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2018 Old & New Classic Challenge > Leni's 2018 Old and New Attempt

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message 1: by Leni (last edited Dec 20, 2018 05:57AM) (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments -Old and Ongoing-

✓Wilkie Collins: The Haunted Hotel (192p.)***
✓George Eliot: Silas Marner (234p.)***
Charles Dickens: Hard Times (355p.)

-New, all new-
✓Clarice Lispector: Hour of the Star (96p.) ****
✓Nella Larsen: Passing (approx.150p?)****
Octavia Butler: Kindred (304p.)

-Wildcard Doorstoppers-
Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo (1276p.)
Mervyn Peake: The Gormenghast Novels (1173p.) (Read 1/3 - 5 stars)
David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest (1079p.) (currently reading)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: Don Quixote (940p.)
Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (928p.)
✓James Joyce: Ulysses (878p.) (unrateable)

Alternates:
✓Mark Z. Danielewski: House of Leaves (705p.)
✓Frank Herbert: Dune (577p.)****


message 2: by Leni (last edited Dec 30, 2017 01:23PM) (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Once again setting myself up to fail spectacularly! :D

In my old school I have a Wilkie and a George Eliot as usual, but as I have run out of Jane Austen I have put in a Dickens. (I contemplated Gaskell, but I'll be reading her anyway and I want to start working my way through Dickens.) Since I have some scary Wildcards this time around, I decided to go with only short books for the other two sections. Which is why I ended up with The Haunted Hotel, Silas Marner, and Hard Times, instead of, say, No Name, Daniel Deronda, and David Copperfield.

For New school I could have just transplanted the three from 2017, but I've put two of them as wildcards and kept Octavia Butler but with a different book. Once again I'm keeping it short, shorter even, and I'm going all women because all my wildcards turned out to be men. All three of these are in my Quest for Women Writers Challenge and two of them are also Boxall 1001 books.

Then we come to my Wild Cards! And they are wild! I've listed them by order of length, so now Ulysses doesn't look so intimidating anymore.

The Gormenghast Novels and Dune were on my New classics last year. But I might make a last moment substitution of The Count of Monte Cristo for Dune. That way Ulysses will be shortest. LOL

Don Quixote and The Count of Monte Cristo are third and fourth quarter (or maybe it was second and fourth) long reads in the Reading 1001 group. Ulysses is of course the first quarter long read in this group. Infinite Jest and Cryptonomicon I want to read for my birthday challenge. I wasn't sure whether to put Cryptonomicon or House of Leaves on the list, but decided to go with the longest one. Just because.

Hey, I've forgotten the two substitutes! Alrighty then! I can put the two "short" mind-bending, brain-twisting door stoppers as alternates! Yay!


message 3: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3383 comments What an ambitious list Leni! I started on Ulysses ahead of the group read and it's going to be hard for me to get through. I'm doing it via serial reader and then listening to the same section on audio and I'm still confused!

Don Quixote was a complete joy for me beginning to end but it still takes awhile to get through.

I'm hoping to fit in Infinite Jest too but it didn't make it to any of my 4 challenges so I may not get to it.

I have to go check my Old and New now since this is the one we can't change after tomorrow!


message 4: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Sue wrote: "What an ambitious list Leni! I started on Ulysses ahead of the group read and it's going to be hard for me to get through. I'm doing it via serial reader and then listening to the same section on a..."

Yes. It's very ambitious. In fact it's terrifying me! LOL
I've added some explanations for my choices now in the second comment. I read a lot of books in 2017. I think 2018 will be fewer but longer books. Although I might find that too exhausting. And to be honest, it's not like I have signed up for fewer challenges for 2018. So, uh... New Year's optimism, let's see how far it will carry me!


