I learned something about myself the more involved with challenges I became. I always considered myself a moody reader, and yet, I really do not think I am. Not completely. I do go through phases and prefer to read one book over another depending on my mood, but following a list was not as difficult as I thought it would be. It helped that all of the challenges allowed for some freedom on selecting which book to read when. In addition, I found it easier to choose the next book I would read. Less pondering over the many options, holding little drawings where my animals or husband were asked for assistance to choose, or whittling away valuable reading time because I could not make up my mind.
My main goal with the challenges was to read books that had been forced to wait their turn long enough. These were all books I wanted to read long before I caught the Challenge Fever. For a couple of the challenges I did have to break my rule of only reading books I already owned, but I reasoned that it was for a good cause. Even in those instances, the books I selected were ones I wanted to read, not because I should read them out of any obligation.
Over a plate of spaghetti with brown butter and mizithra cheese, Anjin and I discussed my reading plans for the new year. Balance is key. The real challenge will be in not overcommitting myself and balancing my reading so that I will be able not only to read my challenge books, but also to continue with my review books and spontaneous selections with little stress or worry that time is running out.
The truth is I do not mind a little pressure. Even when I felt like the deadlines were looming over my head, and I might not make it as far as I wanted to go, I was still having fun along the way. The reading challenges are all for fun. There is no compensation other than my own personal feeling of accomplishment in the end, and if I do not quite make the goal, that is okay too. Even making a little headway is progress because I am farther in my reading than I might have been otherwise.
As I look over the challenges I have completed, I have a definite feeling of confidence. I would be lying if I did not feel a sense of relief as well. I am ready to move on and start fresh with new challenges, continue my literary travels and go in new directions. It has been an extraordinary experience. I learned more about myself, read many great books, tried new authors, made new friends, and joined a community of fellow booklovers whose support and wisdom I greatly appreciate and admire. Of all I gained from my year in reading challenges, I most treasure the camaraderie and fellowship.
My thanks go out to the many brave hosts of this year's challenges, including those I did not participate in.
Completed Challenges 2007
Valiant Effort 2007
I also took part in a little challenge called Just4thehelluvit Challenge in which challenge-frenzied readers were instructed to read a book, well, just for the hell of it. I ended up reading one book that met this criteria since the start of the challenge. I could have counted a few others because they did not fall into the review book or challenge categories, however, because I planned to read them ahead of time for one reason or another, I did not feel that they qualified.