Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Challenges, Challenges


I have to admit, I am challenge challenged. I have joined several reading challenges over the last year or so, but have yet to actually finish one. I don't think it's the pressure of the challenges that shuts me down. I think it's just that I don't like to follow any sort of reading plan. I like to pick up my next book on a whim, and I'm easily distracted by the next exciting thing that I hear about. Or it could just be that I have the attention span of a gnat.

I've been resisting joining in, but I'm starting to hear the siren song of the challenges once again. This time I think I need to be very particular, and pick some challenges that I have a shot at finishing. Or if I don't finish, at least the attempt will be satisfying.

First of all, I've signed up for The Orange Prize Project, hosted by Wendy. It's "a reading challenge which challenges participants to read all the winners and shortlisted authors honored by the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and the Orange Broadband Award for New Writers."

It's probably too darned ambitious for me: the ultimate goal is to read all the Orange Prize winners and the books shortlisted for the prize..but hey, there's no time limit! You can see the guidelines here, and you can peruse the lists: the Award for New Writers winners and short list, the Orange Prize Fiction Winners and short list, and the Fiction Prize long lists.

At the heart of it, I decided to join up because so many of the books on the lists are books I already want to read. And it gives me a chance to talk about a bunch of books that I have already read, that I liked very much. So off I go...

My first few reads will be, in no particular order:

Purple Hibiscus: A Novel, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver
The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
Unless: A Novel, by Carol Shields

More on my new challenges later...

13 comments:

stefanie said...

What a fun project. I've only read the Atwood on your list and can say that it is a most excellent book. I hope you enjoy it!

litlove said...

I loved both the Shriver and the Carol Shields novels. One thing about other people doing challenges is that you are reminded of all kinds of fabulous books. Does nothing for the TBR pile, though!

redheadramble said...

I hear you re the challenges - I too like to read on a whim and feel a little like I have a university required reading list if I take up too many challenges...having said that it is a good way to discover new authors...

Dorothy W. said...

I'm the same way about challenges -- they look great and then reality comes back into the picture ... I have a hard time keeping the motivation for them. But the orange prize one does sound like fun, and if they are books you wanted to read anyway ... why not?

Lisa said...

Don't feel bad, I'm right there with you on the challenges. They all just seem like so much fun, and I want to join them all. But, I probably only finish a very small portion out of the ones I commit to. Good intentions...

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--I'm really looking forward to the Atwood...I haven't read anything of hers in so long, and she's just so darned good!

litlove--I hear you, my TBR pile is unmanageable, even without challenges! But I couldn't resist :)

redhead--exactly! I don't need a "university required reading list", but then, sometimes the challenges are just so inspiring!

dorothy w.--I'm hoping to remain motivated for a little while, at least!

lisa--I'm all about good intentions, not so much about follow through when it comes to challenges. Good thing I'm not being graded on this stuff!

Joanne said...

Sometimes when you're in a reading drought, unsure of what to read next, it's nice to have that motivation/list to guide you, too!

Gentle Reader said...

joanne--exactly, the guidance is always nice. That's why book blogs are so great!

Matt said...

The Blind Assassin is on my list for so long and I need to get on it! Shriver and Shields are "new" authors to me. I think it's fabulous that I can keep adding books to the pile knowing that they're all up my alley. Now I have to get on my fall reading list!

Gentle Reader said...

matt--I've had The Blind Assassin on my list forever, too. This challenge is giving me a push to read a bunch of things that I've wanted to read forever :)

Susan said...

Good luck! I am challenged out...at least until Becky comes up with another irresistible one, since I have signed up already for two for her for next year!! (42 and Women in 19th cent literature)....I'm making my way through the current ones, most of which I won't finish, but still, I've already read more than last year, so that's a success. I have my own challenge going with the Mythopoeic Awards (to read them all one day) and possibly the World Fantasy Awards.....there is never such a thing as too many challenges, just having too many challenges in one year!!!

Gentle Reader said...

susan--I think the open-ended challenges are good for me, because I do tend to freeze with tough deadlines (except when I'm getting paid--then I step up to the plate and do just fine!). The open-ended challenges are definitely broadening my reading horizons!

Rose City Reader said...

The Orange Prize Winners is one of the lists I follow on Rose City Reader. I just posted the lists of winners here.

As with all my Must Read lists, I am happy to add links to progress posts for anyone also working through this list. Just leave a comment on my post with the link address and I will add it.