The Sunday Salon – 2009 Personal Challenges and Winners

by Rachel Baker on November 23, 2008

Sunday SalonOld Musty (as I affectionately call it – my friends call it Old Crusty or OMB) just recently turned one year old.  Its been an amazing year on the reading front.  I’ve made some great friends, read some great books and seen some great conversations amongst the online reviewers.  As this year comes to a close, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I want to accomplish in regards to reading during 2009.  I am sure in regards to the site, there will be some changes in layout throughout the year, there will be the ongoing giveaways (I really, really like these!), and I am hoping for a bit more structure to the books I read.

I have found I went running pell mell into reading whatever book I wanted whenever I wanted and then reviewing it right after.  Structure has been a big ‘concern’ for me over the last few weeks, because I feel like I’ve needed some ‘time off’ from reading every book that comes my way.  I’ve decided that while I won’t turn down books for review, I do need to have some things I want to read to ‘better myself’ in a ‘well rounded reader’ sense.  I’ve tentatively come up with some personal challenges.  Within these challenges, there will inevitably be some ‘research’ into the different genres and what qualifies a book to fall into this genre, the history of different countries and critical theory for the area of literature the book(s) fall under.

The first is a Literary World Cruise of sorts.  I read Love in the Time of Cholera this year, but didn’t review it.  When I read it, the movie was coming out and I wanted to make sure I’d read the book first.  Well, it took me two tries, and I haven’t seen the movie yet.  When I finally got around to actually reading it, I found I loved it.  (I wonder why I didn’t review it?)  Anyway, long story short, I decided I wanted to read more foreign authors.  So, my 2009 challenge is to read several books written in different countries.  Here’s the list so far:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and translated by Reg Keeland
Esther’s Inheritance by Sandor Marai and translated by George Szirtes
A Blessed Child by Linn Ullmann and translated by Sarah Death
The Diary of Lady Murasaki by Murasaki Shikibu and translated by Richard Bowring
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and translated by Robert Maguire
I think I’m going to re-read Love in the Time of Cholera, also

What recommendations can you all make?

My next challenge is a Young Adult/Juvenile/children’s challenge.  This specific one is for a segment I want to do around the end of April through beginning of June – yup!  Just in time for summer reading.  So far on this list is:

The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
by Astrid Lindgren
Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting Recipes by Felicity Dahl
Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass
The Blue Stone – A Journey Through Life by Jimmy Liao
Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
Incantation by Alice Hoffman
Ignatious MacFarland: Frequenaut by Paul Feig
Billy Bones by Christopher Lincoln
Bisingr by Christopher Paulo

I know there are more for this list, what suggestions do you all have?

The third personal challenge is all about Jane Austen.  I shamefully admit I haven’t read a whole lot of the Jane Austen classics.  In no specific order, this list includes:

Sense and Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice
Lady Susan
Mansfield Park

Am I missing anything here?

This year, I missed the boat, but I want to do a segment on Horror.  I’m not sure what books to put here yet, but I’ll keep you updated. I’m pretty sure a look at Frankenstein (the 1818 version vs the 1831 version) and Dracula will probably be on the list.  Beyond these two, I really have to do some research into the genre.  Suggestions are welcome here!

So, that’s just my own personal challenges for the new year.  In no way, shape or form, is this going to be all the books I plan on reading.  I’m very excited about this, so much so, I couldn’t wait to tell you all about them.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to announce the winners of the Holiday Entertaining Giveaway.  Without further ado, they are:





Congratulations to you all and Happy Entertaining!

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