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In line with all my objectives for 2012, I am going to keep this reasonable.

I originally intended taking on only one challenge for 2012, but that wouldn’t be reasonable – it would be puritan!  So, without further ado, I’m signing up to the following:

1) European Reading Challenge (Hosted by Rose City Reader)

I wish to become a jet setting culture vulture!  1st pass through my TBR yielded the following potential reads …..

Albania: The Accident – Ismail Kadare  Austria: Detective Muller – Augusta Groner Belgium: The Misfortunates – Dimitri Verhulst  Czechoslovakia: The Widow Killer – Pavel Kohout Denmark: The Murder of Halland – Pia Juul Estonia: Brecht at Night Finland: The True Deceiver – Tove Jansson France: Total Chaos – Jean-Izzo  Germany: Funeral For A Dog – Thomas Pletzinger Holland: Bride Flight – Marieke can der Pol Hungary: Journey by Midnight – Anton Szerb  Iceland: Heaven and Hell – Jon Kalman Stefansson Italy: Stabat Mater – Tiziano Scarpa  Norway: The Leopard: Jo Nesbo Spain: The Scent of Lemon Leaves – Clara Sanchez Switzerland: Seven Years – Peter Stamm Portugal: Pereira Maintains – Antonio Tabucchi United Kingdom: Pure – Andrew Miller

2) Global Reading Challenge – Hosted by Mysteries in Paradise

I enjoyed Kerrie’s European Crime Tour last summer.  But judging from the number of potential reads for challenge 1), I need something that will force me beyond my continent of origin.  The medium level of this challenge sounds ideal.  No idea what I’m reading yet but I’ve started in Oceania with Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.

Books read
Update 01.03

Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey (Oceania – Australia)
Corrag – Suzanne Fletcher (Scotland – Europe)
Lord of Misrule – Jaimy Gordon (USA)

3) Books I Started But Didn’t Finish Challenge – Hosted by A Room of One’s Own

I was surprised by the number of books that remain unfinished.  It just goes to show I’m easily distracted.  But I want to finish all of these … some of which I actually started prior to 2011!

Whether I finish them in 2012 remains to be seen!

Books Read Update 01.03

Corrag – Suzanne Fletcher

4) What’s In A Name 5 – Hosted by Beth Fish Reads

I was going to give this a miss this year.  But why should I?  I have books in the TBR that are an exact match for most of this categories. As I’m concentrating on reading books owned prior to 1/1/2012 this year (I want at least a 67% ratio in my end-of-year listings), I’d be foolish to pass it by.

Topological Feature: Murder at Mansfield Park / Something in the Sky: Island of Wings / Creepy Crawly: The Spider Truces / HouseThe Black House / Something in my Purse (Handbag): Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter / Something on A Calendar: A Fortnight in September

That’s it for this year.  I want to leave myself some flexibility to participate in events like Australian Literature Month, Venice In February and other temptations that the blogging world will undoubtedly throw my way.  And that includes the monthly Read More / Blog More Poetry event.

EDIT: 30.01.12

Just one more.  I can’t let the Introverted Reader’s Book in Translation pass me by .  I’m going for the linguist level – 12 books (and I’ll try not to make them all translated from German!)

Books Read Update 01.07

Alone In Berlin – Hans Fallada (Translated from German)
Love Virtually – Daniel Glattauer (Translated from German)
The Mattress House – Paulus Hochgatterer (Translated from German)
The Shadow-Boxing Woman – Inka Parei (Translated from German)
Seven Years – Peter Stamm (Translated from German)
Me and You – Niccolo Ammaniti (Translated from Italian)
Stabat Mater -Tiziano Scarpa (Translated from Italian)
Memory of the Abyss – Marcello Fois (Translated from Italian)
Little Indiscretions – Carmen Posadas (Translated from Spanish)
The Scent of Lemon Leaves – Clara Sanchez (Translated from Spanish)


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I signed-up for 8 and finished 6.

Challenge One – One, Two, Theme!

