I don't know whether or not there is an actual "Reading Challenge" thrown down this year, but I'd like to continue the practice of keeping track of, and reporting on, the books I read during the year.
Last year I only ended up reading 31 books. That's nowhere near the 60 book goal. This year my personal goal is to read 50 books in 2009. And I started early. I read my first book on January1: The Small One, by Charles Tazewell. It's an old book, not well known at all, but the author is well known for writing the famous (or infamous, in some circles) children's classic, The Littlest Angel. The small one is an old donkey, worthless to his owners, but loved by a little boy, who ends up being given a great responsibility.
While I was on vacation, I completed a book by Abigail Thomas called Thinking About Memoir. I loved her book, Three Dog Life, and this little book is just as well-written, but it's more a book of writing, and memory, exercises than it is a memoir itself.
I had read parts of In the Bleak Midwinter a couple of years ago, but the dog ate it before I got to the end. In December I read the last two books in the series, so I took the opportunity to go back and re-read the first in the series. It was fun vacation reading.
The Bible Salesman, by Clyde Edgerton, was my next vacation book, and just as fun as In the Bleak Midwinter, but in another way. I blogged about it here.
Finally, I read Timothy Egan's fine book, The Worst Hard Time. It's a harrowing and finely-written account of the dust bowl during the depression, and those who lived through it. It's really an environmental disaster story. I remember a conversation with a friend of my husband's, a free-market kind of guy, who said most people didn't understand that the "market" is a law, like gravity -- you can't ignore it. This book reminds me that there are other "laws" as well -- laws of nature, and that we ignore at our peril.