A bookish and two non-bookish challenges for the new year

It’s the time of year to start a challenge or two. I came across a few that I just couldn’t resist!


#Fitreaders is a challenge for all readers (and everyone else, really) who like to get more active. I think there are quite a few Fitbit users, like me, who will keep track of their activity via their fitbit step counter.

I want to get “back on track” and walk at least 7,000 steps per day. I did this last year, but after the summer I didn’t keep track so well, and the couch-potato mode started to wake up again. So, I’ll walk 7,000 steps per day, every day, for five days per week, and a couch-potato-5,000 steps for the other two days (that’s still a walk!). link to challenge



Cut Out Processed Food in 14 weeks! This challenge is about, well, what it says! It’s fourteen weeks in which every week something else is tackled, e.g., eating more fruit and veg, cutting out sugar, wholegrain only, etc. The good thing is that you can do each of these for just one week and then revert back to what your normally do, and tackle the next issue. Or you can do this cumulatively, and add each new mini-challenge to the previous one. I’ll just go for a simple week-by-week challenge, but who knows? I may be inspired to keep some new habits going for longer than just a week. link to challenge



Finally, a Dutch challenge, Ik Lees Nederlands [I read Dutch] in which we’re challenged to read more books from our own country. This is a challenge that I started a few years ago and now it’s hosted by a different blog every year. I’m pledging to read 20 books by Dutch or Flemish authors this year. link to challenge

How many challenges are you doing this year?


Joining the R. I. P. VIII Event


I’m joining R. I. P. VIII! That stands for Readers Imbibing Peril. It’s hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. I joined in last year and it was great fun!

The challenge runs for the next two months, between September 1st and October 31st. Participants should read novels (or watch movies) in the following categories:

Dark Fantasy.

As I’m a fast reader, and I have enough reading material left on the shelves to fulfil the criteria, I will go for the highest level, which is that of Peril the First.

Peril the First

For the Peril the First level, you’re required to read four books that fit the definition of scary. I’m going to read the following (subject to change):

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValleThe Donor by Helen FitzgeraldCartwheel by Jennifer DuboisSorry by Zoran Drvenkar

I’m really looking forward to reading these. But I’m also taking part in a challenge on Shelfari, so if it suits me better, I may swap a book or two.

Over 140 people have signed up for this challenge so far. How about you? You can read 1, 2 or 4 books, or watch one or more scary movies. Isn’t it nice to be scared sometimes?

Finished: 1/4

Dickens in December Event: A Christmas Carol readalong

Dickens in December

Caroline at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Delia at Postcards from Asia are organising the Dickens in December event. There is a read-a-long, a watch-a-long and there are of course book reviews.

I participated in the read-a-long of A Christmas Carol. It’s not the first time I’ve read it. I read it a few years ago. Also, I’ve seen movie adaptations more than once so I was pretty familiar with the story before I started reading this time around.

Questions for the read-a-long:

Is this the first time you are reading the story?
This was the second time, I think.

Did you like it?
Yes, I loved it. I found it so funny.

Which was your favorite scene?
When Scrooge calls a boy on Christmas Day and asks him to bring the biggest goose he can get. And he says to himself what a lovely boy this is, and how clever, etc.

Which was your least favorite scene?
In the beginning, when Bob Cratchit is described as having hardly a coal in the fire to keep warm while working. I felt so sorry for the poor man!

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?
I liked the Ghost of Christmas Present the most. I loved it when Scrooge wanted to join in with the jolliness he saw in the visions.

Was there a character you wish you knew more about?
I was wondering about Jacob Marley, what sort of person he had been. Was he just like Scrooge, or did he have a family? What was he like when he was alive?

How did you like the end?
The end was a bit quick. I’d have liked to spend a bit more time with the new Scrooge. Seeing in more detail how he spends his Christmas Day and how he visits his nephew and is all likeable and friendly.

Did you think it was believable?
Well, I don’t believe in ghosts, so: no. Also, I can’t see that someone would be so easily changed in the course of a (long) night. Most people would begin with defending their way of living, rather than quickly accept it’s not right. He converted a little too easily!

