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Soffitta1's 2018 Category Challenge

2018 Category Challenge

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Sep 24, 2017, 6:56am Top

I will be back again!
I really enjoy this, I don't post as often as I'd like because of real life getting in the way, but I like seeing what everyone else is reading and I have really started to control my TBR mountain!

General plans:
Read all Bookcrossed books from 2016 or before. I'd also like to try and read all of those I have bookcrossed up to July 2017. I have been much better at registering books as they come into my house, so actually it is a good indicator of how long I have the books.
I would also like to clear more of the books I logged onto Librarything before 2016. I have around 40 on my list, with more in my series group. I will also choose a series or two to concentrate on reading.
Continue my 1001 book challenge, I am currently closing in on 700 read, so would like to get to 750 by the end of the year. It is getting harder as I am having to look out for more unusual books as well as discounting the ones I have no intentions of reading.
In the 2017 challenge, I made it a goal to read more books by women then by men. This was done after I looked at my shelves and saw that only 20% of books there were written by women. It has led me to some fab books and authors and given me a cheeky get out clause for not buying new books!

18x18 books is not feasible, so I am going to read up to 18 books in 18 categories.

Edited: Aug 13, 5:05pm Top

Cat 1: 1001 books
Target 750 by the end of 2018

1. Metamorphoses
2. Cat and Mouse
3. Neuromancer

1001 Group Reads
1. January 2018 The Moon and the Bonfires - Cesare Pavese
2. April 2018 Remembering Babylon - David Malouf
3. May 2018 The Case of Sergeant Grischa - Arnold Zweig
4. June 2018 The violent bear it away - Flannery O'Connor

Sept 2018 Day of the Dolphin

Edited: Aug 10, 5:01pm Top

Cat 2: Asia
I was born and have lived in Asia, this has lead to a lifelong interest in this diverse continent. I will include authors of Asian descent, those living in Asia or books set there.

1. Nocturnes Japan
2. After the Banquet Japan

3. Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West North Korea
4. Unaccustomed Earth India
5. The talisman of good fortune and other stories from rural Bhutan Bhutan

6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Japan
7. The Valley of Amazement China
8. Do Not Say We Have Nothing China
9. Kitchen *1001, Japan

10. The Fortunes China / Chinese

11. Red Sorghum China

12. Little Fires Everywhere Chinese American author

Edited: Jun 2, 11:12am Top

Cat 3: Film
Love films and books!

1. The Invention of Curried Sausage *1001

2. Twelve Years a Slave

3. The Confusion of Young Torless *1001
4. The Casual Vacancy
5. The Woodlanders *1001

Edited: Aug 14, 2:07pm Top

Cat 5: History
Non-fiction, fiction or books set in the past.

1. Noonday

2. At the Edge of the Orchard
3. Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories

4. and 5. If This Is a Man and The Truce *1001
6. Summertime

Edited: Aug 14, 2:11pm Top

Cat 8: Adjectives

1. The Old Devils *1001

2. The Golden One
3. New Grub Street *1001

4. Open Secrets
5. Wise Blood *1001

6. Snow White, Blood Red
7. Strait is the Gate *1001
8. The Complete Cosmicomics

9. Small Wonder

Edited: Aug 13, 5:05pm Top

Cat 10 - Book Group
One of my friends has organised a virtual book group. We all had to suggest 2 books, as we are quite different, it is a very eclectic list.

1. Jan: How to be champion
2. Feb The Power
3. Mar Feral
4. Apr Hamlet
5. May The Night Circus
6. Jun The Keeper of Lost Things
7. Jul Trumpet
8. Aug The Kindness of Strangers

To read
Sep Surgery The Ultimate Placebo
Oct Home Fire
Nov The Uncommon life of Alfred Warner in Six Days

Waterstone's Book Club
1. Jul The Bedlam Stacks
2. Aug Exit West
3. Lud-in-the-mist

Sept Ladder of Years

Edited: Aug 14, 2:14pm Top

Edited: Aug 14, 2:17pm Top

Cat 14 - Celtic Connection
Scottish, Irish and Welsh books. Maybe even Brittany or Galicia, if I find any.

