Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reading Challenges: Taking Stock and Making Plans

Well, November is almost outta here, and December probably isn't going to be a stellar month for me, in the time-to-read department. So I think it's time to do a little reviewing of where I am, regarding the various reading challenges I've still got running this year, and where I might be going next year.

Current Challenges

The three main challenges I'm still working on are the Young Readers Challenge, hosted by Becky's Book Reviews, the Suspense & Thriller Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Books, and the Man-Booker Challenge hosted by The Hidden Side of a Leaf. I've got a couple of other "perpetual" challenges going, but I won't worry about those right now.

The Young Readers Challenge suggested we read at least twelve books for readers under the age of twelve. So far, I've read eight books, although (as with all of the challenges) I haven't managed to get reviews of all of them up yet (but I'm working on that). I suppose it's possible I might get one or two more read by the end of the year. We'll see.

For the Man-Booker Challenge, I've read two of the six books I planned to read, and I should finish up a third later today. So that leaves three more books to read in December. I intend to try very hard to complete this challenge – three books shouldn't be an unattainable goal for one month, even if it is an unusually busy one. But I may end up substituting different titles, since I'm not sure I can lay my hands on my copies of a couple of the books on my original list (that's the trouble with having so many books in storage).

Technically, the Suspense & Thriller Challenge runs all the way through 2009, so it's not really wrapping up in December. But I was supposed to read six books from six different categories by the end of 2008, and at present I've only read four. Again, two more books in the next month wouldn't really seem undoable, even added to the three from the Man-Booker Challenge. That is, if December was a normal month. I'm going to try to finish this one, too – but I'm not making myself any promises.

And that's the way it stands at the moment – for my 2008 reading challenges, I still need to read at least five books, or as many as nine. Can I do it? Well, realistically – probably not. But my main goal in joining all these challenges was to force myself to keep reading, and they've been very successful in doing that. So I don't intend to get my knickers in a twist if I don't quite make it to the finish line.

Looking Ahead

I believe I said something, a couple of months back, about cutting down on the number of challenges I'd be joining in 2009. And I still intend to exercise a bit of caution in choosing, rather than signing up for each and every one that looks appealing (that way lies madness). I also want to try to whittle down my TBR pile, so I'm keeping that in mind as I do my considering – I'll be looking for challenges that allow me to read books I already intended to read next year. But I'm convinced that reading challenges (and book blogging in general, of course) have really helped me recapture my interest in reading; so I don't intend to go completely challenge-free.

In fact, I've already signed up for two new challenges for 2009: the Lost In Translation Challenge, and the Read Your Own Books Challenge. Both of those fill my requirement of letting me read books I'd already planned to read. And the Lost In Translation Challenge also fits in with another of my plans for 2009 – reading more non-U.S. authors.

In addition to those new ones, I'm currently signed up for several challenges that started this year and will be continuing into 2009. I've already mentioned the Suspense & Thriller Challenge. The others are the Book Awards II Challenge which finishes up in June, the What an Animal! Challenge which also ends in June, and the 42 (Sci-Fi) Challenge which runs throughout 2009.

Although that's probably quite enough challenges to keep me busy reading all year, a number of other new challenges have caught my eye. And I've got those divided up into challenges I'm actually planning to sign up for when their sign-up date gets here (only one of those, so far), those that I'm seriously considering, and those that look interesting but not absolutely unavoidable. Here's the list, with some links to the individual challenge pages:

Book Awards II Challenge (signed up)
Lost In Translation (signed up)
Read Your Own Books (signed up)
Suspense & Thriller (signed up)
What an Animal! Challenge (signed up)
42 Challenge (signed up)

Orbis Terrarum Challenge (planning to sign up)

Themed Reading Challenge (thinking about signing up)
What's In a Name 2 Challenge (thinking about signing up)
2009 TBR Lite Challenge (thinking about signing up)

Art History Reading Challenge (looks interesting)
Romance Reading Challenge (looks interesting)
Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge (looks interesting)

Hmmmm. That's really a lot of challenges, isn't it? Well, it's not my fault that so many book bloggers out there keep coming up with such tempting ideas, now is it?


  1. I'm in 2 challenges and not doing very well in either, so I haven't signed up for any news ones yet.

  2. Joy, I too am thinking about 2009 challenges. Challenges can be fun motivation if they don't get out of hand. This year I ended up feeling a bit constrained, having chosen so many of my 2008 reads early on. In 2009 I am looking for more flexibility.

    Specifically, I want to stay away from the short-term challenges. I have several perpetual challenges (like The Complete Booker, which I host) and I'll continue those. I'm signed up 1% Well Read (thru Feb) and Book Awards II (thru June) but am being very deliberate about any additional ones. Like you, I'm interested in Lost in Translation and there's also one out there about supporting your local library which might also motivate me a bit.

    All good fun ...

  3. I probably should not join any challenges since I am doing so badly on the ones I did join...


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