Weekly Geeks 2009-23: Reading Challenges


This week’s Weekly Geeks is inspired by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie who writes:

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?

Well, I could not pass this one up since I own A Novel Challenge blog and with Teddy’s help we try to keep readers up to date with all the latest challenges and events across the blog-o-sphere (I also run a sister Yahoo group called A Novel Challenge which is open for anyone who wants to join).

When I first discovered reading challenges, I went crazy joining them. Last year I completed 24, although I signed up for a lot more than that! Although challenges can be really fun, they can also easily become overwhelming. This year I decided to tone down the amount of challenges for which I signed up, and tried to stay focused on my overall reading goals (ie: reading new authors, making time for review books, reading from the prize lists and the 1001 books before you die list, reading books from around the world, and fitting in some of the books from my towering TBR stacks). With these goals in mind, I try only to sign up for challenges which will further those goals.

Do I feel stressed if I cannot finish a challenge?

No. I remind myself that no one is really keeping score (except for me!) and this is supposed to be fun.

Why do I like reading challenges?

  • I like being encouraged to read books outside my comfort zone.
  • I like reading as part of a group of readers all working toward the same goal.
  • I like being pushed just a little bit (for example, I would never have read 100 books last year without a challenge that pushed me to do so!)
  • I love lists and crossing things off of lists. Challenges are just another way to feed my list compulsion.

What are my favorite challenges?

  • I love the perpetual challenges – Orange Prize Project, Pulitzer Project, Complete Booker, etc…
  • I really enjoyed the Suspense-Thriller challenge because I have a lot of those kinds of books on my TBR shelf and I sometimes forget to read this types of books.
  • I also like challenges that encourage me to read around the world – like the Orbis Terrarum and Lost In Translation.
  • I love the PUB Challenge, ARC Challenge, and New Author Challenge as they help me keep up with my ever increasing stack of review books.

Which Challenges have I completed so far this year?

  1. Unread Authors (1/6/2009)
  2. What an Animal (4/8/2009)
  3. Book Awards II (5/30/2009)
  4. Mystery Read-A-Thon (6/7/2009)
  5. Suspense-Thriller Challenge (6/8/2009)
  6. Bloggiesta (6/21/2009)

To see ALL my current challenges, visit my Reading Challenges page. Clicking on the graphic or title of the challenge will take you to the post where you can see my progress.

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  1. I have complete the Canadian Challenge and Southern Reading Challenge. Other than that I have no plans for completing the three others I had joined.

    I simply could’nt cope!

    WG: Reading Challenges

    • Nicole on June 24, 2009 at 20:52

    Great work with your challenges. I love signing up for them and I manage to complete quite a few. Updating the sites with me completed reviews is where I have issues.

    • Kathy on June 25, 2009 at 03:41

    I’m so impressed that you completed 24 challenges. I signed up for 2 last year and bombed on both of them. I just signed up for 2 more.

  2. I have found so many wonderful books through challenges and especially through your blogs but I just can’t seem to finish a challenge so now I am just making notes of good books and book reading ideas and following the challenges as an observer who really appreciates all the inspiration.

  3. I love your post. If it wasn’t for you, I probably wouldn’t be blogging right now! I found your Yahoo group first and blogging second. I only started blogging so that I could join the challenges! I owe you one. =)

    • Wendy on June 28, 2009 at 09:39

    Gautami: It is easy to get overwhelmed with challenges, isn’t it?

    Nicole: I sometimes forget to do the updating as well!

    Kathy: It is a little obsessive of me, I’m afraid 🙂

    Juliann: Even if you don’t “finish” I think they can be helpful in getting us to read books from our shelves and read outside our comfort zones too.

    Vasilly: I had no idea that joining my group is what got you to start a blog! Thank you for sharing that – I love finding out that I motivated someone somehow to join this great community!! You don’t owe me anything – just keep on blogging so I can keep reading your blog 🙂

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