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Read Along, Reflection

Challenges in the New Year 2012!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a great time unwrapping your presents, dig into those Christmas pudding and have a great time with family and friends.

The year of 2011 is almost ended and I have my eye on a few new reading challenges next year. So here is my sign-up post for all challenges that I hope to participate next year:

Unread Book Challenge 2012

It is with sheer trepidation that I am signing up to two challenges of reading off my shelves again. This madness of acquiring books without reading them cannot go on and I agree with the host that the purpose of this challenge is to:

“decrease the size of the stack, not let it metastasize all over your bookshelves like some kind of fascinating but ultimately dangerous literary cancer.”

So that’s what I wanted to do. For Off the shelf challenge, I’ll be aiming for 30 books to read.

Making A Dint – Choose 30 books to read

What is my current book hoarding crisis situation right now?

The stats for reading own books this year hasn’t been impressive. I have read 21 books from my shelf this year, many which are acquired the same year. 😦

At Christmas day, I have 240 unread books at home, I aim to read about 15 % (about 35 books) of the total unread books. If at weak resolve I acquire more books in 2012, that will skew my 15% target and I’ll never be able to achieve it. 😦

Roof Beam Reader 2012 tbr pile challenge : I’m also joining Roof Beam Reader’s TBR challenge. They are all one of the same challenge why sign-up for more you’d say? Well, the more pressure the better. This madness of not reading from my own shelf is going too far!!! 😦

So here’s another try for the 12 next year and two alternates:

  1. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  2. The Bird Song – Sebastian Faulk
  3. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  4. My Name is Red – Orhan Pamuk
  5. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  6. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  7. The Dark Side of Love – Rafik Schami
  8. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
  9. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  10. The Moor’s Last Sigh – Salman Rushdie
  11. Wolf Totem – Jiang Rong
  12. The Poisonwood’s Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Two alternates, just in case:
  1. White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  2. Small Island – Andrea Levy

Middle Eastern Challenge 2012: I consider reading books about Middle Eastern and North Africa my yearly staple. The new year with no exception.

I am joining Tea and Books reading challenge as well. First because the button is absolutely gorgeous, and I do have several chunksters of more than 700 pages to get through. So if I try out for the Chamomile Tea level at 2 books and achieve it I may feel motivated enough to drink Earl Grey after that!

Non-fiction non memoir challenge: Again I can’t see the year goes by without reading any non-fiction. They are my guilty pleasure and I will endeavour to read more in the new year than what I read this year.

Graham Greene Reading Challenge: Like Carrie I’m reminded how I love The Quiet American, when I first introduced to Graham Greene, since then I read another 3 of his novels.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

The End of the Affair By Graham Greene
The Heart of the Matter By Graham Greene
The Power and The Glory, Graham Greene

For this challenge, I’m getting my feet wet (level title) with 2 Graham Greene books read for 2012. I’ll join in on the Brighton Rock readalong and maybe read “The Man in Havana” or “The Comedian” or “The General’s consul”. There are so many to choose from!

Over 2 years I have accummulated a lot of books written by Indian Authors and this year I’ll be taking this opportunity to participate in the South asian challenge!

These are some of the books I have in my shelf which qualifies:

  1. Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
  2. Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai
  3. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
  4. A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth
  5. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  6. Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
  7. and a few Salman Rushdie’s books
Like the host, I’m drawn to immigration stories. I find hidden gems of stories of pain, courage and triumph that go with these stories which celebrates human resilience and love. So I’m signing up to the Just off the Boat level in Immigrant stories challenge next year.
The levels of challenge are:

Just off the boat: 1-3 books  
This land is my land?: 4-6 books  
Fully assimilated: 6+ books 


All challenges run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. That’s the way I like it. Gives me enough time to plod along at the beginning of the year and do the last sprint sometime at the end of the year!

For this reason I’ll have to take a rain check on some reading challenges that expects me to read books by category, and read one every month or read vigorously for the entire month on Charles Dicken (as much as I want to read Dicken soon but I can’t commit to posting about him every Tuesday) or books from European countries. It’s a little intense and restrictive for me.

That’s seven challenges (not counting TBR challenges which are of the same nature) so far that I have signed up. I’ll be watching out for the Japanese Literature Challenge later this year.

What about you? How did you do this year and how many have you sign up for the new year?

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


58 thoughts on “Challenges in the New Year 2012!

  1. Oh my! What a lot of challenges! But it will be a lot of fun trying to do them all.

    I did pretty good with my (few) challenges this year – except for one that I devised myself – I only read 1 of 10 books for that one.

    Next year I’m taking it easy, but still signed up to 3 or so challenges.

    Happy Christmas, Jo!

    Posted by Judith / Leeswammes | December 25, 2011, 2:32 pm
    • Judith,
      What are you doing here on Christmas Day?? LOL.. Happy Christmas to you too Judith! I’m the same, I’m good with other challenges except the one that I devised. :(… I’m still catching up with this year’s challenge and I’ll be posting about it soon.

