Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome to a Year of Reading Dangerously!


Hello, one and all! We have a very special treat for you here at Estella's Revenge. We've decided to host our very first reading challenge!

"My Year of Reading Dangerously: A Challenge" will begin on January 1, 2008 and consist of some very simple rules. Namely, read authors or genres that intimidate you.

Heather and I particularly enjoy flexibility since we're so bad with reading deadlines, so we've laid out a few ways that you can participate in this challenge.

1. Read along with the "official" Estella's Revenge "Dangerous" novels. We've proposed twelve months of truly worthwhile and somewhat intimidating books. We've carefully polled the Estella's Revenge writers for titles that stand out, and Heather and I chose to delve into some oft-poo-pooed genres to mix things up a bit. There's nothing like branching out, right?

The Twelve "Official" Novels by month

January: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (since Estella is our namesake)
February: The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (African American)
March: Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood (Atwood for Atwood's sake)
April: Transformations, by Anne Sexton (Poetry)
May: Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote (Southern)
June: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (Russian)
July: The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier (adolescent)
August: Maus I and II, by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel, Pulitzer winner)
September: The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Van Booy (Independent)
October: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth (Contemporary/Jewish)
November: A Month of Classic Short Stories, Various - watch for a list
December: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (Dusty)

At the beginning of every month Heather and myself will post a list of discussion questions here at the site. Each question will have its own comment area and readers can feel free to discuss at their leisure as they read through the book or when they have finished completely.

The kicker: By participating in "official" discussions, you will automatically enter yourself to win fabulous prizes. Books, bookmarks, signed copies of novels and other tantalizing treats. Heather and I are working our little heinies off collecting loot as we speak.

2. If you don't want to read our list, your other choice is to simply to complete 12 books that you deem "dangerous" and intimidating. You can do it in a year, in a month or in a week. It's up to you!

And, of course, a combination of numbers 1 and 2 is also possible. Be creative. We welcome it.

If you think you would like to participate, enter your name and blog address below (if you don't have a blog, you can still enter). Watch this space for further announcements!


102 comments:

Fence said...

Oooh, great idea. I'm going to try and read along with the "official" list. I don't think I've read any of those listed

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

I'm definitely in but I think I will go with option #2. I have joined a whole bunch of reading challenges and have challenged myself to read books outside my comfort zone in most of them. I'll work on a specific list and post soon.

Heather T.
www.thelibraryladder.blogspot.com

Andi said...

Great to have you, Fence and Heather!! Looking forward to reading about your choices. :)

Kristy said...

I'm going to try to read along too. I may make a few substitutions since I've read a few, but certainly not all.

Andi said...

Great, Kristy! It'll be wonderful to have you!

Stephanie said...

My name is Stephanie and I'm a Challenge Addict!!

Of course, I'm joining!! I will have to substitute for January, since I've read Great Expectations...twice already!! Maybe something else by Dickins. Other than that, I will try to follow along with your selections!!

Great Idea!!

Ex Libris said...

Ooh, I love it! Count me in. I will probably do a combination of your choices and mine. (I read the Capote this year - great book!)

Wendy said...

Oooooh, I can't resist - I'll be doing a combination since some of these I've already read :)

Also I've posted your challenge to my Novel Challenges blog!! Thanks for giving me the link :)

Bookgirl said...

You betcha I'm joining this one :)
I'm going to go with Option #2. Not sure what my list will be yet...

Callista said...

This sounds interesting. I'll think about it and post my list and add myself to mr. linky when in a few days.

April Boland said...

Hey, I will be doing a mix of your list and my own. Yay!

Kristina said...

I can't wait to do this!! Classics tend to intimidate me anyway and I have a whole bunch on my TBR shelf at home! I will probably do a combo of your selections and mine since I've read Grapes of Wrath and Transformations and a few others. Thanks for this challenge!!

April Boland said...

Are we also allowed to put that gorgeous banner you have on the sidebar on our blogs??

Andi said...

April, but of course! Feel free to steal the banner and hang it at your place.

Eloise said...

What a great idea for a challenge, thanks! I'd love to join in. I will probably do a mix of 1 and 2 as I love Dickens too much for it to be a challenge. It's about time I plucked up the courage to read The Grapes of Wrath though, I don't know why it's always seemed so off-putting.

Nyssaneala said...

This is a great idea. I'll be doing a mix of 1 & 2 since I have read some of the books already. I see Shakespeare making its way onto my list in some way.

Chelsea said...

So excited to read along! Other than The Chocolate War (which, for some reason, I read as a child) I'll be trying my best to keep up with the list!

jocelyn said...