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3383 comments ooh you switched in The Count of Monte Cristo! I really want to get to that too! agh! I need to drop out of one of my challenges or something ; )


message 6: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Sue wrote: "ooh you switched in The Count of Monte Cristo! I really want to get to that too! agh! I need to drop out of one of my challenges or something ; )"

Hehe, that is one I'm fairly sure I'm going to enjoy. I read it as a child, but I think that must have been an abridged version. Not a children's version though. I remember getting it from the adult section of the library, as well as The Three Musketeers and the Musketeers 20 years later, but I know that while it seemed long it can't have been the full 1000++ pages. Looking forward to getting to full length treatment!


message 7: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 4180 comments This is definitely a challenging challenge, Leni. But you just never know. It all depends on your mood, which is what makes or breaks this challenge!

I really hope you love Don Quixote. I found it just so much fun. But I'm afraid of some of the others--Infinite Jest and especially Ulysses. I look forward to seeing what you think.

You are brave to tackle this, but bravery brings rewards, and I think this surely will!


message 8: by Veronique (new)

Veronique | 969 comments The Count is really good and ‘easy’ if long :0) Ulysses scares the hell out of me so kudos for planning to tackle it! Ghormengast and Cryptonomicon do appeal a lot!
Good luck with it :0)


message 9: by Bat-Cat (last edited Dec 31, 2017 02:38AM) (new)

Bat-Cat | 1299 comments Very impressive list, Leni. Lots of luck with it. Just remember that reading anything is never a failure - so enjoy and if you complete it then all the better!!! :-)


message 10: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2383 comments Very ambitious list! Not just in length, but in rumored difficulty.

I'm with Veronique -- the idea of reading Ulysses scares me half to death, and you have that and Infinite Jest? You're very brave!

But The Count of Monte Cristo is just as much fun as everyone says it is, and I found Don Quixote to be akin to reading Monte Python. Kindred is excellent too, as are many of the others, so hopefully it'll all work out.


message 11: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments I figure Ulysses might take me the first six months, and Infinite Jest the last six. I'm not overlapping those two! But I think I can read the others alongside. But, hey, Old and New should be fine, and if I can manage three of the rest I'll consider it a success (although I do aim to do them all!) This is New Year's Optimism speaking. Right now I'm full of bravado. No doubt it will end in tears. Lol


message 12: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2383 comments lol.
At least you'll have the group read for Ulysses to keep you company for the first few months.


message 13: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Yes. I planned to read Infinite Jest, but then the Ulysses group read came along so I had to take the opportunity to read it with a support group! But I didn't want to postpone Infinite Jest. I'm about to turn 40 and David Foster Wallace is supposedly the voice of my generation. So, seriously, I'll be coping with my new decade by reading Infinite Jest. And biographies about Kurt Cobain. And listening to a lot of Nirvana and Faith No More. I'll... let you all know how that works out for my mental health. 😆


message 14: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 6043 comments Mod
I have attempted Ulysses twice before and failed to get very far into it. I am giving it one more whirl before I toss it into the "I ain't ever gonna read this one" bin.

Good luck with this Leni. It will be fun watching your progress.


message 15: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 2005 comments I can recommend Dune, Gormenghast and House Of Leaves
and I too will be reading Cryptonomicon at some point this year...


message 16: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Woah this does look challenging, but that's the point, right? I'm starting Infinite Jest in a couple of weeks as a buddy read in another group. I turned 40 a few months ago, so I suppose it's a book from my generation too! I just lump Wallace together with Pynchon and DeLillo, as authors that I don't think are for me, but still think I should try.

As others have said The Count is an easy read, plus you've read it before, abridged or not, so you know what fun is in store. Don Quixote and Ulysses are tough at times, but rewarding! Kindred I enjoyed a lot and Silas Marner, well, it was no Middlemarch, let's just leave it there!


message 17: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Pink wrote: "Woah this does look challenging, but that's the point, right? I'm starting Infinite Jest in a couple of weeks as a buddy read in another group. I turned 40 a few months ago, so I suppose it's a boo..."

We're both at the tail end of Gen-X. I read this article a couple of years back about the silence of Gen. X and how the few voices of our generation have killed themselves. (Not as in there aren't writers and activists etc from our generation, but the big ones, the ones that speak for and to us all seem to be missing. Which is perhaps part of the point of Generation X, so I'm not that surprised.) Pynchon and DeLillo are part of a different generation, but they might very well be similar to Wallace in many ways. I don't know as I have yet to read any of them. I'm starting with Wallace.


message 18: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Darren wrote: "I can recommend Dune, Gormenghast and House Of Leaves
and I too will be reading Cryptonomicon at some point this year..."