1. Nothing...Except My Genius (Penguin Classics) Ireland

2. Saints of the Shadow Bible (A Rebus Novel) Scotland

3. Bloody Scotland Scotland
4. Even Dogs in the Wild Scotland

5. Sunset Song *1001, Scotland
6. Rather Be the Devil Scotland
7. Now that you're back Scotland

8. Winter Tales Scotland
9. The Master *1001, Ireland

10. One City Edinburgh, Scotland

Edited: Jun 2, 12:01pm Top

Cat 16 - Award Winning Women

1. Play as it lays *1001

2. Moon Tiger Booker Prize

Edited: Aug 14, 2:20pm Top

Cat 17 - Female Protagonist

1. The Greatcoat
2. As I lay dying
3. Lighthousekeeping

Sep 24, 2017, 7:07am Top

OK, totally cracked. Every year I say I won't start thinking about this until December, every year I can't resist the call of a fresh challenge.

Sep 24, 2017, 8:37am Top

Welcome back! I have a Celtic category as well so will be keeping an eye on yours for ideas! Have a great reading year :)

Sep 24, 2017, 9:21am Top

Wow! That's an impressive goal for the 1001 books. How many have you finished so far? I doubt I've hit 100. Good luck next year. :)

Sep 24, 2017, 12:34pm Top

>21 rabbitprincess: ooh will have to check it out.
>22 virginiahomeschooler: I have read 684 so far - I have been reading around 50 a year since I joined Librarything.

Sep 24, 2017, 1:58pm Top

Glad to see someone else who is going to go for 18 categories. I am looking forward to following along with you again next year.

Sep 25, 2017, 12:36pm Top

>15 soffitta1: >21 rabbitprincess: I've had a Celtic category the last couple of years too (and will continue to have into the future). Living in Scotland means so much book temptation!

Sep 25, 2017, 8:15pm Top

>9 soffitta1: A category of adjectives intrigues me.

Sep 26, 2017, 10:26pm Top

I’ll most likely have 18 categories too. Very impressive how much progress you’ve made with the 1001 list.

Sep 29, 2017, 12:43pm Top

Your categories are intriguing! I'll look forward to seeing how you fill them in.

Oct 11, 2017, 10:35am Top

"Every year I say I won't start thinking about this until December, every year I can't resist the call of a fresh challenge."

I know how that is! Your categories look great.

Nov 12, 2017, 12:03pm Top

Looks like a good setup for your 2018 reading!

Nov 17, 2017, 2:59pm Top

I always mean to read books from the 1001 list and always forget it.Maybe I'll get a couple done this year. Hope you have another successful year!

Nov 19, 2017, 3:59pm Top

>31 mamzel: "I always mean to read books from the 1001 list and always forget it." Same here, so having read 600+ of that list is very impressive, I think.

Enjoy your reading, I'll be watching your Asian category.

Apr 2, 4:16pm Top

I have finally finished writing mini reviews for last year, so will get myself up-to-date here now!
Not sure how long that will last for!

Apr 2, 5:02pm Top

January reads

1. Timetable of Death (Railway Detective Series)
The Railway Detective heads to Derbyshire when a railway company director is found dead in a grave dug for someone else.

2. The Biographer's Tale
Hard to pin this book down into a review, a man becomes the biographer of a biographer, but struggles to find the teller of other people's stories. Strange, but intriguing.

3. Nothing ... except my genius
Musings and extracts from the author, good for dipping into.

4. Nocturnes
A rather strange mix of short stories.

5. After the banquet
There is a lot going on in this book, there is a couple at the heart, very much a Jack Spratt and his wife. Kazu is part of modern Japan and drags her traditional husband forward. They clash often, but I am not sure who comes out on top.

6. Living at the End of the World
How people view the end of the world, interesting to dip into.

7. The Old Devils
1980s Wales, a group of not very likeable characters don't like each other much. I am trying to decide if this is not my cup of tea because of the subject or because reading yet another book about old white men on the 1001 list is getting rather tired.

Apr 2, 5:03pm Top

8. Portnoy's Complaint
Not my favourite by the author, it is hard to get enthused when you don't like the character.

9. The Moon and the Bonfires
I really liked this, a quiet book with a lot going on under the surface. A short, but thought-provoking book.