This is the first challenge I've ever joined and I'm so excited to be a part of it. I'll be reading a mix of the official list with some of my own choices since I've read two of the books on the list.

Bookfool said...

I'm going with option #2, also, since I've read several of the books listed. I'll work on my own list and post it ASAP.

Estella said...

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks to everyone who's joined so far! It's great to see some new-to-me faces, and I can't wait to read your respective blogs. That's all I need...more favorites! But I do look forward to it, and I hope you all enjoy the challenge.

Andi
http://estellasrevenge.blogspot.com

Rebecca said...

Can't wait to start reading. I think I will follow along with the selections you have outlined, that way I can participate in discussion questions. I'm excited to push myself this year!

MissHum22 said...

Having an "Oprah Book Club Selection" on your list.... now that IS dangerous! I love this idea.

Anonymous said...

Hello it's Jodie! I'll be playing along even though I don't have a blog. I'm really excited about an official Estella's challenge and love the list (even if Roth does still scare me a bit).

Andi said...

Welcome, Rebecca! We're happy to have you along with us!

Thanks, MissHum! We like to live on the edge. What can I say??

Jodie!!! It's great to have you! Thanks for joining us!

Chefgirly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chefgirly said...

Definitely going to do this challenge. Probably will do a combo of #1 and #2. Can't wait!

Andi said...

Welcome aboard, Chefgirly! Great to have you!

DJ said...

i m up or this dangerous challenge :)
looking forward to a great 2008...

tc..

--
DJ
http://ithinktobeme.blogspot.com

Estella said...

Welcome, DJ!

Andi

Kathleen Prettyman said...

I'm in! Need to get out of my comfort zone.

Andi said...

Welcome, Kathleen!

laurie said...

i'm not joining because i'm too intimidated! but this year i took on "ulysses" for this precise reason: i knew it would be daunting.

i have 200 pages to go.

it's taken me four months.

excellent blog idea!

-Ann said...

Fantastic idea. I've decided on my list.

Catherine said...

I'm going to attempt this. I've already read a few of the official list, but the rest of the list looks interesting so I'm just going to make a few substitutions. I'm excited about this, it's going to be a real challenge as 2008 is an exam year for me, but I'm more than ready.

I'll post my list on my blog in a while , when I've had time to properly think about it.

gautami tripathy said...

A few I will read from your list. Rest from my own. Some books are simply scary to pick up.

I will put up my list in a few days.

Ash said...

I'm excited about this! I've already read a couple of the books though, so I'll have to find some substitutions.

Ash
ashtoreadlist.blogspot.com

chica said...

cool idea! The first challenge for me would be to figure out what these books would be. Will post a list soon.

karen/good english said...

this sounds like a good one for me, just enough of a challenge without being intimidating! I think I'll go with the "official" list but substitute an author who's personally challenging -- within the same genre -- if the official choice is a book I've read already. (for example, I'll probly read an author that I personally have put off reading within the graphic novel genre, since I've already read Maus -- GREAT choice, btw.)

looking forward to the discussions!

Ann Marie said...

Catherine told me about the challenge so I decided to give it a go. I've only read one book on the list, Maus, so I'm reading Is There An Afterlife? by David Fontana instead.
I'm going to try to stick to the list but I studying English and History so if I can't manage a months book I'll sub in an English book instead. They're tend to be varied so it should keep with the spirit of it.

Lindsey said...

Whoa! Okay! I am all for this!! (new to your blog by the way - love it!)

I'm going to opt for my own list... starting to think about it now...

off to mull and ponder :)

MichelleD said...

This is the first challenge that I've ever signed up for! I'm almost done with grad school, so I need something to me focused. ;) I'll read the official list given here.

~Michelle

LaToya said...

I am looking forward to the adventure!

heather said...

Looking forward to the reading challenge. This will be my very first one.

kristen said...

My first challenge!

Cicely said...

Oooooh! This is gonna be fun!

Otter said...

I am looking forward to the challenge. I think I am going to create some sort of challenge for my middle school students in my reading classes as well!

Agapetospaidiske said...

I chose some of your list and some of my own. :-}

Lisa said...

This will be fun. I will post my list soon.
Lisa

Rachel K said...

I'm excited!

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria said...

I've renamed this challenge; in my mind, I refer to it as My Year of Terrifying Reading! I literally picked all the giant, intimidating books off my own book shelves and I resolve to give them a fair reading. Overall, my list is almost half #1, with my own selections thrown in:
http://rhinocerosrunning.wordpress.com/right-now-im-reading/my-year-of-reading-dangerously/

Andi said...

