Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Facing the challenge head on!

Okay, I'm in. Serendipity is at it again - everyone's posting about wonderful books I read years ago and have been meaning to reread, like Tam Lin and Fire & Hemlock (Rhinoa) and Thomas the Rhymer (Nymeth) and Someplace to Be Flying (Chris), among others. It turns out these are all Mythopoeic Award winners. And - get this - guess which other book is a Mythopoeic Award Winner: none other than Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (to understand the strangeness of this, see my recent post on book serendipity). So you can see I have no choice, and I've officially joined the Mythopoeic Award Challenge.

So the challenge is to read seven books between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008 from the list of Mythopoeic Award Winners, also to include nominees for fantasy and scholarship, which gives a whole lot to choose from. In fact, it was hard to narrow the list down to just seven, since these are exactly the kind of books that I love to read.

So here is my list, a mix of never-reads and rereads:
  1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  2. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  3. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
  4. Heir Apparant by Vivian Vande Velde
  5. A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
  6. Spirits That Walk in Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  7. The Bartimaeus Trilogy (The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate) by Jonathan Stroud
I will add links as I finish them and post reviews. And now I'm very excited to start reading these wonderful books! Thanks to Foxy Writer for hosting this challenge, and thanks also to my blog buddies (you know who you are), for egging me on to take the plunge. This is going to be fun!


  1. Great list of books! I hope you enjoy Anansi boys as much as I did. It's such a great one...or have you read that one before? Lots of humor in that one.

  2. still debating whether i should join this challenge. i have a ton of books on my shelves that need to be read through, some of them in this category. i kind of suffer from the high school issue: if i'm told i HAVE to read it, the less i WANT to read it. ... unless, of course, it's a book i already want to read. but it couldn't hurt. i really don't read a lot of fantasy or myth. i should hope audiobooks count. because as a performer, i like like the verbal storytelling and as a non-speed reader, i cover more text more quickly.

  3. I figured you would be up for this one. Like you it's my favourite type of book and I am hoping to do a personal ongoing challenge starting next year of reading all the winners with any luck.

    I loved Jonathan Strange last year and hope you do too. Will be fun to compare notes or Anansi Boys, Tam Lin, A Hat Full of Sky and The Amulet of Samarkand which I am reading this year too.

  4. Chris - No, I haven't read Anansi Boys, so I'm definitely looking forward to that. In fact, I ended up choosing more books that I haven't read than rereads, because so many of them sounded so good.

    I know exactly what you mean, Molly - I get all uppity when I feel like I have to read something. That's why it took me so long to actually do one of these challenges that are so fun to read about. But, at the same time, these really are books that I do want to read; plus I have all year to do it, which means I can wait till I feel in the right mood and then read them, rather than feeling I need to rush through a list. We'll see how it goes. It would be fun if you join in! (And of course audio books count.)

    Rhinoa - a challenge to read all the winners sounds like fun. I'll be looking forward to comparing notes on our same books we'll be reading, too! I just put a hold on the book that comes before Hat Full of Sky (Wee Free Men) - they both look great.

  5. I read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell a few years ago and really liked it which I didn't think I would at all. I had to read Anansi Boys after reading American Gods and although it was good I liked AG more.

    I haven't read the rest of the books on your list but I have The Amulet of Samarkand in my TBR pile because it was the group read for one of my online reading groups. I should have already started it but January has gotten away from me!

    I've only signed up for one challenge this year and I'm trying to work through the Winnie the Pooh book before A. A. Milne's birthday (in two more days!) but I won't get it up before then

  6. I knew you'd give in sooner or later :P That is an absolutely great list of books. I'd love to read all the winners someday too...maybe I'll join Rhinoa next year.

    Btw, I posted a comment to Rhinoa saying this, but in case you don't see it, I found a complete list of books in that Fairy Tale series here. I can only hope they're all as good as Tam Lim and Briar Rose!

    PS: The Wee Free Men is one of my favourite books ever. Happy reading!

  7. Ladytink - Are American Gods and Anansi Boys in the same series/world? Oh, no! Should I read American Gods first? (Not that I'd mind - that's been on my TBR list for ages.)

    Nymeth - Yeah, you knew I'd cave. Books like these are definitely impossible to resist! Thanks for the fairytale series link - I'm off to check it out!


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