Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Challenges and Faerie Queenes

Yesterday, I was talking about hangovers and swearing off drinking. Today, I'd like to discuss Novembers and swearing off blog challenges. Let's take a look at what happens in November for those of us stupid enough to take on too many challenges, the way some of us are stupid enough, at times, to take on too many drinks.

November 1st rolls around, and I think, "Well, I'm almost done with all my challenges for the year. A new year will soon be upon us. I wonder what sorts of interesting challenges await in 2009. Better finish up what I've got to do before then." Then I take a closer look. What? I took on four challenges equaling seventeen books? I've only completed 1 (and that because it began in 2007)? I've got 2000+ pages to read in the next two months (plus books for two book discussion groups to which I belong)? That's it. Absolutely NO challenges next year! Here are the details.

Outmoded authors challenge: done. Completed. Okay, so I only had to read three of the six books I'd chosen by February, because I'd already read the other three in 2007, and one of them was almost done by Jan. 1. I did it. Finished that one on time. I'm so proud of myself! (Lots of patting self on back.)

The Science Book Challenge: (Self-patting hand has stopped in mid-air.) Ummm, had the whole year to read 3 books of a scientific nature, on any topic, and only made it through 1 1/3. I, a math and science editor couldn't make it through more than 3 books in a whole year? Yes, I will probably make it through the other 2/3 of the second book before the end of December, but still. I am truly pathetic.

The Graphics Novels Challenge. All right, most graphic novels take what? all of about 3 hours to read? Nevertheless, I just don't seem to have found that extra three hours to read my final book in this challenge. Want to place bets on whether or not those three hours come knocking on my door sometime between now and Dec. 31?

Finally, we have the Soup's On! Challenge. Now, we all have to admit that this one was a little bit tricky. Not only did we have to read the cookbooks, but we also had to cook something from them. We were to choose six. Does it count that the first one I chose required that I write two posts, because it was practically unusable? No, I didn't think anyone would be forgiving on that point. I've read three of the six thus far. Does it maybe count that I chose two that are War and Peaces of cookery, because I was somewhat out of my mind, or something, at the time the challenge presented itself? No? Then I guess you won't accept any excuse for the fact that I actually read and cooked from the third one in August but still have not posted on it. Okay, I promise to get through the last three (reading and cooking and everything), if you'll just give me an extension till the end of 2009.

Oh, and then there was that fifth challenge I forgot all about until I did a "challenge" word search on my blog and discovered Kate's Modest Poetry Challenge. That one, which only required one post in April, I did manage to complete. Maybe 2009 will be full of other such do-able challenges.

And speaking of 2009. November's nearly half done. I'm beginning to feel a little better. Maybe I was being too harsh on myself when I swore off all challenges. After all, a new year is nearly upon us! The chance to start fresh. This year I'm gonna do it! Not only am I going to finish all the 2008 challenges I began, but I'm going to be wise and sober about any challenges I undertake. I've got twelve new months of reading ahead of me. Isn't it exciting? I think it's time I created a challenge of my own (besides the ecojustice challenge, which will be completely revamped for 2009. Stay tuned for more info. on that during NaBloPoMo month), don't you? Meanwhile, here's what I've (gulp) already agreed to for the new year:

The Faerie Queene Challenge

This one has been started by Heather over at The Library Ladder. Technically, I guess, it's really a group read, not a challenge, because we're all going to read this one together in 2009. However, I consider the undertaking of this reading to be a great challenge. I thought I'd take this opportunity to let others know in case some of you would like to join us. As I've already noted on Heather's blog, I hope you won't really consider applying unless you think you might be a fellow, "Huh? I don't get..." sort. That means, say, Dorr and Hobs, as much as I adore you two, you probably ought to stay away. Others, however, who think you might get lost somewhere in Faerie Land and need someone to come find you (hmmm. Maybe we need the likes of Dorr and Hobs after all), please feel free to join us and let Heather know (she plans to post more details in December).


Anne Camille said...

I wasn't going to do any challenges this year. But I did write one post on the cookbook challenge. So I then thought I'd do others. I have a stack of cookbooks near my computer -- I'm not sure which of those are needed for some waitin post and which just happened to land there.

I was going to read more poetry this year. My intentions were good at least. Some of the books are somewhere on the floor. Near the cookbooks, no doubt.

Remember I said I'd read along with you on a book about 2years ago -- was it Nickled and Dimed? or another book by Ehrenreich? I didn't do that one either. I started the book, whatever it was, and I heard Ehrenreich give a lecture around the same time. Ancient history now, too far back in the gray matter files to retrieve.

No, challenges are not for me!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the Faeries! (I'll safely sit this one out thanks). And all that reading and challenges at a busy time of year - good luck to you. But sounds like fun as well.

Anonymous said...

I am challenged by challenges. I did the RIP Challenge and technically completed it since Carl was kind enough to say that even if only one book gets read it still counts and I read two and 3/4 in the alloted time. But the What's in a Name and Planet Earth, I will be shocked, shocked! if I actually manage another book in either of those by the end of the year. I think you've done pretty well on your challenges.

Anonymous said...

Good Luck. Clicked on the Faerie Queen link and I do believe I could bring book discussions to a new low with my involvement!

Anonymous said...

"Pathetic" if you insist, but there's still plenty of time to finish up your Science-Book Challenge, plenty of enjoyable time left to read a delightful science-y book before the end of the year and...the next Science-Book Challenge! (I have so many things to learn--I didn't know that I was to issue the challenge in November already. Oh dear.)

Rebecca H. said...

I think I've done okay on my challenges this year, mainly because I didn't sign on to any except for Kate's, and I managed to write the required post for that one. So yay for me! Except not really, of course ... I will be doing Litlove's Recognitions reading soon, but that's not really a challenge. And no worries about the Faerie Queene, not that I'd be able to help anybody out with that one, by any means, although I'm positive Hobgoblin could (he's the one to worry about when it comes to things like The Faerie Queene). I'll certainly be curious to see what you make of it!

Emily Barton said...

Camm, the cookbook one was SO hard to resist, wasn't it? And I completely forgot you were supposed to read Nickel and Dimed with me. I think, if I'm not mistaken, though, that you DID eventually post on it? (Or mabye I'm hallucinating in giddy excitement over the fact that I'm meeting you tomorrow.)

Pete, it is fun (and challenging), which is why I'm stupid enough to keep doing it.

Stef, thanks. 2009 might be the year I actually join RIP, since I basically do it anyway, and everyone seems to have such fun doing it.

Sara, no, the person doing that will be me. We'll see...

Jeff, I know, I know, and I plant to! (And I'm so glad to hear there will be another one next year. Uh-oh, did I just say what I think I just said?)

Dorr, if I can make anything of it at all. Oh, and congratulations on your successful year of challenges met!

Anonymous said...

Since I was passing by (I've been tidying up the bookkeeping for the 2008 challenge), I thought I'd point out the home of the "Science-Book Challenge 2009".

Just in case I can entice you! Please don't feel poopy at reading only one title in 2008--it was a great addition to our collection of book notes. Thanks!

Emily Barton said...

Jeff, although I am not officially announcing that I'm joining the challenge this year, I plan to finish the three-book list I created for last year's challenge and probably add a couple more. I will post on them as I finish them and link to your blog. Believe me, I am ALL in favor of getting people to read more science and am so happy to see that this challenge looks like it will become an annual one. Thanks for starting it, for prodding me, and for making me feel my single post last year was worth reading.