On “Reading Challenges”

This time of year I’m reading on a lot of my fellow book-bloggers’ sites about a myriad of “reading challenges.” Some are incredibly tempting to sign up for, but in the end I doubt I’ll participate in any – at least not “officially.” It’s not that I don’t WANT to participate, it’s just a matter of numbers. See, I always try to have a personal reading project – one that usually involves roughly one book per month. Then, there are books I read for book club participation. This year, those took up about two books a month. I’m already up to 36 books of my “maximum” of 50 which is about all I have time for in my schedule. Of the fourteen left, there will likely a handful of “wildcard” selections that I learn of through other blogs – books that leap ahead on my TBR list – and there are also a handful that are recommended to me by friends. I always try to read THEIR books since, after all, I will likely at some point be suggesting books to them as well and of course I want them to read MINE? :-). Additionally, there are always a handful of books that I am led to by the books I’m reading. That roughly gets me to fifty.

So, what can I do to allow myself to participate? One option is to co-op my own reading project with a reading challenge. This is “dangerous” though since I don’t want others defining such a huge chunk of my reading output (hmm…should that be “input”?). Anyway, unless I luck into a reading challenge nearly identical to one of my own contemplated projects, this is unlikely to happen. Another idea is to cut back on my “live” book club participation. I’d hate to do that, however, even if I do find I get more out of the reciprocity I find in the blogging world. “Live” book clubs include a welcome social component that is lost online, and I’m a borderline hermit as it is. 🙂 Option three I guess could be to force myself to find more time for reading. (I should mention here that attempts thus far to increase my reading speed – which would accomplish the same thing – have met with abject failure) Where would I find this time? Therein lies the question…

How about you? Do you face similar dilemmas? What have you done to meet them?

Sent from my iPad

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12 Comments

  1. anatheimp said,

    December 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Bibliophilopolis, forgive me for going off topic but I’ve just remembered that I promised to alert you to my review of Andersonville once it was completed. Well, here it is http://anatheimp.blogspot.com/2010/12/valley-of-death.html

    Like

  2. stentorpub said,

    December 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for remembering, Ana. Headed there now…
    -Jay

    Like

  3. December 13, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Who knows if it will work since I am new to all of this, but I signed up for challenges while also committing to a couple of challenges. My IRL book club will match up with two challenges, and my personal project matches up with another. The books I’ve already set aside for “vacation reads” meets the other. I look forward to seeing how you resolve this issue.

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    • stentorpub said,

      December 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      Sounds like you are in pretty good “challenge shape” for next year! (Of course, you are already MY HERO for the whole Lifetime Reading Plan project.

      When I was reviewing my 2010 reads (listed on my “My Book Lists” page) yesterday I discovered I’d left a couple out, so I think I’ll actually end up with 53 books this year, a few over my unofficial goal. I plan to write a post here on my lunch hour today identifying where all these books came from (book club, read-along, personal recommendation, etc.)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      -Jay

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      • December 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm

        What a nice thing to say, Jay. I hope I continue to be as excited as I am right now. (And so sorry about the editing-while-typing strange sentence in my earlier comment…)

        Like

  4. Alex said,

    December 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Yes, the eternal challenge of the challenges. I have 2 bookclubs (in person) so I also try to limit my challenges. In 2011 I’ve decided to join two: One, Two Theme and Graphic Novels. By my accounts, that will probably be 3 books per month already locked. I’m not even counting the read-alongs I’d like to join…

    I even make a plan in my agenda just for what books I need to read by when.

    It’s my first year blogging, so this will be a test. it might turn out really fun (great connection with the community) or really stressful. Let’s see!

    Like

    • stentorpub said,

      December 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I saw the “One, Two, Theme” challenge and thought it was one of the better ideas floating around out there. I kind of figured that any read-alongs I jump into will fit into my wild-card category.

      My one-year blogging anniversary is next month (I think the original plan of “try it for a year, then determine if I want to continue” was decided long ago, as I’m pretty much hooked. Almost 25% of the books I read this year were “discovered” here in the blogging community.

      Good luck with your 2011 reading!

      -Jay

      Like

  5. Jillian said,

    December 14, 2010 at 3:03 am

    I just go with challenges that look like fun. I’m reading 250 books by 2015, so I can generally find a match. 😉

    Like

  6. Ann Marie said,

    December 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Where do you find these challenges?

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    • stentorpub said,

      December 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Ann Marie,
      I have a whole bunch of my favorite blogs bookmarked in my browser, and I cycle through them every few days or so looking to see if they’ve added anything new. That’s where I see many of the ‘challenges’ or ‘surveys’ and following those links, etc, I am led to more and more. Someday soon I hope to write a post with links to many of my favorite blogs. One almost ale ays leads to another, and another…
      -Jay

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  7. December 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I try to choose challenges that are in line with what I’m planning to read anyway and then it’s nice to find reviews about the same/similar books to the ones I’m reading. If I don’t meet the quota, I don’t sweat it, and still let myself be guided by my own reading inclinations.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never had much luck with in-person book clubs. I have hermetic tendencies as well so “real life” groups always sound like a good idea to me but for every book that I find just okay, it’s followed up with something like I Feel Bad About my Neck (no offense to Nora Ephron, it’s just not my cup of tea).

    Are you on Goodreads? There are many groups there that are centered around various reading topics/genres/interests. Not all the groups are active but most of the ones that are vote on a book to read once per month and post about it in a discussion forum. That might be a better option than a challenge as you could choose to read the selection or not on a month by month basis.

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    • stentorpub said,

      December 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks for commenting!

      I am on Goodreads, but I’m more of a casual user/participant, and wish I took more advantage of it. I’ve noticed the groups page before, and really should look into that again.

      I have ambivalent feelings about In-person book clubs. I’ve had a couple “peter out” on me, but my current club just celebrated its 50th meeting last month, which I view as a major achievement – maybe along the lines of a rock band sticking together for more than a few years or albums. I feel that this year, as I’ve become more active with blogging, I’ve neglected it a bit, but I still read the books and don’t miss any meetings.

      I’m like you in that I usually participate in a reading challenge or read-along only if I was already going to read the book, and I do enjoy reading what other bloggers/readers have to say about books we have in common.

      Like


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