September in Review

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

In an effort to simplify my blogging life, I’ve decided I will no longer host the quarterly Martel-Harper Challenge. That challenge was to read two works per quarter from the list of books that Yann Martel sends to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Dewey started the project in October 2008, the month before she died, and I wanted to continue it in her memory. However, there has been little interest in the project and I don’t feel able to “advertise” it properly. I still personally intend to read books from the list, but from now on, I’m considering it a personal project rather than a public challenge. If anyone else wants to take lead of the quarterly challenge, please let me know. I’d be happy to send links your way.

At the same time, I made my life more complicated by starting The Classics Circuit. The first author tour will be Wilkie Collins (sign up by Saturday morning), followed by Elizabeth Gaskell (sign up begins next week).

My reading this month was more subdued, meaning I read more classics and not much nonfiction or modern stuff. I also read less because BBAW got me busy blogging and not reading! BBAW gave me a confidence boost I felt I needed and I look forward to the future of Rebecca Reads. I’ve added tons of new bloggers to my Reader and I am so excited to “meet” so many people through the community projects that I’m a part of.

Although I finished just nine books in September (as opposed to August’s 16 books), I feel it was a great month, and I think it’s good to slow down my reading occasionally.

Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews

In September, I reviewed a few things I finished previously.

I also read or reviewed the following things:

  • The Pooh Sketchbook, drawings by Ernest H. Shepard for the Pooh stories (95 pages, illustration only; nonfiction). Began in August.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (275 pages; fiction). Began in August.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (280 pages; fiction).
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (480 pages; fiction).
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (280 pages; fiction).
  • The Pooh Bedside Reader by A.R. Melrose (about 110 read of 160 pages; nonfiction/fiction).
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (187 pages; fiction).
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud (215 pages; nonfiction in comic format).
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker ( audiobook, 27 segments, about 16 hours total; fiction).

Children’s Projects

I reviewed Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift for my history of children’s literature project history of children’s literature project.

I also mentioned a few Winnie-the-Pooh picture books this month, and I decided to write a children’s book post every week or so.

Other Posts

Not all my posts were reviews this month.

Challenges Update

As I mention above, I’ll no longer be hosting the quarterly Martel-Harper Challenge.

Past and Ended Challenges

  • Beowulf on the Beach Challenge (until 7 Sep 2009). 1/1 I read Beloved for this Challenge.
  • Summer Lovin’ Challenge (until 22 Sep 2009). 2/3 I reread Wit and Beloved for this challenge. I also am in the middle of Catcher in the Rye, which I should review next week.
  • Take a Chance Challenge (until 30 Nov 2009). 3/10 Although this challenge doesn’t end for another two months, I’m officially stopping my participation now. I enjoyed my random-ish reads, but I have other things I’d like to focus on.

New Challenges

  • Banned Books Challenge (1 book in September). 0/1. I joined this at the beginning of September, and I am currently rereading Catcher in the Rye for this challenge.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (1 book between 15 September to 15 October). I plan on rereading The House on Mango Street in Spanish.

Challenge Progress

Some projects appear on more than one list because part of the challenge is timed, but the overall project is not. I’ve made a note if I’m currently reading a book that applies to a particular challenge.

Timed Challenges

Banned Books Challenge (1 book in September). 0/1 (Currently reading Catcher in the Rye.)
Hispanic Heritage Month (1 book between 15 September to 15 October). 0/1 (Coming Up: The House on Mango Street in Spanish, Pablo Neruda’s poetry).
The RIP IV Challenge
(until 31 Oct 2009). 2/4 (I finished Dracula and last night I finished The Graveyard Book. Coming up: A Tale of Two Cities, MacBeth, and maybe some more Gaiman, if I join the readathon.)
9 for 09 challenge
(until 27 Dec 2009). 3/9 (I do want to read these books, they are just low priority right now.)
BiblioShakespeare Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 3/6 (Coming up: MacBeth)
Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 7/10
Everything Austen Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009) 2/6 (Coming up: Sense and Sensibility)
Science Book Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 0/3 (Coming up: Proust was a Neuroscientist, Uncle Tungsten)
The Spice of Life Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 6/8 (Coming up: Julie and Julia)
World Citizen Challenge
(until 31 Dec 2009). 5/7 (I haven’t decided which category to read next. The history book is calling to me, but it’s 700 pages!)
The Japanese Literature Challenge (until 30 Jan 2010). 0/1 (Coming up: The Pillow Book. I will read this over the next few months.)

Personal Projects

HTR&W project: poetry. 0/21 poems (Coming up: poetry by Houseman)
Nobel Challenge
. 14/101 authors
Pulitzer Challenge
. 11/82
Newbery Medal
. 28/88
Caldecott Medal
.  39/72
My History of Children’s Literature Project
. 6/15 chapters (I’ve read 9 chapters, but am reading novels from chapter 6 still. Coming up: Treasure Island)
U.S. Presidential Reading
. 2/44 presidents
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
. 1/15 presidents (Coming up: Brigham Young, American Moses by Leonard Arrington)
My Short Story Author Project
. (In progress: John Cheever)
My Poets Project
Favorite Authors to Read

Classics/Must Read Lists

Beowulf on the Beach Challenge . 15/50
101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers
. 42/101
Martel-Harper Challenge

Reviewed on October 1, 2009

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.

  • Phew~! Even though you’re not doing the Martel-Harper Challenge, I would say you have more than enough on your plate to keep you busy! Good luck with all of your endeavors, and I look forward to your thoughts on The Pillow Book (one I’d very much like to read myself).

  • Amanda, I do think the BBAW online time made a dent in my reading! But it was fun all the same!

    Bellezza, that’s kind of what I thought…..I’m looking forward to The Pillow Book too!

    Suzanne, It is quite fun to follow the books Martel chooses!

    Stephanie, I’m an organized person when it comes to these thigs, I guess, because it’s all there in my files!

  • Ladytink, I have heard about it — someone mentioned it on my post about Winnie-the-Pooh. I’m a bit of skeptic, since it’s still not by A.A. Milne, it’s his trust that okay-ed it!

  • You certainly were busy! Too bad about the challenge, but I’m sure everyone totally understands. Blogging is supposed to be fun, not overwhelming.

  • Anna, Well the Martel-Harper Challenge wasn’t overwhelming — no one really participated. I could have done something to make it more, but I don’t think anyone cares 🙂

    Blogging is fun, I just need to refocus every now and then!

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