have my reading progress up with my reviews and other reading stuff; I realize that most people don’t care which of the hundreds of winners I’ve read or not.


As for my challenges, in 2008, I’ve done pretty well thus far.

I wanted to finish the HTR&W short stories in 2008. But I’ve begun reading other short story writers in between, so I still have three and a half of the HTR&W short story authors to go: I’m in the middle of Nabokov’s collected stories, Borges (which I want to read in Spanish), Landolfi, and Calvino. I’ll try for one short story author a month (Nabokov in November, Borges in December, etc.). I’ll move on to HTR&W poetry, then, in March. All posts relating to HTR&W here.

I’ve read one Really Old Classic (Hippolytus) and I’m in the midst of the first Iliad translation. I hope to finish the Fagles and the Lombardo translations before the end of the year. (I also read Aesop’s Fables before the challenge began.) I plan on reading The Odyssey and The Aeneid in the first half of 2009.

This year, my goal was to read five Pulitzer Prize winners (of fiction). I’ve read four (March, Interpreter of Maladies, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Age of Innocence); I’ve also read two nonfiction Pulitzer winners this year: Katharine Graham’s autobiography and The Complete Maus. I still want to read one Pulitzer Prize of fiction winner in 2008. I was waiting for A Good Scent from Strange Mountain from Bookmooch, but it still hasn’t come. I may read Angle of Repose or The Old Man and the Sea. Or maybe I’ll reread Beloved; there’s been a lot of blog talk about it lately.

My goal was also to read five Nobel Laureates of Literature. I’ve read five authors, but one was before blogging, so I didn’t really write a “proper” review. They were the following: a non-review of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and The Jungle Book(s), Winston Churchill’s speeches, Ernest Hemingway’s stories, and J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K. I’m not sure which author I’ll try next: as I said, I may reread Toni Morrison’s Beloved or read Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I also have two long memoirs/histories by Winston Churchill, but I’m not ready to dive into them yet. I’m very interested in reading more Steinbeck and Coetzee; I’ve also never read Albert Camus and I’ve read a few reviews of his works lately.

I joined the Graphic Novels Challenge half way through the year, so I only had to read three graphic novels. I’ve read four, although two almost count as one (Persepolis and Persepolis II, The Complete Maus, and Palestine). I haven’t decided to join the challenge for next year, but I do have three more graphic novels on my “I want to read” list.

I have not given myself a goal to read the Booker Prize winners; I’ve only read a few on the list at this point, and I don’t even know if I like that type of modern fiction. But I wanted a list of the winners where I can keep track of them all the same. I have Possession, The Blind Assassin, and Atonement coming to me from Bookmooch as I speak, so I may read them in the coming months. (I had to return the other copies to the library.)

I just joined the Martel-Harper Challenge. More here.

I’m also joining the Winter Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by Book In Hand. I’m going to read two of Dickens’ holiday works: A Christmas Carol and The Life of Our Lord, a short and mostly unknown account of Jesus’ life that Dickens wrote for his children one Christmas.


Sometimes I start to feel rushed, like I need to finish my books right now! Can I turn the pages faster so I can get to the next book?! But then I realize that I have an entire life to cherish the written word. If I live to be 80, that is another 52 years for me.

Sure, at some point my children will take up more of my time. I’ll go back to work. I’ll lose my eye sight. But that’s still a lot of time to develop my mind.

I read Someone’s blog and discovered that this Someone was 18 years old. I was insanely jealous: I’m a decade older and I’m just barely starting to organize my reading so that I actually feel like what I’m reading has a purpose. This person has 10 more years of life to enjoy books.

And yet, I know that the last ten years of my life were great, even though I didn’t feel compelled to read everything in sight.

Am I weird or do you also get jealous of readers? How do you keep from feeling the “rush” to finish a book? How do you savor the joy of reading?

Reviewed on November 3, 2008

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  • I stopped joining challenges because my whole reading list is constantly changing.  I like to read new books when they come in, so I hate reading a book with a feeling of obligation.  That’s why I don’t think I’m going to do any ARCs either — I want to choose my own books in my own time.  I like all your lists though, I have lists all over the place for various things.

    I’ve been feeling rushed a lot lately.  I think it’s school, and having to finish books on time, it just makes me crazy.  Last Thursday I had like 2 hours between classes, so instead of going to work I just found a quiet chair back in some corner of a science building and read the whole time.  I felt relaxed after — that’s how I think reading should make us feel, not crazy 🙂

  • I do feel like I rush books, there are just so many that I really REALLY really DO want to read.

    And the name of my blog should tell you about my list making tendencies.

  • It makes me sad when people say how they read so much when they were little.  For some reason, I mostly read non-fiction when I was in elementary school, other than The Chronicles or Narnia, which I read several times, and I remember reading Summer of the Monkeys.    I would read whatever I could get my hands on at home, which was usually my parents’ old textbooks.  And when I went to the library, I usually got books about the human body, music, and ancient religion.  I just wish I had read more fiction at a younger age, because you can’t totally get back that childhood experience. 
    I seem to still enjoy reading even if I’m thinking about how soon I want to get to the next one.  I do wish I had more time to read, but I think I already have more time than most.

  • Kim, I told myself I wouldn’t join any challenges either: and yet I have. I’m going to try to keep myself to what I have but I guess we’ll see! I completely agree about how reading should make us feel. I’m a firm believer that reading should improve our mind, but I think that it’s possible to “improve our mind” even while enjoying it and feeling relaxed!

    Lisa, I completely understand.

    Chain Reader, that’s how I felt when I realized that I could have been reading well for the last ten years! And I’m with you about the childhood reading: Why, oh why, did I read The Babysitter’s Club over and over again!?! There was so much more out there!

  • Oh yes, I could relate to many things on this post!  I love lists too!  I have a ton of lists on (down at the moment) just so I could have them at my disposal and not have to go looking for them.  As for challenges, I’m really selective about the ones that I join, so I’m only in 4-5 at the moment, but now that the end of the year is coming up, I do feel rushed!  I am rushing through my reading since I started blogging because the books that I want to read has increased tons and I feel like I have to get through them all right NOW!  I’ve always felt like a fast reader but then I see how many books some people can get through, I second guess myself.  If I could read like Becky I think I would be in heaven!!  But then again, I don’t think I have EVER read as many books in my life as I have this year.  So really feel quite pleased with myself.  But also totally unbalanced.  I need to find that life balance again.

  • I don’t think you shouldn’t be jealous of Someone at all, because 28 is pretty early!  Once I saw this guy on tv who didn’t read his first book until he was 35 years old, or something.  And you can think of it this way: fifty-two years is more than half a century 😉

  • In November, I’m not going to try so hard to make sure I have “X” posts a week: I’m going to get back to reading.

    I can completely relate to your comment above.  I posted 28 entries in October, looked at what I had done, and thought: “I need to get back to reading and writing actual (quality) book reviews.”  I also have to tell myself that I do not have to post an entry every day.  Or even every other day.

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