Crusin' thru the Cozies Book Challenge 2011

Ok, that's it! My final challenge for 2011:

Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2011

There's a really great description of what a cozy mystery is at along with a million very helpful suggestions (bookmarked, yes!). The reading sounds nice, relaxed and more lightweight than other genres of mystery, like noir or hardboiled. Sure, those have their place, but sometimes I want a chill little read, infused with some humor, set in a quaint town, with the local yarn store owner or baker solving the mystery without reading each blow-by-blow gory detail of the crime to get my adrenaline pumping so hard that I can't sleep after I've put it down. Something I can curl up with while drinking some hot tea and eating cookies while wearing my handmade socks. Doesn't that sound so very...cozy? I thought so, so I just had to join this challenge. I'll be participating at the Snoop level (1 - 6 books)

My selections (no one should be surprised that I have a couple of knitting themed cozies):

Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton

Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Murder has a Sweet Tooth by Miranda Bliss

To Love and to Perish by Laura Durham

I was recently gifted a lovely cozy mystery from a knitting pal of mine that I'm adding to the list:

Murder on the Ol'Bunions by LaTisha Barnhart

So that completes the listing of my reading challenges for 2011. If I finish all of the books I intend on reading I'll have read 20 books for the year. I don't think I've ever counted the number of books I've read in one year, but 20 doesn't sound ridiculous. I haven't been watching nearly as much television lately and my 'going out on the weekend' days have dwindled so I'm sure completing all of these challenges will be doable and fun!!!!

*books I already own

What's in a Name Challenge 2011

As previously posted in 2011 I want to read...more. So here's reading challenge number four:

What's in a Name Challenge

You can click on the above linky for more details, but in short you have from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 to read a book in each of the following categories. Creativity with your choices is encouraged and I already have some tentative selections listed below in bold.

A book with a number in the title: Life of Pi by Yann Martel (this one is a bit of an imaginative stretch) Possible substitute: Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors by Brian Eule

A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier Possible substitute: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson or A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure

A book with a size in the title: The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

A book with travel or movement in the title: Run for Your Life by James Patterson Possible substitute: The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long and Charles Butler

A book with evil in the title: Known to Evil by Walter Mosley Possible substitute: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (I've always wanted to read a book written by him.)

A book with a life stage in the title: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

I have a few non-fiction substitutions ready in case I need a change of pace from the many other fictional, themed books I have to read for other challenges. This is a really popular challenge and I'm happy to be joining for my first year. I'm already having fun combing through the other participant's selections. Yay for books!

The Dystopian Book Challenge

My third book challenge for 2011 is, The Dystopian Book Challenge!

Dystopia Challenge

According to Wikipedia, the source of all accurate and legit information (LOL), dystopian literature is, "in literature, an often futuristic society that has degraded into a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian."

I've dabbled in this and in the similar post-apocalyptic genre reading, "1984" by George Orwell which is terrifying, "Parable of the Sower" by my all-time favorite female author, Octavia Butler and most recently "The Road" by the master of lean prose, Cormac McCarthy among others. The genre is so fascinating because usually it seems like a future that can actually happen under the "right" (or should I say wrong) circumstances.

I'm aiming for the Asocial level of 5 books, but I had so many options that I've settled on 7. This could change though with all of the challenges I've joined, but I'm going to give it a college try, especially since several of these books have been on my "to read" list for a long time. I'll also try to blog reviews on each, even if it's a short one.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

The Postman by David Brin

Idlewild by Nick Sagan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Running Man by Stephen King

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

If you're interested click on the picture which will link you to the page where you can sign up too. The more the merrier!

*books that I already own

POC Reading Challenge 2011

This is the second challenge I'm signing up for 2011.

"The persons of color reading challenge has been put in place to highlight and celebrate authors and characters of color."

It never hurts to diversify ones reading, since the written word can open a window to a completely different view of the world. For me, since I'm African-American I will be choosing books by persons outside of my particular race to make the most out of this challenge. I'll come back and edit my post with my choices, but due to the number of challenges that I'd already planned on participating in for 2011 I'll shoot for a Level 1 which is 1 to 3 books.

Click on the above link if you'd like to expand your horizons and join the challenge.

(Edited to add my selections.)

I've chosen books by authors of two races that I've never read about before:

Swimming Lessons: and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry (Indian)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Native American)

I'm looking forward to it. :)

Time Travel Book Challenge 2011

In accord with my reading goals for 2011, I present my first book challenge for the year:

Time Travel Reading Challenge 2011

I love the theme of time travel, the consequences of going back in the past or racing to the future. Will things be better or worse? Will the simple action of stepping on a butterfly cause Hitler to win the war?

Time travel in movies and books can be so complicated and confusing, but if you stop thinking about the "how" and go with the premise you'll usually find one amazing story.

Alyce is hosting this challenge (Thanks, Alyce) and the rules are very flexible. Choose the number of time travel themed books you want to read and do so between January 1 through December 31st 2011. She has also included a very nice list if one needed help chosing appropriate material. I was happy to see that two of my favorite books, not just with the time travel theme, but of all time are mentioned, Kindred by Octavia Butler and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, hopefully some other participants in the challenge will discover these gems!

Me, I already had several books on my "to read" list and I've decided to finish five:

Replay by Ken Grimwood

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

About Time: 12 Short Stories by Jack Finney

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman

I tried to get a nice mixture of serious and light-hearted and hopefully I'll love each one. Click on the above link if you'd like to join in on the fun.

A brief blurb about 2011

Shortly 2011 will be here and I've been thinking of things I want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. Not resolutions, because I don't subscribe to coming up with a list solely based on a new year rolling around. These are projects for myself, my growth that I'm already working on for the most part, just tweaking and expanding a bit. Here is what I'm going to focus on:

  • Being more consistent with my knitting, finishing more projects (at least 11) and trying my hand at a few more techniques (two-at-a-time socks, entrelac, my first sweater).
  • Learning how to crochet using the four classes I have left at my local yarn store.
  • Losing weight. A common enough goal which I've already started (14lbs. since November). I'm thinking of at least 30 - 40 more pounds slowly would be very good for my health.
  • Along with the weight loss goal, increasing my physical fitness. I walked my first half-marathon in October and my plan is to finish two in 2011 along with a few 5K runs and fun walks with Alexis. So consistent exercise is going to be a must.
  • Playing casual games for relaxation...and finishing some of the backlog of games I have for my DSi.
  • I want to read more in and I'm planning on participating in about four book challenges to keep me movitivated.

Those are my goals mainly relating to hobbies, there are others, keeping a cleaner house, etc. If I focus on the above I'll be plenty busy in 2011!