Thursday, June 30, 2011

Take a Chance Reading Challenge update

Book-blogging readers, please see #3.

I can't believe that we're halfway through the year. How am I doing on my Take a Chance Reading Challenge (see post)? Not particularly well.
ETA: for reference, I've read a total of 73 books so far this year

Let's go over all my categories.

1. Staff Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Picks” section. Read one of the picks from that section.
From Buffalo, NY independent book store Talking Leaves' Staff Book Recommendations page:
The Magicians by Lev Grossman recommended by Alicia (not yet read)
I did try to check out the staff recommendations in person, but couldn't find them in the Main Street location before I was overpowered by the strange fishy mildew smell that permeated the shop.
2. Loved One’s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read. (If you can convince them to buy it for you, that is even better!)
Jessica - gave me a choice:
- Delirium by Lauren Oliver (published this year)
- Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green
- A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine diRollo
- The Spellmen Files by Lisa Lutz
I'll likely read them all though not necessarily within the next 6 months.
Nancy - Woman's World (she bought me a copy! not yet read)
Russell - something by Neal Stephenson (I'm reading The Diamond Age now; full disclosure: he wanted to make me read all three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, but I talked him out of it)
3. Blogger’s Choice: Find a “Best Books Read” post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.
I never got around to picking something for this category. Maybe I'll browse the best-of-2011-so-far lists that people are posting.
Suggestions are welcome!
4. Critic’s Choice: Find a “Best of the Year” list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. Read a book from their Top 10 list.
Here's Library Journal's first ever best of list:
- By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
None read as yet, but I think I'll probably read Room.
5. Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.
I'm going to skip this one.
6. Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.
Using The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yielded the following suggestions:
- The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (2nd in series; read in April)
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson (3rd in series; read in April)
- One Day by David Nicholls
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (see #9 below; is nothing like Dragon Tattoo)
- The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- Sister by Rosamund Lupton
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (already read; is nothing like Dragon Tattoo)
- The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
7. What Should I Read Next Pick: Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.
Inputting Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins yields diverse results. Among them are City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (read in April).
8. Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.
I'm skipping this one. The selection criteria are too vague to be useful to me.
9. LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book you’ve never read. Read the book. (Yes... you can click on MORE if you have to.)
Apparently I've read all but three of the "25 most reviewed books" on LibrayThing (as of January):
- Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (I intend to read this one, though I don't have a copy yet)
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (read in February)
10a. Public Spying: Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.
I'm dropping this one. I never realized how hard it was to see what people are reading when they are reading in public. Oh you can see that they are reading a mass market paperback or an e-reader, but unless a book has a really distinctive cover... and, well, I don't like asking strangers about what they are reading.
10b. Random Bestseller: Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2010 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.
Ditto. I realized that I really didn't want to spend my time reading bestsellers from September 1975.


  1. Wow! I love this challenge, such a wide variety of ways to pick what books to read. Good luck in finishing it all up!

  2. 1. I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson...but you say the words John + Green to me and I am immediately a fan. He's amazing.
    2. I thought Room by Emma Donoghue was brilliant and exhausting. Such an emotional ride. If you choose it, I would love to read your thoughts on it...
    3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman...I can't say enough fantastic things about it. Just, wow.
    4. I realize that I'm in the minority here, but I just detest mass market paperback books. They're so oddly shaped...small and thick with tiny print. And they often make the author's name larger than the title of the book, which I find...disturbing and sad. I also find them cumbersome to try and hold in my hands. Again, I realize that I am in the minority here...
    5. I've never read Jo Nesbo but I'm really wanting to. I love the Steig Larsson books.

    I think I could talk to you for an hour about this challenge. It seems really cool. If I'd seen it a little earlier in the year, I'd definitely want in on it.

  3. Well, there's always next year!
    This is really a fun challenge. I do wish I'd been more attentive to it. I don't know why I'm feeling so neglectful of it - I still have half the year ahead of me.