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The 1% Well Read Challenge Wrap-Up

February 28, 2009

1% Well-Read ChallengeUsually, when I do challenges, I read a book every month or so, so that I make steady progress. But most of my books for this challenge were on my TBR case, and when I moved to another state for school, I didn’t bring them with me. So, if you look at my reviews, I reviewed The Poisonwood Bible in June, The Wide Sargasso Sea in July, and then all of a sudden I got home in late December and I realised I now had just over two months to read the other eight books! So, some definite power reading ensued. And I subbed in “Silk”, a very short novella, to help out a little more. ;)

I ended up reading eight of my original list and two different ones (“Silk” and Their Eyes Were Watching God). Here they are, linked to my reviews:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I didn’t review this one per se, but I wrote really long and spoiler-ific posts on part one and part two.)
To the North by Elizabeth Bowen
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
Their Eyes Were Watching Godby Zora Neale Hurston
“Silk” by Alessandro Baricco
The Bell by Iris Murdoch

The best book: That’s a tricky one, because my favourites are all very different! I’ll just go ahead and tell them to you: Les Mis, “Silk”, Tipping the Velvet, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Any new authors? Definitely: Barbara Kingsolver, Jean Rhys, Iris Murdoch, Victor Hugo, Sarah Waters, Zora Neale Hurston, and Alessandro Baricco. I plan on reading more of the last four of those!
Books I did not finish: None, although I came so close to abandoning Blonde. Ugh. It made me feel like I couldn’t take enough showers to get clean again.
What did I think of this challenge? I think the main thing the challenge gave me, other than putting a bit of a dent in my TBR case, was an introduction to authors I had heard of but never actually read. Except for Hugo, these were all contemporary authors, and they spanned a lot of genres, which was neat. I really liked the challenge’s variety, both in my own list and with other participants’ reviews. And 3M was a great host!
Will I be doing this challenge again? Even though it’s being offered again, I don’t think I’ll sign up. I’m annoyed that the list got changed, and some of my reads aren’t even on it anymore. Also, the more I look at the list, the weirder it seems (like, there’s almost no nonfiction, and it’s so heavily weighted towards contemporary books). And there are so many tempting challenges out there, I’ve decided to only do the ones I absolutely can’t resist.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2009 11:31 am

    Congratulations on finishing the challenge!

  2. February 28, 2009 2:09 pm

    Hi, Eva! Just to answer some of your objections – The reason there is no non-fiction, religious texts, Shakespeare, poetry, etc., is because the list was meant to be a kind of history of the novel and follow its development. I think the long list of contemporary novels reflects the explosion of the examples of the form. Like any list of this sort, it is highly, highly subjective, as exhibited in its new form which is meant to “globalize” the list a bit more. I’ve enjoyed it as a means of introducing me to books I may never have encountered otherwise rather than a sort of mandate on books I need to read. But not everyone is as easily amused as I am, and the unfortunate title of the book/list has earned it a bad reputation. That being said, I’d stick with the challenges you’re excited about. There are too many out there to do them all! :-)

    Nice job on this one!

  3. February 28, 2009 3:50 pm

    Congrats, Eva!!! Of course, I’m no more surprised that YOU DID finish the challenge than I am that I DIDN’T. ;-) Just curious, have you ever not finished a challenge you joined? Like I even need to ask. :-)
    I’m actually thinking of joining this one again, as at least it will be easy for me to do better than I did this time around.

  4. February 28, 2009 3:53 pm

    Congratulations on completing this. I too use the 1001 list to introduce myself to new authors. There are so many “must read” list out there it can drive a person crazy trying to keep up. Have you seen this one?

  5. February 28, 2009 4:15 pm

    Congratulations on finishing this one Eva! I must admit this was yet another challenge that I failed to finish!

  6. February 28, 2009 5:59 pm

    Impressive! I’m a Kingsolver fan though I haven’t read Poisonwood Bible yet. Glad you liked Hurston. I’ve seen Blonde and passed. Reading your comments made me giggle. I won’t reconsider picking it up.

