Monday, December 10, 2012

On The Bookshelf: The Reading Challenge Edition

The end of the year is upon us, which means the predictable (and yet, very enjoyable) avalanche of "Best of 2012" lists. I've been going through 2012 book lists such as the NYT 100 notable books of 2012 and the NPR's picks for best books of 2012, and I noticed that I've barely read any of the books on those lists. Maybe those lists are too cerebral for someone who has a soft spot for cozy mysteries, or maybe I'm so far behind that I'm reading the bestsellers from 4 years ago as I spot them in the library. In any case, I hope to read some of the books from these lists in the next year or two. But isn't it nice to know that there is a never-ending supply of books to be read? That's a reason to bounce out of bed every morning.

The end of the year is also the time to sit down and do some delicious planning for 2013. A lot of the book bloggers do these annual reading challenges. Sometimes, the challenge is to read a certain number of books in a year. Other times, the challenges have themes and genres. I've never done reading challenges before but they sound like fun, and I'm signing up to do 3 of them in 2013. Go big or go home, right?

1. Color Coded Challenge 2013 hosted at My Reader's Block.
The rules are to read nine books in 2013, with the following colors in the title.  

1. "Blue" or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc.)

2. "Red" or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgundy, etc.)
Salaam Brick Lane by Tarquin Hall

3. "Yellow" or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)

4. "Green" or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc.)
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

5. "Brown" or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc.)

6. "Black" or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc.)
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

7. "White" or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc.)
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell 
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

8. Any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magenta, etc.)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

9. A word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).

2.  What's In A Name 6 hosted at Beth Fish Reads.
 Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, read one book in each of the following categories:

1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title
Below Stairs by Margaret Powell

2. A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title

3. A book with a party or celebration in the title

4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title

5. A book with an emotion in the title

6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title

3. 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - Reading Challenge 2013 hosted at Life As A Journey.
The challenge: to select and read seven books, each belonging to one of the following categories:
- one of the 7 countries with the most population
- one of the 7 highest countries in the world
- one of the 7 oldest countries of the world
- one of the 7 megacities of the world
- one of the 7 countries with the most immigrants
- one of the 7 richest (or poorest) countries
- one of the 7 most rainy (or dry) countries

If you have any suggestions at all for good reads that fit into these challenge categories, please do leave a comment! I hope to stumble upon some treasures as I try and find books for the categories. I'll keep updating this post with potential books.

Are you tempted to sign up for a reading challenge yourself? A lot of the challenges seem to be posted here on A Novel Challenge.

As for what I've been reading...

I finished Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier but I did not really enjoy the story. The brash and spoiled heroine who bossed around her servants, the "gentlemanly" pirate- the whole thing was too ludicrous for me.

On the other hand, Room by Emma Donoghue was a very satisfying read. The book was an easy read in the sense that the story, written in the voice of a 5 year old, moved quickly, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. It was a tough read in the sense that the author describes a harrowing situation for a mother and child.

Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear was another terrific read from last week. This time the mystery is much more complex and involved and the story is rich in character and history. I will happily read the rest of this series.

What are you reading? 


  1. That is quite a list! I will enjoy reading how you like the books as and when you finish them.

    I had borrowed The White Tiger a few weeks ago, I read part of it and somehow found myself unwilling to read it all, I do not mean to spoil it for you ( and I am sure you will not let it be) just mentioned it.

    A few months ago, I saw a selection of books that were a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, I was intrigued, but I did not pick up any.. I was not sure I wanted to read something that might be a let down, after all, IMHO, Jane Austen stands alone. but today I could not resist, got Lydia Bennet's story- Jane Odiwe. Lets see how it reads!

    1. Funny thing is, I started White Tiger (won the book on a blog giveaway so I own it) a while ago and could not get past a few pages. I will give it one more try though.

