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Laura's Imperfect 999 Challenge

999 Challenge

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Edited: Oct 26, 2009, 2:18pm Top

1. Classics
2. Book Club Selections
3. Biography / Auto-Biography
4. Books of the Bible
5. Recommendations
6. History / Philosophy
7. Drama and Poetry
8. Growth
9. Just for Fun

Blog: http://imperfectreader.wordpress.com

1. Classics - done
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - done
2. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - done
3. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell - done
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - done
5. The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham - done
6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - done
7. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte - done
8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - done
9. The Trial by Franz Kafka - done

2. Book Club Selections - done
1. Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon - done
2. The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson - done
3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - done
4. Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow - done
5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - done
6. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne - done
7. John Adams by David McCullough - done
8. Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs - done
9. The Girl in the Orange Dress by Starbuck - done

3. Biography / Auto-Biography - done
1. The Confessions by Augustine - done
2. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton - done
3. George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson - done
4. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - done
5. Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland - done
6. Dante: A Life in Works by Robert Hollander - done
7. Robert Murray M'Cheyne by Andrew Bonar - done
8. St Thomas Aquinas by G. K. Chesterton - done
9. St Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesteron - done

4. Books of the Bible - done
1. Job - done
2. Judges - done
3. Isaiah - done
4. John - done
5. Jeremiah - done
6. Galatians - done
7. Matthew - done
8. Mark - done
9. Luke - done

5. Recommendations - done
1. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger - done
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - done
3. How Long, O Lord? by D. A. Carson - done
4. Callahan's Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson - done
5. Plain Secrets by Joe Mackall - done
6. Live Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham - done
7. How to Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen - done
8. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - done
9. Let Go by Sheila Walsh - done

6. History / Philosophy
natch - see extra category at bottom - I'll still reach 81

7. Drama & Poetry
1. Hamlet by Shakespeare - done
2. The Odyssey by Homer - done
3. The Aeneid by Virgil - done
4. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
5. Paradise Lost by John Milton
6. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alghieri - done
7. Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand - done
8. The Iliad by Homer - done
9. Metamorphoses by Ovid - done

8. Growth
1. Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings
2. On the Incarnation by St Athanasius - done
3. Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns - done
4. Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson - done
5. The Curate of Glaston by George McDonald - done
6. What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lisa Terkeurst - done
7. Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson - done
8. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis - done
9. Finally Alive by John Piper - done

9. Just for Fun - done
1. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay - done
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - done
3. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - done
4. My Sister's Keeper - by Jodi Picoult - done
5. City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge - done
6. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman - done
7. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett - done
8. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - done
9. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - done

Extra: L. M. Montgomery
1. Pat of Silver Bush - done
2. Mistress Pat - done
3. Blue Castle - done
4. Jane of Lantern Hill
5. The Story Girl
6. Emily of New Moon - done
7. Emily Climbs - done
8. Emily's Quest - done

Dec 30, 2008, 7:25pm Top

You know, I was wondering just the other day if a book from the Bible could count as a book, or whether I'd need to read the entire OT or NT before I could count it. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

I don't think I've ever read any of your other books, but they are just the think to catch my eye. I'll be watching for your comments.

Dec 30, 2008, 7:35pm Top

You have some very impressive choices. I'll be interested to read what you think of them -- hope you'll be posting comments/reviews.

Dec 30, 2008, 7:41pm Top

I had the same question about Books of the Bible. But after looking at my Classics and History sections I decided this would be fair.

Dec 30, 2008, 7:59pm Top

I agree.

Dec 30, 2008, 10:08pm Top

That look like a great list, lauranav. And very ambitious. I've read quite a few of these and several more are on my TBR pile--I'll be interested to find out what you think of them.

Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch as 1/3 of 1 category is impressive! I own all of them but have never read them "straight through." I'll see which one you recommend and try that when my challenge is done. Republic is a great book. I've read most of your classics and have Anna Karenina on my 999 list. The only other one I haven't read is The Trial and I'm considering that one for this year also. The others I think you will really enjoy. I'm reading my fist Guy Gavriel Kay book this year--Tigana--beccause my son sent his copy home with me when we visited them in Chicago at Thanksgiving. Have you read others of his? Fantasy is an area I'm exploring this year.

I look forward to "talking books" with you this year.

