I don’t know why I lie to myself

All these past weeks, when everyone has been deciding on their challenges for the New Year (is anyone else totally ready for 2010?  This has never happened to me before, but I find myself wanting to write 2010 as the year for everything, and then when I have to write 2009 instead, I feel cranky and cheated), I’ve been saying, I am not joining any.  No challenges for me, I have said.  I’m not joining the Women Unbound Challenge; I’m not joining Haloes and Horns, or Alyce’s Time Travel one, or the Graphic Novel one that Chris and Nymeth are hosting.

Though in fact this turns out to be a tangled web of lies.  I’m totally joining all these challenges, because, well, because they sound fun, and I like to find new blogs, and even when I pretend I’m not joining these challenges, I know that I really am.  Because I checked out The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch, and I thought, Hey, for the graphic novel challenge! and then I checked out a graphic novel memoir of this woman whose husband was killed in 9/11, and I thought, this will work for the graphic novels one and maybe for the Women Unbound one too; and if I find a graphic novel about a time-traveling angel that deals with women’s issues, y’all, I’m going to throw a party.

Sidebar: Speaking of parties, a recent (-ly finished) study found that the happiest people in America are (drumroll!) Louisianians!  We’re the happiest state!  We’re happier than Hawaii!  It’s because we’ve got mad food here, and also because we like to throw parties.  Enormous festival-type parties for rice and jazz and strawberries and football and hurricanes.  PARTY AT LOUISIANA’S HOUSE.

Anyway, pride in my home state aside, here they are, the challenges that I am joining for the new year:

The Women Unbound Challenge is happening here, and I am joining it a bit late, and I am joining at the suffragette level, which means reading eight books all about the womenfolk before November of next year (I can totally do that!).  This is a list of some books I am considering:

Women of the Raj, Margaret MacMillan – I’ve had this on my shelves for a while – it’s about women!  Of the Raj!
The Dud Avocado, Elaine Dundy – a novel set in the 1950s that follows a wacky ex-pat girl in Paris
The Group, Mary McCarthy – apparently this is Sex and the City for 1930s Vassar graduate ladies
Sisters, John Fialka – a nonfiction book about how nuns have contributed to the making of America
Bluestockings, Jane Robinson – a nonfiction book I probably won’t be able to acquire, about the first wave of women who went to university but I probably won’t be able to get it (sad, sad, sad)
Foreign Correspondence, Geraldine Brooks – a memoir about Geraldine Brooks tracking down all her old pen friends
Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy – nonfiction book about women and feminism in America right now
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte – because my sister said Anne Bronte is sort of a badass feminist

Those are the ones I’m thinking of right now.  However, there are a lot of people in the blogosphere with lists of books they are reading for this challenge, and I may read a completely different set of books than these.

Time Travel Reading Challenge!  Because I love time travel!  And because it’s completely relaxing – I get to pick the number of books to read and read them sometime in 2010.  I’m going to read five.  Five is a nice number.  I was born in the fifth month.  These are the ones I want to read, though at least one of these is a bit of a pipe-dream.

Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, Samuel Madden – I was enchanted by the idea of this book to start with, because it’s got an angel in it (see below!) what travels to 1728 (which is about when the book was written) with letters from 1997/1998, and apparently it was terribly controversial at the time and it got suppressed.  Going to have to ILL this one.
Trapped in Time, Ruth Chew – Two little kids get transported back to the Civil War times
A Traveler in Time, Alison Uttley – A time travel book written by the lady who wrote Little Grey Rabbit.  Love.
Time Cat, Lloyd Alexander – Well, just because I haven’t read this book in a thousand years, and I used to love it.
Making History, Stephen Fry – a book about people trying to stop Hitler from being born – Stephen Fry wrote it!  Stephen Fry.  I love Stephen Fry and am curious about his writing

Also, the Horns and Halos Challenge, which I simply can’t resist.  It’s devils and angels!  How fun, right?

There are several reasons this challenge appeals to me.  One is that my fluttering heart, who is hosting it, is hosting it because she’s tired of vampires AND, GOD, SO AM I. Another is that I have never reviewed Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel Murder Mysteries on this blog, despite its containing one of my favorite ever lines in all of literature.  And another is that I want to reread Paradise Lost.  I’m going to read seven books, because my birthday is on the seventh of the month.  And I like the number  seven, and it is all mystical which is good as it’s angels and demons.  I counted it out carefully, and with my choices of books, I am going to end up on the Garden of Eden level, exactly the same amount angels and devils, assuming Paradise Lost splits up the middle.

Paradise Lost, John Milton
Murder Mysteries, Neil Gaiman – a graphic novel with angels and murder mysteries
Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, Samuel Madden – see above!  An angel and time travel!
The Vintner’s Luck, Elizabeth Knox – a vintner and an angel become friends and stay friends over many years
Lucifer, Mike Carey – a series of graphic novels that I’ve been meaning to read anyway because I liked Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer
Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe – because I never did read it before and have heard wonderful things about it
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, Jonathan L. Howard – all about a guy who sold his soul to learn necromancy

And last, but not least of course, Chris and Nymeth’s Graphic Novels Challenge.

Graphic novels!  I enjoy graphic novels!  I shall read numerous graphic novels!  I shall be at the Expert level, which is ten or more.  I’m not making a list right now because it’s always iffy whether my library will have any of the graphic novels I want; so these decisions will have a lot to do with what’s available.  (My library is wonderful, and is getting more graphic novels than they used to have, but they still don’t have a really fantastic collection.)

  • I’m excited to see that you are joining the Time Travel Challenge! You have several books on your list that I haven’t heard of, and I’ll be adding them to the master list on my site soon.

