When is a Challenge too challenging? Conversely, when is it not challenging at all? What’s your happiest Challenge memory? Your biggest disappointment?

I’ve just finished two reading Challenges, which of course has me believing that I am an invincible reader.

First I finished the 100+ Books Challenge. I think the reason that I completed this so early in the year is due Mr. BIP’s unexpectedly demanding schedule; when a reader’s life gets lonely, a reader gets reading!

Binge reading!

And then, after more-than-a-few late nights, which only increased my appetite for reading more, it was hard to stop me, hard to curtail the menu-planning.

I realized when reading The Black Stallion aloud to my willing 10- and nearly-7-year-old audience, holding the book in one hand, whilst stirring the sauce for the pasta with the other hand, that the way in which I defined “available” reading time had loosened considerably.

There’s a link to my annual reading logs above (although it’s a pain to link to that page because I keep having to re-do the page from scratch…does anyone else have WordPress pages that spontaneously refuse to be edited?) Also, if you follow the continue link below, you’ll see the list of books I’ve read-to-date (the challenge rules specifically state there should be a post to link to for completion) which slots me solidly on the + side of the 100+.

And then I finished the What’s In a Name? Reading Challenge, sooner than I’d expected. The last book I’d planned to read was Joan Barfoot’s Duet for Three, which would have met the requirements for “A book with a music term in the title” in June. But then Andrea Levy’s The Long Song was longlisted for the Orange Prize so I ended up reading that and fulfilling that category sooner.

A book with a plant in the title: Zora Neale Hurston’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934)
A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess (1904)
A book with a body of water in the title: Ethel Wilson’s Swamp Angel (1954)
A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Pat Barker’s Liza’s England (1986)
A book with a food in the title: Hiromi Goto’s A Chorus of Mushrooms (1994)
A book with a music term in the title: Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010)

I’m tempted to immediately fill the Challenge slots, but have already scrawled so many titles on my Task Lists for June and July that the lists don’t appear in full on the screen and I have to scroll down, even in these reading months, which I was so sure would be quieter than most.

(Although I suspect there’ll be a good chunk of Black Stallion adventures that might not be recorded here: anyone have any newer favourite horse books to recommend for girls?)

I’m already eyeing my reading schedule for September, thinking that I could finish Ulysses on Monday and The Decameron on Tuesday and Hugh Hood’s New Age Cycle on Wednesday. (Whereas, in fact, I’ve yet to finish War and Peace, which I actually started to read *last* September. Yes, my reading reality eventually sinks in.)

How do you draw the Reading Line?

Here’s the Nothing-to-do-but-read 100+ booklist as of today:
Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night (2006)
Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (2010)
Andrew Kaufman’s The Waterproof Bible (2010)
Angela Carter’s Shadow Dance (1966)

Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees (1996)
Anne Tyler’s Noah’s Compass (2009)
Attica Locke’s Black Water Rising (2009)
Austin Clarke’s More (2008)
Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna (2009)
Christina Longford’s Making Conversation (1931)
Corey Redekop’s Shelf Monkey (2007)
Desmond Pacey’s Ethel Wilson (1967)
Di Brandt’s So this is the world and here I am in it (2007)
Di Brandt’s Speaking of Power, Edited by Tanis MacDonald (2006)
Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here (1996)
Dionne Brands Ossuaries (2010)

Dorothy Livesay’s Journey with My Selves: 1909-1963 (1991)
Dorothy West’s The Wedding (1995)
Douglas Coupland’s Generation X (1991)
Duff Cooper’s Operation Heartbreak (1950)
Elizabeth Smart’s Autobiographies (1987)
Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station   I Sat Down and Wept (1945)
Elizabeth Smart’s Necessary Secrets
Journals Volume I, Ed. Alice van Wart (1987)
Elizabeth Smart’s On the Side of the Angels
Journals Volume II, Ed. Alice van Wart (1994)
Elizabeth Waterston’s The Magic Island (2008)
Ethel Wilson’s Hetty Dorval (1947)
Ethel Wilson’s The Innocent Traveller (1949)
Ethel Wilson’s Love and Salt Water (1956)
Ethel Wilson’s Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories (1961)
Ethel Wilson’s Stories, Essays and Letters (Ed. David Stouck, 1987)
Ethel Wilson’s Swamp Angel (1954)
Etty Hillesum’s An Interrupted Life (1941-43)
Gina Ochsner’s The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight (2010)
Hannah Crafts’ The Bondwoman’s Narrative (est. 1853-1861)
Hiromi Goto’s Chorus of Mushrooms (1994)
Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child (2001)