Do you know anyone like Scrooge?
I know people who are the opposite to Scrooge. They like to pay for everything. Which is actually pretty annoying! 🙂

Did he deserve to be saved?
Yes, of course. Especially now that he turned out to be a generous man, willing to help out other people.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) – very good

Pages: 91

First published: 1843

I got this book: bought it secondhand, a few years ago (re-read)

Genre: classic

2012 Challenges – The Results

I participated in 4 reading challenges in 2012. I didn’t do too badly…. Let’s have a look:

Wishlist Challenge: Big Fail

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

The Wishlist challenge was organised by myself. I think I did worse than the other participants. Shame on me. I think I sort of forgot about this challenge, otherwise, I’m not sure why I didn’t read more of this list. Such  a great idea: read books that are already on your wishlist (no newly added books!), because the poor wishlist is often so neglected.

  1. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
  2. The Girls by Lori Lansens
  3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Read in January)
  4. Bellwether by Connie Willis
  5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. Solar by Ian McEwan
  8. Wild Child by T.C. Boyle
  9. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  10. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (Read in January)
  11. The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi
  12. Six Degrees by Mark Lynas

Ebook Challenge: Succes and Fail

2012 Ebook Challenge
The 2012 Ebook Challenge was organised by Workaday Reads. I went for the “CD” level which was 10 ebooks. I started off with the list below, of which I read only 3 books. But… while I didn’t have an ereader at the beginning of this challenge, I was gifted one soon after and read much more than 10 books, just not these. In total, I read 39 ebooks this year. Well over target!

  1. The Lens and the Looker by Lori S. Kaufman
  2. Life’s a Beach by Claire Cook
  3. Schrijvende vrouwen [Women Writers] by Jacqueline Bel and Thomas Vaessens
  4. De dag dat ik Johannes Klein doodreed [The Day I Ran Over Johannes Klein] by Elle van Rijn
  5. Ik was Amerika [I Was America] by Gustaaf Peek
  6. De weldoener [The Philanthropist]  van P. F. Thomese
  7. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  8. Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
  9. Chasing Clovers by Kat Flannery
  10. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The A-Z Book Challenge: SUCCESS(ish)

A-Z Books Challenge

The A-Z Book Challenge was organised by Babies, Books, & Signs. The idea was to read books with titles beginning with all the letters of the alphabet. I had to take it a step further of course, and decided to read the alphabet in order. I got to “V” and then it was December and I had other books to read (and no books at the ready to finish off the challenge anyway).

A. Jan: Away by Amy Bloom

B. Jan: The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

C. Jan: The Collector by John Fowles

D. Jan: The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley

E. Jan: The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

F. Jan: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

G. Jan: The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

H. Feb: Half-Brother by Kenneth Oppel

I. Feb: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

J. Mar: Just in Case by Meg Rosoff

K. July: De kers op de taart [Recipe for love] by Katie Fforde

L. Aug: The Light between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

M. Aug: Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault

N. Sept: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

O. Sept: The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

P. Sept: De perpetuum mobile van de liefde [The Perpetuum Mobile of Love] by Renate Dorrestein (not reviewed)

Q. Oct- Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

R. Oct- The Round House by Louise Erdrich

S. Oct- The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

T. Oct- Tweestrijd [Duel] by Linda Jansma

U.  Oct- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (not reviewed)

V.  Nov-De verzegelde brief [The Sealed Letter] by Emma Donnoghue

Pretty good, if I say so myself!

What’s in a Name 5 Challenge: SUCCESS

What's in  a Name Challenge

The What’s in a Name 5 Challenge was organised by Beth Fish Reads. The goal was to read books with a certain category in the title:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Life’s a BEACH by Claire Cook.
  2. A book with something you’d see in the sky in the title: The STARlite Drive-in by Marjorie Reynolds
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: The Death of BEES by Lisa O’Donnell
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Round HOUSE by Louise Erdrich
  5. A book with something you’d carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: The Sealed LETTER by Emma Donoghue
  6. A book with a something you’d find on a calendar in the title: The Rise and FALL of a Domestic Diva by Sarah May

In 2013 I’m not doing many challenges, as I want to read the TBR books I already own as much as possible. I did sign up for The TBR Pile Challenge 2013, The Eclectic Reader Challenge,  and a Dutch challenge (organised by me) called Ik Lees Nederlands! [I Read Dutch!] which encourages to read more originally Dutch books (rather than translations from English and German, etc.).

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