Challenges for the next year

November 30, 2009 § 10 Comments

I’m actually really bad with reading challenges. I had a look at the challenges I subscribed to this year, and to my utter disappointment, I realised that I actually have not completed any of them! (Excluding, of course, the Japanese Literature Challenge 3, which I knew right from the get-go that I would have no problem completing!)

But still, I do find reading challenges exciting, and they also give me that extra kick on the backside. So for the coming year, I’ve decided that I will still join in *some* reading challenges, but only those that really catch my interest, and that really mean something to me.


glbt2010#1: The GLBT Challenge 2010

I’m glad I found out about this challenge, really. I hold GLBT issues very close to my heart, and needless to say, I would love to read books that dabble on such issues.

I haven’t had the chance yet to read many of these books, and I see this challenge as a chance for me to find out about what books are out there. I’d love to read about what other people think of the books they’ve read, and possibly even a post or two on how their reading has inspired/influenced them in their daily life.

I believe books have that power to influence minds. And I think such a challenge exposes us to such a chance to expand our ‘wings’ with regards to GLBT issues.


The basic idea of this challenge is to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.

The challenge runs year-round, and there will be three levels of participation:

  • Lambda Level: Read 4 books.
  • Pink Triangle Level: Read 8 books.
  • Rainbow Level: Read 12 or more books.

I’m not really sure of which level I can do, but I’m aiming to achieve Lambda Level at this point.

My choice of reading so far, includes:

  • The Night Watch + Fingersmith + Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  • Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx
  • Oranges are not the Only Fruit + The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
  • Confessions of a Mask – Yukio Mishima

That should be enough to go on for now. There is a list HERE, from where maybe I’ll be picking books from as well. I may want to throw in a couple of non-fiction books as well, so fire me with suggestions!

*P.S. Did you know ‘Little Women’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, and ‘Moby Dick’ are considered LGBT literature as well? I surely didn’t!


women2010#2: Women Unbound

I am somewhat of a self-proclaimed feminist. Not so much the bra-burning type, but I do believe in gender equality, and in a woman’s capability to be herself, without needing to conform to what men make her out to be.

I’m a strong advocate of gaining strength through education, knowledge, and reading lots and lots of books. I believe women become strong when they know what they are capable of. It is in not knowing that we fail ourselves. (I once had a friend who saw me reading a non-text book at uni once, and he actually said I shouldn’t read so much, it would give me too many ideas and I would ‘get confused’. A very heated argument followed..)

But I digress.

About the challenge:

The challenge runs from November 1, 2009-November 30, 2010, but you may join in the fun whenever you wish!   Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’

There are three levels you can choose as a reader (you can count books for other challenges as well):

  • Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
  • Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
  • Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.

Here, again, I am only going to aim for the lowest number of books, which would qualify me to become a Philogynist. I don’t have a book list for this, but Mee has an awesome list HERE. I intend to read some books from her list of suggestions, especially:

  • Desert Flower + Desert Dawn – Waris Dirie
  • Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini


wrc2010#3: World Religion Challenge 2010

Having been born and brought up in a Muslim-majority country as a non-Muslim, religion has always intrigued me. The fact that my family practises something that lies between Buddhism and Taoism, that some of my closest friends are devout Catholics, that Hinduism was very much present where I grew up, and that I’ve come to know about the Maori culture… it isn’t difficult to see why this challenge caught my interest straight away.

I’m glad Bibliofreak decided to go ahead and host this challenge. I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.

The challenge is:

The Challenge will run from Jan 1st 2010 to Dec 31st 2010.  There are four categories to the Challenge:

I decided to lift a note from Taoism by calling these Paths (Tao means “way” or “path”) to Reading Challenge Enlightenment:

1. The Bare Bones Path (Also Know As: The *Technically* There’s Only Three Path): Read something about what are *technically* the only world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.  (These are considered, by some scholars, to be the only World Religions because while Judaism and Hinduism have the numbers, they don’t proselytize or really invite other people to join, making it more of an ethnicity).

