Challenging Year

Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or long lasting.

from My Personal Best by John Wooden with Steve Jamison

I signed up for 5 new challenges this year.  I completed 4 of them easily, but the States Challenge became a bit of an obsession.  I only managed 76 books this year and still visited all 50 states!  In the month of December I had to finish a book every 2.5 days to check this challenge off my To Do list.  The Agatha Christie Challenge is ongoing so I hope to get more done on that in 2012.

I had one challenge holdover from 2010.  I asked you all to choose 50 book from my TBR piles for me to read and I read 36 in 2010 and another 11 in 2011, leaving me with 3 left for 2012.  Weird that I have had no desire in 2 years to pick up the one that garnered the most votes!

Except for those three books and the Agatha Christie challenge I am making 2012 a challenge free year.  I need to take some of the pressure off of myself and have a more relaxed reading year.  I do have a toddler running around here, you know 🙂

Here’s the challenge wrap up…

1. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb – 12 votes (Mary, Marce, Jo-Jo, Amanda, Calico Critic, ‘Nise, Jo Ann, Allesandra, Piroska, Mom, Literary Feline, Melissa)

2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – 10 votes (Mary, BermudaOnion, Word Lily, Linda B, Em, Literate Housewife, Ms. Mazzola, Jessica, Mille, Margie)

4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – 10 votes (Gofita, Carol, Staci, Ms. Mazzola, Heather, Kerri, Rebecca, Alita Reads, Julie H., Rhapsody)

9. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – 7 votes (Carol, Staci, FleurFisher, Vasilly, Ms. Mazzola, Angie, Amanda)

11. Emma by Jane Austen – 6 votes (Candice, Jennifer, Ms. Mazzola, Alita Reads, Kathrin, Literary Feline)

14. Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire – 5 votes (Shanyn, Jo-Jo, Calico Critic, Donna S, Lisa-Marie)

19. Roots by Alex Hailey – 5 votes (Cee-Cee, Staci, Literate Housewife, Sarah E., Angie S.)

35. Good Grief by Lolly Winston – 3 votes (Staci, Jenners, Margie)

36. Testimony by Anita Shreve – 3 votes (Marce, Allesandra, Mystica)

40. Three Junes by Julia Glass – 2 votes (Golda, Soft Drink)

42. Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins – 2 votes (Carol, Mille)

46. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – 2 votes (Golda, Heather)

49. The Human Stain by Philip Roth – 2 votes (Jackie, Mille)

50. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster – 2 votes (Candice, Jenny girl)

Book Obsessed

Alabama  The Hellion by LaVyrle Spencer

Alaska  Emerald Dreams by Caroline Bourne

Arizona  Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay

Arkansas Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris

California The 9th Judgement by James Patterson, Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher

Colorado  The Invitation by Jude Deveraux

Connecticut  Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton

Delaware  Hawke’s Harbor by SE Hinton

Florida  Black Out by Lisa Unger

Georgia  Quicksand by Iris Johansen

Hawaii Kona Winds by Janet Dailey

Idaho  Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson

Illinois The Litigators by John Grisham

Indiana  My Personal Best by John Wooden with Steve Jamison

Iowa Laughing Through Life by Connie Corcoran Wilson

Kansas The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

Kentucky  Foxfire Light by Janet Dailey

Lousiana Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Maine  Carrie by Stephen King

Maryland  Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler

Massachusetts  Just Above a Whisper by Lori Wick

Michigan  What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage

Minnesota  Buried Prey by John Sandford

Mississippi Third Degree by Greg Iles

Missouri  Little Black Dress by Susan McBride

Montana Work Song by Ivan Doig

Nebraska  My Antonia by Willa Cather

Nevada  The Missing Ink by Karen E Olson

New Hampshire A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

New Jersey  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

New Mexico  The Secret of Everything by Barbara O’Neal

New York  Hush by Kate White, After Isaactown by Ward Jones, Deadly Vows by Brenda Joyce, Live Wire by Harlan Coben, The Fountain by Emily Grayson, Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon

North Dakota A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor

North Carolina  The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Ohio  The Lake Effect by Les Roberts

