Challenges for 2012 – aka the overly ambitious post (updated)

I’ve been salivating at various bloggers’ list of reading challenges for 2012 so here I am, jumping into the fray.

Foodies Read 2 Challenge for 2012

I’m going for Pastry Chef, which means I have to read 4 to 8 food books in 2012. DONE!

My pool (mostly taken from Serious Reads – and depending on my library’s catalogue):

The table comes first : family, France, and the meaning of food – Adam Gopnik
The kitchen counter cooking school : how a few simple lessons transformed nine culinary novices into fearless home cooks – Kathleen Flinn
Don’t kill the birthday girl : tales from an allergic life – Sandra Beasley
How to eat a small country : a family’s pursuit of happiness, one meal at a time – Amy Finley
Beaten, seared, and sauced : on becoming a chef at the Culinary Institute of America – Jonathan Dixon
A tiger in the kitchen : a memoir of food and family – Cheryl Lu-lien Tan
Fannie’s last supper : re-creating one amazing meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 cookbook – Christopher Kimball
Blood, bones, and butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
The dirty life : on farming, food, and love – Kristin Kimball
Memories of a lost Egypt : a memoir with recipes – Colette Rossant
97 Orchard : an edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement – Jane Ziegelman (via Buried in Print)

Musings of a Bookshop Girl’s Mixing it Up challenge sounds fun. Here are the categories (and some possible reads):

1. Classics

Read: Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

2. Biography

Read: Too close to the sun: The Audacious life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton – Sara Wheeler

3. Cookery, food and wine

Read: A Tiger in the Kitchen – Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Blood, bones, and butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the meaning of food – Adam Gopnik
Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life – Sandra Beasley
The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated New York Restaurant – Leslie Brenner
Far Flung and Well Fed – R.W. Apple Jr
Life is Meals – James and Kay Salter

4. History

Yellow Wind – David Grossman

5. Modern fiction
The Lake – Banana Yoshimoto
The Confessions of Noa Weber – Gail Hareven
Brothers – Yu Hua
The Last Brother – Nathacha Appanah

6. Graphic novels and manga

Read: Hereville: how Mirka got her sword – Barry Deutsch
Castle Waiting 2 – Linda Medley
Empire State – Jason Shiga

7.  Crime and mystery

Read: Out by Natsuo Kirino

The Devotion of Suspect X – Keigo Higashino
The Winter Queen – Boris Akunin

8. Horror

Read: Locke and Key – Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
The Last Werewolf – Glen Duncan

9. Romance
Read: Dating Mr December – Phillipa Ashley

10. Science fiction and fantasy
Beggars in Spain – Nancy Kress
The Wayfarer Redemption – Sara Douglass
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld – Patricia McKillip
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin
The Broken Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin

11. Travel

Read: Among Flowers: a walk in the Himalaya – Jamaica Kincaid

12. Poetry and drama
Dark Emperor and other poems of the night – Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen

13. Journalism and humour

Read:  Hark! A vagrant – Kate Beaton (does it count if I didn’t review this book?)

14. Science and natural history

Read: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating – Elisabeth Tova Bailey

15. Children’s and Young adult

Read: Round Trip by Ann Jonas
A Book of Sleep – Il Sung Na
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken

Eep! – Joke van Leeuwen

16. Social sciences and philosophy

Read: Is that a Fish in your Ear? – David Bellos


I’m gunning for: ALL THE TRIMMINGS AND A CHERRY ON TOP: Going for gold with the full 16! Erm yeah, the post is titled ‘overly ambitious’ after all!

War Through the Generations

Dip: Read 1-3 books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.

Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road – Pat Barker
Back to the front : an accidental historian walks the trenches of World War I – Stephen O’Shea

Read: All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

Are you taking part in any of these? What other challenges have sparked your interest?


  1. Thanks for joining the War Through the Generations WWI reading challenge in 2012. As for poetry recommendations, try some Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Billy Collins.


  2. I have selected to do 4 other challenges, but some books will overlap, including the ebook challenge. Also if I select three books per challenge I should complete them all, & take part it all that appeal!


  3. Well, you might be overambitious but at least you’ll have read some fantastic books in the meantime. Welcome to the Foodies Read 2. I’m looking forward to hearing about the books you read.


  4. I need to get my hands on that James Tiptree, Jr biography! It sounds like something I’d love.

    Good luck with the challenges and happy reading 🙂


    1. Hi! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I first heard of your book from Yu-Mei btw, and am definitely looking forward to reading it!


  5. The best part of challenges is the list-making, hunh? I hope you enjoy the Ziegelman; it’s very readable and the number of photos makes it seem even more so. (I also really loved Pat Barker’s trilogy!)


  6. Oh indeed, list-making is the best part. I feel the need to join some more challenges (or invent my own) just to make more lists!


  7. I read the first few chapters of “How To Eat Small Country” but the writing didn’t appeal to me. Somehow she didn’t manage to engage me all that much so I have deleted it from my iPhone already. You can get it as an eBook from the Sg library!

    I enjoyed “Blood, Bones & Butter”. Another foodie read I’d recommend is “Day of Honey” by Annia Ciezadlo.


  8. Welcome to Mixing It Up, Olduvai! Sorry I didn’t get here sooner to say hi – I was hoping to visit everyone by the end of December but I got swept up in Christmas house guests and Christmas telly and a delightful Christmas cold… 😦

    Ambitious indeed – much like my challenge list this year, in fact… Between LibraryThing and the blog I’m going to have to work miracles to pull it off! Good luck anyway, you’ve got some great choices up there! ‘The Last Werewolf’ is brilliant, and I found Sharman Apt Russell’s ‘Hunger’ absolutely fascinating. Happy reading!


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