Wrapping Up and Joining Challenges
This is mainly a house-keeping post. :) I like to try to stay semi-organised with my challenge stuff! If you’re curious about the two new challenges I’m joining feel free to jump to the Chunkster Challenge or the Clover, Bee, and Reverie Poetry Challenge.
Japanese Lit Challenge III Wrap-Up
For the third round, Bellezza only asked participants to read one book by a Japanese author. I very much enjoy Japanese lit, though, so I ended up reading three Japanese authors and a ‘bonus’ book by an American about her year living in Kyoto (the Japanese city that I most want to visit).
The best book: That’s tough for me! I really enjoyed all of them except The Housekeeper and the Professor. I feel like both Ishiguro and Takagi expect a lot from their readers, which I love. And Williamson’s sketchbook/travelogue was just wonderful.
Any new authors? Yep! Nobuko Takagi and Yoko Ogawa
Books I did not finish: I didn’t get to Beyond the Blossoming Fields, despite winning a copy (actually, that might be the reason; I have a bad habit and reading library books instead of my own TBR).
What did I learn from this challenge? I already knew that I enjoyed Japanese lit, but I’m excited that I tried out a couple more Japanese female authors (I think before that, I had read significantly more Japanese men than women). The Takagi in particular took me by surprise; she’s described as a popular Japanese romance author, but Translucent Tree was nothing like what I’d expect from the ‘romance’ genre.
And since I completed one, I’m signing up for two more!
2010 Chunkster Challenge
This is my fourth year participating in the Chunkster Challenge! That seems kind of crazy. :) Last year, I signed up for the Mor-book-ly Obese level and decided to read 3 books that were at least 1,000 pages each. I’d like to do the same this year, and I’ll definitely be reading Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (1,184 pages in trade paperback) and The Terror by Dan Simmons (955 pages in the mass market paperback edition that I own). I considered leaving The Terror off this list, but it seemed childish to focus on a mere 45 pages. I’m not sure what I’ll do about the third book…I’m contemplating a reread of Middlemarch (which is usually 800-900 pages, but the Bantam Classics edition tops out over 1,000, lol) or War and Peace (which is 1,296 pages in my hardcover edition). Or maybe I’ll be brave of give Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty another try (I only get two pages into it the first time, lol). Or maybe I’ll come across some entirely random huge book and go for that instead! :) Technically, to complete the Mor-book-ly Obese level, I just need to read three books over 750 pages, so I’ve got a bit of wiggle room.
Clover, Bee, and Reverie: a Poetry Challenge
I’ve been meaning to sign up for this one ever since it was announced! Poetry scares me, so this is will be a real challenge for me, but I’m hoping I can get into a habit of reading poetry and then be happy. ;) With that in mind, I’m signing up for the Sonnet level, which is the highest. I’ll be reading 14 books of poetry before the end of the year and completing two ‘badges’ and one ‘expert’ badge (two books on a ‘theme’=badge, four books on a ‘theme’=expert badge). I haven’t decided what my badges should be yet; I figure, if I read a book of poetry I really love, I’ll just go for another one in that theme. I’m guessing I’ll end up w/ translated poetry as one of my badges though! ;)
Since I’m new to this, I’ve put together a list of poets whose poems I’ve loved in the past, but I also plan on trying out a few anthologies. For the latter, I have my eye on Essential Pleasures ed. Robert Pinsky, Ten Poems to Change Your Life ed. Roger Housden, The Poetry of Our World ed. Ed J. Paine, and 100 Great Poems by Women by Carolyn Kizzer.
As for the poets I’d love to read more of, here they are (if there’s a particular book I have in mind, that’s noted in parantheses):
Pablo Neruda, Carolyn Forche, ee cummings, Langston Hughes, William Carlos William, Christina Rosetti, Muriel Rukeyser, Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver (Why I Wake Early), Anne Sexton (Transformations), and Rainer Marier Rilke (the sonnets to orpheus).