Monday, December 28, 2009

Challenge List the First

Here are my Challenge lists for the Challenges I am going to undertake in 2010, not forgetting the ongoing Canadian Book Challenge which is still underway, of course. I'm a big one for creating book pools rather than strict lists - don't want to feel that my reading is a prescribed chore, and this way I just have more to choose from!

Science Book Challenge -- it's as easy as pi! (love the slogan)
(3 books)

One of my favourite challenges, for 2010 I have a number of science books around the house which I really want to get to. I had all these on my list for last year, but ended up reading three totally different titles. So I'll try again with these three:

Mauve / Simon Garfield
The story of William Perkin, a young inventor in the mid 1800s who discovered how to make dyes from coal tar, accidentally. He was really searching for a way to create artificial quinine.

The Arcanum / Janet Gleeson
About the Western discovery of how to make porcelain

Empire of the Stars / Arthur I. Miller
One of my favourite topics: astrophysics and how discoveries are made or affected by the personalities involved, with all their human failings.

I'd also like to get my hands on a biography recently voted top science book of 09 by, the story of Paul Dirac. It's entitled The Strangest Man, written by Graham Farmelo. (there is also a lecture available by Farmelo on this topic) This era of physics is one of my favourite scientific subjects to read about, so will have to locate a copy of this one. All I know about Dirac presently is what I learned from one of my favourite nonfiction reads of last year, Gino Segre's Faust in Copenhagen.


Healing Spaces / Esther Sternberg

Mauve / Simon Garfield


Colourful Reading Challenge

This is going to be totally random, probably all books I read for other challenges or just pick up for fun. The Challenge is to read 9 books all with a different colour in the title throughout the year. I have my Science Book Challenge pick above, Mauve, and one I have TBR for the Canadian Book Challenge, Vera Lysenko's Yellow Boots, to begin.


Yellow Boots / Vera Lysenko

Green Dolphin Country / Elizabeth Goudge

Mauve / Simon Garfield

The Woman in White / Wilkie Collins

What's in a Name 3

I've done this challenge for the last two years (though this year I didn't quite keep up!) I love its random selections. These are some of the ideas for titles to choose from - they may still change throughout the year! This year the categories are:

A book with a food in the title

Honey and Ashes / Janice Kulyk Keefer (memoir)
Plum Bun / Jesse Redmon Fauset
Daalder's Chocolates / Philibert Schogt
Read: The Spice Necklace / Ann Vanderhoof

A book with a body of water in the title

The Waves / Virginia Woolf
By the Lake / John McGahern
The Seduction of Water / Carol Goodman
Read: Cool Water / Dianne Warren

A book with a title (queen, president) in the title

Sir Charles Grandison / Richardson (also for Chunkster)
The Case of the General's Thumb / Andrey Kurkov
Mrs. Dalloway / Virginia Woolf
Read: Queen of Hearts / Martha Brooks

A book with a plant in the title

The Blue Flower / Penelope Fitzgerald
Read: The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag / Alan Bradley
The Betrayal of the Blood Lily / Lauren Willig

A book with a place name (city, country) in the title

Read: The Road to Lichfield / Penelope Lively
The Enchantress of Florence / Salman Rushdie
Return to Paris / Colette Rossant (nonfiction- food writing)

A book with a music term in the title

The Ballad and the Source / Rosamond Lehmann
Music of a life / Andrei Makine
Song beneath the ice / Joe Fiorito
Read: Trumpets Sound no More / Jon Redfern


Flashback Challenge

All about rereading. This one has different levels of reading to choose from, but I think I'll sign up at the Literati level, six or more books. This is because I want to follow their suggestion of rereading childhood, high school, and adult choices.

Childhood Selections: this year I want to reread the entire Anne series by L.M. Montgomery, since I just finished the new publication of the restored Blythes are Quoted.

High School level: There are a few books I may choose from -- I haven't reread To Kill a Mockingbird since high school and might like to try that. But there are non-school books I'd like to revisit, including Watership Down or maybe Elizabeth Goudge's Green Dolphin Street, of which I remember very little - I think I was too young when I first read it.