Hosted at http://onetwotheme.blogspot.com/

Theme One: Finish the trilogy – Via Delle Oche – Carlo Lucarelli

Theme Two: Medical Conditions – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot / Therapy – Sebastian Fitzek

Theme Three:  From Scottish Publishers:  Dead Sharp – Len Wanner (Two Raven’s Press / The Stillness of the Sea – Nicol Llubjic  (Vagabond Press) / Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch (Canongate)

Theme Four: Food and Drink: Chocolate Wars – Deborah Cadbury / The Tea Lords – Hella S Haase / The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine – Alina Bronsky / Unusual Uses for Olive Oil – Alexander McCall Smith (not reviewed)

Challenge Two: What’s In A Name 4?

Hosted at http://whatsinaname4.blogspot.com/

1) A book with evil in the title: Crime – Ferdinand von Schirach

2) A book with a life stage in the title: Death at Pemberley – P D James

3) A book with a jewel or gem in the title: The Rajah’s Diamond – R L Stevenson (no review)

4) A book with travel or movement in the title: The Foxes Come at Night – Cees Nooteboom

5) A book with a size in the title:  Great House – Nicole Krauss

6) A book with a number in the title: The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason (No review.)

Challenge 3 – Criminal Plots 2010

Hosted at http://networkedblogs.com/brlC6

I knew this would be tough.  I read 27 crime novels in 2011 and still didn’t complete the challenge!

1) A book by a new to you author who’s blurbed a book you enjoyed. Didn’t read one.

2) A book that has been made into a movie. Another miss.

3)A book with a protagonist opposite your own gender. So if you’re female, the protagonist should be male; if you’re male the protagonist should be female.   The Taint of Midas – Anne Zouroudi (No review – The protagonist annoyed me too much!)

4) A book set outside the country in which you live.  A Short Cut to Paradise – Teresa Solana

5)A book that’s the first in a new-to-you series.  City of Dreadful Night – Peter Guttridge

6)A book by a 2011 debut author. Snowdrops – A D Miller

Challenge 4 – Not Really A Challenge, just The TBR Dare – Hosted by Ready when you are, C B

Reading only from my TBR stacks (with the exception of book group reads) for 6 weeks starting from 1.1.2011.  I made it!


5. The 2011 Challenge (Hosted at Bart’s Bookshelf)

The requirement will be a total of 20 books from 11 categories.

To YA or not YA…
Thyme Running Out- Panama Oxridge

With a Twist 
Of Italian Noir:  Carte Blanche and The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli

Hot off the Presses.
The London Train – Tessa Hadley / Everything and Nothing – Araminta Hall

It Wasn’t Me! (aka Bad Bloggers*)
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel (Original review by ?) / The City and The City – China Mieville (Original Review by ?)

Show it Who is Boss! (On the TBR 1/12/10)
Carsten The Trustee and Other Stories – Theodor Storm / Steal You Away – Niccolo Ammaniti 

Therapy – Sebastian Fitzek / A Short Cut to Paradise – Teresa Solano

Will-Power? What Will-Power? (Bought in 2011)

Irretrievable – Theodor Fontane / An Uncertain Place – Fred Vargas

Mind the Gap (Finish that Trilogy)
Via Delle Oche – Carlo Lucarelli

Back in the Day (Rereads)
Fighting It! – Regi Claire / Effi Briest – Theodor Fontane

Way Back When (Older than Me)
The Broken Jug – Heinrich von Kleist / The Pledge – Friedrich von Durrenmatt

Slim-Pickings (Novellas)
Lucinella – Lore Segal / Next World Novella – Matthias Politycki

Challenge Six Seconds Challenge 2011 – hosted by A Few More Pages

A Short Cut to Paradise – Teresa Solana
The Liberation of Celia Kahn – David J Simons
The Dark Vineyard – Martin Walker
On Canaan’s Side – Sebastian Barry
Blow on A Dead Man’s Embers – Mari Strachan
Law and Peace – Tim Kevan

Challenge 7: The Themed Reading Challenge is my favourite.  My theme for 2011 was Revisiting Real Life Destinations. I meant this to be an international trip but in the end I ended up staying on mainland Britain!

