Saturday, January 07, 2012

Final report on 2011 Take a Chance Reading Challenge

I made a stab at the Take a Chance Reading Challenge (see post) last year and while I did read some books I might not have otherwise, I didn't perform terribly well.

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 (never got around to reading this one)
I did try to check out the staff recommendations in person in December/January, 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 (read in September)
- 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 the others at some point.
Nancy - Woman's World by Graham Rawle (read in September)
Russell - something by Neal Stephenson (read The Diamond Age in June; 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.
Never got around to going through lists.  I'm sure I could find something to count for this category, but that would defeat the point of this challenge, which is to to read with intention.
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.
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 intended to read this one as well, but I never got around to getting my hands on a copy)
- 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.

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