Dec 31, 2008, 8:14am Top

I've read most of Guy Gavriel Kay's books. I have enjoyed all of them. The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy is probably my favorite. I started with the Sarantium duology which is a great story. Tigana is very good and should give you a good feel for his work.

At times I'm a little daunted by some of the books on my reading list but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Jan 2, 2009, 10:33pm Top

A successful week!
I admit, I started on my 999 Challenge in December, once class was over on 12/12 I had to dive back into reading.
In December I read:
Matthew and Mark
The Curate of Glaston (actually a trilogy)
What Happens When Woman Say Yes to God
most of Mere Christianity
How to Listen So Kids Will Talk and Talk So Kids Will Listen
Home to Holly Springs

I also read a few books not on my list, including:
The House of Dies Drear
Raising Dragons
Messenger of Truth
The Read-Aloud Handbook

In Jan so far I have read:
Luke and John
The Iliad - my first real victory! I enjoyed it, which pumps me for some of the other books I need to tackle.
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon - so glad my aunt's husband pointed me in the direction of Spider Robinson

Tomorrow I should finish Pat of Silver Bush
And I really want to read another chapter or two in The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman To Do

Knowing that I'm already 1/8 through my list, I decided to pick up on an LM Montgomery Challenge and add another 9 books to the list. They are easy and fun reads so it should be nice to break up the heavier reading with them.
Here is the link for the challenge if you want to join in:


Jan 4, 2009, 5:21pm Top

Finished Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat this weekend.
On to Plutarch's Lives volume 1

Jan 5, 2009, 7:32pm Top

Just checked out your selections. You have alot of "Oh I didn't think of that one" books on your list. I plan to add 19 more to the 999 and do the 100 challenge also. May pop by now and again for ideas. I'm reading Confessions of St. Augustine also but not for the challenge. I've starred you and look forward to seeing your progress

Jan 12, 2009, 12:45pm Top

Have you heard of the LM Montgomery family authorized Before Green Gables? It's a prequel to Anne of Green Gables and tells how Anne ended up in the orphanage and her travels before ending up with Matthew and Marissa.

Jan 13, 2009, 9:46am Top

ShannonMDE I had not heard of that, I'll look for it as it sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip!

Jan 13, 2009, 9:41pm Top

Finished Ysabel and then read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for a quick pick me up, since the week seems to be going so slowly.

Alongside Plutarch's Lives, I'm also reading Plain Secrets. This looks very interesting.

Jan 24, 2009, 10:25pm Top

I read Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart this week. Along with the Book of Amos.

Jan 31, 2009, 9:07pm Top

Finished the book of Job and Eon: Dragoneye Reborn this week.

Feb 6, 2009, 7:39am Top

Finished Oswald Chambers, Abandoned to God today. I don't do audio books often, but this was interesting and well read.

Feb 9, 2009, 8:11pm Top

Some reviews are in order.
Heart of Darkness was still interesting. I see it as a discussion of the depravity of man's heart. I read Heart of Darkness and in Mr. Kurtz I see a portrayal of a man who was good at many things (painting, music, politics, writing) and considered a good man. He took his ideals to Africa, enlightened attitudes of treatment of the natives and bringing them the benefits of civilization. What he found in Africa was the darkness of his own sinful heart. I don't think that Africa turned him bad or wiped away the good of his civilization. I do think that the environment (the greed of the white colonialists who wanted ivory and the vulnerability of the natives) provided the opportunity for his base nature to overpower the veneer of civility. He finds that his goodness is not very deep, his talent is not earned or appreciated, and his ideals do not have enough foundation to withstand the evils that man is capable of. And what I see in Heart of Darkness is all about the white men showing their true colors.

To complement (or counter) that, I then read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart describes a decade in the life of a member of a village on the River Niger. We learn about Okonkwo, his father, his wives and children, his role in the village, and his love of the traditions of his tribe. The first part of the book gives us a picture of what life is like, the rules of the society and the meaning they give to Okonkwo's life. We see things done for tradition's sake that are disagreeable, but accepted. Perhaps they should be questioned, but then arises the difficulty of preserving what is good while allowing debate and change.

In the second and third parts, we see Okonkwo in exile and missionaries (white and black) move in to preach Jesus Christ. There are many clashes, from cultural differences between men willing to listen to each other, to violent clashes between men unwilling to learn about the other side. In the end, Okonkwo cannot bear to see his village destroyed by the change that has come.

