Reading Challenge: 9 for ’09

The second challenge I decided to enter this year should also help me attack my to-be-read (TBR) pile, and that’s the 9 for ’09 Challenge. I chose this one because the categories seemed fun, and nine books didn’t seem too overwhelming (even though I generally read many more books than that in a year, committing to more just sounds overwhelming). This challenge is hosted by Isabel from Books and Other Stuff, and I found her challenge through A Novel Challenge, which lists just about any and every reading challenge you can possibly imagine. If you’re looking for one to join, that site lists them all.

For this challenge, you pick nine books from your TBR stack, one from each category. I’ve listed the categories and my selections below:

Long. A book that’s longer than the books you usually read. I’ve chosen Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, coming in at a whopping 800 pages. I’m pretty sure that counts as long.
Free. A book recieved as a gift or through a swap or mooch. I chose Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, by ZZ Packer, which was originally on my Short Story Challenge list last year. My mother swapped for it and then sent it to me, so it was, uh, double-free, in a sense.
Dusty. A book that’s been on your shelf for three years or more. I have plenty of these, but I chose The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. I borrowed this book from my mother-in-law about four years ago. *cringe*
Used. A book you bought used. I buy a lot of used books, so I had plenty to choose from here. I’m going with The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon (purchased from Powell’s), because I am the last “well-read” person in the world who hasn’t read it, and may lose my self-appointed status if I don’t.
Letter. A letter from your name, matched to a letter in a book’s title. I went with the first letter of my first name, which is “P,” and decided to read Postcards from The Edge, by Carrie Fisher.
Strange. A book from an unfamiliar genre. I am trying to branch out, and my mother loves to read mysteries, so she’s sharing some of her books with me. I chose one she loaned me, Haunted Ground, by Erin Hart. I’ve read the first few pages, and it looks great.
Distance. A book by an author whose birthplace is more than 1000 miles away from where you live. I am going to read Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami. He was born in Kyoto, and I live in Atlanta.
Alive or Not. This is a funny one: read a book by any living author who has won or been nominated for a literary prize, or read something by a dead author. I just got a copy of Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize (so the cover tells me), so that’s my pick here.
Cover. This was a tough one: pick a book based on its cover–ugliest or prettiest–and explain how the book does or does not live up to its cover. I went through my stacks of books, and while some covers were more compelling than others, nothing was strikingly pretty or horribly ugly. I chose the memoir Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart because its cover is Tiffany blue and it seems to promise a sweet, carefree story of another time. We’ll see!

As with the other challenge, I’ll be posting my reviews here, so stay tuned.

*image from the 9 for ’09 site, courtesy of Isabel

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