New Year…Year Journal…New Challenges

You can probably tell I’m not technologically inclined at heart. I still keep a grade book by writing in those little graph paper pages bound in wire (although NOT in red ink; in a blue fountain pen). I still read books whose pages you can actually turn. I still buy a new journal for the new year.

I bought this one at Barnes and Noble quite a few years ago, actually. It’s leather and extraordinarily expensive because it’s handmade in Italy. I never would have paid for it with my own money; rather, I used several of the giftcards from my class. Then, I laid it on my bookshelf unopened because surely the occurances of my daily life do not merit such a journal.

I’ve pondered several times over what it should be used for until it finally dawned on me that I could, in fact, keep a record of all the I’ve books read, and all the reading challenges I’ve accomplished, from now until it’s filled. I know several blogger friends who prefer to keep a list of their reading online, or in a data base, or somewhere in cyberspace. But, I’ll stick to the old pen and paper method, thank you very much, where I can actually flip to the page I want in one quick movement.

There are several challenges I’ve signed up for in my sidebar which are beginning to fill this journal’s pages. As my Japanese Literature Challenge 2 draws to a close at the end of January, I’ve decided to join:

Operation Actually Read Bible: Choose to read the whole Bible, the New Testament, or The New Testament and Psalms & Proverbs, or the gospels. (Or any variation of books you’d like–you might want to focus on Paul’s epistles, for example.)

The Book Awards 2 Challenge: Read 10 books, five of which have won different awards. I am reading:

1. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (National Book Award)

2. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Bram Stoker Award)

3. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Bellwether Prize)

4. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Pulitzer Pulitzer)

5. The Line Of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst (Man Booker Award)

6. Postcards by Annie Proulx (PEN/Faulkner Award)

7. Love In The Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel Prize)

8. Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (Newbery)

9. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Newbery)

10. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Pulitzer Prize)

Dewey’s Reading Challenge: Read five, or six, books which can be found in Dewey’s archives. I am reading:

1. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

2. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

3. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

4. Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

and finally, the Lost In Translation challenge, for which I will read:

1. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish)

2. Inkspell by Kornelia Funke (German)

3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russian)

4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (French)

5. After The Quake by Huruki Murakami (Japanese)

6. South of The Border, West of The Sun by Haruki Murakami (Japanese)

January 2009 isn’t even here yet, and I’m committed to four challenges. However, each looks so tantalizing, and I do have this empty journal to fill.

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12 thoughts on “New Year…Year Journal…New Challenges”

  1. What a fabulous idea!! I like the pen on paper concept, but I write so slowly! Mostly I enjoy printing. Typing is quicker for me.However, I recently decided I would keep a journal about the books I've read and my opinions about them. I think I'll hunt for a new one for January! Thanks for the idea!P.S. While I haven't read most of the books you listed here, I loved Inkspell! Very creative.

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  2. I love it, I love it, perfect, I bought a leather journal as well on e-bay that was hand made in Italy circa…old (which of course I can't remember right this second) and like you hesitated to write anything 'mundane' on, so started writing spiritual stuff, then changed my mind…still don't know what I'll use it for …I have daily journals, I have journals of little scraps of notes I've taken throughout the years, books I've bought or want to buy, favourite songs, favourite singers, diets, beautiful thing I'd love to buy if I were rich…Is THERE aNYTHING like it…Love you post Bellezza, you probably get that lol

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  3. The journal is gorgeous and it sounds like you've found the perfect use for it. I've kept a reading journal since 2003, and now wish I'd written more than just a rating…I look at some of the early titles and draw a complete blank!Your list of challenge books looks good,too. I've read are Bridge of Sighs, The Shipping News, and Madame Bovary. I've been considering a couple of challenges, but haven't signed up for any yet.

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  4. All, (and anyone), I've decided I'll divide half the journal into a place to record Challenges, and I'll save the other half to write down the books I've read in general. I've kept a list for an on-line book group i've been in which includes the following: title, author, number of pages, date read, genre, any awards and rating out of a five point scale. It's quicker than it sounds to write that down, and I think I'll stick to that unless you have better ideas for me.Simplicity, I read Inkheart to my class last year, and now I have to read the last two in the trilogy. Funke is such a creative author, I think!Chris, then no matter what happens to our computers we won't lose our records!Lorraine, I imagined you as a journal keeper like myself. I have TONS of journals, just shabby notebooks most of them, which record the mundane in my life (including thoughts). But, it's nice to have a special journal for inoformation you're going to keep. Like book lists, not feelings. ;)CJ, how do you keep track of what you've read?JoAnn, I've read half of The Shipping News but never finished it, and I've read Madame Bovary twice, but that was at least twenty years ago. I'm sad I've never read anything by Richard Russo, and after reading Lesley's review (Lesley's Book Nook) I was determined to read Bridge of Sighs. It would be fun if you'd like to join some of these challenges.

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  5. I left a comment yesterday, but it has disappeared into the blogosphere. Well, Merry Christmas to you Bellezza! The trees from around the world makes me feel like we are all one, regardless of religion, nationality, or beliefs, and it is lovey to see the different traditions.thanks!

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  6. I'm so thankful you hosted your Japanese Literature Challenge again and that I participated. The four books I read, three by Murakami, were some of the most enjoyable reading experiences I had this past year and you are one of the few people who I will always associate with my new found love of Murakami. Thank you, the discovery of new beloved authors is one of the greatest gifts of all. Hope you do it again sometime next year!

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  7. Qugrainne, don't you hate it went comments disappear into cyberspace? I'm glad you returned to re-leave it. (Is that a word? I think not!) You made a touching point, that those trees connect us into one. I hadn't thought of it that way before, which is of course, one of the lovely things about blogging: enlightment from other points of view.Carl, your comment really makes me happy. I agree with you that one of the greatest gifts of all is the discovery of a new author. I'm so glad that you enjoyed your foray into Japanese literature, as indeed I am enjoying my own. I'm curious as to which four you've read, and especially which Murakami. I might embarrass myself by saying that I went to eBay and bought everything I could find of his. Including one book that was (cough, cough) $200.00 dollars. I can only justify it by saying that on alibri it was listed at $4,000. So, I got a deal, don't you think?

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  8. What a beautiful journal!I have a few from your lists that I'd like to read next year as well. I'm curious which Murakami you bought for $200. Was it Pinball, 1973? I know that one is very hard to find in English.

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