10. The invention of curried sausage
I have wanted to read this for ages, especially as I have the film ready to go. I do enjoy a good Currywurst, so the premise of the book was intriguing. A man returns to his hometown to interview a former neighbour about how she invented the Currywurst. An aged Scheherazade drip feeds him the story while giving an account of her own life and experiences during WW2. Highly recommended.

11. As if I am not there
This is a book that will remain with me for a long time. Set in the Balkans, this is the women's story of the horror of camps during the Yugoslavian civil war. The horror of the book is actually in the telling of what we will do to survive and also how those in power can abuse it and yet justify their heinous actions. Read it.

12. After the Death of Don Juan
Bought after plugging in a number of female authors into the search engine, this was an interesting read. I read the Spanish book Don Juan Tenorio at university, so was interested to see how that author moved beyond the end of the famous work. It is a book I would like to read again as the book was written during the Spanish Civil War and the author used the past to comment on that present. I will look out more by the writer.

Apr 2, 5:09pm Top

13. Noonday
Set in the Blitz, the characters look at their lives in uncertain times.

14. Más allá del invierno
I think this is back to Allende's best, I got stuck straight into this book. A one-off event brings together two academics and a young illegal immigrant, with the book following their joint story against the backdrop of their different pasts.

15. The Magic Toyshop
Picked up from the bookshelf at a local railway station on a delay day, this is a strange coming of age book. Not as good as previous ones I have read by the author, but it did pass the time.

16. Coco
I bought this in Mexico with a view to using it in class, a simplified novel to accompany the Oscar-winning film.

Apr 2, 5:21pm Top

February reads - I had a bit of a slump, partly due to work. I seem to be over it now, but only read 10 books.

17. At the Edge of the Orchard
I do enjoy reading Chevalier's work and this one did not disappoint. The book takes place in America and focuses on a family of apple growers with a dark past. It is a hard life, especially when Mother Nature is not always on your side.

18. Cousin Rosamund
I didn't realise this was part of a bigger work, but I felt like it could be read on its own. Central to the plot is the marriage of Rosamund, a rather strange arrangement. I am not sure how I feel about the book, there were parts I felt gripped me and others where I couldn't identify with or understand the motivations of the characters.

19. The Third Life of Grange Copeland
A bare and brutal telling of the titular character's life and how it affected those around him. Tough going at times, but an important book in terms of its historical past.

20. He shall Thunder in the Sky
Amelia Peabody and clan have made it to WW1, Ramses' skills are coveted by British intelligence and the Master Criminal is back.

21. Saints of the Shadow Bible (A Rebus Novel)
Rebus' past is catching up with him, this time a present case is linked to possible cover ups by the station he worked at as a young officer. Great return for Rebus.

Apr 2, 5:29pm Top

22. How to be Champion
A group read, I enjoyed returning to the North East and there are a number of laugh out loud moments.

23. Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories
A Christmas present. I am not a massive fan of ghost stories or horror, but I have visited a number of these properties so the book was a big draw.

24. The Ravishing of Lol Stein
Stein goes through a traumatic incident as a young woman, one which never leaves her. She marries and leaves her hometown and seems to go though life fairly normally, but when her husband's work takes him back there, it rises back to the surface. I suppose I have high expectations of the author, I have thoroughly enjoyed her Indochina-set books, but this wasn't as gripping.

25. Operation Shylock
What a strange premise, the author is impersonated by a man with a divisive political agenda. You need to concentrate with this one, but it is worth reading.

26. Inspector Colbeck's Casebook: Thirteen Tales from the Railway Detective
Short stories, a mixed bag, but overall a good commute read.

Apr 3, 4:03am Top

March reads

27. The Abortionist's Daughter
An abortion doctor is murdered and the case is anything but clear cut. This is a polemic topic and the book tries to show how her job affects those around her. It had a lot more promise than it ultimately delivered, partially due to the unrealistic actions some of the characters make.

28. Spring Tide
A young woman training to be a police officer looks back on an unsolved murder, one her cop father worked on. As she tries to untangle the past, people involved in the case start to pop up. Lots of twists and turns and also a spotlight on Western countries and their practices in extracting natural resources in Africa.

