Tea & Books Reading Challenge

2012 is rapidly approaching and I’m doing my best to prepare.  Part of my preparations includes deciding which reading challenges I want to attempt.  Grace at Books Without Any Pictures introduced me to the Tea & Books Reading Challenge.  The inspiration for this challenge is C. S. Lewis’ quote: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  The Book Garden is hosting this challenge.

The rules are pretty simple.  The novels must be over 700 pages (yikes).  They can count towards other reading challenges, however, re-reads and audiobooks are not permitted.

I’ve been planning on reading ten novels by Charles Dickens in 2012 and four of them are over 700 pages.  This means I will be attempting the Berry Tea Devotee level.  The four novels are:

Martin Chuzzlewit: 802 pages

David Copperfield: 737 pages

Bleak House: 723

Our Mutual Friend: 775 pages

I haven’t decided on all the books that I will read in 2012 so I may attempt more novels for this challenge.  However, this will be a great start.  Hopefully I can get through all of them!

What reading challenges are you joining or hosting this year?  I’m always looking for a good challenge.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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59 Responses to Tea & Books Reading Challenge

  1. Beth Ann says:

    Wow–that seems VERY ambitious!! I don’t know that I will be part of any “official” challenges though that is a great way to get motivated. This year I had hoped to read 100 books but am going to fall short. 😦 How many did you read this year? I would be very interested to find out as I know you are an avid reader to put it mildly!!!

    • TBM says:

      I’m a little intimidated by the “over 700 pages” bit. 100 books is big goal. How many did you read? Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of all the books I read this past year. I completed around 30 from my list and I probably read an additional 20-25 books that aren’t on the list. I didn’t read nearly as many as I wanted to. Hopefully this year will be less chaotic. The move to London took a lot of time and energy but it was so so so worth it!

      • Beth Ann says:

        I have read 69 so far–hope to finish at least 2 more before the end of the year but who knows. A few of those were “fluff” books, too, but hey–they were still books!!! I am sure the move took a lot of valuable reading time but what a great experience!!! I am living vicariously through you!!! Do you read “real” books or do you use an e reader?? I do a combo of both but I love my Kindle (just got a Kindle Fire and like it but am not totally sold on it yet).

  2. TBM says:

    I haven’t purchased an e reader yet. When they first came out I said I would never buy one, but lately I have started to reconsider. I’m not sure if I will cave completely and buy one, but I’m getting close to it.

    69 books is a lot! That’s great. And we need the fluff books. I once heard that they are like candy for the brain. Life is fun…enjoy fluff!

    • Beth Ann says:

      I got one of the first Kindles right when they came out—the hubby got it for me and I never thought I would like it because I love physical books but it has been my best friend! I take it when I travel and it is perfect!!! I am actually on my 3rd one…upgrading along the way. Sad but true. I really did not think I would like it but it has really suited my needs better than I had anticipated. I love that thought–candy for the brain! Gonna keep that one in the memory banks! Have a great day!

      • TBM says:

        That is what everyone keeps telling me…that once I get one, I’ll fall in love with it. I’m so torn about it!

        Have a great one!

  3. That’s an awful lot of Dickens, takes me back to school days. I’d have to alternate them between other stuff. I’m looking forward togetting my nice new smelling text books through the post in January for my next course ‘Worlds of English’, I think that will probably take most of my reading time until next October 😦

  4. Caroline says:

    Arent you courageous! 10 novels by Charles Dickens and what if you don’t like the first? I’m totally not into long novels. Any book over 400 pages goes on the back burner. I guess I miss out occasionally. I’m participating in a Bolaño read along in January (The Savage Detectives) which is over 700 pages… It’s going to be soo difficult.

    • TBM says:

      Courageous or overly ambitious? Time will tell. I’ve read some of his works and I do like Dickens. But I haven’t read all of his works, including the mammoth ones. I’ve always enjoyed epic novels so hopefully this trend will continue. Maybe 2013 I’ll only want to read short stories. I haven’t heard of The Savage Detectives. I hope you like it. Are you hosting the read along? I haven’t forgotten about your group reads. I’m waiting to see the titles so I can participate. Can’t wait to see what you’ve selected.

  5. Birgit says:

    Welcome to the challenge and I see you’ve picked a hand full of Dickens’ novels for it! Great choice! Don’t let those 700+ pages discourage you – that’s what the challenge is for with everyone “suffering” through the same ordeal 😉 ! But seriously, it’s a whole lot more fun when you try to tackle those tomes in a group!

    • TBM says:

      At least it is the type of suffering I enjoy! And all of us will be in the same boat. I’ll do my best and I’m hoping to read more, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Four is a good start. And good luck to you!

  6. Caroline says:

    No, I’m not hosting it but the button is on my blog Rise and Richard host it. It is a re-read for most of them, so it should be good. 🙂
    I thought it would be your first Dickens. I hear many different things about him. Some love, some hate him. I have only read A Christmas Carol and I liked it. But it’s very short.

