Sunday, April 04, 2010

TSS: The Reading Our Own Books challenge edition

You may have noticed that I read a lot of books from the library. I also get a few review books to read, and so I keep spreadsheets to help me keep track of when my library books are due back, and when reviews are due. The one thing that you may notice is missing is that I have not mentioned the books that I actually buy myself. When do I read them? Well, the short answer is I don't, or at least I don't often read them. In fact, if I look at the list of books that I have read this year, I had only read 2 books that I acquired myself.

I was lucky enough to be on Twitter (usually I miss all the good stuff) when a whole group of people were talking about exactly do you get around to reading the authors and books you wanted so much that you were prepared to buy them? And so, the Reading Our Own Books challenge was born! The idea is that in the month of April the participants will be trying to read their own books. Each type of book you read will be assigned a value and the person with the lowest score wins.

The points values are:
  • −5 points for reading a book from your TBR stack (owned before 15 March)
  • −3 points for reading a review copy (review promised in April)
  • −2 points for reading a library copy
  • +6 points for reading a new book (owned or borrowed after 15 March)
If you can read only from your own books then you have every chance of winning, but most of us have at least a couple of review books, or library books that we really want to read so I am sure it won't be that straight forward for any of us!

Only books started before 1 April and finished before 30 April count for the challenge.

So, if for example, I read 4 books from my TBR stack, 2 review copies, 3 library books, and 1 new book, here's how I'd figure my score:

(4 × −5) + (2 × −3) + (3 × −2) + (1 × 6) = −20 + −6 + −6 + 6 = −26

In order to even out the variables like the fact that some of us read faster than others, or have more reading time, or like to read chunksters, in order to equalise the playing field, the score is going to be divided by the number of books read, so my final score would be -2.6. (Thanks to bethfish for the example!)

Who knows if that would be enough to win! And what is the prize if you do win? Well, aside from bragging rights, each of the other players gets to send the winner a book from their TBR shelves!

The other players in this edition of the game are:
Honorary member: Jen from Devourer of Books
Part of the reason that this is a closed group challenge is because of the prize aspect. However, if you want to play along please feel free to keep score. Maybe you will beat all of us. There is already some talk of doing the challenge again later in the year as well! And if you are interested you can follow our progress on Twitter by using the #roob tag.

When I started looking at the books that I might read for this challenge, I got so excited. I have already finished finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and started Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop, and other books that I might read include Jasper Fforde, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Puallina Simons, Stieg Larssson, C S Harris, Patricia Briggs, Lisa Kleypas and many, many others!

The interesting thing is that this challenge has already had a beneficial effect on my library list as well, which I really wasn't expecting. The main reason for this is the heavy penalty associated with books acquired (even from the library) after 15 March so instead of automatically requesting books, I have been adding them to my list to request later! I will still be reading at least one library book, but for the most part I will be returning more than I borrow for a few weeks! Who knows I might even get my library list down below 40 again to a much more manageable level.

How do you juggle reading books from the library versus review books versus your own books? Do you just read whatever you feel like or do you have some method of juggling priorities?


  1. This is an excellent idea. I've stopped taking so many review books because I wasn't finding the time to get to books that I'd had on the shelves for a while. In fact the last two books I read, as well as the current one, were older purchases, so if I was playing along, I'd be doing pretty well! Normally I alternate review copies with ones I own. Although I'm a librarian, I don't read from many library copies because the library hasn't had funding to buy too many recreational reading books, and my TBR is already huge.

  2. This is a great idea, and you are playing along with a great group of bloggers. Congrats on being at the right place.

  3. I'm doing this on my own without the pressure of signing up for another challenge. Good luck!

  4. The librarian told me today I have one over my limit - 40. Fortunately, most of them are books for the kids or history and science DVDs for homeschooling. I'm excited about this month!

  5. What a great idea! I'm already sort of doing that, since I created a blog to deal with my TBR stacks, which totaled 170 books at the time I started it. That blog, CURL UP AND READ, ( is also where I document (on one of the pages) books I've completed in 2010; books I've purchased; and reading progress, including what I'm reading now and what's up next.

    It's helped me whittle those stacks down to 130 (since November). Doesn't sound very impressive, but I've also been sneaking in review copies, library books, and new books.

    It's my way of controlling one small aspect of my world.

    I'm trying to mix the books up so I can also do the review copies, library books, and new ones. Insanity!!

  6. Oops, forgot to put in my Sunday Salon link:

  7. Read Your Own Books challenge sounds like something I really need to participate in!!

  8. Hmm, how do I decide between library books and books I buy? Secret: if I really love the author already, I just buy the book. If I am not sure, then I will borrow it. Unless I can't find it at the library, and these days we can only request hardcover copies, which are hard for me to carry. So if I can't find a paperback copy at the library, I buy the book also :-D

    I don't get advanced reading copies. I decided long ago that I don't read them before the final copy comes out on sale anyway! I used to get ARCS when I worked at bookstores. I don't know, I like knowing I paid for my books too, to support the authors also.