Monday, December 05, 2011

That Challenging Time of Year

And no, I'm not referring to the Holiday Season, although that's pretty challenging, too. What I'm talking about is all the new reading challenges being announced and planned for next year. As you might know, I'm a sucker for reading challenges (I even have another blog devoted just to keeping track of my reading challenges). And even though this year hasn't been the greatest year for me when it comes to bookish pursuits, the bit of reading I have gotten done has been mostly because of the challenges I signed up for. And if the challenges keep me reading, I think they're definitely worthwhile, even if I don't manage to finish all the books I planned to read, or write all the reviews. (Ah, yes, the reviews -- sigh!)

I signed up for about two dozen challenges in 2011. Way too many, but I have such a hard time passing up anything that sounds interesting. Admittedly, I generally signed up at the most basic level, so the number of books I committed to wasn't all that horrendous. And I've managed to complete all but two or three -- the reading that is (reviews are another matter altogether, but we'll talk about that later). So I think I've had a pretty good challenge year.

Even so, in 2012 I'm hoping to keep things a little more under control. That means not joining in on every challenge that comes down the pike just so I can display all those cute buttons on my blog. Exhibiting a little more discriminating behavior. Not being such a challenge junkie. Looking before I leap.

That's the plan, anyway.

So I promised myself I wouldn't join any NEW challenges before I got all the wrap-up posts written for the OLD challenges. Trying to give myself a chance to look around a little and really do some thorough planning.

And of course I've already broken that promise. Yes, I've already signed up for my first reading challenge of 2012. It's the 12 in 12 Category Challenge over at LibraryThing, and it was just too enticing to ignore. The challenge is to read books in twelve categories during the year. You make up your own categories, and decide how many books you want to read in each one. One book in each category is fine. You can even have more than (or less than) twelve categories for your version of the challenge. It's a very free-form challenge -- not many rules and none of them are written in stone. So I can change things around and shape it entirely to my liking. See why I couldn't pass it up?

As with other challenges, I'll be tracking my progress on my own challenge blog, and I've also started my 12-in-12 thread at LibraryThing. So far, I haven't actually committed to any set number of books, but I think I've got my categories nailed down. Here's what I'm planning:
  1. Ancestral Voices (books by English or Welsh writers)
  2. Anything But Fiction (just what it says – any kind of nonfiction)
  3. Books About Books (books that have books, writers, the book trade, or libraries as a central theme; can be fiction or non-)
  4. Cozy Up to Mystery (mysteries, cozy and otherwise)
  5. A Deadly Vintage (mysteries published before 1960)
  6. Funny Business (humor)
  7. Oh, the Horror! (ghosts, ghouls, and gothica)
  8. Recent and New (books published in 2011 and 2012)
  9. Second Helpings (books that are second in a series, or by authors I’ve read only once)
  10. Turn Back the Clock (historical fiction, and older books I meant to read but didn't)
  11. Who Says Crime Doesn’t Pay? (books that have won or been nominated for one of the major mystery writing awards – Edgars, CWA Dagger, Macavity, etc.)
  12. A World Elsewhere (literature from countries other than the US or England)
Obviously, many books will fit in more than one category, but I'm going to try to avoid overlapping. And I've arranged things so that my categories mostly reflect the genres and types and subjects I read most of the time. Sticking to what I know -- yes, you're right: that's not very challenging. Well, I don't do so well with real challenges. That's why I like this one!

So, that's it for now. More challenges to come....


  1. I totally bombed on challenges this year, so I'm laying low on them next year. Good luck to you!

  2. Two dozen? WOW! I don't suppose you'll have time for much else. Happy reading!

  3. I signed up for way too many reading challenges last year too and I was going to cut back this year, but that's not working out very well. LOL Oh well, I'm having fun :)


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