Oklahoma Six White Horses by Janet Dailey

Oregon  HeartSick by Chelsea Cain, Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Pennsylvania Someone in the House by Barbara Michaels

Rhode Island The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

South Carolina  What So Proudly We Hailed by James Howard

South Dakota  Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Tennessee  The Glass Flame by Phyllis Whitney

Texas  Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Echo Burning by Lee Child, Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker

Utah The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Vermont Testimony by Anita Shreve

Virginia Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

Washington  The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts

West Virginia Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

Wisconsin  Afraid by Jack Kilborn

Wyoming Open Season CJ Box

Washington DC  The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

1.  What So Proudly We Hailed by James Howard.  Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

2. The 9th Judgement by James Patterson.  Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

3. After Isacctown by Ward Jones. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

4.  Third Degree by Greg Iles. Reviewed here. Gave away here.

5. The Hellion by LaVyrle Spencer.  Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

6. Testimony by Anita Shreve. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

7. The Glass Flame by Phyllis Whitney. Reviewed here. Gave away here.

8. Emma by Jane Austen. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

9. Carrie by Stephen King. Reviewed here. Gave away here.

10.  The Invitationby Jude Deveraux. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

11. Open Season by CJ Box. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

12. Skinny Legs & All by Tom Robbins. Reviewed here.  Gave away here.

1.  Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

2. Deadly Vows by Brenda Joyce

3. The Hellion by LaVyrle Spencer

4. A Room with a View by EM Forster

5. The Fountain by Emily Grayson

6. Emerald Dreams by Caroline Bourne

7.  Emma by Jane Austen

8.  The Invitation by Jude Deveraux

9. Foxfire Light by Janet Dailey

10. Kona Winds by Janet Dailey

11. Black Hills by Nora Roberts

12. Six White Horses by Janet Dailey

1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles reviewed here.

2. The Secret Adversary reviewed here.

Finish 100 miles in three months, July 1-September 30. I finished my 100 miles on September 14th!!!

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI   September 1-October 31st.

1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

2. Buried Prey by John Snadford

My Antonia, by Willa Cather

My Antonia (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)Finished 12-30-11, rating 3/5, classic fiction, 266 pages, pub. 1918

“I came to ask you something, Tony.  Grandmother wants to know if you can’t go to the term of school that begins next week over at the sod schoolhouse.  She says there’s a good teacher, and you’d learn a lot.”

Antonia stood up, lifting and dropping her shoulders as if they were stiff.  “I ain’t got time to learn.  I can work like mans now.  My mother can’t say no more how Ambrosch do all and nobody to help him.  I can work as much as him.  School is all right for little boys.  I help make this land one good farm.”

Chapter 17

Let me start by saying that we listened to the first half of this in the car on our holiday travels, but I could not make Jason listen to more.  He hated it.  He told me there was a good chance of him falling asleep while driving if we listened to more.  I had to agree that the audio wasn’t good.  The Bohemian accents were laughable to me and really ruined Antonia.  And it was fairly boring on the Nebraska farm.

Once home, I picked up the book and finished.  I am happy to report that it got better for me.  Jim, the narrator, who had crushed on Antonia since he was a boy on the farm moved to town with his grandparents and Antonia soon followed him, working at the house next door.  Their friendship had its ups and downs, but remained the dominant relationship in Jim’s life even decades later.

This is a great study of early Nebraska and the people who settled there, many foreigners who didn’t understand the land, the language, or the people. Foreigners like Antonia and her family.   Life working the land was hard and it could make people mean, but not Jim’s grandparents.  Jim went there to live with them after his mom and dad died back in Virginia and was blessed with a relatively easy life compared to some.

I thought this was alternately boring and interesting.  Just when something interesting would capture my interest it would be followed by pages of details that didn’t move the story along for me.  I think it’s a good study of one Nebraska farm girl’s life, but it may have been more compelling told from her point of view so that she was not just seen on the fringes of Jim’s life.

I would rate the first half/audio a 2 and the second half/paper a 3.5.  I read this for the states challenge and I do feel like I’ve been there.

This was from my personal library.