  2. That's a different and nice challenge. One that we readers will also enjoy and benefit from. Kinda like book reviews :)

    Just a thought - if it's not too much work, it may be a good idea to add a new tab/widget to your header in addition to those tabs and name it "bookshelf" or something and list all the books you like/read/reading/recommend. Your blog will be a mix of food and books!! lethal combo :)

    1. AP, I maintain my book lists (books I've read, am currently reading and want to read) on Feel free to look me up. My user name is Nupur_OHS

  3. Those look like very unusual challenges! Should be fun. I signed up for reading challenges last year - here are the ones I did:

    I was somewhat successful - and the year isn't over yet! I really enjoy the Where Are You Reading one.

    Glad you liked ROOM - that was such a fabulous, compelling book...though you are right - a difficult subject matter.

    Enjoy your books this week and your challenges next year!


    Book By Book

    1. Sue- I enjoyed seeing your 2012 challenges. Where are you reading sounds like fun but too formidable for me!

  4. I am currently reading The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall.

    1. I enjoyed this book and hope you do too.

    2. My second Tarquin Hall - and I need to read all by him now. I love the essence of Delhi that seeps into his books.

      I am about ot start reading "I Married you for Happiness"

  5. Oops sorry you didn't like Frenchmans Creek Nupur. I had read it in my teens and thought the pirate rather 'dashing' then.
    Books with color that spring to mind are How Green Was My Valley, The Color Purple. A story that I love with blue in it is "eyes of A blue dog " -simply wonderful by Marquez.
    I am reading Ngaio Marsh's A Man Lay Dead. So far so good apart from one bizarre incident.

    1. I can see how Frenchman's Creek would be more exciting for a teenager! Still I'm very glad I picked it up.
      The Color Purple I've already read and of course it is incredible.
      Thanks for the recommendations- I'm definitely putting How Green Was My Valley on my list!

    2. Thought of some others: rainbow valley- I think last in the Anne of green gables series, moonstone by Wilkie Collins if that can be construed as an implied color. I have heard moonstone is great and considered one of the first mysteries. Joanne Harris's chocolat(have not read), Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh- revisited=found? I have heard Orhan Pamuk's my name is red is a hard read.Oh and the crime at black dudley- the first Margery alliNgham campion novel and next on my golden age of mysteries to read list.

  6. Thanks for joining the 7 Continents, 7 Books challenge! The color challenge is playful and tempting, too - it made me think of a friend who had the bookshelf sorted by color. Thinking both of colors and places, i would recommend "Half of a Yellow Sun" - a great book, set in Nigeria, so that could even count for both. I read it last year, here's a bit more:
    - Dorothee from life as a journey

    1. Thanks for hosting the challenge, Dorothee. I've read Half of a Yellow Sun and liked it.

  7. I am reading Alexander MaCall Smith's books. Just finished Anne Proulx's Shipping News. Great book.Your reading challenge is so unusual! Will try.....

    1. I started Shipping News several years ago but never finished it- I'll pick it up again. I really enjoy McCall Smith!

  8. wow! that is a very unusual way of reading books! never knew about such challenges. keep going. For your colour coded challenge for colour pink - you can read 'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit'.

    I don't know if you have read this before but for me and my daughter this is one of the books we go back to get comfort again and again.
    Here is a review done by saffron -

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'd love to read it.

  9. Welcome to the Color Coded Challenge! So glad to have you along!

    1. Thanks for hosting the color challenge, Bev!

  10. "That's a reason to bounce out of bed every morning." - Or stay in bed and continue reading :)

  11. Hey Nupur,
    Came here after a while and went through a few latest posts of yours. You mentioned you guys just got a new house, and that you read Young House Love - Slap these together and call us intrigued! (By the way, congrats on the new place) Well, now you MUST post pics of your new place and work-in-progress. Especially the Hot Stoved Kitchen!

  12. Great challenge! I am currently reading "the bluest eye" by Toni Morrison. It is a hard read, but a sobering look at Africa American life in the earlier half of the 20th century. Would like to know your thoughts if you read it!

    1. Yes, I've read that book many years ago (probably around 2003) and yes, it was heart-breaking. Many of the best books are.

  13. Hi Nupur,

    Try this restaurant, I love going to their location in VA,

  14. You inspired me to sign up for the color code and foodies challenge, Nupur, and I thank you for it! I've been following your blog forever and yours is one of the blogs I confess to luuurve on mine :) Oh, the added excitement of going to the library now... :)


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