Saturday, December 9, 2017

Back to the Classics 2018

It's been a few years since I participated in the Back to the Classics Challenge.  But I think I've got enough classics on tap for 2018 that I'll be able to complete it again. At the most basic level, challengers must complete six categories (which will equal one entry into a year-end drawing). Nine categories will equal two entries and all twelve categories will equal three entries. I'm not sure about a few of the categories, so I'm going to officially enter for six categories. I'll probably finish nine and just might manage all twelve, but once I have six I may claim the challenge as complete no matter what. If you'd like to see the full details and/or join in, please click the link above.

Here are the categories for the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge (and my tentative list):

1.  A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu (1868)

2.  A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1968. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.

Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner (1942)

3.  A classic by a woman author.

The Rose & the Yew Tree by Mary Westmacott [Agatha Christie] (1948)

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories). Modern translations are acceptable as long as the original work fits the guidelines for publications as explained in the challenge rules.
The Song of Roland by Anonymous; Trans by Dorothy L. Sayers (oldest manuscript circa 12th C)

5. A children's classic. Indulge your inner child and read that classic that you somehow missed years ago. Short stories are fine, but it must be a complete volume. Picture books don't count!
The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver by Thornton W. Burgess (1917)

6.  A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. This can be a true crime story, mystery, detective novel, spy novel, etc., as long as a crime is an integral part of the story and it was published at least 50 years ago. Examples include The 39 Steps, Strangers on a Train, In Cold Blood, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, etc.  The Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones list is an excellent source for suggestions. 
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (1940)
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. A journey should be a major plot point, i.e., The Hobbit, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, Kon-Tiki, Travels with Charley, etc.
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (1883)

8. A classic with a single-word title. No articles please! Proper names are fine -- Emma, Germinal, Middlemarch, Kidnapped, etc.).
She by H. Rider Haggard (1886)

9. A classic with a color in the title. The Woman in White; Anne of Green Gables; The Red and the Black, and so on.
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (1888)

10. A classic by an author that's new to you. Choose an author you've never read before.
The Works of Charles & Mary Lamb II by Charles & Mary Lamb (1833)

11. A classic that scares you. Is there a classic you've been putting off forever? A really long book which intimidates you because of its sheer length? Now's the time to read it, and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin (1820)

12. Re-read a favorite classic. Like me, you probably have a lot of favorites -- choose one and read it again, then tell us why you love it so much. 
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas [père] (1844)

European Reading Challenge 2018

The European Reading Challenge
hosted by Gilion @ Rose City Reader
January 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019




Once again, I'm joining Gilion on a tour of Europe with her 2018 European Reading Challenge – where participants tour Europe through books.  And have a chance to win a prize. Please join in for the Grand Tour!

THE GIST: The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, or any other genre. You can participate at different levels, but each book must be by a different author and set in a different country – it's supposed to be a tour. (See note about the UK, below)

WHAT COUNTS AS "EUROPE"?: We stick with the same list of 50 sovereign states that fall (at least partially) within the geographic territory of the continent of Europe and/or enjoy membership in international European organizations such as the Council of Europe. This list includes the obvious (the UK, France, Germany, and Italy), the really huge Russia, the tiny Vatican City, and the mixed bag of Baltic, Balkan, and former Soviet states.

THE LIST: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

NOTE: Even after Brexit, the United Kingdom is still one country, in Europe, that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. So one book from any one of these four counts as your one book for the United Kingdom. I'm not going to be a stickler about it because challenges should be about fun not about rules. However, when it comes to winning the Jet Setter prize, only one book from one of the UK countries will count.

I will again be aiming for the 

FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

Books read:

Friday, December 8, 2017

What's In a Name 2018

What's In A Name 2018 logo

I'm signing up for the eleventh annual What’s In A Name challenge, originally started by Annie, handed to Beth Fish Reads, and now continued by Charlie at The Worm Hole. For full details check out the challenge link.
The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories. (Examples of books you could choose are in brackets – translations and other languages most definitely count!):
  • The word ‘the’ used twice (The Secret By The Lake; The End Of The Day, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time)
  • A fruit or vegetable (The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society; The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake)
  • A shape (The Ninth Circle, The Square Root Of Summer, Circle Of Friends)
  • A title that begins with Z – can be after ‘The’ or ‘A’ (Zen In The Art Of Writing; The Zookeeper’s Wife, Zelda)
  • A nationality (Anna And The French Kiss; How To Be A Kosovan Bride; Norwegian Wood)
  • A season (White Truffles In Winter; The Spring Of Kasper Meier; The Summer Queen; Before I Fall; The Autumn Throne)
Here are some possibilities from my TBR stacks (I will confirm and link reviews as I go):

"The" Twice
The Rose & the Yew Tree by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
The Clue of the Runaway Blonde/The Clue of the Hungry Horse by Erle Stanley Gardner
The Fate of the Immodest Blonde by Patrick Quentin
The Puzzle of the Blue Banderilla by Stuart Palmer

Fruit or Vegetable
Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson
The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher

The Crimson Circle by Edgar Wallace
Circle of Fire by Mark Sadler
Terror in Times Square by Alan Handley
The Hardaway Diamonds Mystery by Miles Burton

Begins with "Z"
The Zero Trap by Paula Gosling

The French Powder Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Spanish Cape Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Egyptian Cross Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Spectrum of English Murder by Curtis Evans
Death & the Dutch Uncle by Patricia Moyes

A Season
Spring Harrowing by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Absent in Springtime by Mary Westmacott (Christie)
A Summer in the Twenties by Peter Dickinson
Fall Over Cliff by Josephine Bell
Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker
The Winter Woman Murders by David A. Kaufelt

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2018 Monthly Motif Challenge

2018 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge! Click on the link for full details. For this challenge, each month is assigned a motif or theme. Your task is to read one book per month that fits in with the assigned motifs…I've listed my tentative choices below.

