The 50 book challenge

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The 50 book challenge

Postby 01000011 » Sun May 02, 2010 11:15 am UTC

So fellow forumers, I've just found out about the 50 book challenge and I've had a quick search, nothin' about it on here.

The challenge is pretty simple, read 50 books in a year, any book more than 100 pages counts. You may read the same book twice, it counts as 2 books, and if you've started a book before you start the challenge (But have not finished it, and you do so within the year) then that counts as a book too.

I was wondering if anyone has ever taken part in this, or is planning to? I only found out about it today, so I decided that I'll set my own start date (Because I can't be bothered with waiting 7 months for the next start).

As of yesterday, 1st May 2010, I'm going to try to read 50 books before 1st May 2011. Anyone with me? :mrgreen:

Feel free to share experiences of this challenge, and you can include small summaries of the books you've read for it, along with reviews if you wish. No spoilers though!

EDIT:

My progress as of May 1st 2010
Spoiler:
Burned - Ellen Hopkins
Lord of the flies - William Golding
Crank - Ellen Hopkins
Glass - Ellen Hopkins
Before I Die - Jenny Downham
Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keys
Last edited by 01000011 on Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:43 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Amarantha » Sun May 02, 2010 12:42 pm UTC

I read like a hundred and sixty something in 1986. And those were only the ones the school made us count :P

Now? Not a chance :mrgreen: Taking a couple of weeks to get through one atm.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby folkhero » Sun May 02, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

Never heard of the challenge, but I would recommend, "Notes From Underground," "Candide," and "Of Mice and Men" as very good books that are just a bit over 100 pages.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby 01000011 » Sun May 02, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

Some of my friends are reading Of Mice and Men for their English lit exam in a few weeks. We got stuck with Lord of the flies which I started re-reading for revision/one of my books.

I've already gotten through 1 book today: Burned by Ellen Hopkins. I read it a couple of weeks ago but thought I'd give it one more read before I return it to my friend. I'm hoping to get through some Ian Rankin books too, since they're apparently pretty good. Trainspotting has gotten me interested too. I'm stopping by the library on Tuesday to see what they've got.

EDIT: Just had a quick look at Notes from underground too. That looks pretty freakin' cool.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jesse » Sun May 02, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

Before the great computer crash of '08, I kept a list of how many books I read a year. At that point it was well over a hundred.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sun May 02, 2010 8:47 pm UTC

If I read books that were less than 500 pages more often, maybe I would succeed.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Quordlepleen » Sun May 02, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

This doesn't sound too hard, lately I've been averaging least one book a week. Though going home for the summer will put a bit of a damper on my reading, my campus library has an excellent selection of books, particlularly the special collections branch.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby BurningLed » Mon May 03, 2010 12:38 pm UTC

I remember through my 7th and 8th grade I had a class in the library, and I'd literally take out books and return them the next day (I didn't really pay attention in class when I had books to read.)

Now, i don't read nearly so much, but I think I could do it.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby PAstrychef » Mon May 03, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

I have read over 100 books already this year. I'm not sure I <i>could</i> read more books than I do now. I suppose I could read more demanding books (advanced maths, physics, time travel, etc.) but I get through about 1 a day at the moment.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby cv4 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:09 am UTC

I probably read 30-40 books a year. I don't particularly want to try that challenge, because I would just be trying to plow through books than appreciate them and fully take them in. If I read 50 books in a year, so be it. If not, I have many more decades to get through what I want to read.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Ixtellor » Wed May 05, 2010 9:29 pm UTC

Juno Diaz, the MIT english professor and pultizer prize winner has a challenge as well.

One of his most FAQ's, is "How do I become a good writer".

His stock answer is "Read 1000 books in 3 years". It sounds like a dick answer, but it stems from his belief that you need to read a lot, in order to get a feel for how to write.

He also says "you won't do it, but you need to try", but the point stands.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby El Spark » Thu May 06, 2010 2:57 pm UTC

01000011 wrote:Anyone with me? :mrgreen:


Erm...done? =)

I'm a natural reader, and a librarian by happy coincidence.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jahoclave » Sat May 08, 2010 5:11 am UTC

Well, I did forty-six last year: and let me say this, there are two things you will learn about the middle ages from reading first hand accounts 1. Everything is cured by one part saint twenty parts water 2. You'll never want to read another book written by a medieval monk again. And I'm well above pace this semester, near 30 already, and now that school's out I can chop through these half read books. Plus, can I double count victorian and russian lit books for their being near 5-600 pages?

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby cv4 » Sat May 08, 2010 6:18 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote: Plus, can I double count victorian and russian lit books for their being near 5-600 pages?


It's things like this that should make it a page count challenge. Say 300 page books are standard, since people would read super short books just to count them, the the competition would be 15,000 pages (which sounds kind of short to me, but whatever). That way, people could just read what they want as opposed to devouring crappier 100 pages books just to get them to count.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby folkhero » Sun May 09, 2010 1:22 am UTC

cv4 wrote:
Jahoclave wrote: Plus, can I double count victorian and russian lit books for their being near 5-600 pages?


