Mid Year Challenges Wrap-up

It’s mid year so it seems like a good time to wrap up some challenges I’ve completed!

Once Upon a Time IV

once upon a time iv

Once Upon a Time IV ended on 20th June. I read 6 books that fall into category folklore, fantasy, fairy tales, or mythology, so I actually completed Quest the First (5 books) despite aiming for just The Journey (1 book). I did not even try for the challenge, so I guess fantasy and the likes are really in my comfort zone. Thanks to Carl for hosting this always fun challenge! Books read:

  1. The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan (4/5)
  2. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon (5/5)
  3. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (4/5) — contains 10 short stories
  4. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (4/5)
  5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (5/5)
  6. The Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman (3.5/5)

Apart from the books above I also read 1 short story (apart from 10 Angela Carter’s short stories in The Bloody Chamber): The evolution of trickster stories among the dogs of North Park after the Change by Kij Johnson (4/5)

My favorite is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Brilliant, brilliant work! The Bloody Chamber warrants a special mention too. It was my first Angela Carter and I think I will enjoy more of her works. And Pride of Baghdad for its excellent artwork!

Book Awards IV

Book Awards IV officially ends in November 2010, but I’ve completed it with flying colors as award winners are really my thing. But the challenge seems to die down. I haven’t seen much update from either the host or the participants. I decided to wrap this up and stop keeping track.

Books read:

  1. Waiting by Ha Jin (finished 01/10, rating 5/5)
    1999 National Book Award for Fiction
    2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (finished 01/10, rating 5/5)
    1966 Nebula Award for Best Novel
  3. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (finished 02/10, rating 4.5/5)
    2008 Ignatz Award for Best Graphic Novel
  4. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (finished 03/10, rating 4/5)
    2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Overall Best Book
    2009 ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) Book of the Year
  5. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (finished 03/10, rating 4.5/5)
    1932 Pulitzer Prize
    1938 Nobel Prize for Literature (the author for body of work)
  6. The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan (finished 03/10, rating 4/5)
    1999 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year
  7. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon (finished 04/10, rating 5/5)
    2006 IGN Best Original Graphic Novel
  8. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (finished 04/20, rating 5/5)
    1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Overall Best Book
    1995 Giller Prize
  9. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (finished 04/10, rating 4/5)
    1979 Cheltenham Prize for Literature
  10. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (finished 05/10, rating 4/5)
    2009 World Fantasy Award (Novel)
    2009 Honor Book: Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
  11. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (finished 06/10, rating 4.5/5)
    1961 Pulitzer Prize

My favorites are A Fine Balance, Waiting, and Flowers for Algernon, all amazing for completely different reasons.

China Challenge

china challenge

China Challenge officially ends in September 2010 but I decided to wrap this up too now because the next level is 10 books and I don’t think I’m gonna get there. I personally really enjoyed this challenge and will try to incorporate Chinese books in my future reading every once in a while. I completed Fast Train to Shanghai level which requires 5 books (but uum.. I forgot the nonfiction. Oops.)

  1. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (finished 10/09, rating 4/5)
  2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (finished 12/09, rating 4.5/5)
  3. Waiting by Ha Jin (finished 01/10, rating 5/5)
  4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (finished 03/10, rating 4.5/5)
  5. Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang (finished 06/10, rating 4.5/5)

I really enjoyed all the books here. If I have to pick the tops of the lot it would be Waiting and Love in a Fallen City.

I have more challenges to wrap up, but I really need to sleep so those’ll do for now. Did you join any of those above? How did you go?

Some post-challenge pondering: Though I love challenges, I think from now on I’m gonna pass any challenges that are longer than a couple of months, especially the ones that go for a year long. The excitement dies down pretty quickly, and the initial intention to share reads with readers that have the same interests don’t really work out well. After two months or three everybody seems to have forgotten about the challenge and we never hear from each other again. Do you think that’s true? Do you forget about the challenges you join after a couple of months? Do you make effort to visit fellow participants of the challenges you join? Do you expect the host to give you a visit once in a while? What do you hope/expect to get out of challenges?

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14 thoughts on “Mid Year Challenges Wrap-up”

    1. vivienne, don’t worry, I’m sure a lot of people have lost their way too ;). That’s why I’ll try to avoid long challenges from now on!

  1. Wow, Mee, you really soared with success! (Wait, does that sound like an elementary school teacher talking? I sadly suspect so!) I’m most familiar with the books you read for the Awards challenge, being paricularly fond of The Good Earth, Flowers for Algernon, and Waiting.

    It was great to read Tender Morsels with you, and I’m super excited about when I can open A Fine Balance as everyone has just raved about it on my post from Mailbox Monday.

    1. Bellezza, thank you, what a nice compliment. I feel the teacher in you ;). So happy we are fond of the same books! I look forward to our next read-together, and you reading A Fine Balance. I’m quite surprised how many people vouched for it on your Mailbox Monday and Claire’s review recently!

  2. I’m with you on the challenges shorter thing — I have a hard time staying focused! Some I’m able to do, but I think I need my own personal challenges, that last three months tops.

    1. Rebecca, 3 months sounds great. I’m okay with perpetual personal challenges though, because I’m not pressed for time. The good thing about collective challenges is the chance to meet people with the same reading interest. But sometimes this works sometimes not so much.

  3. Well done on your challenges! You did great on all of them, especially since you mentioned you weren’t even trying for the first one! The China challenge sounded like fun, I love reading books that take place in Asia even though I don’t read those as much as I wish I would.

    1. kay, thank you! I love reading books that take place in Asia but don’t read those as much as I wish I would too. Or any other setting apart from US and UK really.

  4. Well done in completing some of your challenges. I like challenges which spans a year, so that I don’t feel like I have to be hurried to complete certain challenges.. having said that it’s a manner of courtesy of a host to say hi, hello, and check on participants on and off, because it does feel like I’m the only one sharing reviews and participating if I’m not sure if the host exists!

    I’ll read some of your reviews when I have time…. My TBR list is beginning to look like Mee’s “Has read” list now and I trust your recommendation on what’s great out there, and you read great books!

    1. Oh you’re so right that if a challenge spans a year we have a lot of time to complete it. In fact I haven’t joined many short challenges too, exactly because there’s too little time to complete it, so I just lurk to see what people recommend and read. I can definitely understand what you said about the host. The whole point of challenge (IMO) is to build a (temporary) community of people who have the same reading interests. So if there’s no communication at all, it seems to miss the point.

      Oh and likewise, my tbr looks like Jo’s “Has Read” list lol!

  5. Whoa that’s a lot of book you read…and well done in completing some challenge. I’m still haven’t finished any of my challenges yet.

    Mid year warp up is a great idea.

    You’ve read To Kill A Mocking Bird and gave high rating…I’ll be reading it this year and hoping that the anticipation will be paid off

    1. Novroz, I have some reservations for To Kill A Mockingbird, but it’s worthy read. Hope you like it too. So far I’ve been doing great with my challenges, but I’m thinking to not join any next year, as I’d like to allow more whim reading.

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