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading
Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.
Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay
Read a book with a one word title.
Avalanche by Kay Boyle
MARCH – Travel the World
Read a book set in a different country than your own, written by an author from another country than your own, or a book in which the characters travel.

APRIL – Read Locally
Read a book set in your country, state, town, village (or has a main character from your home town, country, etc)
The Curriculum Murders by Marlis Day [set in Indiana]

MAY- Book to Screen
Read a book that’s been made into a movie or a TV show.
Rear Window Story Collection by Cornell Woolrich or The Disappearing Floor by Franklin W. Dixon

JUNE- Crack the Case
Mysteries, True Crime, Who Dunnit’s.

JULY – Vacation Reads
Read a book you think is a perfect vacation read and tell us why.
AUGUST- Award Winners
Read a book that has won a literary award or a book written by an author who has been recognized in the bookish community.
A Very Private Enterprise by Elizabeth Ironside [1984 John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award]
SEPTEMBER- Don’t Turn Out The Light
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal creeptastic, horror novels.
OCTOBER- New or Old
Choose a new release from 2018 or a book known as a classic.
Books where family dynamics play a big role in the story
DECEMBER- Wrapping It Up
Winter or holiday themed books or books with snow, ice, etc in the title or books set in winter OR read a book with a theme from any of the months in this challenge (could be a theme you didn’t do, or one you want to do again).

Vintage Science Fiction not-a-challenge (January only)

Vintage SF badge

From Redhead at Little Red Reviewer with the Vintage Science Fiction not-a-challenge!

Once upon a time, I wanted to read more old stuff. I wanted to know more about where science fiction had come from,  how science fiction authors reacted to what had come before them, and how science fiction reflected societal trends.  Our fiction can be a reflection of our society, don’cha know. That year, I decided I would read only Vintage Scifi during the month of January, and I arbitrarily decided anything from before 1979 would be Vintage, because that was the year I was born. Some people went with the 1979, some people went with whatever year they were born, some people went with something else. As with every bloggy thing I do, there were  no hard rules. The goal was to read something “older” and then talk about it online.

#VintageSciFiMonth is now a thing. It’s so big, I have a co-host, Jacob at Red Star Reviews.  He runs the @VintageSciFi_ (underscore at the end) twitter feed.

I will be joining in again and plan to read my usual four books.


Craving for Cozies 2018

Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a sub-genre of crime fiction/mysteries in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The crime solver is an amateur sleuth, usually but not always a woman, who is thrust into the aftermath of the murder. The protagonist frequently has an occupation or hobby that brings appealing information to the reader.

The challenge runs from January 1, 2017 and ends December 31, 2017

There are several levels of participation (click link above for more info or to join). I plan on doing the lowest level

Peckish – 1 – 10 Cozy Mysteries 

because it fits in with the other cozy challenge I'm doing which requires 10 books.

My List:

Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2018

This year Yvonne at Socrates’ Book Reviews is giving us a choice at the Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge. We can either go with the cozy categories (as she designed the challenge last year) or we can read any cozies of our choice. I prefer to leave things open, so I'm going with the cozies of choice version and will commit to the first level--Snoop.
To find out exactly what a cozy mystery is, check out This site is dedicated to cozy mysteries and does a great job of defining them as well as giving a list of cozy mysteries. This challenge is NOT restricted to what is on their list, it's just to be used as a guideline in case you need some hints on what to read.

Level one (Snoop) - Read a total of 10 books

Books Read for the Challenge:


Book Challenge by Erin 8.0

The Book Challenge by Erin 8.0 will run from JANUARY 1, 2018 to APRIL 30, 2018. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on January 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on April 30 will count. (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.) Full details at the Facebook link.
Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.

A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. 

If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries. 

Here is my tentative book list.

·      5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages
·      10 points:  Read a book that starts with the letter “L”
         Lament for a Lady Laird by Margot Arnold [224 pages]

·      10 points:  Read a book that has a (mostly) red cover [345 pages]
        Red Warning by Virgil Markham
·     15 points:  Read a book with a character’s name in the title (i.e. Jane Eyre, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, We Need to Talk about Kevin, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Harry Potter books, etc.)
       About the Murder of Geraldine Foster by Anthony Abbot [280 pages]
     20 points:  Read a book from this list: Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read Books with Plot Twists (who doesn’t love a good plot twist??)
      The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling) [455 pages]

     20 points:  Read a book with the words “house” or “home” in the title
       Another Woman's House by Mignon G. Eberhart [215 pages]

     25 points:  Read a book by an author whose first and last name begins with the same letter (i.e. Cassandra Clare, Melina Marchetta, Ransom Riggs, Chris Cleave, etc.)
       The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies [224 pages]

     30 points:  Read a book that was originally published in a different language than your own (submitted by Kirsten)
       Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas (French) [256 pages]

     30 points:  Read a book where most of the action takes place on a form of transportation i.e. bus, boat, car, plane, etc. (submitted by Bev)
       Death of a Train by Freeman Wills Crofts [330 pages] OR Avalanche by Kay Boyle [209 pages]

    35 points:  Read a book with a character that suffers from a debilitating physical illness  (submitted by Amber C.)
       The Odor of Violets by Bayard Kendrick [238 pages; lead detective was blinded by gas in World War I]