It's things like this that should make it a page count challenge. Say 300 page books are standard, since people would read super short books just to count them, the the competition would be 15,000 pages (which sounds kind of short to me, but whatever). That way, people could just read what they want as opposed to devouring crappier 100 pages books just to get them to count.

Even if you make it a page challenge, not all pages are created equally. Reading 100 pages of Thomas Hardy is not at all the same as reading 100 pages of Raymond Chandler, even though I'd say they are both worthwhile authors to read.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby cv4 » Sun May 09, 2010 6:08 am UTC

Agreed that there would be flaws, but I feel it is a better system than 50 books. You could plow through fifty 100 page books in no time.

Now, this isn't an issue, as no one is forced to try this challenge. Just an observation more than anything.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Johannes Factotum » Sun May 09, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

To be truly pedantic what you would want is a combined rating of length (word count) and complexity. For a complexity rating you could use a readability test like Flesch-Kincaid. It ranks a sentence's complexity using both the length of the sentence and words' length.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jahoclave » Mon May 10, 2010 6:09 am UTC

Johannes Factotum wrote:To be truly pedantic what you would want is a combined rating of length (word count) and complexity. For a complexity rating you could use a readability test like Flesch-Kincaid. It ranks a sentence's complexity using both the length of the sentence and words' length.

So, in other words, Fredric Jameson is worth three hundred books a page.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby folkhero » Mon May 10, 2010 6:28 am UTC

cv4 wrote:Agreed that there would be flaws, but I feel it is a better system than 50 books. You could plow through fifty 100 page books in no time.

Now, this isn't an issue, as no one is forced to try this challenge. Just an observation more than anything.

Actually, I think reading a bunch of short books can be pretty great, so long as they aren't all too similar to each other. Reading shorter works of good authors is a good way to get a feel for lots of different types of literature. "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" taught me that I wasn't cut out for reading Joyce and "Notes from Underground" and "Of Mice and Men" helped me get Dostoevsky's and Steinbeck's longer works on my reading list. I personally think the novella is rather underrated. (If anyone want to recommend more novellas, I'd love to hear about them)

You're right though about it not being an issue. If you want to read more and this motivates you, great. If you look at it as a competition in which you want to find ways to cut corners, then you probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby WarDaft » Mon May 10, 2010 11:22 am UTC

I don't know of 50 books I'd actually still want to read, otherwise this would be very easy - I got through Judas Unchained in 2 days.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jahoclave » Tue May 11, 2010 7:17 am UTC

WarDaft wrote:I don't know of 50 books I'd actually still want to read, otherwise this would be very easy - I got through Judas Unchained in 2 days.

I have over 300 unread books on my shelves. I'd really like to read more... Stupid literature degree getting in the way.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Adacore » Tue May 11, 2010 8:50 am UTC

I'm not a fanatical reader, but I probably average about 50 pages a day, so if I chose short books I guess I could just about make it. Most of the books I read are 500+ pages though, as others have mentioned, so it's probably not happening.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Kolko » Thu May 13, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

50 books? I think I've been averaging above that for the past 10 years now (I'm 17). I might start counting from now on :)
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby the_stabbage » Mon May 17, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

I'm sure I did this in my teenage years. But now that I read philosophy I have to slow down. With certain works, I could spend a year reading and rereading them and not be done.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby ian » Wed May 19, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

I'm in. Have done hardly any reading at all the last year and really want to pick up (though am in the middle of exams atm). Have 4 books on the go right now, but 100 pages left at least in them all, so I'll count em when I finish them.

Um, just for my note keeping, start date 19/05/10.
Spoiler:
1 - 21/05/10 (2 days) - Predictably Irrational - Dan Ariely
2 - 26/05/10 (7 days) - Makers - Cory Doctrow
3 - 03/06/10 (15 days) - Foundation - Isaac Asimov
4 - 25/06/10 (37 days) - Foundation & Empire - Isaac Asimov
5 - 05/07/10 (47 days) - Second Foundation - Isaac Asimov
6 - 12/07/10 (54 days) - Software - Rudy Rucker
7 - 30/07/10 (72 days) - Big Bang - Simon Singh
8 - 01/08/10 (74 days) - The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby
9 - 01/08/10 (74 days) - Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
10 - 06/08/10 (79 days) - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
11 - 13/08/10 (86 days) - Eastern Standard Tribe - Cory Doctrow
12 - 24/08/10 (97 days) - The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing - edited by Richard Dawkins
13 - 02/09/10 (107 days) - Somone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town - Cory Doctrow
14 - 20/09/10 (125 days) - The Grand Design - Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
15 - 20/09/10 (125 days) - House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski,/i]
. - [i].

cv4 wrote:Agreed that there would be flaws, but I feel it is a better system than 50 books. You could plow through fifty 100 page books in no time.

Now, this isn't an issue, as no one is forced to try this challenge. Just an observation more than anything.