Just popping in to say hello to our newest participants!!! I'm really looking forward to hearing what you all think about the books you've chosen. I'm making the rounds to all of the blogs listed here, too. This challenge is definitely going to be an addiction for me. I can already tell!

trude1210 said...

I love this challenge!I think I will probably just go along with the list,with a few substitutions.
Thanks for such a great list!

Michaelann said...

I am going to try to read the official list. This is my first challenge so this will be twice as fun.

PDW said...

i'm officially sucked into this. i'll probably do a mix of this list and a couple other things i NEVER read.

PDW said...

forgot to leave the link to my blog:

the polka-dot witch

carolee/PDW

Just Jonna said...

I'm so excited! This is my very first book challenge! I found it through Nik's page. Going with option 1, thanks!

Daryn said...

Sounds fun! I have always wanted to read most of these. Great choices!

Cathy...Grammy...Cat...Mom...Sis said...

Sounds like fun - always wanted to join a book club; this is even better! Thanks Just Jonna for posting the link. Will try to stick with option 1 for the most part.

inquiries&enquiries said...

I love this entire idea, and am glad that there are books of multiple genres on the suggested reading list.

Andi said...

Wow, I think this is way more participants than Heather and I ever hoped for!! Thanks to everyone for jumping onboard! I'm getting around to everyone's blogs slowly but surely and finding SO MANY that I love!

Thanks everyone!

tanabata said...

I'm trying to stay away from year-long 12-book challenges next year but I made an exception! ;)

Jessie said...

I'm new to this whole book blog thing, and I've been looking for interesting challenges to get me started. This one sounds exciting, so count me in! I'll probably choose a mix of these books and some of my own.

Jessie
http://1year100books.livejournal.com/

Janet said...

I just signed up. I plan to read the official list. You have come up with a great challenge.

Phoebe said...

I thought that I had signed up already but I guess I never did. Great challenge...I'm doing a combo as I have actually already red The Bluest Eye, Lolita and the Human Stain. I'm thinking of using "Paradise", "Prayer for Owen Meany" and "The Poisonwood Bible", all of which I have tried to read on a number of occasions and gave up.

Anonymous said...

Oh, fun! My book club is reading Great Expectations for their January book, so your challenge fits right in. Looking forward to it. I think I'll go with option 2- I've read The Human Stain and I'm more than a little intimidated by a graphic novel - but I guess that's the point. I've gotten halfway through The Grapes of Wrath. Thanks

B said...

Oh, fun! My book club is reading Great Expectations for their January book, so your challenge fits right in. Looking forward to it. I think I'll go with option 2- I've read The Human Stain and I'm more than a little intimidated by a graphic novel - but I guess that's the point. I've gotten halfway through The Grapes of Wrath. Thanks

Sondie said...

This sounds like fun! I couldn't sign up without a URL for some reason so I spent the last hour creating a blog just so I can do this and be a part of discussions. Thanks B for letting me know about this challange.

Shaindel said...

This is an awesome idea! I'm going to do option #2 since I need to be reading work other than student writing anyway. I've read several of the books on the "official" list and think you've made great choices. I also would encourage more people to read good, contemporary mainstream literary works (as opposed to 'genre' works--mystery, romance, etc.). As a writer, it's frustrating to see people reading junk by authors who can barely write but who are wealthy b/c their work is constantly optioned for movie deals and to see great writers struggle, hold down multiple jobs, etc, just b/c no one's sought out work by little known or emerging writers.

Does James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks really need more of our money? Uh...no... Here's to adding the little guy (or gal) to your Year of Reading Dangerously! :-)

trying to write ... said...

hellooo ... i'm going with the official list ...

Tiffany said...

This looks like an exciting challenge. I'm new too reading challenges, and am just gearing up to start writing on my blog again for the new year, so I thought I'd jump into the book blog world and join some challenges. I'll probably do a combination of the official list and some of my own picks. I'll post my list on my blog within the next day or so.

Eva said...

I'm going for the original list for eight months and changing the other four. Here's my list of changes:
http://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/resolutions-and-challenges-08

bkclubcare said...

I'm going to read Anna Karenina (I JUST started it, so I'll be out of order, but I can catch up!) Thanks, Care at bkclubcare.wordpress.com

Andrea said...

This is the first book challenge I have ever done! I'm going to read the official list because I haven't read any of these and several of them are on my "want to read" list!

Nicole said...

This looks like fun, I am probobly going to have to read them all before August because I leave on a year exchange and probobly won't have much time to read then. I'll have to substitute a few because I have already read them but I am excited. Yah, good luck to everyone!

Bold Blue Adventure said...

This sounds like a great challenge and I haven't read any of the books on the official list, so I will definitely go with that option.