City of Dreadful Night – Peter Guttridge

The Credit Draper and The Liberation of Celia Kahn by David J Simons

The London Train – Tessa Hadley

A Dark Anatomy – Robin Blake

Challenge Eight: Pink Sheep Cafe‘s challenge was too much for me.  It seems I am incapable of picking up a book with an ugly cover.  But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the ugliest cover I came across in 2011.  Sarah Hall – The Beautiful Indifference

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As if I don’t have enough on my plate this year but this Books of the Century Challenge is so irresistible.  I’ll commit to Challenge 301 – although secretly I’d like to conquer Challenge 401.

Starting with 5 books from 5 decades






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(Hyperlinks to my reviews on Lizzy’s Literary Life)

2010 Challenge (Complete)

2 Young Adult:  Blood Red, Snow White – Marcus Sedgwick (Read, not reviewed) / Reckless – Cornelia Funke

2 Unknown to Me: Miss Thing – Nora Chassler / After The Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyld

2 Win, Win: Soldiers of Salamis – Javier Cercas / The Sweetness of Life – Paulus Hochgatterer

2 Bought from Charity Shops: The Silence of The Rain / Faustine

2 Bought In 2010: The Ninth Wave / White Ravens

2 Non-Fiction:  Family Romance – John Lanchester / The Snows of Yesteryear – Gregor von Rezzori

2 Bad Bloggers: Hearts and Minds – Amanda Craig / The White Woman on the Green Bicycle – Monique Roffey

2 in TBR on 1.11.2009: Dirty Snow – Georges Simenon / May Day – F S Fitzgerald (Read, not reviewed)

2 Shiny and New: The Long Song – Andrea Levy / Midnight In A Perfect Life – Michael Collins (Read, not reviewed)

2 Older Than Me:  The Eternal Husband – Fyodor Dostoevsky / The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey

The Tin Drum Readalong
Part One: 31.01.2010
Part Two: 28.02.2010
Part Three: Coming soon!

Really Old Classic Challenge
1. Parzival – Wolfram von Eschenbach (Missed the deadline – will read, but not in 2010.)

Themed Reading Challenge (Bloggers Recommendations) (Complete)

1. Blood Red, Snow White – Marcus Sedgwick (Recommended by Gaskella) (Read not reviewed)
2. Hearts and Minds – Amanda Craig Recommended by Dovegreyreader)
3. The Snows of Yesteryear – Gregor von Rezzori (Recommended by A Common Reader)
4. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle – Monique Roffey (Recommended by Other Stories)
5. After the Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyle (Recommended by Reading Matters)

Wilkie Collins Mini Challenge (Complete)
1. Basil (Read, not reviewed)
2. The Moonstone (Read, not reviewed)

British Authors (Complete)

1. The Long Song – Andrea Levy
2. Hearts and Minds – Amanda Craig
3. Daphne – Justine Picardie (Read, not reviewed)
4. A Razor Wrapped in Silk – Roger N Morris
5. The Ninth Wave – Russell Celwyn Jones
6. The Rapture – Liz Jensen

What’s In A Name 3 (Complete)
1. A book with a food in the title: The Unbearable Lightness of Scones – Alexander McCall Smith (Read, not reviewed)
2. A book with a body of water in the title: Dirty Snow – Georges Simenon
3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title:  My Lady Elizabeth – Alison Weir (Read, not reviewed)
4. A book with a plant in the title: The Boys In The Trees – Mary Swann
5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Homage to Barcelona – Colm Toibin
6. A book with a music term in the title: The Long Song – Andrea Levy

Read the Book, See The Movie

Doesn’t watching the 4 episodes of the TV adaptation of “Any Human Heart” count?

