November 2019

Blog Archive - December 2019

2 December 2019

The prompts for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge were released this week (download the list here). I did the challenge in 2015 and had fun choosing a lot of books I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. But one thing the challenge has each year is some truly random categories (for example, this year has ‘a book with a pink cover’). So I haven’t seriously attempted to complete any since. I do however look over the lists and think about books which would fit each prompt.

It was contemplating the 2017 challenge that led to us starting this website. Initially we had categories that matched prompts from these challenges, but we’ve gradually changed them to remove the more random choices.

For 2020, there are 40 standard prompts, and another 10 “advanced” prompts”. There are a few 2020 Tokyo Olympic themes, such as ‘a book with “gold”, “silver” or “bronze” in the title’, as well as giving a nod to the year, itself, with a theme on 20/20 vision: ‘a book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement.’ I probably won’t consciously try to complete it, but I can already think of books for most of the prompts.

- Toriaz

5 December 2019

This week continues my efforts to complete The Federalist Papers Special Reading Project before the end of the year. I’ve just posted my reading of Federalist No.71 this morning, which leaves me with another fourteen to read this month. Added to this is the need to proofread all the papers I have written for the website, since I’ve discovered numerous errors despite my best efforts – it’s always hard to check your own work – so I’ve had to print them all off, which is how I like to do it. That’s them in the picture to the right, along with my copy of The Federalist Papers. Added to proofreading, I’m trying to create a rudimentary index of subjects for the papers from my printouts, which is why I have added paragraph numbering to each paper on the website, in preparation for this.

Of course, the sudden motivation to get all this finished after almost two years is the impeachment hearings against President Trump. The papers I am currently reading concern the role of the President, so my current progress is timely.

- bikerbuddy

7 December 2019

Since my post last week, I've discovered that there are a huge number of reading challenges on the internet, in addition to the annual Popsugar challenge.

The GIRLXOXO site seems to have a comprehensive list of challenges across the internet, but even it misses a few, like the Harry Potter themed one I found, the ‘Wizarding World Tour Reading Challenge’. However, this one seems to be mostly Facebook based (from the group HPOOTP-Flourish and Blotts) so that might be why it isn't included. No matter what your interest, it seems there is a reading challenge to fit. I think they're a good way of encouraging people to expand their reading and pick books outside their normal choices.

To me, the idea of a reading challenge also covers the numerous lists of classic books everyone should have read, since the implication is that you need to get started on completing the list. One of these I found was headed 'Books Everyone Needs to Read, based on various websites'. This site gives you a score at the end, so we checked how we scored. I had read 103 of the 730 books on the list (14%), bikerbuddy had read 202 (28%). Surprisingly, that put him ahead of 93% of the people who had tried the checker. Admittedly, there were books on the list that neither of us have any interest in reading (Fifty Shades of Grey is an obvious one) and there were books I had started and abandoned (I tried Kerouac's On the Road but found it uninteresting to read). Naturally, opinions will always differ about the worthiness of books in any list.

bikerbuddy’s survey result

If anyone is interested enough to try the survey on the site (Here it is again!), you can let us know your results by posting it on our GUESTBOOK page and we can publish it along with our own results.

And of course, there are also educational challenges, too. In New South Wales, the State where we live, the Premier's Reading Challenge is an annual challenge to encourage school children to read more books, with the majority of books read selected from an approved booklist. There seem to be a lot of similar challenges around the world aimed at children. My kids enjoyed doing this one every year when they were in primary school.

- Toriaz

11 December 2019

I was about to begin a commentary on my second Federalist Paper this afternoon (I’m hoping to finish the project before the end of the year), when I decided to check my email first. I discovered that Mike (reviewer name Hasty) from the Hastiest Handiwork website had emailed to offer his services as a reviewer. His hilarious and very creative biography can be read at the left of this blog.

Information about his current book can be found on the main page. After reading his biography, I’m sure his reviews will be far more entertaining than any of mine!

- bikerbuddy

23 December 2019

I finally fell over the finish line today!

I started reading The Federalist Papers February last year, and the project to get them read and to write a commentary on them has been ongoing since, sometimes abandoned for stretches of time, sometimes taken up with new enthusiasm.

I was inspired to try to finish them by the end of this year after the news broke that the Democrats were launching an impeachment investigation against Donald Trump over the Ukraine phone call, among other things. Federalist Papers 65 and 66 deal with impeachment, but I was still stuck back in the mid-50s when the scandal broke. Wanting to see what Hamilton had to say about impeachment, and to get all the papers read while that was taking place, was my final motivation.

I’m hoping to get some kind of index together to make my notes – and therefore The Federalist Papers themselves – easier to navigate. I may not get time until early next year, however.

- bikerbuddy

January 2020