    I loved Time Cat too! I remember giving a book report on it in grade school, and I must not have been doing a good job explaining it because I remember a lot of weird and confused looks from my classmates. 🙂 I haven’t read it in years, so I’d be curious if it was a fun as I remembered.

    Good luck with all of your reading!

    • Thanks! When I first read Time Cat, I had only recently acquired my cat Shadow, and I thought it was just so cool all the things the cat (Gareth? can’t remember his name!) told the boy about being a cat. I suppose it will probably seem less magical now, but I remember being entranced by some of the chapters when I was little. Like the one with the Pharaoh, and the one with St. Patrick? I remember loving those so much – I hope it lives up to my memory!

  • lol, I knew you’d cave.. we ALL do in the end 😛

    I hope you do manage to fine Bluestockings! If no, Jane Robinson has another cool-sounding book that was published over there…Women Out of Bounds. Very challenge-appropriate 😛

    • Oo, thanks for mentioning it! My library even has it (and it does look cool!) – but I still really want Bluestockings. Luckily I’ve just set up an interlibrary borrowing account on my little sister’s university library card, and given myself permission to pick up books for her. Mwahahahahahaha. (That may be the dorkiest statement ever to be followed by an evil laugh sound effect. :P)

  • Horns and Halos is just such a brilliant name for a challenge. If I could think of any angel books, I’d be in for that. I wasn’t going to join in the Women Unbound – no, no said I – until I realised I’d already read four books that were perfect for it! Those challenges sneak up on us one way or another. 🙂

    • Read Paradise Lost! Paradise Lost is full of angels! Angels everywhere in that book! Plus, you know, you don’t have to read any angel books. The challenge has different levels, depending on how many angel books you read vs. how many devil books. Join us, comrade! 😛

      • Schatzi

        Good Omens, brah!

  • Your challenges look fun! I prefer to continue to lie to myself!

    :–)

    • Well, you’ve got your Moby Dick to be getting on with, so it makes sense for you not to sign up for challenges, as reading Moby Dick will assuredly put you off books FOR LIFE. 😛

  • ha! I knew it.

    have fun, and the Women Unbound is ridiculously easy to find books for, I am nearly finished it already.

    • I am actually pretty excited about the Women Unbound challenge. I never feel I’m reading enough books about feminism – I think I’m going to do a lot of nonfiction for this one.

  • Eva

    Yay for giving in! And I totally already wanted to move to Louisiana, but you just made me more excited! :p Your Women Unbound list looks like so much fun! And I agree w/ your sister re: Anne Bronte. I’ve been eyeing the Time Travel Challenge, because I LOVE time travel too, but I’ve been too lazy to make a list, lol. Memoirs of the Twentieth Century sounds so good! Time Cat was one of my fave books when I was little! I love Stephen Fry too, and I have Making History on my GLBT Challenge list…hmmm…maybe I should go ahead and join the Time Travel one too. *collapses under weight of challenges joined* Um, I think I put way too many exclamation points in this comment. But I love challenge lists!

    • You should totally move to Louisiana! If you do I will tell you where to get the best hush puppies and red beans and rice. 🙂

      I kinda love challenge lists too! I am so excited about all these books I get to read, plus I feel super organized for planning some of my reading in the new year.

  • Schatzi

    Those challenges all differ from mine! I am sad and lonely!

    What if I start the challenge I keep dreaming of, the food in lit challenge? Are you up for The Jungle? Or The Belly of Paris?

    *sniff*

    • I am so not up for The Jungle. To be honest I am not crazy about books about food – I always want to be all, Stop TALKING about it and go EAT it, crazy authors! Plus they often say off-putting things, and I’m afraid one day they’ll put me right off something I desperately love, like – I don’t know, like crawfish or cheesy fries. THEN WHERE WOULD I BE?

  • I had to laugh at the title of your post and the first couple of paragraphs. I started to do the same thing myself a few weeks ago (no challenges in 2010! Well, except the usual suspects, and oh! this one looks good, etc.) and then decided to do a 180 and sign up for all sorts of challenges. We’ll see how it goes.

    Good luck with yours!

    • I hope you have fun with all the ones you’ve signed up for! I’m definitely looking forward to mine! 🙂

  • Sounds like fun. Good luck with all your challenges! :]

  • I wasn’t going to join any challenges either… but then I started thinking about how many LGBT books I read a year just on my own, so I figured I’d better join Amanda’s GLBT Reading challenge just so I could have the satisfaction of finishing. And then Chris and Nymeth debuted the Graphic Novels Challenge, and I realized that I could finish that one in no time, too, and that it’d be a goad me into reading more graphic novels to boot. And I want to read all the Outlander books next year, so I’m seriously considering joining the Outlander Challenge, too.

    I’m still resisting all the other wonderful challenges, though.

    • I’m trying to resist the others too. I figured four is a good number – it’ll satisfy my cravings but won’t be overwhelming!

  • GOODIE!!! and when you find that graphic novel about a time-traveling angel that deals with women’s issues – I want to come to the party.

    • One of these days, somebody’s going to write that graphic novel and I am going to be on it like white on rice! But meanwhile I’m sure I will find loads of lovely books for all my challenges! Thanks for co-hosting Women Unbound!

  • Yay – you’ve joined the Horns & Halos challenge! I’m doing it too – and I can’t wait to see everyone’s reviews and find new (and awesome) books. Good luck!

    • Thanks! I definitely anticipate my list is going to change as I see reviews of the books everyone else is reading. 🙂

  • That angel and time travel book seriously fascinates me! I hope you can find a copy of it and read so I can learn more about it.

    • I am ordering it through interlibrary loan later on today! I’m excited to learn why it was considered so shocking when it was published.

  • Pingback: Review: King of Shadows, Susan Cooper « Jenny's Books()