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In my first post I mentioned that I will be attempting some reading challenges this year. I’ll split this up into a couple of posts, because with the lists this would otherwise become a really long post. Also with my tendency to explain a lot, it gets long.

Firstly my personal challenge that I created because I really want to have read the books on my shelves, and somehow I seem to have acquired books faster than I’ve read them in recent years. I’ve made a list of books that I own (or almost own, because there’s one that I’ve borrowed from my mum pretty long ago and still haven’t read. She’s got a couple of my books too so we’re even.), but have not read yet. My aim is to have read more of the books by the end of the year than I have acquired new ones. Preferably significantly more and preferably I’ve then read a big percentage of these books. I have to break these up in a couple of categories, because the list looks a little different now than it did at the start of the year.

Credit of the idea sort of goes to my cousin. Yes, I know that probably a lot of people are trying to do something similar, but that’s where I got it from. She actually knits and ends up buying too much yarn, so her aim a couple of years has been to reduce her amount of yarn by knitting it and not buying much more. So I applied that to books and reading.

Firstly, I’ve already read one book of these, which I started already last year, and I’m currently reading a couple of them. The Grand Tour I actually got this year, but I’m counting it to the books from last year instead of this year’s new books, because I was supposed to get it for Christmas, but it was late. So mentally I had it last year already ;)

  • The Delegates’ Choice – Ian Sansom (read)
  • The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
  • The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery – Agatha Christie, Mathew Prichard (ed)
  • Ruusunnuppuja vainajalle – Peter Lovesey (The Summons)
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman

And here are the books I haven’t read, which I owned by the start of this year:

  • The Children’s Book – A.S. Byatt
  • Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
  • Kolmastoista kertomus – Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
  • Vägen till Jerusalem – Jan Guillou
  • Tempelriddaren – Jan Guillou
  • Riket vid vägens slut – Jan Guillou
  • Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade – Diana Gabaldon
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Strindbergs stjärna – Jan Wallentin
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • Den glömda trädgården – Kate Morton (The Forgotten Garden)
  • The Last Dickens – Matthew Pearl
  • Flicka med pärlörhänge – Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  • Livet på Scotland Street 44 – Alexander McCall Smith (44 Scotland Street)
  • The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Right Attitude to Rain – Alexander McCall Smith
  • Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
  • Genom dina ögon – Stephenie Meyer (The Host)
  • Vanilla Beans and Brodo: Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany – Isabella Dusi
  • Always and Forever – Cathy Kelly
  • Sissi, Wahrheit und Legende – At least for now I couldn’t find an author or editor on the book
  • Babylons stjärna – Barbara Wood (Star of Babylon)
  • The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

This is the point where I hide in shame, because I’m already failing. I’ve read one of my books and here are the three books I’ve bought so far. To my defence January is big book sales season and three is not that bad. Two of these I got yesterday. So probably I’ll do better in the following months. These are this year’s new books:

  • The Sherlockian – Graham Moore
  • Corsets and Clockwork: 13 Steampunk romances – Trisha Telep (ed) (Various authors)
  • A Gift for My Sister – Ann Pearlman

My two newest books

And at last the extras. These are books I have read before, but have not re-read since I bought them. So I’ve read the novels but not the actual books that are placed on my bookshelf. I also want to re-read them. The first two because I loved them and the third because I didn’t like it that much and I’m curious of what I’m thinking now of this classic.

  • Utvandrarna – Vilhelm Moberg
  • Invandrarna – Vilhelm Moberg
  • Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

By the way I determinedly walked fast past the classics in the bookstore yesterday, because though I know the classics paperbacks are usually pretty cheap, I know that I can get them from libraries too or even online, and I also decided a while ago that I would rather like to have really nice looking editions of the classics if I got them for myself.

So that’s the list, or the lists. The first two together are really what makes the starting point. The last three I don’t really count in on any totals, but it’s nice to keep those in mind too and especially remember them if I get tempted to buy more books I’ve already read. There are a couple of books I have which I’m not completely sure if I ever finished them, but I’ll proceed to those once I get this list out of the way. That’s 29 books at the start of the year if I counted correctly. So my aim is to reduce that number. With one book read and three new books I’m at 31 now.