More interesting was the the speech/essay by Achebe decrying the racism in Heart of Darkness. Mr. Achebe challenges me though, as I realize that while I find the natives portrayed sympathetically, abused and wronged by the white man, they are not portrayed honestly. As Marlow travels down the river, I felt he was characterizing our loss of touch with life and the daily immediacy and intimacy with nature and the world as a whole that "civilization" keeps at a distance through business and politeness. An African ceremony is used to get closer to nature and inner emotions, while a European ceremony is much better at keeping emotions and intimacy at a great distance. Achebe sees it all as a cheat of the Africans though. They are producing art and literature and a history at the very time that Conrad is showing them as shadows that appear on the river bank, jump up and down, and then melt back into the jungle.

Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God was really inspiring. I find audio-books difficult, I lose focus and forget to pay attention. This book was a great audio-book, and it kept my attention. My argument this time is that I heard things I wanted to write down and meditate on but couldn’t given where I was and that the recording just kept going.

One of Oswald’s sayings was that he wanted to spend and be spent only for God. His work wasn’t just a job, it was his life and God was present in everything he did. Related to this was his belief that he should give to whoever asks. He knew that people would take advantage of him, but that was God’s to handle. If Oswald gave when he was asked, then God would provide for Oswald. And this is how it worked every single time.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was my pleasure read last week. This was a great book. It speaks to every female who has wanted to be the hero but knows it doesn't fit in the rules. Eona is masquerading as Eon, a candidate for Dragoneye Apprentice. Training is harsh and losing is not a real healthy option (they don't kill them, there just isn't much other hope) so the candidates are not friends. Eon isn't chosen by the Ascendant Rat Dragon so things look dismal. Then suddenly the Mirror Dragon appears and chooses him (or her). That's when things get really dangerous.

It's lie upon lie and secret upon secret as Eon tries to find out how to access the power of the Mirror Dragon while trying to learn what it means to be a Dragoneye without the benefit of being an Apprentice for 12 years. Not to mention learning to be a Lord after being a peasant all his life. What's a girl to do but try to be even more male and wonder who to turn to for help without revealing anything that earns a death sentence (oh, like being a *girl*, which is immediate death, no passing go).

This, of course, is all happening in the midst of a major power struggle and the power of right and good is depending greatly on Lord Eon's power as the Dragoneye of the Mirror Dragon. That's a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old boy (or even a 16 year old girl) with a very tenuous grasp on the power and no understanding of how to make it all right.

The characters are very interesting, and I found them well developed. The world and the power of the Dragons is interesting and introduced well. I read a lot of stuff like this, but I found this story easy to follow and get in to. Yes, Eon is hiding a lot of stuff, but it all makes sense and there just isn't time or place for sharing. Alison Goodman provides charts and details, but they aren't necessary to understand and follow the story. They are a nice whipped cream topping on a very tasty dessert.

Feb 9, 2009, 8:18pm Top

Recently I have completed Mere Christianity. This is a great book, with the first 3 parts being better than the last. C. S. Lewis is great at apologetics and not so great at theology, but these essays are a great read. My favorite is still The Great Divorce.

I also read Sense and Sensibility over the past few days for my book club next Sunday. It is a great story showing the differences between giving in to each emotion completely and using self-control to contain emotions instead of being controlled by them. Both Marianne and Elinor are very good and dear women, but it does seem that the lack of self-control is very immature and we are happy to see Marianne grow some by the end. This book reminds me of Anne of Green Gables in many ways. Anne was completely at the mercy of her emotions. Marilla and age helped instill some self-control, while Anne gave Marilla a bit more feeling and joy.

I bought a copy of Les Miserables so I'm not tied down to the library schedule. I still need to finish The Seven Storey Mountain and get it back to the library.

Feb 21, 2009, 8:44pm Top

I finally finished The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. Interesting story, but for a bio I could have gotten enough from the wikipedia article. I didn't find inspiration in his on again, off again struggle. But his contemplation and observation of life from the perspective of a believer deep in the heart of his faith was great so I will be sure to read some of his contemplative writings at some point.

Feb 23, 2009, 8:37pm Top

Finished Deeper Water. This was a quick read, and pretty good Christian fiction. I posted a review in LT.

