Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Challenge Wrap Up

I do love a reading challenge! As a reader, planner and lover of lists (except those annoying "to do" lists), reading challenges hold a special appeal to me. This year I decided to take it easy, however, taking a break from my over-zealousness in past years. It was time to slow down.

I started a feature called the One Night Stand to help quench my challenge thirst--no commitment to complete the challenges, but all the fun of making lists of books I might have read had I participated. Someone suggested I at least read one book from each of the lists, a sampling of sorts, which I did consider doing. In the end, I decided against making such a commitment. My goal was to avoid the commitment aspect, after all. I had an overly ambitious challenge list for my One Night Stand, but only ended up making lists for four challenges (Once Upon a Time, What's In a Name, GLBT Challenge, and Riley's twist to the Cat Book Challenge). Oh well. It was worth a try. And I did have fun in the meantime!

Of the challenges I did take part in, I completed all three. I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite among them as they were all such fun.

The first began in 2009 and continued into 2010. The goal was to read the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. I already had a head start on the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge (hosted by Beth Fish) being a fan of the series for years. I was only a couple of books behind at the start. I enjoyed revisiting old friends and going along with Sookie on her latest adventures.

The Southern Vampire Series Books:
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family
A Touch of Dead (short stories)

The second challenge I took on this year was the War Through the Generations: Vietnam War Challenge (hosted by Anna and Serena). I agreed to read five books about or related to the Vietnam War. This was a personal challenge for as much as a bookish one. My father had fought in the Vietnam War. Even though he did his time there before I was born, it was a part of who my father was and it impacted me in indirect ways. I have read a number of books about Vietnam over the years and was excited to get back into it. I had hoped that with so few challenges, I might have read more for this one, but it didn't work out that way. I am quite content with what I did read, however, and was not disappointed.

Vietnam-Related Books Read:
The Other Side by Jason Aaron & Cameron Stewart
Semper Cool: One Marine's Fond Memories of Vietnam by Barry Fixler
Paco's Story by Heineman (see also read-along discussion posts #1 & #2)
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

Short Stories Read Relating to Vietnam (do not officially count toward the challenge):
"The Boat" Nam Le
"Love and Honor and pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice" by Nam Le

In the fall, I slipped in the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Challenge (hosted by Carl V.), reading books full of fright or thrill. I had such great fun with it and enjoyed my reading choices. It was a great way to kick off the season.

Peril the First:
Damaged by Pamela Callow
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Damaged by Alex Kava
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda

Short Story Peril:
"The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe
"Best New Horror" by Joe Hill
"20th Century Ghost" by Joe Hill
"Pop Art" by Joe Hill

A lot of hard work goes into putting together a reading challenge, and my hat is off to the hosts of all three of the challenges I participated in this year.

When I first began blogging, reading challenges were few and far between. Today there are challenges for just about any book imaginable. They are addicting and fun. Despite what critics may say, most challenges I've come across are extremely flexible in terms of what books a participant can read--often times, you don't even have to have a list ahead of time and the options to read a small few or a large amount of books is more the rule than the exception. Still, I have no regrets about my decision to take it easy reading challenge wise in 2010. It turned out to be a wise decision for more reasons than one. I enjoyed the challenges I participated in, read a number of memorable books, and enjoyed being a part of the reading challenge community.

Did you participate in any reading challenges this year? Do you have a favorite?

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I participated in 12 this year and only completed 8...though I hope to complete #9 this week.

    I'm so glad that you enjoyed your Vietnam Reading challenge.

  2. I felt the same way about the Sookie Stackhouse books - each book was like getting back together with old friends! (In some cases, VERY old friends!) :--)

  3. I admit it, I'm a challenge junkie! I participated in a lot - my favorites (aside from the ones I hosted) were probably Beth Fish's What's in a Name Challenge and the War Through the Generations. Even though I came on short of completing my goal for that one, the books I read for it were amazing.

  4. I think I completed them all but one (the TBR Challenge, which is ironic since it was MY list!). I'm taking this year off and reading what I want. I can't wait!

  5. Like you, I really scaled back on challenges. I think I did about 4. And I'm not signing up for any in 2011. I'm still goal-oriented in my reading, and I think challenges can be a great way to read variety or get outside your comfort zone. I just need a break from them !

  6. I also love lists and planning things in advance, that's probably why I'm addicted to reading challenges myself. lol! Even though most challenges don't require you to list books ahead of time, I still do for most of them. I'm glad you had fun with these challenges!

  7. I think I only completed one reading challenge this year. Next year I'll focus more on my TBR pile, though I'll still be joining some challenges but not many.

  8. You did so well with your challenges! I agree, they are so much fun and it's all about enjoying the reading, finding new authors to love and connecting with fellow bookworms. Having said that though, I am going to sit out on challenges this coming year. I've been doing challenges every year and I think I just need a little break. I may have to join just one though because of I've done it every year but we'll see.

    So are you doing any challenges next year?

  9. Congratulations on your success! I think participating in a small number of challenges gives you freedom & flexibility to read what you want as well as accomplishing some predetermined goals. I've signed up for my first challenge (x5) for 2011. Hope your new year is bright & bookish :)

  10. Congratulations on completing the challenges!

  11. I am really torn when it comes to challenges. I participated in 20 in 2009, 10 in 2010 but unsure if any for 2011....just prefer my own tracking lists, I think?

    Happy New Year Wendy. This will be a banner year for you I am sure.

  12. Serena - Eight out of twelve is great, Serena!

    I thought long and hard about participating in this next year's War challenge, but decided against it. I may unofficially participate if I am able.

    Jill (Rhapsody in Books) - Haha! Very old is right! It's a fun series.

    Carrie - It's easy to become addicted to challenges. They're so much fun, whether you finish them all or not.

    Sandy - That's pretty much what I've decided to do too. For most of my challenges, I prefer to read books off my own TBR shelves. It's one of the ways I got myself to read some of those older ones that had been there awhile.

    Laura - There seem to be a few of us who are taking the year off from challenges. I've decided to completely forgo the goals this next year. It'll be interesting to see how I fare or if I end up making lists anyway. LOL

    Kris - I like to make lists too, even when not required to. I can't help myself. :-)

  13. Melody - I want to focus more on my TBR pile too--maybe catch up on some of the series books I'm behind on.

    Iliana - I'll be sitting out next year as well. I'm not sure how much reading time I'll get once I'm back to work after the baby's born. All my free time will be baby time.

    Teacher/Learner - Thanks! And you're right about leaving room for those mood reads if you don't sign up for many challenges. I wish you luck with the challenges you signed up for!

    Kathleen - Thanks, Kathleen!

    Diane - Sometimes that is the best way to go. Challenges are a lot of fun, but they can be overwhelming. I hope you have a great New Year as well, Diane!

  14. You did very well with your challenges, Wendy! I have thoroughly enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse challenge.

  15. Alice - Thanks, Alice! I had a lot of fun with the challenges this year.

    I'm looking forward to May when the new Sookie book comes out.

  16. Hey , Hi , I saw the kind of books you like , u have very interesting choices
    I am a blogger too and I write book reviews , if u like u can check out my blog
    A very happy new year to you by the way


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