Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Authors Challenge 2015

Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2015
Hosted by: Literary Escapism

This is always one of my favorite reading challenges, and I'm so happy to see it back for another year. The idea is to read books by authors who are new to you, not necessarily authors who are being published for the first time (although I suppose that's OK, too).

See the challenge announcement page for more info and to sign up. I'll be aiming to find at least 15 new authors, but of course hope to do a little better than that. I read more than 25 new authors in 2014, but didn't do so well with reviewing. Hope to improve in that area for 2015. During the year, I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog -- and here too, if I can remember.


Foodies Read 2015

Right now, anyone who knows me well is probably saying "Foodies!!!???? Has she lost her mind?"

Or words to that effect.

Because if they know me well, they know I have a real aversion to any kind of kitchen work. Putting it mildly, I'm not much of a cook -- actually I'm not anything of a cook. Can't cook, never could. Never really enjoyed trying. But in 2015, I'm determined to change that. Everyone should be able to cook, at least a little -- right? And I'm thinking maybe looking at a few cookbooks might be a good way to help me along. (Recipes -- what a concept!)

In reality, I know I'll probably just end up reading food-themed mystery novels, but that's OK, too. At least I'll have made an effort.

The 2015 Foodies challenge is hosted by Vicki from I'd Rather Be At The Beach, and runs through December 31, 2015. You can read all about it and sign up by visiting THE CHALLENGE BLOG. There are several levels of participation to choose from --
  • Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
  • Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
  • Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
  • Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
  • Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19
and I'm thinking I'll go with the first ("Short-Order Cook") level. Three books should be doable. Now if I can just manage to READ about food without actually EATING so much of it, I should be OK. This could be the only reading challenge that's fattening!

During the year, I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog (HERE). So, bon app├ętit, and happy reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2015 European Reading Challenge

Dates: January 1, 2015 - January 31, 2016
Hosted by: Gilion Dumas @ Rose City Reader

For 2015, Gilion at Rose City Reader is once again hosting the European Reading Challenge -- where participants read books by European authors, or books set in European countries, no matter where the author comes from. For more info and to sign up, see the challenge announcement page.

There are several levels of participation:
  1. Five Star (Deluxe Entourage): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.
  2. Four Star (Honeymooner): Read four qualifying books.
  3. Three Star (Business Traveler): Read three qualifying books.
  4. Two Star (Adventurer): Read two qualifying books.
  5. One Star (Pensione Weekender): Read just one qualifying book.
I signed up at the "Honeymooner" (Four Star) level last year, and had a pretty easy time with that, but for 2015 I'm playing it a little safer and going with "Business Traveler" (Three Star/three books). During the year, I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog (and here, if I can remember):


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

2015 Women's Fiction Reading Challenge

Hosted by: Kathryn T @ Book Date
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2015 (sign-ups are open until mid-October)

Kathryn T. is hosting this reading challenge for readers who enjoy women's fiction. As she defines it, women's fiction is "mainly written for women (although that doesn't stop men reading them)." It "may contain elements of romance but the book mainly centres around the development of women or a woman throughout the book. Women centered books, that might focus on the issues relating to women, it may be a mainstream novel, slightly less or slightly more."

But she also says that each challenge participant should define the term for herself (or himself), and use that as a guide. She includes a definition from the Romance Writers of America organization that says women's fiction is:
"...about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship.
...and I think I can pretty much go along with that, except for the part about the hopeful/upbeat ending -- personally, I don't think that's an absolute requirement (nice, but not necessary). I've read plenty of books that I'd label as "women's fiction" that had more ambiguous endings, as well as some that didn't involve actual romantic relationships at all. So, I guess my definition will be a little broader than most.

See the announcement page for more info and to sign up. The challenge has several levels of participation to choose from:
  1. Motivated 1- 5
  2. Savvy 6 - 10
  3. Classy 11- 20
  4. Go-getter 20 -30
  5. Fearless 30+ 
Books can overlap with other challenges, and all formats are allowed.  I'll probably play it safe and sign up at the first (Motivated) level. Pretty sure I can handle at least a few books that fit the requirements. I did a quick scan of my TBR lists, and came up with quite a few -- here's a sample (not necessarily ones I'll actually read, but some definite possibilities):
  • Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See (also her Shanghai Girls)
  • The Elm Creek Quilters series, by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Evolution of Jane, by Catherine Schine
  • The Pull of the Moon, Tapestry of Fortunes, and What We Keep, all by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Road to Lichfield, by Penelope Lively
  • Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
  • The Seven Sisters, by Margaret Drabble
  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs, by Anna Quindlen
  • The Summerhouse, by Jude Deveraux
  • While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller
Most of these are authors I've never read before, so that's an added plus. I'll be tracking my progress (and listing more possibilities) over on my challenge blog.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Challenge Wrap-Up: 2014 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge

The 2014 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge was hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates' Book Reviews. It runs through this month, but I'm pretty sure I won't be finishing any series before January, so I'm wrapping it up now.

I have a bunch of series going (mostly mystery series), and at the beginning of 2014 I wasn't really sure which one(s) I wanted to concentrate on for this challenge. I ended up changing my mind a couple of times, and finally decided to go with Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe books. Didn't finish the entire series this year, but I did read two of the books out of the seven that I still need to read: The Lady in the Lake, and The High Window. Didn't manage to get them reviewed -- I pretty much wiped out on reviews this year; hoping to do better in that area next year.

Still, I loved both of the books I read, and want to thank Yvonne for hosting this one. Now the question is: Should I sign up for the 2015 challenge?

Challenge Wrap-Up: 2014 Chunkster Challenge

The 2014 Chunkster Challenge was hosted by Vasilly, and the goal was to read books with 450 (or more) pages.

When I signed up, I intended to read at least a couple of chunksters, but ended up only finishing one -- Ten Lords A-Leaping, by C.C. Benison (490 pages). I think it's extremely unlikely that I'll read another 400-page tome before the end of the year (OK, it's definitely NOT gonna happen), so I'm wrapping this one up now. Thanks so much to Vasilly for hosting.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Read Scotland 2015

Hosted by: Peggy Ann @ Peggy Ann's Post
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2015
For guidelines and other info,
see the challenge announcement page HERE.

I signed up for the 2014 Read Scotland Challenge, and only managed to read two books, even though I had planned to read at least five (I signed up at "The Highlander" level). So for the 2015 edition, I'm lowering my expectations a bit, and signing up at the "Just A Keek" level, 1-4 books. Pretty sure I can fit at least one book in somewhere during the year!

Sign up with the link on the announcement page (HERE), or if you have a GoodReads account, there's a dedicated group for the challenge, and you can sign up THERE.