    • TBM says:

      I have read some Dickens for school. I’m a sucker for sentimental novels. And since I’m now living in the land of Dickens I thought it would be a fun project to tackle. We’ll see how much I like him after this experiment. I haven’t read A Christmas Carol yet. I’ve seen movies and plays, but never experienced the real thing. I probably won’t tackle that one until next December. And I’ll love the shortness I think.

  7. Caroline says:

    Reconsidering, I would probably manage a Chamomile Level..

    • TBM says:

      You would be halfway there with the Bolano. I hope you join, but I won’t pressure you. I know you have a lot of books of your own you want to read.

  8. Caroline says:

    I won a German novel during German Literature Month. It arrived on Friday and looks soo good BUT it has 920pages. Ha! And I bought a Fallada novel, 750 pages… Hmmm Maybe…

    • TBM says:

      920 pages…yikes! I haven’t read any Hans Fallada, but I am curious about his works. I love writers from his time period, early to mid-1900s.

    • Grace says:

      Yeah. When I saw the challenge, I thought it looked very ambitious on first glance, but then looking back over the books in my TBR pile, I realized that I have a lot that I’ve been meaning to read that will count. 😛

      • TBM says:

        You are braver than me…aren’t you going for 6? Will Sanderson’s next novel be out in time? I wonder if it will be just as large.

  9. Siobhan says:

    That looks pretty intense. You’re going to need something stronger than berry tea. Might I suggest something with a little caffiene? English Breakfast Tea is my poison. Oh, and treat yourself to a few biscuits. I don’t want you wasting away while you’re reading. Lifting books that heavy with burn a lot of calories! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I like the way you think! I will have to stock up on biscuits and not feel guilty since the books are heavy and it will be a workout. Thanks for the tip and excuse!

  10. Carl V. says:

    That is such a great Lewis quote.

    I’m hosting the non-challenge SF Experience in January/Feb. and Once Upon a Time March 21 to June 20th and RIP VII Sept/Oct. I’ll be participating in those and in Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage SF Month which is also in January. Not sure what else I’ll participate in this year. Definitely group reads. I’ll be hosting a Foundation group read beginning January 1st and will be popping up details soon.

    Despite my aversion to chunksters I will no doubt be reading 700+ page books in the coming year.

    • TBM says:

      I also loved the quote. It is so true for me. I’m addicted to tea. I was out of my usual breakfast tea and almost had a breakdown this morning. Fortunately I had some green tea to help ease the suffering. I need to go to the store so I don’t have a repeat tomorrow morning.

      I have your challenges on my notepad for ones that I want to join. And I’m tempted by the Foundation group read. This one is on my 1001 list. If I can track down a copy in time, I’m very tempted.

      If you read some chunksters you should sign up for this challenge!

  11. Cheers to your Dickens project! I admire your ambition. 🙂

  12. Fergiemoto says:

    Fantastic! Ambitious, yet tea and books together sound like a very relaxing activity.

  13. xandimusic says:

    Nothing about this post, but about your work…..
    I awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award 😉

  14. Adam says:

    Go read The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and being finished by Brandon Sanderson). currently at 13 books (and the last book should come out next year) and all but one book is over 700 pages (at least my copies, I have paperback for the first 10 and hardcover for 11-13).

    As I’ve seen a couple of other people talk about this challenge I’m starting to think that I should just join it because I’m going to reread the series next year anyway in anticipation of the last book coming out. I’m also sure that I’ll read a couple of other large books throughout the course of the year since I read a lot of big Fantasy novels.

    • TBM says:

      I’m quite curious about The Wheel of Time series. So many people rave about it. I will keep an eye out for copies when perusing used bookstores. And after reading The Way of Kings I’m a fan of Sanderson. It will be fun to collect used copies of the series. Thanks for the idea!

      I hope you join the challenge. It is a little intimidating, but I think it will be fun to see everyone’s progress and maybe frustration.

  15. Kristina says:

    Oh wow, good luck with that! Charles Dickens… yum, difficult… maybe because English is my 3rd language I find it a little bit difficult to read… I started to read A tale of two cities, but never finished… 🙂 Maybe that should be a challenge for 2012 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I can see why he might be difficult for you. A lot of people don’t like his long descriptions and I think this would be harder for someone who didn’t grow up speaking and reading English. What other languages do you know? I haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities yet, but it is on my list for this year.

      • Kristina says:

        I keep braving myself to start reading it again 🙂 Maybe next year 😀 My native language is Lithuanian and then I speak Russian and English 🙂 Probably English is becoming the second language and Russian is moving to the 3rd place 😀

      • TBM says:

        I’ll let you know what I think of it after I complete it. I’m so jealous that you speak three languages. I wish the United States would wake up and start teaching foreign languages early on. I’ve been trying to learn Spanish on my own for traveling purposes. It is slow going, but it is helping. Enjoy your day!

