Reading Challenge Progress


I just took stock of the reading challenges I’ve taken on this year. I am participating in so many challenges, that I was finding it difficult to keep up with them. Luckily, I found a plugin called ProgPress that allows me to create and customize progress meters. Check them out in the sidebar over to the right (RSS feed readers will have to click over to my site).

I’m not doing badly.

First, I set a goal to read 50 books this year. I read 40 last year. So far, I’ve read 27, which puts me slightly ahead of my pace. That’s a good thing because school starts for me again in a few weeks, and I will need to be a little bit ahead.

I can say I’ve completed the Steampunk Challenge, the GLBT Challenge, and the Once Upon a Time Challenge, as I really only had to read one book to complete these challenges. All of them were low-commitment “just try it and see if you like it” challenges, at least at the level I committed to.

I need to finish one more book to complete the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, but I am not doing well with the YA Historical Fiction Challenge. I guess I don’t read as much YA historical fiction as I thought I did. I don’t think I’ll finish that one, and I’m not going to worry about it if I don’t make much progress there.

I haven’t made much progress on my own challenge—just one book of six. Ditto the Shakespeare Challenge. On the other hand, I’m making steady progress with the Take a Chance Challenge and the Gothic Reading Challenge. I should be able to make good progress on the Gothic Reading Challenge in September and October, when I can combine it with the R.I.P. Challenge.

I haven’t started either the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge or the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Challenge, yet. Still plan to complete those.

Did you participate in any challenges? How are you doing?

photo credit: Bogdan Suditu

Two More Reading Challenges

I have to thank Laurel Ann for sharing about both of these.

I think the Historical Fiction Challenge will be easy for me because I read a lot of historical fiction anyway. It’s probably my favorite genre. To that end, I’m going to commit to the Undoubtedly Obsessed level of 15 books. I wouldn’t have any idea at this time which ones I’d read.

The Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge will take me out of my comfort zone a bit, as I have not read any Austen sequels and am not a big mystery reader. I’m going to go for the Neophyte level of 1-4 books and see how I like them before I commit to reading more. I will probably try to read Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron and possibly Jane and the Canterbury Tale. I know I’ll be doing some reading about the Romantic poets this year (my TBR pile has at least two books about them). If I like those, I’ll check out some others.

I don’t know that I’ll take on any more challenges aside from Carl’s once he gets them rolling.

Now seems as good a time as any to remind everyone to sign up for my Books I Should Have Read in School, But Didn’t Challenge. You can be the judge of whether it’s something you were supposed to read or not. And I won’t tell your high school English teacher. Plus it’s a fun way to read books you’ve been meaning to get around to.

Wrap Up Lists

First of all, thanks to Leslie Healey for sending this Polish interpretation of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Much Madness is Divinest Sense,” which I named this blog for. May it freak you out as well:


Anyway, all the online bookstores Amazon and Barnes and Noble are sharing their Best Books of 2010 lists, and Oprah, great arbiter of reading selections, has shared hers too.

I’m adding some of the books to my TBR list:

Clockwork Angel should be good for the Steampunk Challenge. I’m hoping some of the other books will work for others, but as of today, I’m only participating in three: aside from Steampunk, my own Books I Should Have Read in School Challenge and the Shakespeare Challenge. I am looking for some other good challenges if you have any to suggest.

I Will Raise Her Statue in Pure Gold…

Juliet's StatueThat whiles Verona by that name is known, / There shall be no figure at such rate be set / As that of true and faithful Juliet.—Montague, Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene iii.

I’m still reading Anne Fortier’s Juliet, and I have to say the action is really picking up. I don’t review books until I finish them, but here’s a preview: go ahead and read this one, especially if you are a fan of Romeo and Juliet. You know, I asked not to teach ninth grade this year because I thought I was tired of this play, but I’m not, and now I kind of wish I were teaching it. I am, however, having an excellent time with Macbeth. Anyway, Juliet has been a great read so far, and I’m over halfway through it with no idea how it will resolve. Plus, I really want to go to Italy.

On the other hand, I am not enjoying Jamaica Inn as much. I can’t get into it. I think I need to give it a little longer, especially given how much I enjoyed Rebecca, but so far, I’m not too interested in the characters. I’m hoping to have a little more time to read over the holidays. I’m still five books short of my goal of 40 books, which seemed completely obtainable a couple of months ago.

Is anyone else going to do the Shakespeare Challenge? And have you signed up for my challenge yet?

photo credit: Tomato Geezer

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

In signing up for my own challenge, how embarrassing is it that I’m not sure I can commit to the highest level, Literature Professor? And yet, I am just not sure I can read 12 books I should have read in school. Actually, I have done a pretty decent job of returning to books I should have read, such as Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, and the like, mainly because I’m a high school English teacher, and if I missed them myself in high school, I can read them as a teacher when I prepare to teach them. But there are a few books I missed or didn’t finish.

I’m going to commit to reading these six books next year, which will be Graduate Student Level if I complete all six.

photo credit: velvettangerine

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn’t Challenge

Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge

You know how it goes. Your friend is talking about how much she disliked reading The Scarlet Letter in high school, or she raves about her eighth grade English teacher, who made her memorize Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” because it appeared in The Outsiders, her favorite book in middle school. You remember being assigned The Scarlet Letter, but you couldn’t get past the chapter on the Custom House, and you bought the Cliff’s Notes instead. Fess up! Sadly, you never had an opportunity to read The Outsiders. Maybe your teacher never assigned it, and it somehow slipped under your radar.

We all have a list of books we feel we should have read, probably in school, but for a variety of reasons, we didn’t. I moved around a lot as a kid, and I missed out on some novel studies because of it, but I also admit to having trouble keeping up with the reading schedules set by my teachers and not being able to finish books. When the unit was over, I set the book aside and never picked it up again. This challenge will allow all of us who feel we should have read certain books, whether they are classics of literature, or children’s books we seem to be alone in missing, to read those books!


  • Sign up using Mr. Linky below, and include a link to your blog post announcing your participation in the challenge. You may participate if you don’t have a blog. Feel free to leave your reviews in the comments or on a site like Goodreads.
  • The challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.
  • You need not decide which books you will read at this time, and you may commit to any level with which you feel comfortable.
  • You can determine whether a book meets the criteria for the challenge. If you think you should have read it in school and didn’t, then it qualifies. In fact, you can even define school however you like—elementary school, middle school, high school, college, grad school—the list goes on and could vary based on the educational system with which you’re most familiar.

Challenge levels:

  • Literature Professor: Read 12 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • Graduate Student: Read 6 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • College Graduate: Read 4 books you feel you should have read in school.
  • High School Graduate: Read 2 books you feel you should have read in school.

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Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't

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Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't

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photo credit: velvettangerine