      I try to refrain (not very much) next year! My average was 10 a year. 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 25, 2011, 2:43 pm
  2. Wow Jo. That’s an inspirational list of challenges ! My bookshelf is growing and tipping dangerously to the never-going-to-be-touched side so maybe it’s high time I start cutting down on buying and finding more time to read read and read 🙂 Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year to you !!

    Posted by Joanna | December 25, 2011, 2:40 pm
  3. Those challenges look wonderful, Jo, and you are so successful with them I’m sure you’ll complete them all! 🙂 Good luck with reading from your shelf, sounds like you could open your own library 😉 Merry Christmas!

    Posted by Bina | December 25, 2011, 5:31 pm
  4. Great challenges, Jo! I am so glad you’re joining me for the Middle East Challenge. And, I loved the Southwest Asia challenge when I did it two years ago

    Posted by Helen | December 25, 2011, 7:07 pm
  5. Merry Christmas to you, too, JoV, and good luck with all those challenges you have lined up for 2012! I’d like to put a dent in my TBR next year as well, but unlike you I’m too disorganized to figure out the number of titles I’d like to read from it. I also want to use the library more, so my goal is really less acquisitions more than slimming down on the TBR stack. Cheers!

    Posted by Richard | December 25, 2011, 7:57 pm
    • Richard,
      Merry Christmas to you! Assuming you have read everything you got on your shelf, library loan is the way to go, otherwise you’ll fall into the same trap as I did this year, i.e. reading more of library books and not reading enough off my shelf!

      Posted by JoV | December 27, 2011, 7:42 pm
  6. While not officially joining any of your (three) read-from-my-own pile challenges, I do feel compelled to do the same. Not buy, just read what I have.

    I see several wonderful titles in this post which I, too, want to read such as A Fine Balance and My Name is Red.

    Already I’m looking forward to 2012!

    Posted by Bellezza | December 25, 2011, 8:58 pm
  7. My goodness, that is a lot of challenges! I’ll only be doing the usual few…

    …and they can wait until next year – merry Christmas!

    Posted by Tony | December 25, 2011, 11:22 pm
  8. Some great challenges-consider strongly adding some R. K. Narayan to your Indian reads-I want to read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry in 2012 also-On Rushdie I have one of his books as an E-File and pretty sure will get it in 2012-if you have not read Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh it is a very good historical novels-I have two or three e books of Ghosh and will read some of his work in 2012

    I hope 2012 is a great reading year for you

    Posted by Mel u | December 26, 2011, 4:24 am
  9. Welcome to the Graham Greene Challenge! And good luck with all the other ones you’re joining, too. 🙂

    Posted by Carrie K. | December 26, 2011, 4:36 am
  10. What an inspiring list of challenges. Just like the last year, I am tempted to steal some off from your list. I am particularly interested in Off the Shelf and Tea and Books. The latter sounds challenging (well that is why it is called a challenge, isn’t it?) but I think I can do it. I am not signing up for TBR, the last year was a big failure, I am not doing it again.

    Posted by Anamika | December 26, 2011, 5:59 am
    • Anamika,
      I’ll let you know when I’m reading to gobble up A Suitable Boy. Last year TBR wasn’t particularly great for me due to lack of discipline in library loan. I think both Off the Shelf and Tea and Books will give me the extra push I need to read some chunksters and forget about the counting numbers of books read, instead think about how many great epics I will read next year. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | December 27, 2011, 7:47 pm
  11. Wow…you have a lot of challenges.I haven’t begun challenge hunting yet 😉
    Probably later, early january

    Posted by Novroz | December 26, 2011, 9:05 am
  12. Hey, Jo! 🙂

    First of all, thanks for your list of challenges. It has saved me from having to hunt for the challenges on my own. *shame* Lol.

    Anyway, I am very much interested with both Middle East Challenge and South Asian Challenge. Time to expand my reading horizon. I will definitely sign them up. 🙂 Also, I will sign up for Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Reading Challenge as I have vowed to read more nonfiction (particularly books on self-improvement, business, psychology and politics) since my uni library has a great collection of them so I better make full use of it before I graduate.

    In case u haven’t known, as announced in Budget 2012, Malaysian government is giving out RM200 book voucher to all the local students (primary to tertiary education).. I am particularly thrilled about it and can’t wait to enjoy using in January.

