Well, we are a few days into the new year now, and I have had time to bask in the glory of managing to complete The Book Challenge.  Thank you to everyone who has passed on congratulations – it is much appreciated.  As I did last year, I wanted to post a few thoughts on the Challenge and some of the highs and lows, so if you are interested then read on.

The Lows

A Bad Start  For various reasons, such as a bit of burnout from the year before, and directing a (highly successful) show, I didn’t start off too well in my quest.  In fact, as I check back on the blog from the beginning of the year, it’s a little shocking to see that by the end of February, I had finished only three books!  That is ridiculous, and I may have saved myself some late nights had I just upped the pace a little at the beginning.

Dropping Off During Summer During August, I spent a week and a half in Edinburgh, and nearly a week singing with my choir.  In that time period, I managed only one book, which again is shocking.  When I think of all of the times when I tried to cram in a couple of pages here and there, and compare it to the times when I could have done far more reading, I can’t help but feel that despite completing the challenge, I wasn’t always very good at it.

Aldus Huxley As happens in this sort of challenge, I managed to read some terrible books this year, but only one of them was truly disappointing.  When you pick something up like The Big Book of Excuses or The Book of Fascinating Facts then there is a very good chance that it will be a pile of rubbish.  However, having read Brave New World, and truly loved it, I had much higher hopes for Doors of Perception.  Unfortunately, it was boring, self-indulgent, and left me with a worse opinion of Huxley than before I had read it.

The Highs

New Series  The Dresden Files, Percy Jackson, Poison Study.  Just a few of the excellent new series that I have started this year.  I love a good series and it was well worth reading these.

Old Series  Re-reading the Harry Potter series was truly fantastic.  They are such a good set of books, and I reckon it’ll only be a couple more years until I read them all again.

How To Talk To A Widower and One Day  Two excellent modern books, that I really cannot recommend highly enough.  These are the two books that I will be suggesting to people to read for a very long time.

Catcher In The Rye  This is the only book that I think I under-rated in The Book Challenge.  I gave it a nine, but it is a definite ten – even allowing for the fact that I do give out some fairly generous scores.  As I mentioned at the time however, I wish I had read it when I was younger, so to my younger friends, this is the one that I would recommend to you.

Blogging  This has been one of the most pleasant new surprises this year.  Possibly even more than reading the books, I have enjoyed sharing it on my blog.  I have enjoyed it enough that it wouldn’t even matter to me that much if no-one wanted to read it, but quite wonderfully, they have.  It’s really nice when someone says that they have seen how I am doing, or someone I haven’t spoken to for literally years gets in touch to say they have enjoyed it – and that has happened three or four times so far – or even when someone says that they have read a particular book because I said I liked it.  Thank you everyone that has read this blog at all, it really is appreciated.

My Nemesis  It is interesting that the times that I started to lag a little – other than the ones mentioned earlier – were the times when Bob hadn’t posted for a few days.  We have had a rivalry going in regards to the Challenge since the beginning, but it has been truly fantastic battling him along the way.  I have had some great recommendations from him – such as How To Talk To A Widower – and have enjoyed reading his blog.  If you haven’t had a look, then please do – it is here.  Oh, and of course, it was a true highlight to just pip him to the post.

Well, I’ve got a couple more blogs to post in the next couple of days – one of which will look at what’s next, and one of which will be one of the geekiest things ever, when I put some stats together on the challenge (it’s my blog so I shall do whatever geekiness I like), but I am pretty much done on the challenge for this year.  Thanks for sticking with it to the end!