"At some point"? You mean you haven't planned it for a particular month? I'm surprised! lol
I'm honestly not sure when I will get to that myself. I need to buy a copy first. Also, my January reading is sink or swim, and I think I'm drowning already. lol Cryptonomicon is for when I get my head above water again. I can only hope that will happen this year!


message 19: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 2005 comments of course I have a month penciled in for Cryptonomicon (August) but I didn't want to sound too pushy! ;o)

I noticed somebody else (can't remember who) had DNF'd it after 2 pages(!) which doesn't bode well :oO


message 20: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Darren wrote: "of course I have a month penciled in for Cryptonomicon (August) but I didn't want to sound too pushy! ;o)

I noticed somebody else (can't remember who) had DNF'd it after 2 pages(!) whic..."


August is late enough in the year, that I might consider it and not so late I'll be in a panic. Although it is also school holiday month, so I might be mainly on Kindle. Then again, maybe I should just get this book for the Kindle.

DNF after two pages doesn't bother me. Just means it wasn't a book for that person and they had the sense to get out quickly. I'm more worried when someone says things like "After 600 pages I was in tears of frustration and just couldn't take it anymore!"
So I'm now avoiding reviews for all my door stoppers, in case I should come across something like that.


message 21: by Melanti (last edited Jan 03, 2018 08:05AM) (new)

Melanti | 2383 comments Darren wrote: "of course I have a month penciled in for Cryptonomicon (August) but I didn't want to sound too pushy! ;o)

I noticed somebody else (can't remember who) had DNF'd it after 2 pages(!) whic..."


That was me! But that was after reading one of his other ones and a couple chapters from a second, so I already knew the things that bugged me about his writing. I read a couple pages, saw more of the same things I already knew would bug me, skimmed a couple more just to verify, and I was out of there.

I'm just not a fan of his sense of humor.

Darren, it looks like you liked his Snow Crash, so you'll probably like Cryptonomicon just fine.


message 22: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Hitting multiple challenges in one book here. Passing was very good, and very short, and is crossed off several lists. Yay!


message 23: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 6043 comments Mod
And you're off! I enjoyed Passing.


message 24: by Mercedee (new)

Mercedee Hutton (mercedeeh) | 26 comments Oh man--Infinite Jest. A dusty door stopper in this house! But it's been calling. Best of luck! You've got a great list.


message 25: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Woops, I haven't even updated here since January!
And it's August!

Let's see... Old - I have read two out of three. That's good.
New - I have only read one. That's not so good, but I will get to the other two.
Wildcards - wildcards are a hot mess. lol

I haven't actually finished any of my doorstoppers. I've read one of the alternates though: Dune.

But it's not like I haven't done anything about my wildcards. I have read the first Ghormenghast novel, and I loved it. The prose is so dense, it's hard work to read but so worth it. Looking forward to reading the rest once I have the time and mental capacity. And speaking of mental capacity, I have read 12 "episodes" of Ulysses. 6 to go. I might get through it this year if I stop taking month long breaks. It would be an exaggeration to say that I am enjoying this book. Let's just say that I am intrigued enough, stubborn enough, and masochistic enough to not want to give up.

I'm also reading Infinite Jest. I'm following the Infinite Summer schedule so I'm about half way through and will be done in September. It is a strange book and I think I love it. Have also developed a fascination with tennis, which came as a surprise to me.

Don Quixote is a fourth quarter long read in another group, so I'll hopefully get around to reading that. Then again, The Count of Monte Cristo was their second quarter long read, and I still haven't started that. I will though, once I actually finish some of these other doorstoppers.

