When I saw that the sign-ups for this challenge had been closed on January 1st, I was so disappointed.

Oh, it’s terrible, how many hours I spend thinking about reading, when all of those hours could have been spent actually reading; I’d already spent way too long making my list and, seemingly, all for naught.

But then the sign-up was extended for a few days, so off I went, into the land of extended revision history, to find that list of twelve books and two alternates.

And here it is.
1. Honore de Balzac’s Cousin Bette (1846)
2. Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (1859) FINISHED JANUARY 2013 (no, it doesn’t count!)
3. Hjalmar Soderberg’s Doctor Glas (1905)
4. E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End (1910)
5. D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers (1913)
6. Dorothy Sayers’ Strong Poison (1930)
7. Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber (1944)
8. Alan Paton’s Too Late the Phalarope (1953)
9. Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner (1971)
10. Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987)
11. Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2005)
12. Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes (2007)

Alice Walker’s Meridian (1976)
Isabel Allende’s Eva Luna (1987)

A number of these have been on my shelves for more than ten years, and the more recent novels were ones that I simply had to buy “right away” but, somehow, years later, I haven’t read them yet either.

Still, this is not going to be a comfy challenge; there are many reasons why these books have lingered (I’m not saying they’re good reasons); I’ll be amazed (but happily so) to find myself reading a dozen of them in 2012.

But here’s hoping, er, reading!

May 20, 2012 Update:
Nearing the halfway point of the year I’ve only read two, and the two slimmest volumes at that! But most of these are books that I’ve started to read and set aside again (for one reason or another, not any reflection of the work itself) or works that I’m consciously resisting (#4 is my last of his novels and #7 is sooo long), so perhaps I should be surprised that I’ve managed to read two of them!

July 4, 2012 Update:
I finally managed to finish the DHL novel, which was really slowing me down. I know that he’s a longtime favourite of a good friend, and I used to count him among my favourite writers too, but tastes change, and this was quite a struggle for me. Still, I’m glad that I read it, and I did enjoy it more as it went on. Now I’m reading Lawrence Hill’s novel, which is beautifully written and wholly absorbing.

September 20, 2012 Update:
Heading for the year’s final quarter, it’s looking unlikely that I’ll finish this dozen, but I have, finally, made it past the various sticking points that I’ve found in The Woman in White in the past.  And, hey, it’s fantastically entertaining!

2013 Update:
This is the first challenge that I haven’t completed. I did end up finishing Wilkie Collins’ novel late in January the following year, and I do, still, intend to read the remaining books, but I think my old Must Reads list, which is really where the bulk of these titles were generated from, has been amended by so many unofficial must-reads that I need to rework the system. Must Reads + Must Reads + Must Reads = Just Too Much. S’ok…now I know!