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Read Along, Reflection

The Challenges in 2011

Sorry I have inundated your google reader or feeder with loads of review and wrap-up posts. I’m doing some last minute catch-up here, so bear with me. 🙂

Throughout the year my progress in reading challenges are recorded in this page: 2011 reading challenges

Looking back I did pretty well with some of the reading challenges sign-up for 2011. I have signed up doing what’s minimal to qualify but did better than I expected. So here’s a wrap-up for all challenges participated this year.

1. The Middle East Reading Challenge

Timeline: August 1, 2010 through July 31, 2011 – qualifying level 1 book.

  1. Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock
  2. I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti
  3. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
  4. Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar
  5. The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson
  6. When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant
  7. I Think of You by Ahdaf Soueif
  8. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri
  9. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry (it didn’t make it within timeline but read for Arab lit summer challenge)
2. The Chinese Literature Reading Challenge
Timeline: February 3rd 2011 to January 23rd 2012 – I started at Merchant level 1-3 books and manage to reach just that.
  1. The Vagrants by YiYun Li
  2. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  3. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

3. TBR Reading Challenges

I am doing this challenge because I need to read more from my own shelves this year, instead I am distracted on what’s out there in the library shelves. I’m not proud of what I have achieved and I’m going to give it another try next year.

Duration from 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2011.

The TBR challenge are hosted by Roof Beam Reader and Diane @Bibliophile by the Sea.

So here’s my list for the 12 and what I read this year (not great really, I’m sorry Diane, feels like I let you down):

  1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  2. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. East of Eden – John Steinbeck
  6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  7. Winter in Madrid – C.J. Sansom (read and pass on)
  8. A Crime in the Neighbourhood by Suzanne Berne –  (read and passed on)
  9. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres (read and pass on)
  10. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  11. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  12. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Two alternates:

  1. Iliad – Homer
  2. Italian Shoes – Henning Mankell
I will resolve to bring forward TBR in red to next year and finish them up.

5. The Nordic Challenge 2011

Timeline: 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2011. I am aiming at the level of 1-2 books but read 8 books and finishing it at Tor level! In the process, became quarter 2 winner for the challenge to bag both Purge by Sofi Oksa and The Unit by, which I am eternally grateful to Zee. I think this challenge has opened up a whole new world and possibility to me and I love Scandinavian crime to bits but would like to explore books from Scandinavian authors which are not crime fiction writers.
  1. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder
  2. The Castle in the Pyrenees by Jostein Gaarder
  3. The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
  4. Woman With Birthmark by Håkan Nesser
  5. Daniel by Henning Mankell
  6. Until thy wrath be past by Åsa Larsson
  7. The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser
  8. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson


6. The Haruki Murakami Challenge 2011

Timeline: 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2011.
The Murakami Challenge was another favourite of mine. I joined in at minimum level of one book and past reviews accepted. Love the buttons!
This year’s reading for new Murakami books read:
  1. Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
  2. What I Talk about when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami
  3. Underground by Haruki Murakami
  4. Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami
  5. Birthday Stories selected and introduced by Haruki Murakami

Past reviews:

  1. After Dark, Haruki Murakami
  2. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
  3. Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami
  4. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
  5. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
  6. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
  7. A Wild Sheep Chase, Haruki Murakami
Which brings me up to 10 Murakami books read!

7. 2011 Non-Fiction Challenge


– The challenge runs from January 17th to December 31st 2011.

1-3 books from different categories: Master of Trivial Pursuit
4-6 books from different categories: Apply For Who Wants to Be A Millionaire
7-9 books from different categories: Future Jeopardy Champion

I read 12 non-fiction books this year and qualified for a Future Jeopardy Champion:

  1. The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (Pop Culture)
  2. Camus, A Romance by Elizabeth Hawes (Memoir and Biography of an Author)
  3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (second read) (Memoir and Travelogues)
  4. I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti (Memoir and Politics)
  5. The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson (Memoir and Religion)
  6. The Making of a Royal Romance by Katie Nicholl (Biography, politics, monarchy)
  7. The Decision Book – 50 models for Strategic Thinking (Management)
  8. What I Talk about when I talk about Running by Haruki Murakami (Memoir and Sports)
  9. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri (Memoir)
  10. Underground by Haruki Murakami (Disaster event analysis)
  11. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry (Memoir and Conflict)
  12. Desert Divers by Sven Lindqvist (Travel, History, memoir)
  13. Bringing down the house by Ben Mezrich (Gambling, memoir)
  14. Death in Perugia by John Follain (Murder investigation)
  15. An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington (Comedy and travelogue)
  16. I was born there, I was born here by Mourid Barghouti (Prose, memoir)
8. Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011

I had lots of fun with crime and mystery genre this year and read a lot more crime fictions than I did for the past 4 years. I thought there were many good, well written crime fiction books out there, I just need to know where to look.  My reading list for this year is:

  1. The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
  2. Sister by Rosamund Lupton
  3. The Case of Missing Servant by Tarquinn Hall
  4. Crocodile at the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
  5. The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
  6. Woman With Birthmark by Håkan Nesser
  7. Until thy wrath be past by Åsa Larsson
  8. The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser
  9. Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
  10. Death in Perugia by John Follain
9. Books to Movies Challenge

June 1 – December 31, 2011

I only completed one book for Books To Movies Challenge. I would like to try again in the new year but have yet to see the any reading challenge of such nature. I think watching the movie straight after reading a book brings the tale to live and add more fun and memory retention to the reading. I’ll probably set out my own challenge for year 2012.

My reading and movie list for this challenge:

10. Japanese Literature Challenge 5
June 1, 2011 until January 30, 2012
Every year I look forward to second half of the year where I read a few books set in Japan. Although the challenge is not completed until end of January, for the sake year end lets pretend that it ended.
  1. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima
  2. Underground by Haruki Murakami
  3. Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami
  4. Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
Besides these 4 I read another two Japanese books which falls outside the challenge period.
11. Read a Myth Challenge
I haven’t done very well on my own challenge and so far have read only one book:
Read Along
Besides reading challenge, I have also participated in a few read-alongs and hosted one this year:
  1. I read 2666 by Roberto Bolano with Judith at Judith’s post on 2666 Read-Along
  2. I read Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie for Nigerian Literature Challenge hosted by the lovely Amy @ Amy Reads
  3. I hosted the Double read along : Frenchman’s Creek and The End of Mr. Y
  4. I read 4 out of the 6 shortlists for Orange Prize 2011


Participating in reading challenges is my way of providing some focus in my reading year and because I have always been driven by goal and objectives all my life, it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I achieved what I set out to do by the end of the year.

What would the focus in the new year be? Stay tuned and the results will be revealed on my next post. 🙂

About JoV

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


6 thoughts on “The Challenges in 2011

  1. I think you did really, really well! That was a lot of challenges! I hope the new year will bring you a lot of good books!

    Posted by Judith / Leeswammes | January 1, 2012, 10:38 am
  2. You did so well on your challenges in 2011, here’s to a fantastic reading year in 2012! Because of you I’ve added the following to read for the Middle East Challenge this year: Butterfly Mosque, I Saw Ramallah, and In the Country of Men.

    Happy New Year!

    Posted by Helen | January 1, 2012, 2:43 pm
  3. I’m so impressed that you manage to handle so many challenges during one year, well done!

    Posted by jessicabookworm | January 4, 2012, 5:39 pm

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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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