LA said...

This looks like a great way to have some interesting discussions. Also, I'll give me reason to read some books I've never take the opportunity to read before. I will be going off list a couple of months since I've read some of the choices.

Good luck to all!

Cynthia said...

I am so very excited!

Lisa said...

Hi, Andi
I decided to join in on your Reading Dangerously challenge since I have officially launched my new blog and am joining challenges like crazy. I like this one because #1 it allows me to pick my own books #2 it will help me stick with my classic reading challenge, which is definitely still my most "dangerous" genre. I haven't looked at the list of official list yet, so I may *try* to follow along with it.. unless you have Ulysses on it or something.. but maybe I ought to put that on my list because I can't think of a much more intimidating book for myself.
Anyway, looking forward to reading along with you all.
Happy reading,
Lisa F. aka Booknoselisa aka Booksum Blonde (my new blog id)

Logophile said...

This challenge is fantastic! I'm excited to join, even if I am a little late...I'm new to blogging, and this is my very first challenge! I've already read some, so am going to go for a mix of both options. I've read Great Expectations twice, and have just finished Mister Pip, so it's going to be interesting reading people's thoughts on it...
Logophile

kirsty said...

Well, this is my first reading challenge. Will make some substitutions, but am very much looking forward to this!

Andi said...

Welcome to all the new folks! It's wonderful to have you all!

Lara said...

Hi! I'm super-late! And also am the idiot who signed up on the wrong post a minute ago. Obviously, I have found your 12 books. I think I'll probably follow your list of chosen books, as I tend not to be much of a planner when it comes to my reading. :) Now, if only I can find my copy of Great Expectations and read it in the next two weeks despite my personal knitting challenge...

Estella said...

Welcome aboard, Lara! Feel free to substitute another book if you think Great Expectations will clash with your knitting challenge. We're a pretty free-flowing group here. :)

Andi

Logophile said...

Just wanted to share this link to the Ebury blog (part of the Random House UK group) - really nice mention for this challenge! http://www.rhgdigital.co.uk/blogs/ebury/?p=16

Andi said...

Thanks, Logophile! I added the link to our sidebar.

Jenna said...

Well, I'm getting a late start, so I don't know if I'll be able to get through Great Expectations this month, BUT I'm currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and that's pretty "dangerous" in and of itself!

jakc said...

Novel idea! It's been a burning secret of mine to have some sort of reading challenge, here's my excuse!

anita said...

I'm going with option #1. this will definitely challenge me as most of these books are outside my usual list and comfort zone! thanks for the challenge!

Estella said...

Welcome everyone!!! The participants just keep piling up, and Heather and I couldn't be happier about it!

Andi

raidergirl3 said...

I'm pretty sure I want to do this. I will do a mixture of 1 and 2, since I've read a few before.
I'll be more official later, and I do hope to read a Dickens, but not Great Expectations.

piperml said...

Hi, Sorry I'm late joining in, but this was too fabulous an idea to pass up! Got to get working on a list and get reading!

Janice said...

yeap sorry for joining late too, but I'll catch up! yes, charles dickens somewhat intimidates me.. >.<

raych said...

I'm jumping in late, but I'll catch up. Half of your books are already on my to-read list, and the rest are sufficiently scary for me to pick up. Thanks for the horizon-expanding help.

bethany said...

HEY!! I am excited about this challange. I will go with option #2, however I want to read some of the books on the list so that I can interact with the group as I read them. This is so much fun, thanks for setting this up and hosting it and all!!!

I have some catching up to do! I'll post my list on my blog.

tricia said...

i'm late, but count me in. i'm gonna try your list.

damned_cat said...

i'm ... way late. but still on board!

paulawy said...

I'm late in joining, but I'm looking forward to the challenge! The only book I've read is December's selection, but that was LONG AGO in high school, so I could use a refresher on it!

Sheralyn said...

I'm doing this one, my first Readers Challenge. Wow. I'm sticking to the original list too.

www.libri-ortus.blogspot.com

Sommer said...

A late start, but as they say "better late thsan never." Thanks for hosting this.

Malathi said...

I hope it is not too late to join. I think I will do a combination of 1 and 2. Books and movies that deal with serial killers, pedophilia or incest scare, disgust and repel me, so this being June it is probably a good time to tackle Lolita (which I have picked up and put down too often in the past). Also, I just finished 'The Lovely Bones' -- a book that covers 2 of the 3 subjects I reject -- and perhaps I can write about it and include my thoughts as an Indian about the depiction of an Indian family in that book.

Stardust_Asphalt said...

I'm kind of a johnny come lately! But I'd love to do this!