29. Sister Carrie
This wasn't what I expected, I picked it up in a charity shop because I recognised the title from the 1001 list. Dreiser takes us back to Chicago over a century ago and how the working class lived. The central character is a naïve woman who quickly realises she does not want to drudge like her family and is taken up to be a mistress. A rather depressing read, especially in how the characters treat each other, but I found myself turning the pages fairly quickly.

30. Lord of the Silent
Still in the midst of WW1, Amelia Peabody returns to Egypt with her extended family, The Master Criminal takes a more prominent role as Ramses gets caught up again with issues caused by British Intelligence.

31. The Golden One
Amelia Peabody mystery, good for commuting.

32. Doctor Faustus
A study of genius and madness. You need to concentrate but worth the read.

33. Unaccustomed Earth
Beautiful set of short stories about Indians living all over the world, especially focusing on the lives of second generation immigrants in the US. When I say beautiful, I mean the writing, but there is a lot of pain in these tales.

34. The little old lady who broke all the rules
Great fun, a group of pensioners decide they'd rather be in prison than an old people's home, so start committing crimes.

Apr 3, 4:10am Top

35. Summertime
A very different biography, this is a fictionalised look at the author's life seen through the lens of other people's interactions with him.

36. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
A girl on the cusp of womanhood is sent from home after doing something wrong. As the book moves on, the author drops in more information about what happened and how the central character can move on. The book did make me want to read on, but it was unsettling, especially reading it as a 21st Century woman. Did the protagonist know what she was doing or was she manipulated by those around her, especially the opposite sex? Read it and decide for yourself.

37. Hausfrau
An unfulfilled expat housewife starts a German course in Switzerland and falls into an affair with a classmate. This is a sad book about a woman who seems to be very lost in the country of her husband, but as the plot develops, you start to wonder when it all started to go wrong.

38. Escape from Camp 14: One man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West
A fascinating insight into a closed off world, a pinch of salt is needed as the reliability of the survivor is not always 100%, but there is no doubt that these camps are horrific.

39. Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition)
Steinbeck's well-crafted characters bring America in tough times to life.

40. The Power
A reread for a book group, I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the story and also was able to react more to the issues raised by the book because I wasn't concentrating only on the plot. A great book.

Apr 3, 4:24am Top

41. Humboldt's Gift
Not my favourite Bellow by a long shot, I didn't identify with the characters and so ultimately it became more of a reading exercise than a good read.

42. New Grub Street
A look at writers trying to survive, with relationships with people and living for your art or making your art pay for your living. Entertaining, but sad.

43. and 44. If This Is a Man and The Truce
Levi's account of his life in a Nazi concentration camp, the decisions made to survive and the horrific conditions. This is an excellent book. The second book tells of the extraordinary journey back to Italy after the war, through countries devastated by war and the arrival of the Russians.

45. Twelve Years a Slave
I have the film on my watchlist, but wanted to read the book first. The story told is unflinching, life under slavery laid bare, all the crueller for a free man to be kidnapped into it. A great book.

46. The Cleft
An interesting premise - women have lived alone and only produce baby girls, when baby boys are produced, they are killed and their bodies taken away. Not all babies die, however, and these children grow up alone. When the two groups meet later, their lives are dramatically changed. It is hard to write more without giving away the whole plot, but I liked this a lot.

47. The talisman of good fortune and other stories from rural Bhutan
Picked up because I know very little about the country, this is an interesting group of stories, very much not black and white in their endings.

48. Faceless Killers
The first Wallander book, an elderly couple are murdered on their farm and suspicion falls on immigrants, bringing out the worst in racial tension. Wallander is also falling apart in the wake of his divorce and the disappearance of his daughter. A solid start to a good series.

Apr 3, 2:49pm Top

Wow, you're making solid progress on your challenge! Kudos.

Apr 4, 3:39pm Top

Thanks! Enjoying myself immensely!

Apr 5, 3:23pm Top

Nice catch up with your reviews!

Jul 6, 9:05am Top

Very behind in reviews, but as the holidays have started, I hope to go back and write some.

Group: 2018 Category Challenge

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