All in the Numbers

On the first day of My Twelve Days of Challenges, I’m chatting about challenges that were all about numbers, be they percentages or quotients or years.

One of my favourite reads for 2010 was Winifred Holtby’s South Riding and I chose it for Nymeth’s 1930s Mini Challenge.

I’d already read Winifred Holtby’s Poor Caroline and enjoyed it, but I enjoyed South Riding even more.

How challenging was it? It’s one of my favourite decades from which to read fiction, so it really wasn’t challenging at all.

My list of candidates was ridiculously long; I probably could have read for the rest of 2010 with it. If I was rating the process of narrowing it down to a single novel, that number would have to be much higher.

But rating it on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most challenging to complete, I’d still give it a 3, because it’s nearly 600 pages long (although it reads very quickly).

I signed up relatively late, comparatively speaking, for the 1% Well-Read Challenge. And maybe that’s why my intentions were a little scattered. Originally, I thought I’d choose contemporary fiction for my 13 reads, but as the reading year went along, I realized that I was reading a lot of that anyhow, and tossed in some classics instead. (Nonetheless, my favourite from this challenge was one of those contemporary novels: Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World (1990).

How challenging? I’d say it was a 7 for me to complete this challenge. Partly because I stalled quite often in two of the reads that counted towards it (particularly Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles). Partly because two of the reads were rather a chore (especially Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, which just wasn’t to my taste, though I understand it’s an important work). Partly because there is a lot of sadness in my choices. Were it not for Pippi and Platero, you could lose hope with a list of books like this one, even though they’re well-written and engaging in their own ways.

This challenge actually continues through this April, so it’s not too late to join if you’re so inclined. (But I wouldn’t recommend that you adopt my reading list unless you’ve just been feeling way too happy lately and feel the need to counterbalance your joy!)

And then there was the 100+ Reading Challenge.

How challenging? Not at all.

Not for this reading year. I read obsessively in 2010. But I’ve had quieter years. Lots of them. I would have been thrilled to have read 100 books in 2009.

I’m not going to pick a favourite read for this challenge, but I can say that I added more titles to my list of favourites for the year in the first half of the year than I did in the latter half. I would have been hard pressed to choose one favourite from that list of 100 books.

Tomorrow? A challenge that staddles the line between being about numbers and words.

If you read for challenges this year, which one was your most easily completed?