Thursday, January 13, 2011


Oh, the predictability of beginning the new year with resolutions and good intentions. But here I am, starting a blog and hoping that there is some magic dividing line between one year and the next! The goal here is to be a little more thoughtful and intentional about my reading and to force myself to write something--anything! After the flurry of graduate school and teaching, I am finding that I actually--dare I say it?--miss the idea of required reading. Reading "for fun" is wonderful and liberating, but I want to push myself a bit. So, in the spirit of resolution, I decided to sign up for some reading challenges (idea courtesy of Laura Miller at Salon). I'll be trying to post reviews of these books here as I read them.

Shakespeare Reading Challenge: How have I not read King Lear? I'm hoping that promising to read four Shakespeare plays this year will help me atone for the fact that this "Master" of English has a pretty threadbare knowledge of Shakespeare. Plus, one of the four can be substituted for a performance--perhaps R will again have one too many and order season tickets to the Shakespeare Theater?

The Complete Booker Challenge: Reading at least six Booker Prize winners or nominees. I have really enjoyed the Booker winners I've read in the past--Wolf Hall, The Inheritance of Loss, The Line of Beauty--and I'm interested in reading some of the short-list candidates as well.

Foodie's Reading Challenge: The perfect way to combine reading and cooking! I'm going to go with the "Gourmet" level of 10-12 books here, as cookbooks count and I have an unhealthy obsession growing on my shelves...

Chunkster Reading Challenge: An old wish-list for Santa requests "Lots of Fat Books". I think I was about 8, but some tastes never change. I'm going to try for six books over 450 pages long.

To 2011!


  1. I love it! I had the image of Kara's painting in my head as I read it. Wonderful. Strange coincidence - less than a week ago I hatched an idea to start a book club blog (my attempts at starting a real book club have always failed, thought i'd try a different angle). However, decided it would be better if YOU suggested the books and led the discussions. Think about it? I still want your list of top 100 books (subject to change I realize). Loving Cloud Atlas though.

  2. Welcome to the Shakespeare Challenge! I did the Chunkster last year but didn't sign up again this time.

  3. I am very excited about this Bridge. For as well as I know you I hardly ever get to read your writing. Get 'em Masters!

  4. I'm so glad you decided to join us in the Foodie's Reading Challenge. I'm impressed with your determination to reach the Gourmet level. I look forward to reading your thoughts as you read your way through the food books. Good luck with all your challenges.

  5. You've inspired me! I think --unofficially--I am going to try for 4 chunksters with one being over 800 pages. I was also tempted to try and limit myself for the year to reading only books that are in my "to be read" stack -but then I thought, "Nah, that wouldn't be fun!"
    Question -- on the Foodie Challenge --with a book that is a cookbook-- does this just entail reading text pre- and post- recipes? Do you read all the recipes? As you can tell, I haven't spent much time with cookbooks!

  6. Hi Mary Ellen! I know, sounds like fun, doesn't it? As far as the Foodie Challenge, I'm thinking that I will read all of the text and skim the recipes. The cookbooks I like always seem to have a lot of introductory material. And books about food also qualify--if you haven't read Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking and More Home Cooking I highly recommend those!


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The Illiterate Peanut by Bridget Rector is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.