Chunkster Challenge 2010

1. The Snowman – Jo Nesbo
2. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins (Read, not reviewed)
3. Gentlemen and Players – Joanne Harris (Read, not reviewed)
4. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell


Awesome Author Challenge (Complete)

1. Georges Simenon
2. Kader Abdollah
3. Alberto Manguel
4. Irene Nemirovsky
5. Josephine Tey
6. John Lanchester

The Pub Challenge 2010 (Complete)
1. Miss Thing – Nora Chassler
2. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell
3. A Razor Wrapped in Silk – Roger N Morris
4. The Long Song – Andrea Levy
5. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley (Read, not reviewed)
6. The Arsenic Century – James C Whorton
7. Room – Emma Donoghue
8. Midnight in a Perfect Life – Michael Collins (Read, not reviewed)
9. In A Strange Room – Damon Galgut
10. The Existential Detective – Alice Thompson

Decades Challenge 2010 (Incomplete)
1.    1868 – The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins (Read, not reviewed)
2.    1870 – The Eternal Husband – Fyodor Dostoevsky
3.    1886 –  The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson 
4.    1896 – My Life – Anton Chekhov
5.    1902 –  Heart of Darkness – Joseph  Conrad
6.    1912  – Greyfriars Bobby – Eleanor Atkinson
7.    1925 – Fear – Stefan Zweig
8.    1930 – TBD
9.    1945 – Died In The Wool – Ngaio Marsh
10. 1953 – Dirty Snow – Georges Simenon


Award Winners IV (Complete)
1. Chronicle of A Death Foretold – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize 1982)
2. The Sound of My Voice Ron Butlin (Best Foreign Novel – Prix MillePages (2004) and Prix Lucioles (2005) )
3. The Soldiers of Salamis Javier Cercas (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2004)
4. Stone in a Landslide – Maria Barbal (Joaqim Ruyra Prize 1984)
5. The Sweetness of Life – Paulus Hochgatterer (2009 European Prize for Literature – Austria)
6. The Lantern Bearers Ronald Frame (Saltire Award – Best Scottish Book 2000)
7. After the Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyld (2009 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize)
8. The Last Patriarch  – Najat El Hachmi (2009 Prix Ulysse First Novel)
9. A Not So Perfect Crime – Teresa Solana (2007 Brigada 21 Best Crime Novel)
10. Portrait of a Mother as a Young Woman  – Friedrich Christian Delius (2009 Lutheran Book Prize)

Colourful Reading Challenge 2010 (Incomplete)
1. Black Black Water Rising Attica Locke
2. Blue    
3. Red     Snow White, Blood Red – Marcus Sedgwick (Read, not reviewed)
4. White The White Woman on the Green BicycleMonique Roffey
5. Gold   
7. Yellow 
8. Grey Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde (Did not finish)
9. TBD

Countdown Challenge 2010 (45 Read = 83% complete)

2001 (1/1)
Carter Beats the Devil – Glen David Gold

2002 (0/2)

2003 (2/3)
Old School – Tobias Woolf
The Silence of The Rain – Luis Alfredo Garcia Roza

2004 (2/4)
Settlement – Christoph Hein (Trans. 2008)
Tearjerker – Daniel Hayes

2005 (5/5)
A Happy Man – Hansjorg Schertenleib (Trans. 2010)
The Island – Victoria Hislop (Read, not reviewed)
The House of the Mosque – Kader Abdollah (Trans. 2010)
Poor Mercy – Jonathan Falla
Gentlemen and Players – Joanne Harris

2006 (2/6)
The Sweetness of Life – Paulus Hochgatter (Trans 2008)
Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky

2007 (7/7)
Blood Red, Snow White – Marcus Sedgwick (Read, not reviewed)
The Silver Swan – Benjamin Black
Foolish Mortals – Jennifer Johnston
The Girl With The Golden Eyes – Honore De Balzac (Trans. 2007)
Family Romance – John Lanchester
The Bethlehem Murders – Matt Rees
The Outcast – Gil Adamson

