Thursday, April 9, 2009

Challenges?? Life is a Challenge!

Yes. That's right. Life is a challenge. My days are being eaten up by challenges. The challenge of working so many hours in a week and still trying to spend time with my family. The challenge of dealing with the many obstacles that have been impeding our financial future. The challenge of dealing with my grandmother's illness. The challenge of finding time to actually sleep in the my already booked days. The challenge of trying to keep my house from falling apart. The challenge of keeping up with posts, emails, "tweets", phone calls and even the snail mail. The challenge of actually blogging more than once a week (I'm seriously behind 4 book reviews!!)

But I'm tired of dealing with every day challenges. I'd rather push all that stuff aside for just a little bit and focus on other things. Yesterday, I took the kiddies to see a movie. A movie!! Monsters vs. Aliens...and it was fun!! Tomorrow is Easter, and I spent this morning shopping for the Easter Bunny. Damned bunny should be able to do his own shopping!

And right now, I want to add some reading challenges to my list of "things to do". I can't seem to pass them up. You see....I like to make lists. I think that's why all these challenges appeal to me so much. It's not like I'll ever be able to actually COMPLETE them. I just like making the lists!! And I always read some of the books, so in that regard....Mission Accomplished!

The Classics Challenge is hosted again this year by Trish from Trish's Reading Nook. I'm late with the sign up, but I'm in the game!!

**Choose Your Level (Keep reading for Bonus)
1. Classics Snack - Read FOUR classics
2. Classics Entree - Read FIVE classics
3. Classics Feast - Read SIX classics

1. Cross-posting with other challenges is allowed (and encouraged!)
2. Audiobooks are fine
3. Re-reads are acceptable, BUT books must be finished after April 1st to count for the challenge
4. Lists don't have to be set in stone; you can change your selections at any time.
5. Have Fun!!
6. You do NOT need a blog to participate.

**Bonus!! (Optional)Last year we compiled a list of books that we think might be considered classics one day. I've wiped out that old list so we can start fresh, but to get an idea of what others suggested last year, see HERE. To start off the list, I'm going to suggest Atonement by Ian McEwan.

As always, I go for the Big list. These are some of the books I hope to read for this challenge:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (and NO...I haven't read this book!)
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Doestoevesky
  • Far from the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Also hosted by Trish this year is the Non-Fiction Five Challenge. The Rules are:

1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2009 (please link your reviews on Mister Linky each month; Mister Linky can be found each month on this blog)

2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

That's it!! Picking my books was way harder this year, and I don't know why. But I will draw from this list:

  • Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang
  • The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper
  • Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein
  • Pictures of a Revolution: 5 Movies and the Birth of new Hollywood by Mark Harris
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
  • No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of Hell's Angels by Jay Dobyns
  • Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students who took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich
  • Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamine by Nick Sheff
  • Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through his Son's Addiction by David Sheff
  • Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall
  • Escape by Caroline Jessop
  • Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind he Veil by Deborah Rodriguez
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirisi Ali
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  • Bush At War by Bob Woodward
  • What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception by Scott McClellan

I could probably list a ton more....but I'm going to go with this group. I'm sure I can find 6 good books from this list!!

Finally, the Herding Cats II: Attack of the Hairballs Challenge. I mean, seriously. How can you not join a challenge with a name like that?? It's hosted by Renay from Let's Get Literate.


1. Make a list of five books you love.

Five. I'm as serious as a beached whale.
All titles must be books you've read in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
Please don't list a series; just the first book. If you really want to list a book in the middle of a series, you can, but it has to be that specific book.
Feel free to share why you're putting the book on your list, because I am nosy.

2. Post your list: in your own journal, in the comments here, whatever is fine. Share the list here.
Lists should be public (no locked entries, no logging in to view).

3. Browse the new book list. Stay a while. Read a few (eta: if you want; not even reading is required this time around if you don't have time to commit to a new challenge but still want to share your favorites).

4. If you review your books, you can share the reviews. You know, if you want. No pressure. Definitely not.

To learn more and to sign up, visit the post about the challenge.

I haven't yet picked the books I'm going to read, but here are the 5 books I'm adding the master list:

From 2007:

  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

From 2008:

  • Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

From 2009:

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green

That's it. Enough talk about challenges. Time to get reading!


Literary Feline said...

You are so right! Life is one big challenge full of lots of little ones--and big ones. That doesn't mean you can't have fun with the reading challenges. :-)

I look forward to reading about your progress with your challenges!

Joanne said...

I'd offer to switch places with you for a bit, but our life challenges are almost identical - the one taking the hardest toll right now being my own nan's illness - so I can totally relate with you :(

I'm so envious of your Monster vs. Aliens movie trip! It looks so cool! My boys don't do many cartoon movies lately though - there should be a way to pause kids at age 10 lol :)

So many awesome book challenges! I'm really over-booked with them, but the Herding Cats looks sooo cool! And most of your non-fic picks look like they will end up on my reading list ;) Great choices and best of luck!

Debi said...

Ah Stephanie, I sure hope you catch a break soon, sweetie. You are seriously overdue for one!!!

Love your lists! Oh, and so read The House at Sugar's really good!

Amy said...

Yikes! Your first paragraph exahausted me!

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie! And have fun with the reading challenges!

Susan said...

I saw Monsters vs Aliens too yesterday! My daughter loved it, my son enjoyed it, but he's 4, so the guns were the best part for him :-D I liked it because of the 50 storey tall Susan!!! lol

I like all your challenges - I just joined the non-fiction 5 challenge too :-D and I'm thinking about Herding the Cats which I love the title of.

I think of you often and hope that things get better very very soon for all of you. Happy Easter, Stephanie!

Anonymous said...

Are you reading Doctor Zhivago with our group. I hope so! We miss you! Happy Easter!

gautami tripathy said...

What fun! I like what you listed for the NFF challnge. It might help me choosing a few!]

Here are my choices for NFF!

DesLily said...

you are seriously challenge addicted! lol

I hope you get some rest and enjoyment time soon.

J.S. Peyton said...

I really need to work some Charles de Lint into my reading pretty soon. I've been seeing his name everywhere of late.

As for "Pride and Prejudice," I was in the same boat as you until last month. I think you'll love it when you finally get around to it. I did!

tanabata said...

Life really can be a challenge sometimes, but you seem to be having more than your fair share.

Making lists for the reading challenges is half the fun, isn't it? I just ordered Looking for Alaska last week so that's one I'm looking forward to reading before too long.

Trish said...

I love making lists, too--may as well make them and have a bit of fun. Looks like you had a tough time narrowing down your NFF list as well!! It was hard to pick 5 books and I'm still squeezing in extra reads here and there.

I LOVE Tender is the Night--I'll be interested to hear what you think of it. And you are braver than I with that Brothers K book on your list. :)

Have fun, Stephanie. That's all that matters.

Carl V. said...

So good to see you back. You and your family certainly deserve a break to just relax, enjoy each other, and have a chance to take a breath! I hope you all had a nice Easter and keep hoping and praying that things settle down for you.

Michelle said...

You are so right about life being a series of challenges in and of themselves. Those look like great lists of books to read! Good luck!