2. The Penthouse Path (Also Known As: The Five Biggies Path): Read something about the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

3. The Universalist Path (Also Known As: The Above and Beyond Path): Read something by all five of the major world religions PLUS more books about any or all of the following: Shintoism, Animism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wicca, Mythology, Atheism, Occult, Tribal Religions, Voodoo, Unitarianism, Baha’i, Cults, Scientology, Mysticism, Rastafarianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zorastrianism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism, Satanism, Manichaeism, Deism, Comparative Religion, Religious Philosophy, Jungiansim,  Symbolism, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., etc. etc. (you may also read about another aspect of one of the 5 Biggies)

4. The Unshepherded Path (Also Known As: The Don’t Tell Me What to Do Path): Read as many books as you would like about whatever religions you want.

I’m probably a really unshepherded person, so I’m going for the Unshepherded Path. I can’t see myself being diligent enough to actually read at least one book about each religion, but if I could, I’d love to read more of the lesser known religions, though the five major world religions make for good reading and thinking as well.

I really don’t have a list for this one. So I’ll be counting on Bibliofreak for suggestions, especially the ones she’s already read. She’s got plenty to be found on her blog, tagged ‘religion’.


So there. Three challenges. So far.

Bellezza, if you’re reading this, I’m definitely going to participate in the Japanese Literature Challenge 4 next year, if you’re hosting one!


And as far as personal goals go, I aim to read at least one book from each of these authors:

  • Salman Rushdie
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Vladimir Nabokov

Any suggestions?


§ 10 Responses to Challenges for the next year

  • mee says:

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, you’re joining challenges that I’m interested in! I’m still thinking whether to join GLBT challenge or not just because it requires 4 books (which is quite many to me), but I’m joining World Religion (yet to make a post).

    From the authors you mentioned at the end of post, I’ve read The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald and Lolita by Nabokov. I read Gatsby for school so I don’t think I enjoyed it much. Lolita is quite a difficult read (in terms of language, not subject matter – not to me anyway) but probably worth reading. I’d love to read Rushdie and Tolstoy, but I’m not sure if next year would be the year =P

  • Welcome to the World Religion Challenge! I’m doing the LGBT and Women Unbound Challenges as well.

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for joining us on the GLBT Challenge!

  • su says:

    @ mee: I know what you mean about reading too many books for one single challenge. But to be quite quite honest, I just couldn’t not join the LGBT Challenge. I hope you join, but even if you don’t, perhaps you’d be reading one or two books that fit? I’d love to read your reviews.

    @ JT and Amanda: Thanks for hosting the challenges. I’m looking forward to them!

  • Sasha says:

    I’ve joined the GLBT challenge too–next year’s, and I just signed up for what remains of this year. I hope you enjoy Middlesex–I’ve read it about four times now, haha. 🙂

    – Sasha
    Sasha & The Silverfish

  • su says:

    @ Sasha: Been meaning to read Middlesex since… I don’t even remember since when. But I just simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m thinking I’ll love it. Just a hunch. =)

  • Care says:

    Thank you for joining the Women Unbound Challenge! and I’m always very excited to start challenges and make my list but am not always successful. I found I can actually do better with short time frame challenges but here I am helping RUN one – so I have to at least do well with it. Best to you in your upcoming reading.

  • su says:

    @ Care: I know what you mean about being excited to start challenges, because I am the same! Like I said, I don’t do well in them, but I’m quite determined to finish these, and since my goals are set to the lowest possible this time, I’m thinking I might actually be successful!

  • Dimitris says:

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog, I like your writing style and taste!
    Definitely go for The Great Gatsby as your Fitzgerald book. I think you’ll like it, it has a great sense of nostalgia amongst descriptions of the roaring twenties. Plus it’s one of the greats of Western literature!
    As for GLBT, you may want to try Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima. Most of his other stuff is great too, and since you’re interested in Japanese literature I’m sure he’s someone you’ll read sooner or later.

  • su says:

    @ Dimitris: Thanks for the compliments. =) I will definitely have a look at the couple of books you mentioned. I’ve been planning to read Gatsby for quite a while now, but it’s an elusive book, I tell ‘ya! I have yet to read any of Yukio Mishima’s work, but I’ve been hearing (and reading) good things about him. =)

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