Reading Challenges: a help or a hurt? Do you find that the reading challenges keep you organized and goal-oriented? Or, do you find that as you near the end of a challenge that you’ve failed because you fell short of your original goals? As a result of some reading challenges, I’ve picked up books that I would have otherwise never heard of or picked up; that, frankly, I have loved. Have you experienced the same with challenges? If so, which ones? Do you have favorite reading challenges?
Yes it’s a long title and you’ve read right, I am quitting almost all of the reading challenges I’m signed up for. Before I get to why I’m quitting my reading challenges, let me tell you why I love reading challenges so much.
Some of the reasons why I love reading challenges
If it wasn’t for reading challenges, I wouldn’t have a blog. I think that’s probably true for many of us. When I started blogging two years ago, it was because I found Wendy’s of Caribou’s Mom, Yahoo Group. Here was a group of readers dedicated to books, reading, and reading challenges. I didn’t know what a reading challenge was before I joined the group.
Reading challenges takes you out of your comfort zone. If you’re a reader of mostly American works and want something different, you can join the challenges Orbis Terrarum or Lost in Translation and read 10 books in translations. Don’t read young adult books very often? J.Kaye hosts a Young Adult Challenge to get more people reading books from this genre. Think you read more than your fair share of books by and about heterosexuals? Amanda over at Tea Leaf has a great GLBT challenge.
Reading challenges show even the most eccentric reader new genres, books, and authors that they weren’t aware of. If it wasn’t for the many challenges I’ve signed up for in the last two years, I probably wouldn’t be reading fantasy or young adult fiction right now. It was the passion of so many bloggers that helped me to see what I’ve been missing, authors like Neil Gaiman and Markus Zusak and new favorite like Locomotion or the Fables series.
Another great thing that reading challenges do is bring the book blogging community closer together. You sign up for a challenge, make a list, and then visit other bloggers, many of whom you may not have heard of before. I’ve made so many blogging friends this way.
There is a but. . .
As great and addictive as reading challenges are, I rarely ever complete one. Usually I sign up for a challenge, spend hours coming up with a great list of books to read, and then forget about it. Suddenly the last day of the challenge is here and it’s too late for me to read whatever books I was going to read. I’ve tried to be flexible and keep my lists open to whatever I feel like reading so it doesn’t feel like required reading but I still don’t finish. So I end up feeling guilty about one more challenge that’s not completed.
Another thing that bothers me is the volume of posts I put up about the many challenges I’ve signed up for. I’m starting to feel like I’m clogging up my blog and my readers’ (all six of you) feedreaders by posting so many posts.
So instead, here’s a new plan. . .
I’m giving up almost every challenge I’ve signed up for this year. Though there’s nothing like the thrill of a new challenge, I’m going to pass. I want my reading to be free to go in any direction. I could do that with challenges but I’m not going to.
The only challenge that I plan on keeping is Project Fill-in-the-Gaps. I’m staying with this challenge because it’s a five-year plan and I really want to read more classics. One of the books I’m currently reading is The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. I’m going to have a personal challenge to read the books that Bauer’s listed in The Well-Educated Mind and have no deadline.
So let me thank every blogger who’s hosted ever hosted a reading challenges. You guys have made our community a great place to be a part of.
What’s your take on reading challenges? Do you participate? If not, why?