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TwentyEleven Challenge 2011 Wrap-Up

26 Dec

TwentyEleven Reading Challenge
The TwentyEleven Challenge required participants to read a total of 20 books – at least 1 from each of the categories below and 2 in most of them. I have to say, I didn’t do that great in this challenge. It sounded like a lot of fun and I could have completed it better, but life was too busy to manage it. For more details on what each of the categories mean, take a look at my sign-up post. To read my reviews, follow the links below. I don’t have reviews for all these books and for some of them won’t be putting up any reviews.

So here is my roundup:

1. To YA or not YA
The Book of TomorrowThe Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

2. With a Twist

The Map of Time by Felix Palma

3. Hot off the Presses

Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy

4. It Wasn’t Me! (aka Bad Bloggers*)
I have a long list of books for this one that I wanted to read, but really, didn’t get around to reading even one of them. #fail

5. Show it Who is Boss!
The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk are two books that I’ve heard such great things about. They have been sitting on my TBR shelf for over a year now and unfortunately, I still haven’t read them. And now that they are stuck in a box back home, I don’t know when I’ll get round to reading them.

6. Bablefish

Seven Years by Peter StammSeven Years by Peter Stamm: Translated from German by Michael Hofmann

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto: Translated from Japanese by Michael Emmerich

7. Will-Power? What Will-Power?

The Secret of the Nagas by Amish

Book cover: The Reincarnationist

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose

8. Mind the Gap

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. This completes the Robert Langdon series.

9. Back in the Day

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

10. Way Back When

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

11. Slim-Pickings

The Changeling by Nancy Jane Moore

The Virgin and the Gypsy by D.H. Lawrence

So out of the required 20 books needed to complete this challenge, I only read 14. Not utterly shameful, but not great either. I will be taking a break from this challenge this year though.

Historical Fiction Challenge Sign Up

7 Jan

So I’m being a little ambitious and signing up for one more challenge this year. And that will be it. It’s only the first week of 2011, and already I feel like I have a huge backlog both in terms of books to read and reviews that I’ve gotten a little behind on.

But having discovered Historical fiction last year and loved it, I have to participate in this challenge.

This reading challenge is being hosted by Historical Tapestry this year after being hosted by Royal Reviews for 3 years.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Any kind of historical fiction is accepted like Fantasy, YA.
  • Books can overlap with other challenges
  • You add the review link to the monthly post on Historical Tapestry

These are the levels:

  1. Severe Bookaholism: 20 books
  2. Undoubtedly Obsessed: 15 books
  3. Struggling the Addiction: 10 books
  4. Daring & Curious: 5 books
  5. Out of My Comfort Zone: 2 books

I have almost the entire Tudor series by Philippa Gregory to complete and I’m sure  I’ll come across more books that I want to read through the year, no doubt on the host blog (and elsewhere). But I’m not going to bite off too much more than I can manage.

Right now, I’m signing up at the Daring & Curious level for which I have to read 5 books in this genre. Hopefully I’ll manage to read more than that!

TwentyEleven Challenge Sign Up

5 Jan

TwentyEleven Reading ChallengeI’m signing up for the TwentyEleven Challenge this year. This is the second year that Bart’s Bookshelf is hosting it, and it sounds like a lot of fun.

I’m sure I’ll hit most of these categories without trying very hard, since I do explore different genres all the time. For some of the categories, of course I’ll have to hunt a bit. I’ll also have to read with more awareness – keeping track of sub-genre, country, year, original language etc. I want to do this anyway, so having a challenge that helps me do it is just what I need.

As of now, I have no idea  what books I’ll read for this challenge, so I’m making this one up as I go along.

Here are the rules:

  • Each book can only qualify for one category.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  • Books read from 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2011 are eligible.

And the categories for TwentyEleven are:

  1. To YA or not YA…
    Okay, this one works like this… Tend to read more Young Adult than Adult Fiction books then read one or two adult fiction titles, vice-versa if you don’t tend to read much Young Adult.
  2. …With a Twist.
    This one focuses on sub-genres, read a lot of chick-lit, then try a paranormal romance! Fantasy? Why not give some Steampunk a go, like a bit of Space-Opera in your Sci-Fi then pick up a military Sci-fi book. Like your Contemporary Literature, give a Young Adult Contemporary a chance. Well hopefully you get the idea!
  3. Hot off the Presses.
    Read a book published (in your country) in 2011? Then it counts for this category.
  4. It Wasn’t Me! (aka Bad Bloggers*)
    Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
    * Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.
  5. Show it Who is Boss!
    Tackle that overflowing T.B.R. pile! Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/12/10.
  6. Bablefish.
    Read books that are translated from a language that is not your own.
  7. Will-Power? What Will-Power? (aka: The Henry Ward Beecher Memorial.)
    You know that quote I have in my blog-header… “Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?” Recognise yourself in it? Then this is the one for you! Bought a book NEW during 2011? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count.
  8. Mind the Gap.
    Need just one more book to compete that duology/trilogy/series then read it for this one! (Obviously as this is for that final book you need to complete it, then you can’t read two books from the same series! And it clearly can’t be your first or penultimate read!)
    Because not everyone reads a series in order, this is for the last book you need to read, not necessarily the last book in the series…
  9. Back in the Day.
    Re-read an old favourite or two for this category.
  10. Way Back When.
    Read books that were published before you were born for this one, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!
  11. Slim-Pickings
    Got a novella you want to read? Then this one is the one for you! Any books between 90-150 pages count.


Blog Roundup 2010

30 Dec

I have been mulling over this post for a while now. This has been a very busy month with starting a new job and the commute and time logging that it demands. While I have been too tired to actually sit down and write a post, many mental drafts have been written and discarded. What do I say to round up this year?

I started this blog in January of 2010, and have been updating it semi-regularly since March. I’ve only just crossed 50 posts, which is quite a small number relatively. But I’m doing this for myself, so I won’t put undue pressure on myself and take away the fun. And while I have had fun, I’m also learning a lot.

Learning

I have tried a few things on the blog and have more or less figured out what works and what doesn’t at this point in time.

  • I’ve learnt to stop feeling guilty because I am reading a book that I feel like rather than one I should be reading for a review. I make sure that I post reviews as close to release date as possible for the new releases. For the rest of it, it’s okay, unless I’ve agreed to a certain date.
  • I’ve decided to not participate in blogger follows for the time being. It just hasn’t worked for me on many levels. I’m also not going to participate in other blogging memes in the near future.
  • Since many of the blogs on my blogroll and in my RSS reader are from these Follow memes, many of them talk about books that are not my taste. While these are good bloggers who write well, I will never read 99% of the books that they review and feature. So I’ve decided to pare down that list drastically. I will now be hunting more organically for blogs to follow.
  • And my blogroll will get an update early in January as well.
  • I liked doing the Crime Fiction Month this year. I’ll most probably repeat that next year as well, hopefully with many more reviews.

My reading

I pick up almost anything to read, but the true test of a book I enjoyed is one that stayed with me. I’ve become more aware of what I like, making it easier for me to pick the books I’ll read. The best way for me to tell is to actually start reading. By the time I get 10-20 pages in, I can tell if I’ll like it, love it or struggle to complete because I agreed to review it. And this broadly is my reading plan for 2011.

  • I plan to read some non-fiction – especially memoirs and biographies. I’ve come across a few that sound really interesting and I’ve decided to start with Cleopatra: A Life (as soon as it becomes affordably available in India).
  • Some of the reading challenges I’m participating in will also decide part of what I read and review.  So there are going to be many South Asian authors,  classics from the Guardian Challenge on my reading list.  I plan to join the TwentyEleven challenge (sign up post soon) and expect to read some good books for that as well.
  • I’m intrigued by audiobooks and realize have not listened to any since I was a kid. So I hope to get my hands on some audiobooks this year and use my driving time to catch up on my “reading.”

Other news

More bookish things that have happened this year:

  • I’ve ordered my Kindle and had a friend send it to me through her friend. It’s on it’s way to me! My NetGalley review copies will find a great new home. I wonder if I’ll take to it for reading other books as well. Excited nevertheless!
  • When I left my old job, my colleagues gave me some wonderful gifts. One is a bookshelf that I’ve started filling up. The other is a Landmark gift card that I’m waiting to use. I’ll wait a bit since I’ve just ordered a bunch of books from Flipkart and my TBR pile is looking quite big and healthy.

At the end of one year of Stargazerpuj’s Book Blog, I haven’t got a large number of followers, traffic that crashes servers, or publishers banging on my doors.

But I have got a fair number of interested readers and I’ve met some cool bloggers and readers. Some publishers and publicists who have started sending me review copies, some through review sites and some directly.  Seeing a review copy or ARC in my list of books to be read is rather thrilling.

I am enjoying the books I’m reading and the creative outlet this writing gives me. I believe that writing for myself has also made me a better writer.

Here’s to a great reading and book reviewing year in 2011.

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