Feb 23, 2009, 8:41pm Top

I hope you enjoy Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery! I've read a lot of her books, but for some reason it has always remained my favorite :)

Feb 26, 2009, 10:37am Top

Thanks for your commments on Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness. I decided to read HOD because of the contrasts you and others on the Reading Globally thread have pointed out. Are the remarks from Achebe

>>More interesting was the the speech/essay by Achebe decrying the racism in Heart of Darkness.

Mar 4, 2009, 10:18am Top

I finished Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff. I also read the book of Judges.

Mar 18, 2009, 8:21am Top

I read Emily of New Moon - fun book and I look forward to more time with Emily.

Apr 4, 2009, 9:32pm Top

30. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
I finally read a book that was on my 999 list. I've read 14 this year that weren't on my list and I have 3 more sitting on my desk. But I did fit this one in. I can't believe I took this long to read it, I should have read it years ago and I am sure I will read it again. I want to be like Betsie - seeing the world the way she does. Seeing people the way she does. I'd settle for having the faith and strength that Corrie had.

Apr 6, 2009, 4:27pm Top

31. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Ha, I read another book from my 999 list. This was a recommendation from the Desiring God blog. I didn't find it as moving or challenging as John Piper (which I would say is my loss, not his). It was a well told story with interesting descriptions of the people and places and events.

Apr 23, 2009, 9:41pm Top

32. Emily Climbs by LM Montgomery
Very nice to be adding to my LM Montgomery reading.

Apr 25, 2009, 3:14pm Top

33. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Book club read for May 17.

Apr 25, 2009, 8:07pm Top

I loved The Hiding Place. I also read it this year. So good! I was so inspired. What a great example of forgiveness. I had heard parts of it before, but knowing the whole story makes it so much more meaningful. I think it's a message the world can still use, whether Christian or not.

Apr 27, 2009, 9:03am Top

34. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I'm so glad I finally read this book - it was wonderful!

Edited: Apr 27, 2009, 4:28pm Top

35. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett - 120 pp

Edited: May 17, 2009, 8:49am Top

36. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - 534 pp

May 26, 2009, 1:21pm Top

37. How Long, O Lord by D. A. Carson - 240 pp
Another book on my 999 Challenge list. I try to get in one or two each month, since they keep getting crowded out by others.

Jun 1, 2009, 4:00pm Top

38. George Muller of Bristol - 466 pp
A good biography of a great man.

Jun 9, 2009, 11:57am Top

39. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Great book.

Jun 16, 2009, 10:57am Top

40. A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge

Edited: Jun 29, 2009, 4:32pm Top

41. The Odyssey by Homer
A very fine read. I'm glad I've finally read these 2 and I look forward to the Aeneid soon. But first, Metamorphoses by Ovid.

Jul 13, 2009, 4:07pm Top

42. Metamorphoses by Ovid
Well, I read 135 pages of this 441 page book. That was plenty for me - either the style or the subject isn't working for me. At least I have an idea of what the book is like now.
On to other things.

Jul 27, 2009, 9:06pm Top

43. Emily's Quest by L. M. Montgomery
It's 100 pages shorter than the others and it's a good thing it was. Many more pages of broken engagements and people trying to fit with the wrong people would have killed me.
The last chapter was the best, where everyone ended up where they should.

Edited: Jul 30, 2009, 10:19pm Top

44. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - 328 pp
Gothic romance, love story, tragedy, ghost story.
I actually found it on the young adult shelf at the library, and I think it belongs there. I might have enjoyed this more if I read it 10 or 20 years ago. I could relate to the very active imagination and storylines of the narrator. And I understand misreading how other people think and react, so the overblown opinion of Rebecca makes sense. But I really wanted to give her a kick in the rear and tell her to grow up.

Also, similar to The Scarlet Pimpernel in that he loved her but then the secrets they wouldn't tell each other or ask each other about grew between them.

Now I know the story and who Rebecca was. And I can feel smart because I saw the twists just before they happened.

Aug 28, 2009, 6:19pm Top

House-cleaning time. I have removed some books and authors and one category.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski - maybe next year
Ezra Pound and TS Elliot
Graham Greene is moved to next year.
Since I've read most of the OT this year due to our church study I replaced Ephesians and Romans with some prophets.

