Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reading Challenges

Kerrie from over at Mysteries in Paradise recently asked some questions on her blog about reading challenges. I was specifically mentioned, so instead of answering in the comments I thought I would answer here. Kerrie's questions were:

So, are you into Challenges?Tell us about the ones doing this year.
If you are, why do you do it?

For me, reading challenges are a way to expand my reading horizons, whilst reducing the number of books on my TBR list, and as an added bonus I think that participating in challenges assist in feeling part of the blogging community, connecting with new people and blogs.

Last year I decided pretty early on that I wasn't going to participate in challenges, mainly because for me just managing my library list is a challenge, and I stuck to that for the year. There were, however, so many people whose blogs I read and enjoy that were participating and posting about their participation and I wanted to be part of that this year. I have put some restrictions on myself though. For example, any challenge that I join really needs to help me reduce the number of books on my TBR list. I don't want to be joining challenges all over the place just for the sake of it, and then have to add yet more books to my list just to be able to participate. Of course, there's every possibility that by reading the posts of other challenge participants then I will add yet more books to my list anyway....but that's a side effect not a direct effect so I can live with that!

There are two exceptions to that. The Pulitzer Challenge and The Complete Booker have meant that I have added books to my TBR list, but given that there is no time limit on the completion of those challenges, and that I had often thought about trying to read them all anyway, I still joined up.

The challenges that I have joined up for are listed in my sidebar. It's not THAT many. I think the person I have seen who is participating in the most challenges is probably Becky, but maybe there is someone who is doing more.

Some other challenges that I have contemplated joining are

Jennie's classic romance challenge
Shannon's Back to History challenge
Royalty Rules Challenge
Sea Faring Challenge

and that's just for starters!

So why haven't I joined these. Well...Jennie has only just put hers up, and I guess I am wanting to figure out in my own mind what a Classic Romance is! Of the books on Jennies list I am somewhat ashamed to say I have only read only 1 of them, but I am thinking that I will put a post up in the next few days asking about what books are considered classic romance and then I will figure out once and for all if I am going to join in or not.

As an aside, it is interesting to me to see that the craze for reading challenges really hasn't caught on all that much in romance land. There are only two that I can think of that are specifically romance related, although I am sure that there are lots of others that could be adapted to fit reading romances.

The Back to History challenge is one that I may still join. I have changed my mind about joining numerous times. It's not like I don't read a lot of Historical Fiction so I should be able to manage it, but the two are not always compatible. When I sat down to look at the books I had that fit into the Royalty Rules challenge I was somewhat surprised to see that I wouldn't have enough books to make the challenge that fit the theme! Although, I did just get a new review book which would fit the criteria...hmmm.

I didn't end up joining the Sea Faring Challenge because having a beautiful button is not enough of a reason to join a challenge, although I did think about it for a long time! I do intend to one day read some of the books mentioned by others for that challenge, but it isn't going to be this year.

There are loads of others that have momentarily caught my eye, but whilst I am joining in this year, I am trying to have at least some self control at the same time! There are so many challenges out there that it is almost possible to not have time to read for fun!

Are there too many challenges out there? Probably! Do people who enjoy the challenges really care that there are so many out there? I wouldn't think so!

How about other people? Do you participate in reading challenges and if so why? If you don't, why not? Is there a challenge that you would really love to participate in that you haven't seen anywhere in blog land yet?

Good job I didn't write all this in the comments to your post Kerrie!


  1. You wouldn't have got all this in a comment box Marg :-)
    Perhaps for me the reason why I don't join challenges is that I prefer to be a free range chook rather than a battery hen. Perhaps that sounds a bit insulting but it isn't meant to be. The only challenge I have ever joined, last year, provided me with a list of books and I was supposed to aim at 10 of them. Despite the fact that the list was long I only managed 3 of them and for the most part totally forgot about it. However I do now have a better understanding of how, with some challenges at least, you get to determine the books. I guess they help if you are aiming at a more "balanced" reading diet. But I am so unashamedly single genre that I don't think they would work for me, but then perhaps I'm just not wanting to be that organised.

  2. hmmm 6 challenge on your sidebar...that still a lot to me *grin*. I know you can do it :)

    I only can managed to participate in one challenge. This way I have free time to chose to read books that I read for myself, my pleasure. And of course, just like you, to help bring down my TBR piles :) Maybe in due time I be able to join more.

  3. Kerrie, I don't participate in challenges that give me a list of books to read from (other than the two I specifically mentioned) for the same reason you mentioned!

    Julia, it's all about the TBR mountain! LOL!!

  4. I participate in a few, but don't feel guilty if I can't finish them - it's just kind of fun to have that original goal of reading a certain amount or certain kind of book!