One of the better consequences of not having friends or a social life is the opportunity to do a lot of reading. With that in mind, I’ve spent some time the last couple of days exploring online reading challenges, usually hosted by book bloggers with an interest in a particular author or area of the world. Several of these challenges happily matched up with reading plans I already had, and the piles of books on my shelves and floor. So I’ve decided to embark on four challenges this year. If all goes according to plan, I’ll do reviews, or at least some notes, on each of these books here on the blog.
The South Asian Challenge 2011
Hosted by S. Krishna’s Books
This was the first challenge I decided to embark on. Initially I’m only going for the South Asian Explorer, which involves reading five books. If I can keep up the pace, I may strive for South Asian Guru at ten books. My choices will be drawn from this list (in no particular order).
William Dalrymple – Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (reviewed here)
Salman Rushdie – Midnight’s Children
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – The Palace of Illusions
Jhumpa Lahiri – Unaccustomed Earth
Abraham Verghese – Cutting for Stone
Vikram Chandra – Red Earth and Pouring Rain
R.K. Narayan – The Guide
V.V. Ganeshananthan – Love Marriage
Amit Chaudhuri – The Immortals
Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things
Mohammed Hanif – A Case of Exploding Mangoes
East and Southeast Asia Challenge
Hosted by Violet Crush
As this involves several different countries, I can combine my continuing efforts at getting to know something about Japanese and Chinese authors with a little preparation for the next exhibition at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, Bali: Art, Performance, Ritual, opening in February.
Yu Hua – Brothers
Chang-rae Lee – The Surrendered
Lisa See – Shanghai Girls
Peter Hessler – Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory
Wu Ch’eng-en – Monkey (Folk Novel of China)
Geoff Ryman – The King’s Last Song
Nancy Tingley – Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea
Yoko Ogawa – Hotel Iris
Junichiro Tanizaki – Some Prefer Nettles
Colin McPhee – A House in Bali
Miguel Covarrubias – Island of Bali
Haruki Murakami Challenge
Hosted by murakamichallenge.blogspot.com
I’ve already read everything available in English by Murakami, one of my favorite writers. It was inevitable that I would be re-reading some of those books anyway, so this challenge is also relatively easy to take on. I’m aiming for the Toru level of five books. Four are currently available and on my shelf:
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Norwegian Wood (but only after seeing Tran Anh Hung’s film version, out soon)
Then I’ll leave one slot open for 1Q84, Murakami’s latest, the English translation of which is supposed to be appearing later this year.
2011 E-Book Reading Challenge
Hosted by The Ladybug Reads
As I’ve already run out of bookshelf space, I’m hoping that much of my book buying and reading this year will involve my Kindle. So I’m aiming for the Addicted level of twelve books. But I might surpass that if I’m good!