Saturday, July 4, 2009

Magnolia Reads.

I've been mulling over an idea for a couple of weeks now, and I've made up my mind. I'm going to do it. I'm going to read 100 books in one year.

I got the idea from Pajiba, a site with self-proclaimed scathing reviews for bitchy people. One of the reviewers there has been posting about his quest to read 100 books in the span of one year. It turned into a challenge, with more and more site staff and readers joining along the way. They're calling it the Cannonball Read, I think. Cannonball Run, maybe. I have a like/hate relationship with Pajiba, so I'm kind of taking the idea and running with it, rather than joining up. I like some of their reviews and running jokes (their nickname for Katherine Heigl, Rainbow Killer? loves it) but overall there's a little too much of the scathing and the bitchy, so I subscribe and just skip the posts that I don't care to read. So it's just me, unless I can recruit you?

I've always loved reading, and I re-read like crazy. But I work as a proofreader, and that makes it hard to read for fun. My eyes get tired. I get lazy. I have a much harder time with material that's not well written. And I tend to read only books that I'm sure I'll enjoy, rather than trying new things. So the idea of this challenge -- 100 books in one year -- appeals to me. This is a sure-fire way to get out of the rut I currently find myself in.

Here's how it works:

Rule #1
All new material. No re-reading allowed!

Rule #2
No audio books. Only the written word for this girl. Anything else seems a bit like cheating.

Rule #3
The 100 books have to represent a variety of genres and subjects.

Here's how we'll break it down:

20 suggestions
I am now taking suggestions! You can leave a comment on this post or e-mail me. I will read 20 books that have been suggested, no matter what. I reserve some veto power, though. If a suggestion really and truly sounds like something I would not enjoy or get anything out of reading, I will strike it from the list. I will limit the vetoing based on the number of suggestions that I receive, and will try to keep it to three. Sound fair?

17 "classics"
I realize the term "classic" is subjective. I will be using Time's The Complete List and Random House's Modern Library to base my selections on.

10 books that have been adapted into movies
This just sounds like fun. I may or may not have seen the movie, but this will be the first time reading each book.

10 biographies and/or autobiographies
I will try to read about a variety of people, but I won't plan ahead so much as to break it down here.

10 other non-fiction
While biographies and autobiographies are non-fiction, I'd like to try and read 10 other non-fiction books as well. Again, varying topics.

5 mysteries
I enjoy mysteries, always have. It's tempting to read the last page of the book first but I will try not to for this challenge!

3 science fiction/fantasy
If you know me at all, you know that I am not a sci fi fan. I'm going to try and give this genre a fair chance, though.

2 graphic novels
I have never read a graphic novel, and figure it's about time.

1 romance
Just because.

1 Oprah's book club pick
I'm not really an Oprah person, and any book club picks that I've read previously weren't on purpose.

1 Colin's pick
Colin gets one pick that I have to read no matter what. I have no idea what he'll come up with, and I can't wait to see.

And the remaining 20 will be made up of books that I hear about or that catch my eye at the library.

Rule #4
I'll post a response to each book that I finish. I'm thinking about some kind of rating system, but I'm not sure. How about a scale of one to ten? One being To Kill a Mockingbird, the kind of book that enriches your life and you could enjoy reading once a year. Maybe 5 could be The Devil Wears Prada, a fun read (with an uber stylish movie adaptation) but that doesn't quite hit the mark. Ten would definitely be something like Stories From Candyland, a book so bad that you killed brain cells while reading it, but didn't even have fun doing it.

So, that's the plan. I don't know, does it sound doable? I would like to think that I can do this, no problem, but I guess you'll just have to stay tuned.


lowlife said...

My one pick for you:

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

I hope you enjoy it and if not, at least I got you to read one of my favorites!


My suggestions:

* Either "The Average American Male" or "The Lie" by Chad Kultgen...they're hilarious, very honest, and very *different*.

* "Hannibal" by Thomas Harris...after reading this book, I can't help having a certain admiration for Lecter. Even monsters are never *totally* monstrous...

* Any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. These are the books that "True Blood" is based on; the first one is called "Dead Until Dark." Not the most brilliant literature, but very fun and entertaining. :)

Good luck reaching your goal--I think this is a very cool idea you have! :)


I'm a total book person so I can't just suggest one. Please to consider any or all of the following:

"Middlesex" by Jeff Eugenides; "Lolita" by Nabakov; "Into the Woods" by French (mystery oooOOooo); "Jane Eyre" by Bronte; "An Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England" by Clarke.

I can't wait to read your reviews!

The Ancient Skeptic said...

Suggestions for your SciFi picks:

"1632" by Eric Flint

"Old Man's War" by John Scalzi

"Uplift War" by David Brin

There are two SciFi Novels that were made into movies: "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein, and "The Postman" by David Brin. Unfortunately, they did not translate to film very well.

Magnolia said...

@Colin: Thanks, babe. I might have read it anyway, though!

@The Grammarphile: Thanks so much! I added The Lie, Hannibal and Dead Until Dark to the list. I'll let you know if I find typos. :)

@Fat Bridesmaid: Thanks! I've read Lolita and Jane Eyre, but I added the other two to my planned reading. I'm glad you suggested Middlesex, it's something I've been thinking about reading for awhile.

@The Ancient Skeptic: Thanks! Sci-Fi is definitely the one genre for which I need the most suggestions!

Anonymous said...

If you're looking to broaden your scope to something ancient ( I know, I'm a nerd), I highly recommend Apuleius' Metamporphoses a.k.a. The Golden Ass --man gets turned into a donkey and hilarity ensues.