Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reading Challenges: The Long and the Short of It

Every tale must tail off in the long run or the short run. That

I love both the looooong novel and the shortest short story but do not read as many of either as I'd like to. Which is why I choose to join these two challenges.

2010 Chunkster Challenge

From the host:

Definition of a Chunkster:
  • A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature (fiction or nonfiction) ... A chunkster should be a challenge.
  • If you read large type books your book will need to be 525 pages or more ... The average large type book is 10-15% longer or more so I think that was a fair estimate.
The Rules:
  • No Audio books in the chunkster. It just doesn't seem right. Words on paper for this one folks.
  • No e-Books allowed - we are reading traditional, fat books for this challenge.
  • Short Stories and Essay collections will not be counted.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges
  • Anyone may join. [If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment on the sign-up post at the host blog to let them know you are playing and your progress]
  • You don't need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you pick a level, that's're committed to that level!
You must pick a level of participation (thanks again to Dana for the humor in these categories!):
  1. The Chubby Chunkster - this option is for the reader who has a couple of large tomes on their TBR list, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. 3 books is all you need to finish this challenge.
  2. Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to 4 Chunksters over the next twelve months.
  3. Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to 6 or more chunksters OR three tomes of 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.

Well, hmmm. I just went through my list of finished books for the year so far and found I've already read 5 qualifying so I guess I have to commit to Mor-book-ly Obese. And since two of the large print books are on the edge I'll voluntarily disqualify them and commit to three more or one 450-750 and one 750+. But the year is only half done so I strongly suspect I'll do more than that because I have quite a few chunksters in my high-priority TBR list. So much for thinking I don't read enough long stories.

Here is my list of already read as of today:

  1. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder / Rebecca Wells 552 p LP
  2. The Expected One / Kathleen McGowan 694 p LP
  3. Under the dome / Stephen King 1074 p
  4. The time traveler's wife / Audrey Niffenegger 643 p. LP
  5. The Girls / Lori Lansens 581 p. LP

Short Story Reading Challenge

From the host blog:

Options 1 & 2: If you're short on time, you can simply commit to reading ten short stories by ten different authors over the course of 2010. If you're relatively new to reading short stories, any ten will do. If you’ve already got a lot of short stories under your belt, make it ten short stories by ten writers whose work you have not yet read....

Options 3 & 4: If you've got a bit more time to devote to this endeavour, you can commit to reading between five and ten short story collections over the course of 2010. Again, if you're a short story novice, the world is your oyster as far as selection is concerned. But if you're a seasoned short story reader, you'll want to choose collections by writers whose short stories you have not yet encountered.

Option 5: This is the custom option under the rubric of which you can tailor your reading list to best meet your personal reading aspirations. You might wish to craft a list that focuses on a particular place, or era, or genre. Or you might wish to include reading about short stories as well ....

The blog dedicated to this challenge can be found here. On it, participants can post reading lists, recommendations, and reviews of specific short stories and short story collections, as well as ruminations on and links related to the short story form more generally.

The dedicated blog is a group blog for which participants can receive invitations to join if they wish to post reviews or recommended reading lists or other on topic material there. Anyone wishing to participate should contact the host, Kate, via this announcement post on her blog or this one cross-posted on the group blog or via email which you can find on either blog. The contest runs from January thru December and newcomers are welcome at any time.

I don't have a list prepared of either read or yet-to-read short stories. I know I've read several since January but I've not kept a record of short stories only books finished and none of those were short story collections. A few of those I read since January were online. I probably dropped a link somewhere in my notes for them. I'll try to track them down as I remember really liking one or two of them and they aren't obtainable anywhere else.

I am going to choose Option 5 the custom one for as a writer I wish to read about short stories as well as read the stories. I wish to read about writing short stories as well as about reading them. I wish to discover new authors and revisit old favorites. And I imagine some of the stories I choose will be found on the Gilmore Girls Challenge list. Which would likely include some Dorothy Parker who would be a new author for me.

Two of my favorite short story writers going back decades are Flannery O'Conner and Joyce Carol Oates. I also remember liking Isaac Bashevis Singer and Jorge Luis Borges. I'm remembering other stories I liked vaguely but without author names or titles attached so I'll leave it at that for now as I go to explore my options.

You can follow my progress in these and other 2010 challenges in the Reading Challenges Portal.

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