Adult choices: There are two books I'd particularly like to reread - Virginia Woolf's The Waves, and Gwethalyn Graham's Earth and High Heaven.

Updated: actually read

As for me and my house / Sinclair Ross

Green Dolphin Country / Elizabeth Goudge

Anne of Green Gables / LMMontgomery


Chunkster Challenge

This was the first challenge I ever participated in, and I think it is time to give it another go. I'm only going to sign up for the Chubby Chunkster level, which is three books over 450 pages in 2010. I may read more but am just starting with this. Some ideas for the books I'm going to read are:

Middlemarch / George Eliot (880 p) [read]

The Terror / Dan Simmons (765 p)

Sir Charles Grandison / Richardson (1159 p)

Gold Bug Variations / Richard Power s (635 p)

Celestial Harmonies / Peter Esterhazy (841 p)

Ursula, Under / Ingrid Hill (476 p)

Updated: Actually read:

Green Dolphin Country / Elizabeth Goudge (575 p.)

Gaudy Night / Dorothy Sayers (557 p.)


Our Mutual Read

I love the name of the Challenge, and its potential for spending lots of time with Victorian literature! I think I will sign up at

Level 2: 8 books, at least 4 written during 1837 - 1901. The other books may be Neo-Victorian or non-fiction

And here is my list which is only a starting point:

Middlemarch / George Eliot

The Woman in White / Wilkie Collins

The Way we live now / Anthony Trollope

Bleak House / Charles Dickens

News from Nowhere / William Morris

Sylvia's lovers / Elizabeth Gaskell

Two on a Tower / Thomas Hardy

Also read:
Trumpets Sound no More / Jon Redfern (NeoVictorian)


  1. Oh, you've picked such good challenges and excellent choices to fulfill them! I'll be joining you on a few, like What's in A Name 3, but I'm trying not to overcommit. Too much.

  2. You've selected quite a few fun sounding challenges, Melanie. I wish you luck with them and enjoy!

  3. dolcebellezza - I was not going to join so many but got carried away with enthusiasm! I don't feel obliged to actually finish Challenges if I don't want to, so it is no pressure.

    Literary Feline - yes, they all sounded too fun to pass up!

  4. Thanks for welcoming me! Looks like you have quite a few challenges in 2010! I haven't learned too much about challenges yet, but I hope to learn more soon. Good luck!

  5. You have some great challenges picked out for next year. I am very happy the Colorful Challenge was one of them! Thanks for participating! I look forward to your book reviews. :)

  6. Julie - I hope you will find book blogging enjoyable; once you start with challenges it is hard not to add more and more... ;)

    Rebecca - thanks for hosting this challenge - it is just the kind I like, wide open for choices, and the random nature of selection makes it entertaining.

  7. Thanks for joining the Flashback! I want to reread To Kill a Mockingbird, too. I just remember LOVING that book. I am also thinking of rereading A Tale of Two Cities, as I didn't like that much in high school but have a feeling I'd really like it now. Decisions, decisions...

  8. Aarti - I loved Mockingbird too, I think it would be interesting to see my adult perspective on it. And maybe I should try Tale of Two Cities - I never got past the first few chapters, I think I was just too young for it.

  9. If you end up reading Plum Bun, I'll be interested to read your thoughts. I read about half of it and it definitely provoked thought on race & identity, though after the initial thought-provoking aspect, I lost interest in completing the book.

  10. These are all such great challenges. I'm trying not to go overboard on challenges next year but I'm still thinking of joining a few more. Good luck with yours and have lots of fun!

  11. Welcome to the What's in a Name Challenge! Hope you have a lot of fun with this. I love your reading choices.

  12. Melanie, as usual I'm playing catch-up here at the end--oops, beginning of the year. I'm glad we'll have you along for the 2010 Science-Book Challenge, making you one of the few ;third-year, charter-challengers. Woo hoo!

    In the usual way I've added your name to the list of challengers (link in my name above). Now, any more takers?


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