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The 1% Well Read Challenge

May 3, 2008

1% ChallengeNow you know that it’s very difficult for me to avoid challenges, especially if it lets me wittle down the TBR pile! And I have a couple challenges ending in June, so I should be able to take on another one…oh, why am I even pretending that my challenge addiction is rational? Hehe.

Anyway, the 1% Well Read Challenge (and you gotta love that title) is being hosted by Michelle. The idea is to pick ten books from the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die list and read them over the next ten months (so the challenge ends Feb 28, 2009). While I have no burning desire to read the entire list, I can never resist a spreadsheet, and I happen to have several books from there waiting on my shelves! So, here are my ten picks…
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I’m about half-way through it now, and expect to finish it this month, so it should count.)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (I mooched this ages ago thanks to Imani, so it’s about time I read it)
To the North by Elizabeth Bowen (I mooched this after loving The Last September, and it’s been patiently waiting ever since.)
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster (I found an omnibus of this, Maurice, and A Room With a View in a used bookstore: so far, I’ve only read A Room.)
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates (I just scored this from bookmooch-I’ve never read any Oates, because I really wanted to start with this one all about Marilyn Monroe, and my library didn’t have it.)
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (I mooched this ages ago as well, based on Danielle’s enjoyment of another book by her, Fingersmith.)
The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (I love Rushdie, and I’m working my way through all of his books: this one I mooched because it’s up next!)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (This isn’t a definite, since my library’s online catalog is down, but I’m assuming they’ll have a copy. If not, I’m going to reread Sense and Sensibility.)
Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (I recently listened to Carry On, Jeeves and loved it, so I’m hoping my library will have this one in book form. If not, I’ll reread To Kill a Mockingbird.)
The Sea, the Sea, The Black Prince, The Nice and the Good, A Severed Head, The Bell, or Under the Net by Irish Murdoch (Once again, this depends on the library’s willingness to play along…if not, I’ll reread The Unbearable Lightness of Being.)

Now, I know that rereads seem weird alternatives in a challenge focused on finishing 1% of the list, so I’d like to point out that I’m reading six new-to-me books from the list for other challenges: Evelina by Frances Burney, Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. And in case anyone else uses the spreadsheet and is curious, I’ve already read 124 books, or 12.39%. I’m not really concerned about reading them all, though, since it’s really heavy on contemporary fiction.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2008 12:41 pm

    I loved Wide Sargasso Sea. I hope you enjoy it as well. And I’ve been interested in reading Howard’s End since I read On Beauty, as I learned that it was a great influence on Zadie Smith. I look forward to your review.

  2. judg permalink
    May 3, 2008 1:56 pm

    124? Wow. I’m only up to 81 (although, to be fair, I think there’s some I read so long ago I’ve forgotten, so the real number is probably a bit higher) and I’m twice your age! And change.

    Does reading a book in the original language count for extra points? ;o)

  3. May 3, 2008 6:31 pm

    “oh, why am I even pretending that my challenge addiction is rational?”…totally cracked me up! I think there’s many who can relate…and we all still try to rationalize!

    I know it’s ridiculous for me to even consider joining this one, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I first heard about it a couple days ago. I think it’s inevitable that I’ll give in. But I’m quite sure I’ve got at least ten of those stashed about the house…and it’s always good to have a little extra motivation to move through the TBR pile, right? (Hmm…would that be another rationalization…)

  4. May 3, 2008 8:45 pm

    I’m the same as Debi…I keep coming back to this one over and over again…I’m sure I’ll end up joining and with 1001 books to choose from! Seriously, this could get dangerous!

  5. Rebecca permalink
    May 4, 2008 7:46 am

    I had decided not to participate in any more reading challenges but this one seems totally do-able to me,considering many of the books on the list are on my TBR pile anyway.

    I hope you do end up reading Poisonwood Bible. It’s one of my favorites.
    The Heart of Darkness is one of my son’s favorites and he’s been pushing me to read it. In his oh-so-enlightened 18 year old opinion, it’s a MUST read for everyone.

  6. toujoursjacques permalink
    May 4, 2008 8:35 am

    My goodness what a lot you can get into one post! How Inspiring!
    I highly recommend Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea! and The Brothers Karamazov is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
    I could never keep up with so many challenges. You are a wonder!

  7. May 4, 2008 2:51 pm

    Nymeth, if you love it, I’m sure I will. :)

    Judg, I think reading it in the original should give you extra points! I’d only get extra points on two-L’Etranger by Albert Camus and Le Petit Prince. I’ve read excerpts of Anna Karenina and War and Peace in Russian, and short stories, but never a full book. What languages can you read in?

    Debi, I say go for it! It’s pretty ridiculous for me to join another challenge right now, but I’m doing it anyway. hehe

    Chris, can’t wait to see your break-down post!

    Rebecca, hi! Do you have a blog? Because it’s not linking, and I’d love to visit you back. :D I just got Poisonwood Bible from the library, so your wish is my command! And lol @ eighteen-year-old opinions…I think my worst ‘enlightenment’ year was sixteen or seventeen.

    TJ, it helps that I don’t have a bunch of grown-up responsibilities yet. :) I’m so excited about Brothers K, and now three great bloggers have recommended Wide Sargasso Sea, so I’ve very excited about that one as well!!

  8. May 4, 2008 5:05 pm

    I love Howard’s End. There is a very good adaptation of it, with Emma Thompson, if you like that kind of thing.

  9. May 5, 2008 5:57 am

    Gosh, you are the energizer bunny. I am exhausted just keeping up with your blog and in imagining what you read – the what and the time! wow.

    I so loved Les Miserables… I have yet to glean thru the list to count how many I’ve read but I doubt I break 100.

  10. May 6, 2008 8:31 pm

    Glad to have you on the 1% challenge! 124 so far is awesome!


  11. May 6, 2008 10:08 pm

    Marmite and Tea, ohh-I do love Emma Thompson, so I’ll be looking the movie up after I read the book. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Care, lol…I need to get a big drum. :D

    3M, thanks! I’m glad you’re hosting. :)

  12. May 7, 2008 3:12 pm

    If I find a copy of The Sea, The sea, it will be my first time reading Iris Murdoch, too. I really like your list, it has a variety of new fiction on it! I hope you enjoy reading them! Let us know about the Sarah Waters, since I like her stuff…..

  13. May 10, 2008 6:20 pm

    Susan, thanks! I definitely will. :)


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