Or well, how about we don’t count Sissi anyway, so I get the starting number down to 28, which is a number I like. And now I’m at 30. I’m picking it out and sort of making it an extra because it’s pretty big and in German and I haven’t been on any courses or used much German in years. So it’s very much of a challenge, probably more than it would have been at the time when I bought it. So I’ll count it as a non-fiction, not cover to cover read. Like reference.

The Moonstone was a book I was supposed to read for a course on detective stories, but I never finished it then. I however know the plot mostly and read a part of it, so if I feel discouraged by the number of books I have at some point I just remove it and pretend that it never was on the list. I did not stop reading because I didn’t like it, because I really did like it so far. It was just that I had a lot to read, this was the longest and I started to read it online, which I don’t like much and only bought the book a little later. The Wood book is also one I’m not sure if I read it at least almost to the end a couple of years ago, but I think I’ve never finished it.

I’m also not counting non-fiction. Or most of it anyway, as I think I have two non-fiction books on that list (apart from Sissi). But I’m just counting the kinds of books that I actually do in general and really intend to read from cover to cover. A lot of non-fiction I just read selected parts from and then get back later to read a little here and there again. I got one book about Jane Austen for Christmas, which I have to still read of before I know if it belongs here. But after saying all that, I’ll still stick to the number 28 as a starting point.

Books in other languages (Finnish and Swedish): You probably noticed that some of those aren’t in English. I list books here, and in the future, with the title that’s on the book I read, but at least if they are originally in English I will add that title too. Also when I review I will also let you know if there is a translation, if they are originally in another language. From these I know that the Guillou books are translated. It’s the Knight Templar series.  The Moberg books are the first two from the Emigrants series.

Then the other challenge is to read 50 books in a year. I don’t know where it originally comes from, but you can find people doing it all over the internet. The last two years I’ve managed something between 25 and 30 books, so I need to almost double that. I guess this doesn’t need much more explanations than that, as opposed to above, but just a couple of things first.

The Delegates’ Choice is one of the books I’ve finished this year, but I had read more than half of it last year. The same goes for The Long Goodbye (Raymond Chandler), which I’m currently reading. So I won’t count them for now to my totals, but if I’m cutting it close at the end of the year and I end up reading about half of some book, I won’t of course count that, but two halves make one whole and I can count one of these from the beginning anyway. They do however show up on Goodreads as part of my challenge, so you can see them counted in the widget for this challenge.

Here’s my list so far:
1. The House at Pooh Corner – A.A. Milne
The Delegate’s Choice – Ian Sansom (Mobile Library series #3)
2. XYZ, A Detective Story – Anna Katharine Green

Next up in reading challenges: The ABC -challenge and the What’s in a Name -challenge. Any guesses about why I read XYZ? ;)

Also coming up soon on this blog: Something from Wreck This Journal and This is Not a Book. I have some photos taken already.

At last a couple of blogging related questions as I’m pretty new at this. If you blog about books too and sometimes add pictures of the book covers in the post, where do you get those pictures? Of course I can take photos like I’ve done now, but sometimes it might be easier and quicker to grab something online. I was wondering where I find pictures that I can use.

Also, this blog post is a bit long. Do you feel like you need headers or something in between to break up the post? I’m not so sure about headers myself. It seems too… chaptered? Like a little too much for something that’s not so long and complicated after all, but I wondered what makes people feel that posts are easier to read. I bolded some things though. I know I tend to ramble a bit, so sometimes things get a little longer than they maybe need to be. :P (You should know that I deleted a couple of paragraphs, where I went slightly more off topic. Maybe I should have an unabridged version of the blog… or maybe not.)

And at last, do you know how to get rid of that thing that automatically makes an extra empty line when you press enter? It’s driving me nuts! In MS Word there’s a thing you can tick that says something like “don’t add a space between paragraphs of the same style”. Is there something similar here?