Life is all about challenges

As astute readers of this blog may have noticed from my sidebar that I’ve recently signed up for a few reading challenges: the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and the Books That Made Me Love Reading Challenge.

The decision to sign up was simple, since I’m the type of writer who enjoys a good challenge. (I did, after all, write an entire novel in just 3 days.) But I’ve also been wondering whatever happened to my old blogging style, which used to be fun, frivolous and comment-provoking and has lately seemed a bit stiff.

I think part of what I’ve been missing is the audience participation angle. The great thing about a blogging challenge is that it not only encourages participants to write on a regular schedule, but also urges you to comment on other writers’ blogs. Perfect!

A little bit about my chosen challenges…

The A to Z Challenge will be fun, since I’ve decided to base it around a personal theme of Lady Writers That Kick Ass. I’m not entirely sure who I’ll get for my Z entry (Zelda Fitzgerald is really the only one that springs immediately to mind, and that’s cheating), but I’ve got plenty of others I’ve been meaning to read for years that I can now write off as research for my blog. Ah, the perks of being a writer! (Wikipedia also has an incredibly helpful list of women writers here, in case you’d like to play along.)

The Books That Made Me Love Reading Challenge is a recent find, as I joined a group called Author Karma and have been meeting some seriously avid readers over there. The group’s leader, Emlyn Chand, also started this challenge, which I discovered when reading her review of one of the Baby Sitters Club books I remembered reading as a kid. That brought on a wave of nostalgia for all the BSC, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume titles I used to read, along with a series called “The Cat Who…” and the Anne Rice vampire books that my cat (and vampire?)-loving aunt used to pass along to me in high school. And, of course, how could I forget my well-worn copy of Harriet the Spy? This one will be fun as well, reminiscing about the books—good, bad and embarassing—that I used to devour when I was younger.

I’m trying to remember what else I read as a kid, and having hit up the Newberry Awards list, I read quite a number of those. Probably some insightful librarian set up a display, and I just plowed through all of ’em! I definitely remember reading all of Roald Dahl’s books (especially The BFG, Matilda and The Witches, as I was always interested in anything to do with witches), the Pippi Longstocking books, the Amelia Bedelia books, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, all of E. B. White’s kids’ books (Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan), The Cricket in Times Square and Shel Silverstein’s poems repeatedly (i.e. whenever I had finished reading all of my library books). Later on I also remember reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin over and over again, trying to figure out how the writer put that mystery together, so I’d like to re-read it now with the experienced eye of the professional writer and see if it still holds up!

What about you? Have you ever participated in a blogging or reading challenge?


  • Willand

    Barry is awesome, but not what I had in mind. I’m talking stomping, crushing, sexy, green and red and yellow and blue, and tights and tight powers, and horrible cut-out send-away ads for X-ray goggles and families of dehydrated brine shrimp.

  • Laura Roberts

    LoL! Well, if they made you love reading, then I’d say they count. And personally, I am a fan of the X-ray goggle ads. They remind me of the Charles Atlas ads (and subsequent discussion thereof) in Beautiful Losers, which is one of my favorite books.

    • Willand

      Cohen’s best, in my open ion.
      Read that when I was 17 – it is a comic book. Many lady friends find it sexist – I love ya for not being shut.

  • Laura Roberts

    I like it a lot better than his other novel, which I find more sexist (though not unreadable), perhaps because I feel like it has a less interesting plot. Writers writing about writing? Trés dull.