I tried something different with my reading challenges for 2011.

In 2010, I joined a lot that required very few reads; this year I joined only a few, but they required far more reads.

Each approach has a benefit.

The former  is great for meeting new readers, because you’re visiting a bunch of different places to post links to your handful of reads; the latter is great for really digging in and sussing out a handful of readers who share a particular reading interest.

Here’s how it all turned out!

Foodie’s Reading Challenge 2011

  1. Massimo Marcone’s Acquired Tastes (2010)
  2. Agnes Jekyl’s Kitchen Essays (1922)
    3. Dominique Fabre’s The Waitress Was New (2005) Trans. Jordan Stump (2008)
    4. Carol Off’s Bitter Chocolate (2006)
    5. Jane Ziegelman’s 97 Orchard: An Edible Historyof Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement (2010)
  3. Andreas Staïkos’ Les Liaisons Culinaires (1997) Trans. Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife Illus. Jeff Fisher Harvill Press, 2000
    7. Wendell Berry’s Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food (2010)
    8. Anna Lappé’s Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do about It (2010)
    9. Oran B. Hesterman’s Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All (2011)
    10. Jaspreet Singh’s Chef (2008)
    11. Antony Wild’s Coffee: A Dark History (2004)
    12. Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin’s Skinny Bitch (2005)

How challenging? Fairly. I also wanted to increase the amount of non-fiction that I read in general, so I read a dozen other non-fiction titles alongside the 9 for this challenge; that’s a lot of non-fiction reading for a gal who thought her reader’s heart belonged to novels and stories.

Favourite Part? Definitely the combo. Which is usually what I say when I really enjoy a meal, too. Essays and full-length works, two novels in translation,some history, a classic and some brand new thoughts on food: it was a lovely smorgasbord.

GLBTQ Reading Challenge 2011

1. Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles (2010)
2. Billeh Nickerson’s McPoems (2010)
3. Stacey May Fowles’ Be Good (2007)
4. Darren Greer’s Still Life with June (2003)
5. Anthony Bidulka’s Amuse Bouche (Russell Quant #1, 2003)
6. Kathleen Winter’s Annabel (2010)
7. Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen(1998)
8. Farzana Doctor’s Stealing Nasreen (2007)
9. Suzette Mayr’s Monoceros(2011)
10. Daniel Allen Cox Krakow Melt (2010)
11. Tanya Davis’ At First, Lonely (2011)
12. Ivan Coyote’s Missed Her(2010)Already-favourite authors:
13. Rose Tremain’s Sacred Country (1992)
14. Timothy Findley’s Spadework (2005)
15. Banana Yoshimoto’s The Lake (2005; 2011 Trans. Michael Emmerich)
How challenging? I read four in the first few weeks, so I thought it was going to be a breeze, but then things slowed down a bit.
Favourite Part? I wasn’t consciously reading for this, so it’s just lucky that when I checked in at the third quarter that I knew I would make my goal of 15 books. I’m really pleased with this because it means that I’ve got a habit…one that I like!

Heroine’s Bookshelf Challenge 2011 (No link: it seems inactive) 

Favourite Part? Re-reading Gone with the Wind. It reminded me of all the reasons that I love to re-read. Re-reading was one of my personal reading goals this year. I was aiming for a dozen re-reads of books that I’d loved before; this is the only one which was a truly surprising experience, and it reminded me that I want to re-read even more.

POC Reading Challenge 2011

1. Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake
2. Adwoa Badoe’s Between Sisters
3. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
4. Thomas King’s Truth and Bright Water
5. Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (2010)
6. Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998)
7. Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley (2010)
8. Tishani Doshi’s The Pleasure Seekers (2010)
9. Wendy Law-Yone’s The Road to Wanting (2010)
10. Roma Tearne’s The Swimmer (2010)
11. Anita Rau Badami’s Tamarind Mem (1996)
12. Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s Aya de Yopougon (2005)
13. Banana Yoshimoto’s The Lake (2005; translated by Michael Emmerich, 2011)
14. Sharon Draper’s Tears of a Tiger (1994)
15. Aristophane’s The Zabîme Sisters (1996; trans. Matt Madden, 2010)
16. George Elliott Clarke’s Whylah Falls (1990)
17. Ian Williams’ You Know Who You Are (2010)
18. Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues (2011)
19. Farzana Doctor’s Stealing Nasreen (2007)
20. Rabindranath Maharaj’s The Amazing Absorbing Boy(2010)
21. Ken Wiwa’s In the Shadow of a Saint(2000)
22. Suzette Mayr’s Monoceros (2011)
23. Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1983)
24. Dany Laferriere’s The Return (Trans. David Homel, 2011)
25. Jacqueline L. Tobin’s From Midnight to Dawn (2007)
26. Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table (2011)
27. Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone (2001)
28. Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s Aya de Yopougon 2 (2006)
29. Jaspreet Singh’s Chef (2008)

How challenging? Not very, but I’m going to make it more of a challenge next year.