  7. February 28, 2009 6:47 pm

    Guess what? You’re getting a point soon! I just mooched Silk after your review of it…can’t wait to read it!

  8. February 28, 2009 7:41 pm

    Congrats on finishing your challenge! Ok, I may have missed your review of Blonde because now I’m curious. I’ll have to go check on that :)

  9. February 28, 2009 7:41 pm

    I didn’t know you reviewed Poisonwood, too! I just linked up to it on my post so others can get a different view.

    I’ve wondered what 1% well-read meant.. I still don’t get it but I’ll check the site, but not planning to join either, just curious. :)

  10. March 1, 2009 9:03 am

    Congrats on finishing this challenge! Sounds like you discovered a lot of great books in the process, and really, isn’t that what reading’s all about? I don’t really use the 1001 book list to guide my reading, but I do get a thrill whenever I happen to read a book that was on it and get to check it off. There have been some books on that list that I don’t understand the greatness of, but I guess, in the end, pretty much all lists are arbitrary.

  11. March 1, 2009 4:14 pm

    Congrats on completing! I did decide to join this year’s challenge, mainly because seven books on the list are also on other lists, so I only have to add three to make it up. I’m adding the Poisonwood Bible, so I’ll click over and read your post. :)

  12. March 2, 2009 1:01 pm

    Wow! You accomplished a huge bookish task again! I’m glad Les Mis was one of your favorites. I’ve been meaning to reread this for quite awhile, but the length seems so daunting. I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off, though, since I whizzed through it the first time (because it was so good).

  13. March 6, 2009 2:22 pm

    I didn’t do this one last year, but I’m thinking about signing up this year. I wish they wouldn’t have changed the list either. But, I’m sticking with the old one. I actually broke down and bought a copy of the book. I love sitting down with it and just flipping through it. It has some really nice illustrations, as well.

  14. March 7, 2009 6:01 am

    You did better than me on this one!! I think I read 2……I got sidetracked. Easily distracted! That and the fact I don’t want to read most of the books on the list since it is weighted towards the last two decades where I think the most boring books have been written!! lol

  15. March 7, 2009 7:33 pm

    I gave you an award.

  16. blacklin permalink
    March 8, 2009 10:20 am

    You have been given an award over on my blog: . . Come and check it out! :)

  17. March 9, 2009 7:28 am

    Hi Eva, you really must not be feeling very well this week because we haven’t heard from you. I hope you start feeling better soon!

  18. March 9, 2009 10:15 am

    Hi Eva.. Hope you’re feeling better. We miss you.

  19. March 9, 2009 5:49 pm

    Hi Eva, I noticed you haven’t posted in over 10 days, which is totally not like you, so I figured you must not be feeling well. I’m thinking of you and hoping you feel better soon – we miss you out here in blogland.
    Hugs, Heather

  20. March 9, 2009 8:17 pm

    I really miss you. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  21. March 10, 2009 4:50 pm


    I’m sending a bit of love your way. Hope you are doing OK.

  22. March 10, 2009 5:57 pm

    I can’t wait to read some of your reviews! Especially Their Eyes Were Watching God. It’s one of my favorites!

  23. March 11, 2009 9:35 am

    I’m just dropping by to let you know that I’ve given you an award!

  24. March 11, 2009 10:12 am

    I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading Les Miserables. I am enormously fond of the musical and even though I know the stories are different, I usually read books for films, etc. that I like to try to get a more complete perspective. Perhaps it is the size that has put me off of it. In fact that is probably exactly the reason. I would like to have read it at some point in my life though.

  25. March 11, 2009 1:08 pm

    Yeah….I read two in the summer and realized around December that I had 8 more to read…and I never managed. Too many review books.

    I better join one more time so I can try again! (Though I too am annoyed they changed the list.)

  26. March 11, 2009 3:49 pm

    Hi Eva. Just checking in to say I am sending positive thoughts your way. :)


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