Jane Urquhart’s L.M. Montgomery (2009)
Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980)
Jennifer Baszile’s The Black Girl Next Door (2009)
Joshua Ferris’ The Unnamed (2009)
Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (2009)
Kim Echlin’s Elizabeth Smart: A Fugue on Women and Creativity (2004)
Kristjana Gunnars’ The Rose Garden (1996)
Kristjana Gunnars’ The Substance of Forgetting (1992)
L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle (1926)
Laila Lalami’s The Secret Son (2009)

M.G. Vassanji’s The Book of Secrets (1993)
M.J. Hylands’ This is How (2009)
Margaret Atwood’s The Door (2007)
Margaret Atwood’s Negotiating with the Dead (2002)
Marghanita Laski’s To Bed with Grand Music (1946)
Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault (2008)
Marina Lewycka’s We Are All Made of Glue (2009)
Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese (1925)
Mary McAlpine’s The Other Side of Silence (1988)
Mathilde Wolff-Monckeberg’s On the Other Side: Letters to My Children from Germany Persephone No. 75 (1979)
Matthew Battle’s The Library: An Unquiet History (2003)
Mollie Panter-Downes’ Good Evening, Mrs. Craven (1939-1944)

Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2009)
Muriel Barbary’s Elegance of the Hedgehog (2006) Trans. Alison Anderson, French  (2008)
Nadifa Mohamed’s Black Mamba Boy (2010)
Nicolas Dickner’s Nikolski (2005) Trans. Lazer Lederhendler, French (2008)
Ninni Holmqvist’s The Unit (2006) Trans. Marlaine Delargy, Swedish (2008)
Nu Nu Yi’s Smile as they Bow (2008) Trans. Alfred Birnbaum and Thi Thi Aye (2008)
Pat Barker’s The Eye in the Door(1993)
Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road (1995)
Pat Barker’s Liza’s England (1986)
Pat Barker’s Regeneration (1991)
Pat Capponi’s The Corpse Will Keep (2008)
Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959)
Ray Robertson’s Moody Food (1992)
Ray Smith’s Century (1986)
Sadie Jones’ Small Wars (2009)
Sam Savage’s Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitcan Lowlife (2006)
Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger (2009)
Vere Hodgson’s Few Eggs and No Oranges: 1940-45 (1999)
Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony (1995)
Winifred Holtby’s Poor Caroline (1931)
Winifred Holtby’s South Riding (1936)
Zora Neale Hurston’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934)
Zoran Živković’s Impossible Encounters: A Mosaic Novel (2000)
Trans. from the Serbian, Alice Copple-Tošić (2008)

Bonnie and Paul Zindel’s A Star for the Latecomer (1980)
Deborah Hautzig’s Hey Dollface (1978)
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess (1904)
Hiromi Goto’s Half World (2009)
Hiromi Goto’s The Water of Possibility (2001)
Janet Lunn’s The Root Cellar (1981)
Jean Little’s One to Grow On (1969)
Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1963)
Joan Lowery Nixon’s The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore (1979)
Judy Blume’s Blubber (1974)
Julie Andrews Edwards’ Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (1974)
L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Ingleside (1939)
L.M. Montgomery’s Rainbow Valley (1919)
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter (1940)
Lois Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall (1974)
Lois Duncan’s Five Were Missing (1972)
Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy (1964)
Lyn Cook’s Samantha’s Secret Room (1973)
Madeleine L’Engle’s Meet the Austins (1960)
Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick (1971)
Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes (1936)
Robert C. O’Brien’s Z for Zachariah (1975)
Sandra Scoppettone’s Happy Endings Are All Alike (1978)
Sara Ryan’s Empress of the World (2001)

Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960)
Sheila Greenwald’s It All Began with Jane Eyre (1980)
Sonya Sones’ What My Mother Doesn’t Know (2001)
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008)
Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire (2009)
Terry Griggs’ Cat’s Eye Corner (2000)