Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Sunday Salon: A Little Romance

I actually did a little reading today. As I said last week, my reading schedule has been really thrown off by all the Christmas activities I've been indulging in lately. So it felt very good to get back to doing some reading again, even though it was very light reading.

I'm thinking of signing up for Naida's Romance Reading Challenge – mainly for old time's sake. In my distant youth I was a huge fan of Gothic romances, and read many Victoria Holts and Mary Stewarts. But I gave it up sometime back in the late 1970s when the bodice-ripper craze came in. But, as Naida points out in her challenge guidelines, a lot of literature qualifies as "romance," and there are a few authors who really transcend the label of romance-writer. So for the last couple of days I've been sampling a few books to see if I still feel the same attraction. And one – Daughter of the Stars, by Phyllis A. Whitney – has, I believe, got me hooked again, even though I've only read a couple of chapters. The book is set in Charlottesville and Harpers Ferry, so it's familiar territory for me; and Whitney is a writer I've never read before. I definitely intend to read this one, so I've put it on my list for the Winter Reading Challenge.

OK, long story short – I just might break down and join another challenge. Actually, there are several more I'm eyeing (the Victorian Challenge really looks tempting) – even though I'm signed up for almost a dozen already. Now, I know to some of you who are involved in thirty or so, twelve challenges sounds like nothing. But I'm a slow reader, and not as well-organized as I'd like to be. So keeping track of all those challenges is part of the challenge for me!

But I think the whole point of joining the challenges is to give myself a little nudge to keep on reading. So the thing I think about is not how many challenges I'm involved in, but how many books I've got on my roster. I didn't quite make my goal of 50 books in 2008, but I'm going to come close (after all, the year still has a few days to run). And I'm hoping to do at least that well next year. Right now I've got 45 books on my list for 2009, and so far all the challenges I've joined allow crossovers, which means I'll be using many of the same books for several challenges. So while it may look like I'm just about to hit the overload point, I'm actually keeping a pretty close eye on my lineup.

So, what do you think? How many challenges is too many? Do you join challenges? Do you think they're a waste of time? And how many of us are willing to admit we join them at least in part to put together the book lists and collect those nifty buttons to display on our blogs?


  1. I still have rebellion in me - it seems like when I join a challenge, the last thing I want to read are the books on my list! So I've only joined two new ones, the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge and J. Kaye's 100+ Reading Challenge. If I can do these two, I might sign up for others a little later on. =)

    Good luck!

  2. Some people find challenges help Joy. Persoanlly I prefer being able to discuss books with people. You can do that by joining a Yahoo list or similar.
    All the best for 2009

  3. I'm like Meghan. As soon I signed up for the New Classics Challenge, I didn't want to read those books. One thing I do find helpful about challenges, however, is if they have a list of books to choose from. Even though I didn't finish the challenge, I never would have read "On Beauty" if I hadn't signed up for it. I am so out of the loop when it comes to recent bestsellers or award-winning books that lists from other blogs always introduce me to something new.

  4. I am still trying to decide which challenges I will be joining this year. I did not do so well this past year with the challenges I joined, but this year I have a plan and a whole desk shelf of books that I need to get to. I'm going to do a lot of crossing over next year and am mainly (with a couple of exceptions) sticking to challenges that allow me flexibility in what I read (ones that don't require lists upfront).

    My husband's always been of the mind that less is better when I've asked him if I was overdoing it, but for this coming year he actually told me to go for it and sign up for all the challenges that sound interesting. I'm not sure if he realizes just how many that actually could end up being. :-)

  5. I'm going to read whatever I'm going to read; a challenge makes no difference to me. I'm signing up to help me keep track of my reading.

  6. I joined 2 challenges last year. One is over and I didn't finish it. The other is still going on and I'm not doing very well, so I've kind of given up on them for a while. There are a couple that do look interesting though.


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