2008 (7/8)
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale
The Allure of Chanel – Paul Morand (Trans. 2007)
Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout
Stone In A Landslide – Maria Babal (Trans 2010)
The Boys In The Trees – Mary Swan
Daphne – Justine Picardie (Read, not reviewed
The Last Patriarch – Najat El Hachmi (Trans 2010)

2009 (9/9)
After The Fire, A Still Small Voice – Evie Wyld
Black Water Rising – Attica Locke
Glasshopper – Isabel Ashdown
Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd
Dismissed Dead – Ron Brammer
The Ninth Wave – Russell Celwyn Jones
White Ravens – Owen Sheers
Talking About Detective Fiction – P D James
Hearts and Minds – Amanda Craig

2010 (See Pub Challenge) (10/10)

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 TwentyTen Reading Challenge @ Barts Bookshelf

This is such a creative challenge –  how can I resist?  The rules according to Bartsbookshelf:

  • Read 2 books from each category, making a requirement of 20 books total.
  • The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only, if you decide it fits, then it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
  • Categories marked with ** have tighter rules, and these must be followed.
  • Each book can only qualify for one category.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  • Books read from 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 are eligible.

So, on with the categories (and my first thoughts on what I will read …)

  1. Young Adult
    Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.  (Two books by Philip Reeve,  A Darkling Plain / Here Lies Arthur/The Moonstone Legacy)
  2. T.B.R. **
    Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09. (The only difficulty here is selecting two from the 700+ TBR!)
  3. Shiny & New
    Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!  (To be determined) The Long Song / Even The Dogs
  4. Bad Blogger’s ***
    Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago). 
    *** Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on. (I already have a mountain of these.  The first two to spring to mind are:  The Flying Camel and the Golden Hump, recommended by Dovegreyreader and Colony, recommended at the Asylum.)
  5. Charity
    Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop. (To be decided)
  6. New in 2010
    This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!) The Existential Detective /
  7.  Older Than You
    Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior! (I’ll  probably select two C19th sensational novels for this.) The Moonstone / Dirty Snow
  8. Win! Win!
    Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so! (To be determined.) Suite Francaise / Stevenson under the Palm Trees
  9. Who Are You Again?
    This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before! (Cue 2 debut novels …..) Miss Thing / The Still Point
  10. Up to You!
    The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you. The only requirement is that you state it in your sign-up post. (Two non-fiction titles for me.) The Snows of Yesteryear / Family Romance

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Objective: 5 titles containing numbers.

January 2009 – August 2009

For the second year running, I had to resort to a short story to finish this challenge.  I’m simply rubbish at Challenges that don’t run from January to December.  However, I have completed it and that is the main thing.

I read:

1) The Two Faces of January – Patricia Highsmith

2) Three Bags Full – Leonie Swann

3) 98 Reasons for Being – Clare Dudman

4) One City – Alexander McCall-Smith, Ian Ranking and Irwine Welsh.  (Review will appear tomorrow.)

5) Bed 29 – Guy de Maupassant  (Review to follow in due course.)

All were enjoyable reads.  And, I’ll sign up, if there’s a Numbers Challenge III.


All with the exception of the Fforde were great reads.  I enjoyed the challenge and look forward to joining in again next year.

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Book Awards III

Rules: from Read 5 books from 5 different awards during July 1, 2009 through December 1, 2009. Overlaps with other challenges are permitted. Lists may be changed at any time.

I’m in again.  I love this challenge.  No idea what I’ll read at this juncture.  I’m still working on Book Awards II which I finished months ago but I continue to read on.  (Current count is 17.)

Prizewinners in the TBR:

Olive Kitteridge / The Solitude of Prime Numbers / Pharos / De Niro’s Game / Through Black Spruce / Moonshine in the Morning / An Equal Stillness / Fists / The Stillness of Life / Europe Central / The Silence of The Rain / How the Soldier Played the Gramophone /

What I read: Fists – Pietro Grossi / BBC National Short Story Award 2008 / The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale/ The Bethlehem Murders – Matt Rees / The White Castle – Orhan Pamuk / The Passport – Herta Mueller

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