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Reading Challenges 2021


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I'm so far behind... I set a GoodReads goal of 15 and I only have 4?

Physical books aren't a thing for me right now (no free hands with baby girl) but I've listened to some audio books via Libby. I actually just finished The Blood of Elves in the Witcher series in preparation for Season 2 of the Netflix series.

 

I'm super behind because Critical Role has been taking up all my listening time. 😅

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"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

 

EPIC Quest

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My beloved library branch is unexpectedly closed today, due to "several" employees testing positive. They are refusing to give out names, obviously, but shared the days and hours when the people in question were on shift, with a warning that if you were in the library during those hours you may have been exposed. (I was not, so there's my silver lining.) The library district has reinstated a firm mask requirement for everyone regardless of vaccine status, and wants us to use their curbside pickup service again.

 

A reminder to us all to not become complacent and think we're safe yet, and to wear a mask. :( 

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Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32

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I wanted to read more classics this year and I have not read any since Dracula. I would still like to read one before the end of the year, but I don't have anything in particular in mind.

 

For best chance of getting it finished, I need something that is:

  1. light, maybe even a bit humorous;
  2. "classic" in general or in a specific genre (I'm using the term loosely);
  3. not too long;
  4. worth reading.

 

Any suggestions? I have a set of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, which fits all except 3 (I think. I've only read two Holmes stories before). But failing 3 means it probably wouldn't be finished by the end of the year, so it's my plan B.

 

I hope everyone else is doing well with their reading!

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6 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I wanted to read more classics this year and I have not read any since Dracula. I would still like to read one before the end of the year, but I don't have anything in particular in mind.

 

For best chance of getting it finished, I need something that is:

  1. light, maybe even a bit humorous;
  2. "classic" in general or in a specific genre (I'm using the term loosely);
  3. not too long;
  4. worth reading.

 

Any suggestions? I have a set of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, which fits all except 3 (I think. I've only read two Holmes stories before). But failing 3 means it probably wouldn't be finished by the end of the year, so it's my plan B.

 

I hope everyone else is doing well with their reading!

 

If you're counting the complete collection as one "classic," Sherlock Holmes is a lot, but the short stories themselves are, well, short, so they might be a good pick.

I like to read seasonally, so A Christmas Carol would be my pick for the end of the year. It's been a while since I read it, but it's not super long and from what I remember it's not nearly as much of a slog as most of Dickens is. Which sounds a lot like damning with faint praise, but I honestly just don't remember it well enough and I don't want to oversell it. I do remember enjoying it, but if I'm in the right mood, I enjoy slogging through dry classics.

I personally like Hercule Poroit a lot more than Sherlock Holmes and find him a much more entertaining character. If you haven't read any of them, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express are two of the most popular. I really liked Death on the Nile too. You don't need to start at the beginning, but The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first Poroit book and also really good. If you want to stick with seasonal reading, there's Hercule Poroit's Christmas, but I haven't read that one.  Poroit also has a short story collection if you want to check that out.

I never could get into Miss Marple and haven't read any Tommy & Tuppence, but some of the stand alones I really enjoyed were Death Comes at the End  and And Then There Were None

If you really like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I also recommend The Lost World. I didn't really care for the other Professor Challenger story I tried (can't even remember the name of it) but Lost World made me laugh.

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear; but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline". - 2 Timothy 1:7

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." -Gandalf

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7 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I have a set of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, which fits all except 3 (I think. I've only read two Holmes stories before).

 

The majority of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle were short stories, written for publication in Strand Magazine. Yes, there are some novels in the mix, but if you ignore them and see the short stories as individual units, even though they are in the same volume, you can make them fit all your criteria.

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32

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4 hours ago, Artemis Prime said:

I personally like Hercule Poroit a lot more than Sherlock Holmes and find him a much more entertaining character. If you haven't read any of them, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express are two of the most popular. I really liked Death on the Nile too. You don't need to start at the beginning, but The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first Poroit book and also really good. If you want to stick with seasonal reading, there's Hercule Poroit's Christmas, but I haven't read that one.  Poroit also has a short story collection if you want to check that out.

I never could get into Miss Marple and haven't read any Tommy & Tuppence, but some of the stand alones I really enjoyed were Death Comes at the End  and And Then There Were None

Hmm. The only Christie I've ever read was The Moving Finger, and it wasn't all that memorable. I am pretty sure I saw Ten Little Indians (which IIRC was an alternate title for And Then There Were None) in my book pile, and it was pretty short. Gruesome too though, isn't it?