Favourite Part? Browsing the participants’ pages. I absolutely love the widget that the challenge page has, which displays the book cover, which is just an added gloss to the invitation to check out what everybody else is reading.

and The Canadian Reading Challenge 5

1. Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie’s Slow Death by Rubber Duck (2010)
2-3. Louise Penny’s Dead Cold (2006) and The Cruellest Month (2007)
4. Timothy Findley’s Spadework (2001)
5.  Jane Urquhart’s Sanctuary Line (2010)
6.  Amy Lavender Harris’ Imagining Toronto (2010)
7-8.  Terry Griggs’ The Silver Door (2004) and Invisible Ink (2006)
9.  George Elliott Clarke’s Whylah Falls (1990)
10.  Jane Urquhart’s Sanctuary Line (2010)
11.  Robert Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics (2009)
12. Brian Moore’s The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1960)
13. Elspeth Cameron’s And Beauty Answers  (2007)
14. Toronto: An Illustrated History of Its First 12,000 Years (Ronald F. Williamson, Ed.) (2008)
15. Wayne Johnston’s A World Elsewhere (2011)
16. Pauline Holdstock’s Into the Heart of the Country (2011)
17. Zsuzsi Gartner’s Better Living through Plastic Explosives (2011)
18. Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues (2011)
19. Farzana Doctor’s Stealing Nasreen (2007)
20. Shawn Micallef’s Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto (2010)
21. Ian Williams’ You Know Who You Are (2010)
22. John McQuarrie’s Toronto: Then and Now (2000)
23. Suzette Mayr’s Monoceros (2011)
24. Ken Wiwa’s In the Shadow of a Saint (2000)
25. Thomas Wharton’s Icefields (1995) *
26. Rabindranath Maharaj’s The Amazing Absorbing Boy (2010)
27. Daniel Allen Cox’s Krakow Melt (2010)
28. Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers (2011)
29. James King’s Etienne’s Alphabet (2010)
30. Joey Comeau’s One Bloody Thing After Another (2010)
31. Tony Burgess’ Ravenna Gets (2010)
32. Adam Seelig’s Every Day in the Morning (Slow) (2010)
33. Nicholas Ruddock’s The Parabolist (2010)
34. James Fitzgerald’s What Disturbs Our Blood (2010)
35. Alissa York’s Fauna (2010)
36. Alexi Zentner’s Touch (2011)
37. Michael Christie’s The Beggar’s Garden (2011)
38. Clark Blaise’s The Meagre Tarmac (2011)
39. Lynn Coady’s The Antagonist (2011)
40. Dany Laferriere’s The Return (Trans. David Homel, 2011)
41. Genni Gunn’s Solitaria (2011)
42. Dan Vyleta’s The Quiet Twin (2011)
43. David Bezmozgis’ The Free World (2011)
44. Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows (2011)
45. Guy Vanderhaeghe’s A Good Man (2011)
46. Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table (2011)
47.Tanya Davis’ At First, Lonely (2011)
48. F.S. Michaels’ Monoculture (2011)
49. Adwoa Badoe’s Pot of Wisdom (2001)
50. Carole Off’s Bitter Chocolate (2006)
51. Joey Comeau’s Overqualified (2009)
52. Ivan Coyote’s Missed Her (2010)
53. Adam Gopnik’s Winter (2011)
54. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
55. Jaspreet Singh’s Chef (2008)
56. Canadian Poetry: From the Beginnings through the First World War (Carole Gerson and Gwendolyn Davies, Eds.) (1994)

How challenging? Not as all. As you can tell. But I’m going to change the nature of my challenge for next year and focus on a single author again (as I did this past year, with Ethel Wilson).

Favourite Part? Reading through the whole Giller longlist and awarding my own Gerber Giller. It was a lot of reading, and I was one weary reader at the end of it all, but sooooo many great books!

So what’s up for 2012? I haven’t quite decided yet.

There are 20 links in my notes just now. And those are just to the challenges that are really tempting.

But I also have some other reading goals. I need to get out a calendar and remind myself just how many days there are in a month and figure out what’s reasonable.

But it’s so hard to be reasonable when it comes to thinking about how much you can read, right?

How unreasonable are you being about your 2012 reading plans?!