I guess it doesn't help that I have been reading chunky doorstoppers that aren't on this list! I read Vanity Fair. That book is way chunkier than the page count indicates. Not on my list. I am almost at the end of the Old Testament part of the King James Bible. That's like the chunkiest door stopper there is! And it's not on my list! (I think I didn't put it on my wildcard list because I wanted to be able to ditch it if I hated every page of it. But here I am, 69% through the Bible. Really fed up with lineages and looking forward to getting out of OT, which is frankly rather dreary and depressing, but still reading it.) Oh, and I am about to start The Once and Future King, which is also somewhat door-stoppery and NOT ON MY LIST.


message 26: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3383 comments I'm in the same boat Leni. You are reading some great quality stuff so all is good though!


message 27: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 4180 comments Your reading is very impressive, Leni, list or no.

But you gave me an idea. Next year, maybe I'll do a personal challenge that I don't create until the end of the year. A "what I ended up reading" challenge. A backwards challenge. (A little like Merlin, for when you get to The Once and Future King.)

This definitely seems like the year of the door stopper for you!


message 28: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Kathleen wrote: "Your reading is very impressive, Leni, list or no.

But you gave me an idea. Next year, maybe I'll do a personal challenge that I don't create until the end of the year. A "what I ended up reading"..."


LOL The backwards challenge.... That's kind of what Goodreads gives you at the end of the year. But why not? A list of the best/longest/hardest books read all year. That way we can feel accomplished even if we failed a bunch of challenges.


message 29: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 2005 comments good to hear that you liked Dune and Titus Groan (two of my faves) - that will keep our Compare Books rating going in the right direction! (currently 79%)

oh, and it's August, which means I'm about to start Cryptonomicon - which is literally the biggest/heaviest/most actual door-stopperish book that I've ever owned :oO
although strangely I'm actually looking forward to getting going... :oD



message 30: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Darren wrote: "good to hear that you liked Dune and Titus Groan (two of my faves) - that will keep our Compare Books rating going in the right direction! (currently 79%)

oh, and it's August, which means I'm abou..."


Aw, you tempt me man! Except that I don't actually have a copy of that book and I'm about to go on holiday and I don't want to lug any doorstoppers with me, and I am already reading all the big books. Or at least it feels that way. I guess I'll let you read it first. lol


message 31: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 2058 comments Leni wrote: "Woops, I haven't even updated here since January!
And it's August!

Let's see... Old - I have read two out of three. That's good.
New - I have only read one. That's not so good, but I will get to t..."


Wow!great reading Leni..


message 32: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 393 comments WOW! You really are reading all the big books! I think I only put 5 long books in my TBR spreadsheet of books for the year (1Q84, 11/22/63, Pillars of the Earth, Ulysses, and Gravity's Rainbow). I don't seem to have the tolerance for long books that I used to have. I am pleased to hear that you are enjoying Infinite Jest. I read that last year and, while it did cause some gnashing of the teeth and hair pulling, I did end up becoming a DFW fan. I just finished his first novel, The System of the Broom, over the weekend and it was a lot of fun. Happy Reading! Good luck on Ulysses...I know I'm going to need it.


message 33: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 6043 comments Mod
Yikes, you are crushing it. Who cares about a list when you are putting away those kinds of reads!


message 34: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Thank you, all of you.
xxx

I've really upped my reading game since joining Goodreads and the groups here (and Litsy). Both because I keep getting roped into group reads and buddy reads and challenges, and because the rest of you are such great cheerleaders, and every bit as crazy with your reading. :D

Tammy: Gravity's Rainbow is another one that makes me apprehensive, but that I want to read sometime. I've read The Crying of Lot 49 which was super weird but very short. 8-900 pages of Pynchon is a terrifying prospect!


message 35: by Leni (last edited Dec 01, 2018 07:13AM) (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Only one month left. I normally fail this challenge by two books, so let's see:

Old School - still haven't read Hard Times, and I doubt that's going to happen.

New School - just started Hour of the Star. It's a short book, so that'll be done in a jiff. Still think I might get to Kindred as well.

Wildcards - Hey, I finished the King James Bible! What a shame I didn't put that on my doorstopper list. :P

The Count of Monte Cristo and Don Quixote are just not going to happen. But I've read both my alternates at least!

