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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

2011 Reading Challenge

But Which One?

Last year I didn't read as much as I wanted to. So this year I thought it would be fun to sign up to challenge myself to make better use of the library and to read more.  The blogosphere seems to be awash in various reading challenges so the question is which one?

You can commit to Book Chick City's rather ambitious 100-books-in-year challenge or any of the genre options including; historical fiction, suspense, fantasy, mystery, South Asian Literature or romance. Who could resist the GLBT list amusingly labelled, "the challenge that dare not speak its name", I 'm sure the wonderful Sarah Waters will be on it. I love her sexy historical yarns and I'm hoping to get to her novel Little Stranger sometime soon. Among the more selective lists were the Seventh Day Adventist's pioneer reading challenge (wow, sounds like fun) and the  U.S. Civil War reading challenge, while others encourage you to more generally read outside your comfort zone.

I particularly like Brown Girl Book Speak's 2011 Quirky Brown reading challenge which is a response to the marginalization  of Black fiction and a call to read a broader range of representation of the Black experience. The self described "quirky" list includes the great Zadie Smith, along with Junot Diaz and Octavia Butler among many others.


So after wasting a lot of time looking at reading challenges, instead of actually reading, I've decided on  Goodread's 2011 Challenge which allows you to set your own goal. I'm aiming to read 50 books and as usual I'm sure quite a number of them will be by Brits, so I'm combining this with Bookette's challenge to read twelve books by British authors in 2011.



The British book challenge is twelve novels for the year for British bloggers, but there are two categories for International readers which are enough to make anyone run like hell from the entire endeavor; The Winston Churchill at six books and The Royal Family at twelve books.  Categories of special humiliation just for our foreign friends!  

However, the most entertaining challenge has to be the Chunkster Challenge awarded to those committing to read books of 450 pages or more. The levels of participation are fabulous; The Chubby Chunkster reads four, The Plump Primer six, Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? also reads six,  but with two books over 551pages and two over 750 pages. To reach the finally category of Mor-book-ly Obese, described at the "truly out of control chunkster, the determined reader must tackle eight or more chunksters with at least three books over 750 pages long. 

Over 100 bloggers have signed up for the chunky challenge, really - I didn't make this stuff up!


I have read two books so far this year;  Half of a Yellow Sun, a novel by the extraordinary Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and one of Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley Mystery's, For the Sake of Elena which I'm just finishing up.  Half of a Yellow Sun is one of the best novels I have read in some time, a wonderful examination of the Biafran war with strong characterization and a powerful narrative. It was deeply moving and I've just bought Purple Hibiscus, her first novel, which I'm looking forward to reading soon.

So despite all the time in front of the computer I'm still committed to the printed page, well it turns out there's an online group for that too!




Let me know what you're reading in the comments.

Comments

Sue said…
Reading the new Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff--interesting to know some of the waaaaay backstory with all that's going on in Egypt. Recommend it highly.
I"ll check it out, I think it might be a Chunkster!
danya said…
Hey, thanks for mentioning my "read outside your comfort zone" challenge! That Chunkster Challenge sounds daunting but the levels of participation have very funny titles :D
Thanks for visiting Danya, I'll certainly try to read something outside my comfort zone this year!

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