I think it would maybe be an issue elsewhere, but i doubt anyone here is going to be competitive about. I'm certainly only doing it to encourage myself, and won't be basing my choices of length of book on anything other than 'do i want to read this'. (I'm not expecting to reach 50, I'd be delighted with the 20-30 unread ones I currently have)
Last edited by ian on Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:50 pm UTC, edited 16 times in total.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby PAstrychef » Thu May 20, 2010 11:38 pm UTC

Alas, no matter how many book you do get to read, that great mountain of books To Be Read will not get any smaller.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jesse » Mon May 24, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

ITT: We're all nerds who read loads of books anyway.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Dason » Mon May 24, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Jesse wrote:ITT: We're all nerds who read loads of books anyway.

I wish! I'm quite nerdy myself but I don't get around to reading nearly as much as I'd like. I've got quite a bit of free time on my hands now though so I think I'm finally going to read some Sherlock Holmes.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Felstaff » Mon May 24, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

I'm in. I'll retroactively start from May 1st, for ease. I'll keep track of my progress here:

Spoiler:
  • The Return of the King
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Hippopotamus (reading)
  • Alice's Adventures Through the Windshield Glass
  • Alice in Sunderland
  • Altered Carbon
  • In Cold Blood
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby cv4 » Tue May 25, 2010 12:44 am UTC

I have posted a couple times in this thread, so thought I would give an update.

Starting May 1st (when I got home from school), I have read:
-Neuromancer
-The Chrysalids
-Brave New World
-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
-The Yiddish Policeman's Union
-Stranger in a Strange Land
-Slaughterhouse-Five

Guess it puts me on a good pace, but those are all pretty short books (~400 pages or less) books. Also, didn't start work till this week, so had a lot more time to read.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Rek » Wed May 26, 2010 2:03 am UTC

I keep a log of books a read, page #, etc. I started about 3 weeks ago and am at 11 books so far. I think I'll be able to do 50 fairly easily 8)
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby johnhamlet » Sun Jun 06, 2010 3:01 pm UTC

This is a decent challenge, but I suspect anyone with a little discipline shouldn't find this a problem. I actually set myself the goal of reading a 100 books a year after taking a photoreading course. Things haven't panned out as I would have liked but hey! A good intention nontheless!!!

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

I've at least trebled the challenge by now. Then again, I was taught to read extremely fast and enjoy it. I've been reading less than usual lately (3-4 books a week instead of my usual 5-8), but I've been having trouble with migraines since last November. Unfortunately, I can't read with a migraine, and afterward I feel too drained to do anything that requires much thought.

My big summer challenge is to read War and Peace. I started it, and it was amazing, but it required more focus than I could give as a full time student. Just trying to keep the three Katerina Ivanovna's straight required a lot of effort.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Jahoclave » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:25 am UTC

Hum, since May:
Monstrous Regiment
Men at Arms
Lost Treasures of American History
The Anthology at the End of the Universe: Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays
Wish You Were Here: The Official Douglas Adams Biography
Dinosaur in a Haystack

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby meatyochre » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:42 am UTC

Read Flowers for Algernon. It's stream-of-consciousness so it's very personal and very interesting. And idk how many pages it was but it went by fast!
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby mickafen » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

If anyone is looking for some short, good reads, a lot of Philip K. Dick's stuff is only 100-200 pages. Although too many of them at once might get...odd.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby JayDee » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:19 am UTC

Finally had my last exam on Friday, so I have free time in abundance to put to good use reading. I've been eying this thread, and I'm going to see if I can get fifty books read in the month or so before next semester starts.

Two so far, The Word for World is Forest and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin. The second was a re-read (I read it when I was young) and the first I picked up after seeing listed on "stories Avatar is suspiciously similar too" lists. Amusingly, they complement each other fairly well. The book by Le Guin has plot and characterisation with little in the way of complex world building* whereas the movie by Cameron is quite the opposite.

*Of the terrain or biological kind, that is. Social-world building is another thing altogether, and reason enough to love any of Le Guin's science fiction that I've seen.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby Ivor Zozz » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:33 pm UTC

I thought of something similar recently, designed to kick start my fiction reading: read a novel per week for a year.

Doing that would get me past the fifty book mark, too, so I just may try that.
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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby cv4 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:31 am UTC

cv4 wrote:I have posted a couple times in this thread, so thought I would give an update.

Starting May 1st (when I got home from school), I have read:
-Neuromancer
-The Chrysalids
-Brave New World
-Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
-The Yiddish Policeman's Union
-Stranger in a Strange Land
-Slaughterhouse-Five

Guess it puts me on a good pace, but those are all pretty short books (~400 pages or less) books. Also, didn't start work till this week, so had a lot more time to read.


Been about a month, thought I might as well update.

Hunter's Run
A Clash of Kings
Killing Yourself To Live
Fargo Rock City
Ender's Game
Speaker for the Dead
The Gunslinger
The Kraken Wakes

15 books in about 7 weeks. I guess that puts me on a good pace. lol.

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Re: The 50 book challenge

Postby RabbitWho » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

I like to read one book every 3 or 4 months and then obsess about it for the full period of time.


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