Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Year in Reading Challenges: 2007

This was the year I discovered reading challenges. I came out by the skin of my teeth in a few of them, and ended up calling it quits on one. This next year I will not be involved with quite so many, but I am participating in a few. You did not really expect me to go cold turkey did you? Maybe in 2009.

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

  • Book to Movie Challenge

  • Chunkster Challenge

  • Kathrin's Classics Reading Challenge

  • Medical Mystery Madness Challenge

  • New York Times Notable Book Challenge

  • Nonfiction Five Challenge

  • Once Upon A Time Challenge

  • Reading Through the Decades Challenge

  • Southern Reading Challenge

  • Spring Reading Thing

  • Summer Mystery Reading Challenge

  • 2007 TBR Challenge

  • Winter Classics Challenge

  • 2nds Challenge

  • Valiant Effort 2007

  • Saturday Review of Books Challenge

  • 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.


    1. You participated in a stunning number of challenges! Congratulations for what you accomplished!

      I've had to show restraint in joining challenges (for all the reasons you mentioned in your post) and have only selected two for this year. I could see myself over committing(sp?) and then being annoyed at trying to keep up. Didn't want to turn my reading into something stressful. I'd also like to write more reviews (I find this really helps with retention issues) and have recently gotten on an Early Reviewers list. I got my first "from the publisher" book to review -- Mary Doria Russell's to be published "Dreamers of the Day." So exciting!

      Happy New Year!

    2. That's an impressive number of challenges completed. I can't keep up with that many ... I guess I like to read by whim a bit. I do agree that the challenges do keep me more focused and have broadened what I select to read! Happy reading in 2008.

    3. Wendy, I'm so impressed! Congrats on completing the reading challenges! :D

    4. Congratulations! That's a pretty impressive number of challenges met.

      I discovered that I myself am a vastly moody reader but I just LOVED reading everyones lists and reviews on the challenges so I'll definitely be a cheerleader next year.

    5. Terri - Too many! Haha But then, I think I'm starting out with too many this coming year, I think, despite my plan to keep it small this year. :-S

      Getting an Early Review book is exciting! I hope you enjoy Dreamers of the Day! I got a copy of Breathless in Bombay which I will probably start on Tuesday (I'm counting it as a short story book for the Short Story Challenge--talk about sneaky!).

      Bookgal - Sometimes I think if left to my own devices, all I would read are mysteries. :-) I really do enjoy so many other types of books and the challenges help me balance my reading out more. There's something to be said about reading a book just because though. I try and do that now and then even with the challenges, but I admit it's harder.

      Melody - Thanks, Melody! I am ready for this next year!

      Carrie K - Thank you! I didn't realize how many until I listed them all. I'm feeling overwhelmed now. Haha

      I could use a cheerleader this next year! I'm joining more year long challenges than short ones, which I think will add a different flavor to the challenges. It will be interesting to see how that works out. Will so many long ones wear me out faster? At least with the short ones, there is more turn around.

    6. I am at awe of the many books you have complete. Congratulations for what you accomplished!

      I know that feeling about discovering other genres and not just stick with one favorite genres. I learn to be open books and learn things from it too :)

      I would have love to participated on the challenges that you and everyone else have done. But even though it may help me to discover "new to me authors" and bring down my TBR pile, I just don't want to feel the pressure of reading books for the challenge instead of the joyments and pleasure. I stick with fewer challenge that I can only managed to do instead. It help and give me time to read books that I want to read for "my pleasure". But I am amaze of all the accomplished that everyone done. Great job, well done! :)

      Good luck with everyone on their new 2008 challenge, I for one will be your cheerleader, Litrary Feline (and everyone else in reading blogger land)to help you get there :)

    7. Julia - Thank you! I ended up reading less books than I did last year, but then last year was a bit of a fluke, I think.

      I am glad to have you as a cheerleader, Julia! I can use all the support, I can get. :-)

    8. Congrats on completing all the challenges, you did awesome! I can't do it. I make a list and never end up reading the books on it, so challenges usually fail for me.

    9. Very well said. I completely agree with everything you've said about challenges and I've only been at it for a few months.

      Congratulations on that impressive list of challenges completed!

    10. Thank you, Kailana. I wouldn't have thought I could do it either considering how poorly I do with group reads, but somehow I've taken to the challenges.

      Nicola - Thank you! They are very addicting, aren't they? And lots of fun. I think that's what keeps us coming back. Plus it's fun to make the lists. :-)

    11. Cold Turkey? I thought I could do it, but I've relapsed. :) I haven't officially posted anything or committed, but I've got my lists reading to go. The key for me this year is cross-posting. Last year I purposely tried to limit the cross-posting and I nearly drove myself crazy. But challenges are the best way for me to get the motivation to get rid of those stubborn TBR books. Good luck with your challenges this year (and have fun!!).

    12. Hi, Trish! I didn't do a lot of crossovers this year, although I had considered it. With the 1st in a Series and TBR Challenges, I wanted to keep them relatively separate only because I was aiming for a balance in types of books. The lighter books mixed in with some of the weightier ones. We'll see how it goes. I'll have fun trying anyway. :-)


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