Friday, 6 December 2013

2013 Challenges.

Last year's frost (I've still not got my
camera fixed).
What a cold day it is today. It was a clear, bright night last night (following a night of gales and rain), and, as ever, I enjoyed falling asleep whilst looking at the stars, but we all know a clear night is always followed by a sharp frost in these cold months. Nevertheless, the house is cosy. I have fairy lights on, a fire blazing, Middlemarch, a hen (Charlotte is finding the cold very difficult and I'm a bit worried about her this evening, so she can sleep in here for a few hours until she misses her sisters), and a cup of coffee. The parrot and budgies are downstairs keeping warm, all but Trotwood are asleep (Trotwood appears to be watching the local news). So, it's all very peaceful here, and I'm thinking about some of the book challenges people are joining, which ones I want to join, and, possibly, one of my own challenges I'll write about tomorrow to see if anyone else wants to participate. And it's a good time to think about challenges because, yesterday, I finished my 2013 Book Challenges!

My first goal was to read 150 books, which I met towards the end of November. I'm proud of this, but I don't think I'll set myself such a high goal in 2014. Having barely re-read any books in the past three years, I've met a lot of new authors, and a lot of classics, but it's been harder to dwell on them. It's been a fast pace, and as I said in my first post on this blog, it's time to slow down now. Nevertheless, it has been a worthwhile challenge.

My second challenge was Adam's TBR 2013 Challenge: I read all the books, however I didn't blog about all the books! So I suppose I didn't finish that challenge! Here's what I read, though:
  1. Herzog by Saul Bellow. 
  2. Tales from Arabian Nights, translated by Sir Richard Burton.
  3. On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin. 
  4. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
  5. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. 
  6. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. 
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
  8. Atonement by Ian McEwan. 
  9. The Journals of Sylvia Plath.
  10. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.
  11. The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne. 
  12. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. 
My third challenge was The Narrative Poem Challenge, and I picked:
  1.  The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.
  2. Beowulf
  3. Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
  4. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.
Finally, Books on France. I read a lot of French Literature in 2013, but for this challenge I signed up for a specific six, which, on the completion of Stendhal yesterday, I finished. Here are the six:
  1. Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac. 
  2. The Three Muskateers by Alaxandre Dumas
  3. Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclo
  4. Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant
  5. Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  6. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
Aside from these, I wanted to finish my collection of 'Penguin Great Loves' and 'Penguin Great Ideas', as well as the 100 Greatest Novels (found on Goodreads), all of which I managed.

So, all in all, a good year for books! In the next week or so, I'll be posting about challenges I want to join. I'll certainly be joining Adam again, and I've also spotted a readalong of Eugene Onegin.


  1. Glad you are interested in reading Onegin! :) I have enjoyed reading your blog this year, especially the posts on Zola and The Faerie Queene. Congrats on completing your 2013 goals!

    1. Thank you :) I'm really looking forward to Onegin - loved it the first time, but that was YEARS ago!

  2. Trotwood, I assume, is named after David Copperfield and is Charlotte after a Brontë??? It sounds like you live in a very pastoral and lovely part of the country.

    I think you are wise to cut down on your goal for the coming year. I have the same resolution. I've been getting through a good number of books (although not as many as you), but I question as to whether I have read them well. I will attempt to read less next year, if I can resist all the challenges, re-alongs, etc.

    And getting my resolution off to a bad start, I think I may try to join in the Eugene Onegin read-along, however I have just finished reading it, so I should be able to participate with minimal effort (meaning I don't have to do the reading). Thanks so much for including the link!

    Now I'm off to check out your Fairie Queene review!

    1. Yes, Trot is indeed Trotwood Copperfield, and Charlotte is after CB. Other hens are Anne and Emily, and the other budgies are Oliver (Oliver Twist), and Myshkin (Prince Myshkin - when we got her, we thought she was a boy!). :)


Popular Posts of the Year