    Let’s make 2012 a fruitful year with lots of reading. A Happy New Year to u! 🙂

    Posted by Ting | December 26, 2011, 1:53 pm
    • Ting,
      You are serious?!! RM200 for ALL students? not just selective ones? and how are they going to do that? Are they officially giving out on a single day or in schedule? or claim it yourself kind of thing? Anyway, I’m happy with my library, charity shops and Amazon.co.uk, but with the lack of alternatives in Malaysia, I’m happy that every student is getting a RM200 vouchers. 😉

      Let me know what you are reading for Middle East, South Asian and Non-fiction, non-memoir challenge. It will be great to compare notes. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | December 27, 2011, 7:52 pm
      • Sorry, I got my info wrong. Obviously not ALL, but only students in matriculation, form 6 and (local and public) higher learning institutions. The eligible students will claim using their student card or IC from their respective schools or institutions starting next month. Then we can redeem the book vouchers (only valid from 1st Jan till 31st March 2012) from all participating book shops. I just hope they don’t limit the kind of books we can buy with it. 🙂

        Sure, I will list them down once I have got more time!

        Posted by Ting | December 29, 2011, 6:14 pm
  13. That’s a lot of challenges! Thanks for including the Non-Fiction Non-Memoir challenge in your list. I hope you enjoy it!

    Posted by Julie | December 27, 2011, 3:07 am
    • Julie,
      I will do. Lots of business and management books I’m suppose to read up. They will not be particularly popular with my blog readers but it is essential for my livelihood! 😉

      Posted by JoV | December 27, 2011, 7:54 pm
  14. Those challenges look serious. 🙂
    I see you’ve got The Poisonwood Bible on the list and I can only say it’s an excellent choice. Also, “Letters from Thailand” by Botan would be a good addition to your Immigrant Stories Challenge. Just sayin’. 😉
    I hope you’re enjoying the holidays.

    Posted by Delia (Postcards from Asia) | December 27, 2011, 3:17 pm
  15. You have chosen some fun looking challenges for 2012. enjoy. I picked a few as well – 6 worked perfectly for me in 2011.

    Posted by Diane@BibliophileBytheSea | December 28, 2011, 1:38 am
  16. This sound like great challenges ! I’m probably going to participate in at least one, probably two or three or these. THANKS for promoting them !!!

    Posted by maphead | December 28, 2011, 3:41 pm
  17. Glad you are on board for the Immigrant Stories Challenge this year! I am doing many of the same other challenges you are doing so it will be good to check-in throughout the year on what we are each reading.

    Posted by booksnyc | December 29, 2011, 2:39 am
  18. oh – and btw – Glass Palace and Inheritance of Loss are two of my favorite Southeast Asian author books. Hope you enjoy them too!

    Posted by booksnyc | December 29, 2011, 2:41 am
  19. ahh.. The unread book challenge. I guess I need something like that too, there are far too many now lying unread.

    I think buying books and reading them are two very separate activities and I bet you will still buy more and that unread pile will keep growing :p

    Everyone who reads has a unread pile. May be there should be some unread book exchange club 🙂

    Posted by driftwood | December 30, 2011, 7:21 am
    • Driftwood,
      What’s why the host of unread challenge wants you to achieve a certain % on your unread books, rather than how many you bought. I think there should be a unread book exchange club too! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2011, 1:52 am
  20. Crime and Punishment almost made my list – but I’ve got so many chunksters on it, I had to pass on some. I hear good things about A Suitable Boy and The Poisonwood Bible… and White Teeth is pretty fantastic. Good luck & thanks for taking the challenge!

    Posted by Roof Beam Reader | December 30, 2011, 6:06 pm
  21. good luck as for me no challenges next year just read as I want for a year ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | December 31, 2011, 12:58 pm
  22. I haven’t technically signed up for any challenges for 2012 yet but I’m pretty certain I will be signing for the Mental Illness Advocacy challenge again, also contemplating a Terry Pratchett reading challenge as well. Looking at your list I think I might have to go check out the Tea and Books Reading Challenge 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | December 31, 2011, 5:38 pm
  23. I did pretty badly, only completing three challenges. This year, I’m hoping to make a dent in my tbr pile, which I failed to do last year :/ Like you, I’m participating in the South Asian challenge, but this year I haven’t selected any books beforehand. A Suitable Boy is a bit too daunting (huge!) but I did tick off The Inheritance of Loss last year. Looking forward to your review of that book 🙂

    Posted by Chinoiseries | January 3, 2012, 8:25 pm
  24. Inspired you and a few of my other favorite bloggers, I’ve signed up for a number of challenges. Here’s a link to my challenge page:

    Posted by maphead | January 5, 2012, 2:58 pm
    • Maphead,
      I thought it’s great that everyone sign up to the unread challenge, TBR of some sort.. common problem for book lovers who are unable to read from our own shelves… wait till you hear what’s coming from the publishing world in 2012!

      Posted by JoV | January 5, 2012, 11:04 pm
  25. Really exciting challenges here. Good luck with reading off your shelf – if it makes you feel better I’m sure I’ve got over 500 unread on my shelves now :S Oops. heh

    Posted by amymckie | January 20, 2012, 12:09 am


  1. Pingback: 2012 Challenges Summary: BA’s Off the Shelf Reading Challenge « Bookish Ardour - February 13, 2013

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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