I Hereby Declare 2014 the Year of (Almost) No Challenges

With a title like that, I don’t even need to write a post, do I? Pretty much says it all.

I have a really hard time resisting challenges. Really hard, because I’m a competitive person (with myself, anyway) and they’re fun and sociable and all that. But I always underestimate what they will entail in terms of actual time and commitment and then end up feeling like a jerk for not finishing, even though I know there is probably no one who gives a hoot except for me.

So. In the new year of 2014 (!), I’m going to focus on ONE challenge. If I happen to dip my toes in a few others along the way (like O’s Russian Literature Challenge) so be it, but I’m only going to formally commit myself to one. Mainly this is because it also represents something that I know I need to work on–trimming down my TBR. Thus I’ll be participating in Adam’s 2014 TBR Pile Challenge, for which I’m planning to read the following books that have been on my shelves (physical or digital) for more than a year:

  1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)
  2. The Group by Mary McCarthy (1954)
  3. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (1995)
  4. Room by Emma Donaghue (2010)
  5. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)
  6. Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx (1996)
  7. Taft by Ann Patchett (1994)
  8. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (2002)
  9. Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett (1996)
  10. Nowhere Else on Earth by Josephine Humphries (2001)
  11. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)
  12. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

And my two alternates:

  1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)
  2. Metropolis by Elizabeth Gaffney (2005)

Thanks to Adam for hosting this challenge again and giving me some much-needed motivation to read books that I already own.



17 thoughts on “I Hereby Declare 2014 the Year of (Almost) No Challenges

  1. Heather

    I totally know what you mean. I ADORE signing UP for challenges; it’s the follow through I have trouble with. I figure, since I love doing it and making the lists, I’m going to go ahead and do it and not beat myself up if I don’t finish. I figure if I finish one book, I’m happy. That said, I think Adam’s challenge is awesome, and OF COURSE, I signed up. Good luck!

    1. Too Fond Post author

      Like I said, I’m sure that I’m the only who actually notices and is bothered by the fact that I never finish them. πŸ™‚ Good luck to you, too!

  2. Geoff W

    I’m with you, I’m not doing any official challenges next year! I just want the luxury of doing what I want when I want. However, you need to bump these to the top of your list! All three of them are BRILLIANT! I want to re-read Smith’s.

    Room by Emma Donaghue (2010)
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (1943)

    And you could probably pass on this one: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (2002) (But at least it’s super short – there are much better versions out there, but it’ll be interesting to read your opinion.)

    1. Too Fond Post author

      Thanks for the recommendations, Geoff. I think I’m going to start with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because everyone seems to love it, but I definitely want to read Room soon-ish, too. I’ll probably wait on Oryx and Crake until the end of the year as I will no doubt want to read the other two books in the trilogy directly after!

  3. Fleur in her World

    That is a wonderful list. lots of interesting titles and I can particularly recommend ‘I Capture the Castle’ and ‘The Group’ – both books I’d love to re-read. I gave up challenges for a couple of years, after taking on too many, but I couldn’t resist this one, and just a couple of others for 2014. Good luck!

  4. Cynthia Dunn

    My mother had The Group and I read it and re-read it all the time. I was a kid and it amazed me. Also, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My favorite when I was young because I lived in Brooklyn! I’ve even stood outside of Betty Smith’s house in Queens. Enjoy! Those are two wonderful books.

  5. Leeswammes

    Good luck with your one challenge! I have no plans to do any this year – I don’t like to commit and then not see them through which happened to 2 out of 3 challenges for this year.

    I loved challenges when I had the time for them – absolutely loved them! πŸ™‚

  6. Caitie F

    This is my favorite challenge, even though I usually fail at it. You have a wonderful list and will have a lot of fun reading. The Magicians is great.

  7. BookerTalker

    I had to laugh when I saw your post title, knowing exactly how you feel. I decided I would not do any new challenges this year but there are so many tempting ones around that I keep wavering.

  8. Laurie C

    Seeing Oryx and Crake on your list reminded me of it just in time to swap one on my list out for it on my TBR Pile Challenge list for 2014! I didn’t plan on signing up for other challenges other than this one, either, but Joy Weese Moll has a New Year’s Resolution one for January that I was very tempted to sign on for.

  9. Brona

    I’ve succumbed this year and I’ve signed up for several challenges for the first time…a little nervously, but I would love to work through my TBR pile so I’m hoping it’s a win/win.
    I LOVED The Room – not an easy subject, confronting, but very satisfying in an emotional rollercoaster ride kind of way πŸ™‚


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