book dares 2012

I kind of hate the concept of challenge buttons. Nevertheless, might not hurt to instil some discipline into my fairly haphazard reading habits, so here goes.

Are you brave enough to take the double dare? Make a resolution to read only the books in your To Be Read stack from January 1, 2012 to April 1.  Can you survive?

Despite the fact that this does sound a bit like the creepy voice over on an Alton Towers ride, this is a good ‘un. Especially as it’s actually the purpose of this blog, and I didn’t get very far with it in 2011. Maybe some colourful pixels and the censure of literally tens of other people might spur me in the right direction.

As I mentioned in my sign-up for this, I’m not big into reading the biggest number of books possible. However, I would like to make a percentage dent into my second shelf down, and have set the bar realistically low at 10% in 3 months. The close readers of you will spot that this is exactly the same as proposing a specific number, just couched in stats. Well, nuts to you.

Update: I had totally forgotten that the cutoff for this was April 1. I have to say I FAILED, mostly thanks to The Hunger Games (no regrets!) and also because of going back to work at a publishing house, where the flow of new books is steady and you’d be a fool not to take advantage of it. Nevertheless, I managed a cool 9, which is probably roughly 10% of my unread haul, which is what I was aiming for. The best discovery in that dusty old pile? Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

It isn’t entirely that I thought that the previous challenge might also meld nicely into this one, thus giving me the illusion of massive success. It’s just mostly that.

Really, it’s a good habit to get into, this trying to make a dent in the books you buy yourself (or are given). They’re not environmentally friendly, so the least you could do to offset your readerly carbon footprint is to read the damn things.

  1. Fellowes, Julian – Past Imperfect
  2. Faber, Michel – The Fire Gospel
  3. Murakami, Haruki – 1Q84 (Christmas presents count, right? Yeeeeeeeah)
  4. May, Peter – The Black House
  5. Stockett, Kathryn – The Help
  6. Rand, Ayn – The Fountainhead
  7. Mankell, Henning – Faceless Killers

I love Murakami and got 1Q84 compendia for Christmas. Plus who wouldn’t want a cat bum plastered all over their blog. NOT ME.

I’ve already read a lot of Murakami, but the trouble with me and his bisected stories is that I quite often end up fusing two totally different ones together, so I think it’s high time for a bit of a re-read to straighten them all out in my head. As straightened out as they can get, anyway.

Update (15 April): I finished 1Q84, which if we’re being generous is 3 books in one? If we’re not, well – to come clean, I had kind of maxed out on Murakami after that. Maybe a challenge for later in the year.

You can probably tell this isn’t an official challenge, but it’s one I want to do anyway, and I was frustrated to only be able to find a Debut Author challenge for YA novels (here, if you’re interested). Rather than doing my best in Photoshop with a picture of some unicorns discovering a stream of glittering fresh new talent or a sparkly Comic Sans gif, I thought I’d just keep it simple.

A combination of vanity (wanting to read what other people are reading so I sound well read) and weary industry cynicism (no longer able to judge books by their covers, blurbs, or recommended status in bookshops because somebody paid to put them there) mean that I don’t read as much new fiction as I should. This year I’m ringing the changes.

Update: A few of the books I’ve read were by new authors when they came out, but had been sitting on my shelf for so long that they’re old news now. Although I guess by that rationale, The Fountainhead is similarly by a ‘new author’. Must do better.

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