Gormenghast - I've read the first book in the trilogy, so I'm counting that as a limited success. I'm looking forward to reading the rest, but I never seem to have the time.

Cryptonomicon has been voted the 3rd quarter read for next year in another of my groups, so I don't feel bad about not having read it yet.

Infinite Jest - I'm almost done. I just took a break to read House of Leaves as a buddy read and somehow that break got extended. I will finish it, it's a great book.

Ulysses - I have made progress! Only part 3 left! Can I do that in December? I don't want to still be reading it in January, but I also would much rather read Infinite Jest. (Ulysses does my head in. I've read a ton of YA, graphic novels, and fast paced "guilty pleasures" lately because it's all I can handle after a few pages of Ulysses.)

So... basically I might not fail much worse than usual. We'll see.


message 36: by Veronique (new)

Veronique | 969 comments :0) Guilty pleasures all the time


message 37: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 6043 comments Mod
Hey, all the reading you have done is success. This other stuff is icing on the cake. You have really tackled some tough reads this year. Kudos.


message 38: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 2005 comments Leni - You are doing really well here - this was always going to be a big ask to finish all of them
I have Infinite Jest and Ulysses down for 2019 and Cryptonomicon is a contender for my best book read in 2018 - I whizzed through it in 20 days only!


message 39: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments I'm contemplating whether to inflict this challenge on myself next year. I could fill the whole wildcard list with books I've failed to read in previous years' Old and New challenges. XD

I have other ideas too. All mad and sure to fail. I just need to decide if they will be more fun and motivating than stressful.


message 40: by Sue (new)

Sue K H (sky_bluez) | 3383 comments Leni wrote: "I'm contemplating whether to inflict this challenge on myself next year. I could fill the whole wildcard list with books I've failed to read in previous years' Old and New challenges. XD

I have ot..."


I was wondering the same thing. I completed my old and new part but didn't touch my Wild and alternates which were mostly heavy nonfiction history books. I was thinking of putting those on next years but then I'll just feel bad if I don't get to them. I'm thinkng of creating a multi-year challenge for those. I'm liking multi-year challenges. So much less pressure, especially if there is no ending year! heehee

You have read so many substantial works, so you should be nothing but proud Leni!


message 41: by Petra (new)

Petra Leni, you're doing great.
Part 3 of Ulysses is doable. You can do this.

You're making fantastic progress through your list.


message 42: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments I DID IT! I finished Ulysses!

Just felt like shouting that from the rooftops. Feels like quite an achievement!

You lot are the best cheerleader squad! :D

I haven't got a clue what rating to give Ulysses, but I did write a review:

Ulysses-review

I've also read and reviewed Hour of the Star - HotS-Review

Going to focus on finishing Infinite Jest now, and that will be it for this challenge.


message 43: by Sara, Old School Classics (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 6043 comments Mod
I am clapping for you right now, Leni. Huge achievement!


message 44: by Renee (new)

Renee | 864 comments Congrats on finishing Ulysses! That is a great achievement. You wrote a wonderful review of it. It's definitely not an easy book to get through.


message 45: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 4180 comments My hat is off to you for finishing Ulysses, and can't thank you enough for your illuminating review. Both are amazing accomplishments!


message 46: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2992 comments Wow, and Infinite Jest, too !

WooHOOOO you!


message 47: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9823 comments Mod
Leni wrote: "I DID IT! I finished Ulysses!..."

Hooray for you. Good to see that you enjoyed it some.


message 48: by Pink (new)

Pink | 6554 comments Well done Leni and finished before the end of the year too!


message 49: by Darren (new)

Darren (dazburns) | 2005 comments Leni - I notice you finished House of Leaves - what did you think?


message 50: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 1236 comments Darren, I really enjoyed House of Leaves. I think I gave it four stars. It was a lot quicker and easier to read than I had been led to believe and I wallowed in appendix materials and wild theories. I also listened to the companion album made by the artist Poe, who is the author’s sister. Yeah, great fun and very innovative.


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