1. The Histories by Herodotus
2. History of The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
3. Plutarch's Lives
4. selections by Xenophon
5. The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
6. The Republic by Plato
7. Utopia by Sir Thomas More
8. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
9. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

I read The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham (replaced Crime and Punishment).
That means 4 done and I think the last 5 are reasonable.

Book Club Selections
This includes the 5 Minutes For Books, Reading Classics with Tim Challies, and my church book club. I'm almost done with John Adams and Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment so by end of Sept I'll have 7 done and maybe I'll get back to Les Mis this year.

5 done, looking forward to the other 4. I admit Confessions seems a bit daunting, but I want to read it so I'll get to it.

Books of the Bible - I've read all but the minor prophets this year so I think I can count that as done.

These tend to be easy because they are books people have given me or heartily recommended.
I had someone hand me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I'm pushing Graham Greene to next year.
That means 7 done

History/Philosophy - this entire category is gone. Just not something I want to work on this year, maybe because it just seems like to much to finish in the timeframe. But I'll revisit them.

Drama & Poetry - a surprise hit, as I don't do much reading of either.
5 done, I am listening to The Divine Comedy in audio book and I'm through Inferno and Purgatorio and into Paradiso now so I should be done in Sept. Then on to the Aeneid since Virgil has accompanied Dante through Hell and Purgatory.

Growth - 5 done, a good 4 left

Just for Fun - the easiest since I populated it as I read odds and ends. Life of Pi seems like it's available as an audio book from the library so I should get it started in Sept when I finish Dante.

L. M. Mongtomery - 5 down, 4 to go - easy finish this year.

Aug 29, 2009, 9:04pm Top

Obviously, I'm not trying to finish my 999 by 9/9/09. I see this as an entire 2009 project. Although, I have read 90 books in 2009 so if we go by number and allow massive redoing of the list, then I finished.

I did finish John Adams and Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment today so I have 29 left in my 999 list.

I have one review book to read next, then on to the two bios by Chesterton. That's the one category where I'm not half-way through yet so this will get me over that hump. Of course, I'm tempted to count John Adams twice, but only if I can't find the Elliot or Liddell biographies before end of year.

Sep 3, 2009, 8:17pm Top

Finished The Divine Comedy by Dante and St Francis of Assisi by Chesterton.

Now working on a bio of Dante and the other bio by Chesterton.

Sep 19, 2009, 9:22pm Top

Finished Dante: A Life In Works and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

Oct 3, 2009, 8:57pm Top

Changed out a classic as I decided to read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell along with the Constant Reader group on Goodreads. Interesting read on the Spanish Civil War.

Then changed out a recommendation book as I read Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. Very good book, as his usually are.

That's 60 done, 21 to go. I have to stop reading misc other stuff and stick to 999 challenge books if I'm going to finish.

I moved Les Miserables out of the book club list and added in the next 2 for our local book club. I'll join a group read of Les Mis and finish it in 2010.

Oct 4, 2009, 2:31pm Top

Finished the St. Thomas Aquinas biography by Chesterton.

Oct 20, 2009, 9:20am Top

Finished five on vacation.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson - great book about a group of women who meet at a Christian conference and continue to meet as a prayer group.

Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery - in some ways different from her others, but in some ways very much like all the rest. This is about a 29 year old-maid who is told she has one year to live and finds she resents dying when she hasn't even lived yet. She makes it a great year while scandalizing her family with her newfound honesty and independence.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne by Andrew Bonar - this little bio of the Scottish preacher/writer was interesting. It was written shortly after M'Cheyne's death by a dear friend so the details covered were not necessarily what I would have looked for in a bio, but it was a good read.

Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns - I had read enough about this book to expect it to be very good. It was a very good book, providing plenty of food for thought. I'll be re-reading it in the next few weeks to spend time on each concept again. Highly recommended.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte - I didn't even know this book (or this author) existed until this year. I had it on the Kindle and found it an easy read. She certainly ran into some unpleasant families with spoiled children.

Oct 26, 2009, 2:14pm Top

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - good story, I see why people keep reading it. Reminded me of LM Montgomery

The Aeneid by Virgil - I was never as familiar with this story as The Iliad or The Odyssey so I'm glad I read this.

Confessions of Augustine - probably not one I'll ever read again

The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail by Margo Starbuck - excellent book and highly recommended.

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