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?