Monday, June 1, 2009

Take a Chance Challenge

The excellent Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here has created an imaginative and fun six month challenge -- the Take a Chance Challenge. Here's the rundown:
There are 10 tasks in all -- 7 involve finding a book to read in very random ways. The last three tasks are about taking chances as a writer as you are challenged to take on the role of short story writer, poet and movie/book reviewer. The challenge is meant to be fun and no pressure. Complete as many or a few of the 10 challenges as you want. However, the more you complete, the more chances you'll get to win the grand prize.

Here is the list of ten random and fun challenges. There aren't any that I would be averse to trying. When I choose a book for each task, I will add it here.

Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

My local library is very asymmetrical. The shelves are all over the place and are many different heights. So, I did a weird version of this in that I stood way back from the youth section, said "okay, that aisle" and counted the number of shelves. Then I peeked around the corner to see how tall they were and picked a shelf. Finally, I picked a number and then walked to the shelf. I ended up with Ophie Out of Oz by Kathleen O'Dell. (I picked the youth section because I'm running out of time!)

review 11/25/09

Random Word. Go to this random word generator and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

My random word was SIMPLE and I will read The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler, a collection of short stories and essays.

review 11/29/09

Birth Year Book. Find a book that was published or copyrighted in the year of your birth. Read the book and write about it.

Although I could cheat and use a book on my TBR pile that was published in 1975 (Lord John by Georgette Heyer), I will stick with the spirit of this challenge and choose Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. I've always been curious about Doctorow.

review 11/17/09

Judge A Book By Its Cover. Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect.

I am using this chance to read a book that I have picked up based on the cover multiple times and then always decided against it for one reason or another - Un Lun Dun by China Miéville.

review 6/28/09

Phoning An Author. Pick a random last name out of the phone book. Find an author with the same last name and read a book by them. Write about it. (I'm flexible ... if the first random name you pick is Xprxyrsss, you can pick again!)

Okay ... so, my husb hates phonebooks and so ours go straight into the recycle bin. But luckily I have my AMC Classic Movie Companion and so I went to the actor listings at the back and landed on Orson Welles. My book will be Gaia Girls:Way of Water by Lee Welles.

review 7/15/09

Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

I spied one of my fellow Kindergarten moms reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I had heard the title of this book mentioned before but had never looked it up.

review 11/23/09

Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2008 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

I randomly got 1964. The number one book (on the list at this point for 14 weeks) is The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré.

review 8/11/09

Lit Riff (inspired by the book Lit Riffs by Matthew Miele.) Choose a song and then write a brief story that is inspired by or further explains the lyrics of the song.

task post - 11/15/09

Poetic Review. Write a book review in three different forms of verse: haiku, limerick and free verse. (You can pick any book you want to write about.)

I will poetically review The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon.

review 7/16/09

Movie/Book Comparison. Find a book that you haven't read that has a movie based on it that you haven't seen. Read the book and watch the movie within a few days of each other. Write about your reactions to both the book and the movie and compare the two.

I was going to do Portrait of a Lady but decided on something lighter for summer -- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke with the recently-on-DVD film starring Brendan Frasier. I've heard only good things about the book but mostly not so good stuff about the movie so I'm really excited to do this comparison!

review 7/20/09

If you want to sign up for this challenge, head over to Jenners' challenge page!

Planning my next library trip,


  1. You got some good ones! I love your phone book substitution idea! Can't wait to see what else you will be reading! : )

  2. I love your selections so far. I have 3 more books to select and then I will post the books I will be reading. I am going to the library, too! Half the fun is in the randomness!

  3. This is our last week of school and then I'm sure we'll spend plenty of time at the library. I need to finish my selections and start reading!