 

4 hours ago, Artemis Prime said:

If you really like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I also recommend The Lost World. I didn't really care for the other Professor Challenger story I tried (can't even remember the name of it) but Lost World made me laugh.

I just happen to have the Holmes set sitting my room right now, and I vaguely intend to read them "eventually". :D Feel free to suggest non-mysteries too. I read pretty widely.

 

4 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

The majority of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle were short stories, written for publication in Strand Magazine. Yes, there are some novels in the mix, but if you ignore them and see the short stories as individual units, even though they are in the same volume, you can make them fit all your criteria.

True. I was sort of hoping to read them in chronological order, but this may be the perfect being the enemy of the good. But thinking of them as individual stories, given that is how they were first published and intended to be read, is a good way to look at it. I'll try a couple and if I'm in the mood for more, great. If not, at least I've accomplished something. Thanks for the reframing!

Challenge:   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33  34  35  36  37  38  39 

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5 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I am pretty sure I saw Ten Little Indians (which IIRC was an alternate title for And Then There Were None) in my book pile, and it was pretty short. Gruesome too though, isn't it?

 

Ten Little Indians is the alternative the publisher settled on when the original title became too controversial. ;) 

 

And it's gruesome but not very graphic, if that makes sense. Yes, lots of people die (as the title implies), but it's not a gore fest. Agatha Christie was always more interested in the psychology of murder anyway. 

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32

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2 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Ten Little Indians is the alternative the publisher settled on when the original title became too controversial. ;) 

 

And it's gruesome but not very graphic, if that makes sense. Yes, lots of people die (as the title implies), but it's not a gore fest. Agatha Christie was always more interested in the psychology of murder anyway. 

I thought it was the original title until I googled it. But no, the original was worse.

 

It does make sense. I would place her firmly in the detective camp, which is not usually all that graphic. I don't think it's what I'm in the mood for right now though. Not light enough in the happy sense of the word.

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54 minutes ago, juliebarkley said:

I thought it was the original title until I googled it. But no, the original was worse.

 

The original title has been... hushed up...  in the English speaking world, especially in North America. The main reason I know it is because the Swedish word just doesn't have nearly the same non-literal meaning and baggage attached to it, so it took a lot longer to change the Swedish editions, and I imagine a lot of other translations as well. My school library in 7th grade had a copy with the original title translated into Swedish.

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32

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I'm going to stick with my not-yet-begun read-some-Sherlock-Holmes-then-decide-what-to-do-next plan, but in case someone else is looking to up their classics total before the end of the year, or is just looking for a short, fun read, I did some brainstorming with a colleague today and came up with a list to share. :)

 

  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Or almost anything else by Oscar Wilde, really. Just avoid his children's stories. They are achingly beautiful, but also utterly heartbreaking. (Do read them, please do, just not when you are looking for a happy read.)
  • Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock, to be followed by Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich. I'm leaning into switching from Holmes to this, to be honest.
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Looks like good fun all around. Bit longer, though.
  • Something by Mark Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (or Huck Finn), or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, perhaps. I've never read any Twain.
  • Anything by Wodehouse. For me personally, I think this will be a love-or- hate author, and my gut is telling me the latter is more likely.
  • Lysistrata by Aristophanes. Because sometimes we all need an ancient sex comedy.
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as offered up by @Artemis Prime. Not big on the comedy, but a happy ending full of hope for the human race.

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2 hours ago, juliebarkley said:
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Looks like good fun all around. Bit longer, though.

 

This combined the best qualities of both authors and is a masterpiece. Highly recommend.

 

2 hours ago, juliebarkley said:
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as offered up by @Artemis Prime. Not big on the comedy, but a happy ending full of hope for the human race.

 

This is a comedy...?

 

Okay, actually, the Muppet Christmas Carol movie is. Also happens to be a fantastic movie adaptation of the book. With awesome music. :) 

 

And Michael Caine.

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32

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12 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

This is a comedy...?

Ha, no, I meant that it had little to no comedy, unlike the others on the list. A phrasing that works with speech intonation to back it up, but maybe not so well written down.

 

I would second your Muppet endorsement, but this is a reading challenge, so. :D

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