  16. You are really brave to tackle those books by Dickens. I read A Tale of Two Cities, which I loved, and David Copperfield, which was OK. Oliver Twist was good, but I wouldn’t want to re-read.

    Definitely think about getting an e-reader. Most of the classics can be downloaded at no charge on the gutenberg project. http://www.gutenberg.org/
    I swore I would never get a Kindle, but I love mine. So much easier to tote on an airplane, and I’m reading more now. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      All three of the ones you listed are on my list. And I haven’t read any of them yet so I’m pretty excited.

      Trust me the cracks in my wall are forming and I may finally break down and buy an e-reader. Thanks for the tip about the Gutenberg project! That does help sway me a bit!

  17. T.F.Walsh says:

    Best of luck on your plan… sounds like it will be fun… you have a whole year to read all the books:)

    • TBM says:

      Yes we have the whole year, which is a great help. I would hate to have only a few months. That would make it a chore and I think take the fun out of it. This should be fun and if I don’t finish, who does it hurt really.

  18. IsobelandCat says:

    You’re very organised about your reading! I just read. 🙂
    Have you read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth? 1474 pages, and every one wonderful. I’ve read it twice. He’s writing a sequel I understand.
    Do you listen to Front row on Radio 4? Often there are book reviews there.

    • TBM says:

      I am trying to get more organized to tackle my book challenge and I joined some challenges last year and really enjoyed them. Usually I’m not this way. Also I am trying to read more books that I own so that is limiting me somewhat. That isn’t to say that I won’t hop into bookstores from time to time. I can’t help doing that. I love books. And I will probably still join books reads that require me to purchase new books. But for the majority I am trying to read what I own.

      I haven’t read A Suitable Boy. I just read a quick synopsis and it sounds great. And it is on my 1001 novel list so I will be reading it at some point. Probably not this year since it is another long one. Yikes!

      I haven’t listened to Front Row. I’ll have to keep an ear out for it.

  19. Novroz says:

    Cool challenge…but my over 700 pages books are always from Stephen King.Maybe I couldjoin by rereading Under The Dome

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King, but I know so many people who love his writing. I would like to tackle some of his books in the future. I’m pretty sure you can read any novels over 700 pages for this challenge. I decided to read Dickens, but other members are choosing all different types of books and authors.

  20. This looks like a very interesting reading challenge – I usually stick though to picture books as you may have noted. So I might pass on this one – way too many academic texts (around 700) for me to pore over – I prefer looking at luscious illustrations during my spare time – and the beauty as well in quite a number of pre-selected YA lit. 🙂

    We’re hosting a Reading Challenge over at GatheringBooks which you might want to check out – and which would perhaps coincide with some of the other events you’re participating in – It’s the Award-Winning-Book Reading Challenge. You can check it out here:

    • TBM says:

      I love your reviews on picture books. I always marvel about how many you find and how many good ones! And I love the illustrations. Academic texts over 700 pages…that made me cringe a little 🙂

      Thanks for letting me know about your challenge. Let me check out my reading list for this year. I’m betting I can at least tackle level one. This is exciting! I’ll let you know!

  21. I have to say I am in complete agreement with C.S.Lewis!

    David Copperfield is such a wonderful book, I think you’ll enjoy it! I have a copy of Our Mutual Friend which I can’t wait to read, but I have to admit it’s been sitting on my shelf for quite a long time now. I think I am just too daunted…775 pages!!!

    • TBM says:

      It is a great quote! I’ve heard good things about David Copperfield and I’m looking forward to it. I really haven’t heard much about Our Mutual Friend. I’m amazed that Dickens could write so many books that are not only long but a lot of people really like them. His energy and creativity must have been endless until his death. I’m looking forward to finding what all the fuss is about.

  22. IsobelandCat says:

    Our Mutual Friend is a good one. I had forgotten about it. If you start to flag, the BBC did a great version in the 90s. I saw them filming in Southwark Street, all the actors dressed in thick Victorian clothes on a hot August day. You know there is going to be a big Dickens Festival next year? You may have missed it, but there is always a Dickens weekend in Rochester in December. And walking the North Kent coast always has a feel of Great Expectation and David Copperfield for me.

    • TBM says:

      That’s great news that you like Our Mutual Friend. It always makes it easier for me to tackle a long book knowing that other people like it. I didn’t know about the Dickens festival. I’ll have to look into that. If I remember correctly, his 200th birthday is coming up. And I’ll have to check out the North Kent coast. Thanks for the tips! You are the best!

      That would have been cool to see the filming of the BBC show. Were the actors melting in the heat?

  23. IsobelandCat says:

    Pretty much yes. You get a real sense of what it wa like for people at the bottom of the pile, literally scratching a living. I think the Dickens Museum near Holborn (silent h for the unwary) also usually has a Christmas thing or two.

  24. IsobelandCat says:

    Did you see there’s a new production of Great Expectations that is going to be on BBC1 27th December?

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