Reading Challenges, Do You Do Them?

HFReadingChallenge2013-V2I’ve watched other people list reading challenges in their blog sidebars or on goodreads or librarything and have thought, “Fun!” and “Not for me.”

I don’t want reading assigned to me. I can assign it myself, and then get itchy and read something else instead; I’m that bad.  Any to-do list I make ends up abandoned while I go insanely busy doing other things in order to avoid “the list.”

But this year I joined a reading challenge because it seemed it would be impossible for me not to do. I love historical fiction–mysteries, romances, fantasies, sf. And when I saw a very striking badge for the sidebar and the only requirement needed is you commit to reading X-number of historical fiction novels in 2013, and X-number was very small, compared to what I usually do, I decided to do it.

I then created my own challenge in an effort to read some of my TBR pile–a pile, mind you, that is filled with books I really want to read and yet haven’t gotten around to doing so for no good reason because I’ve certainly been reading others.

There are A-Z Challenges. (Read a book that begins with every letter in the alphabet.) Author challenges. (Heyer, Austen, others.)  Classics challenges. (Read those classics you’ve never managed to read before.) Challenges that range from sexual preferences to literary merit.

A lot of them are listed here.

What about you?  Are challenges silly? Fun? Tedious? It’s the last day of the year. Are you joining any challenges for 2013?

I guess this year I’ll find out if my list-phobia strikes again, if I manage to avoid all the books I love simply because I put them on an agenda!


About Patricia Burroughs

Patricia Burroughs [aka Pooks, and yes, people really call her Pooks] is a fifth-generation Texan who loves books, football, dogs, movies, England, and traveling in her [email protected] camping trailer. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her high school sweetheart and believes in happily ever after, if you understand that it takes work, compromise, and sometimes just being too stubborn to quit. Visit her bookshelf at the BVC Ebookstore.


Reading Challenges, Do You Do Them? — 11 Comments

  1. Sigh. I adore lists for specific projects: making Christmas dinner or Chores to Do Today. But the minute I commit to a list like this my nigh-irresistable urge is to do anything else. It’s juvenile of me, a sort of “you can’t tell me what to do” reaction. But I’d love to hear how you do…

    • Yes, this has been my history, too. Making a list to pack for a camping trip, cook a meal, yes. But even “chores to do today” falls out the window. I am juvenile enough to tell myself, “You’re not the boss of me!”

  2. I strenuously avoid dealing with numbers as much as I can, as my brain can’t remember them, or reads them backwards. And I’m always reading. My problem is that I remember in images, so I can forget books. Joining Goodreads means I can keep track of reading . . . um, when I get there and actually catch up with the latest batch.

    • My WWW Wednesdays have helped me remember what I’ve read, along with the Kindle that holds so much of my reading, and my audiobooks being listed on I don’t know if there is a list of library books I’ve read and don’t remember all of them for the year. Goodreads has been helpful once I finally got in the habit of wanting to log a book as soon as I finish it, but I can’t swear that I’ve logged all of them this year, plus re-reads don’t show up that way because I’ve logged them before.

  3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has put a lot of its titles – in print and out of print – online as PDFs

    There’s over 300 of them, and I only downloaded a fraction, but when I looked at the folder, there was one for every week of the year (and a few to spare in case of duds). And, well, I have hoarding tendencies, so I decided to set myself a challenge: each week I will keep one of them on my phone and poke at it and read a little and learn a bit more about things I know very little about.

    And being a writer, I decided that I would try to work one of the items in those books – into a vignette. I’m not trying to write short stories – I don’t do shorts, and that would be stressful – but I can write a couple of hundred words of description or a character interacting with something. I don’t know how long I’ll keep up, but I’m hoping that it it will become an incentive to engage with a book instead of spending the time otherwise.

  4. I don’t do any sort of forward-looking “read this list” thing, but I do keep track of what I read during the year to look back over. I started this in 2002, when the Oregonian columnist Steve Duin did his first annual reading contest. I keep a list of which books I read, and a page count. I don’t even begin to be a contender to win — there are some amazing readers out there — but I like looking back over the list. I think it nudges me to mix some substance in with the fluff. Since I end up thoroughly enjoying the books with substance, this is a good thing. Since I have been doing this for ten years now, I can say that Tivo reduced my reading a bit, and the internet slammed it down. You know, doing things like this!

  5. I’ve never kept a list, either, but it’s a nice idea. I wish that I had time to post more comments on Goodreads and blog about books I like. I tend to skip around from genre to genre, typically reading several books simultaneously. For years, I’ve also thought about reading challenges, but I know that I won’t do them. : )