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Winner Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2008
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Longlisted for Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2011 Shortlisted Best Written Book Blog - 2010

Random Reading Challenge


August 1, 2009 – July 31, 2010

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you always find yourself reading from set lists or feeling committed to reading one book while another book screams at you from your TBR mountain? Has your reading become completely scheduled? If so, the Random Reading Challenge may be just the thing to put the spontaneity back into your reading.

For this challenge, readers will be choosing books randomly from their TBR stacks. You may select one of three levels of participation:

Level I:

You are just a tad compulsive about your reading – you love your lists and schedules. Being spontaneous is not something that comes naturally to you.  To complete the challenge, force yourself out of your rut and read just six books.

Level II:

You really want to break away from all those lists, but you do still have a responsibility to your reading groups, other challenges and all those review books. Six books is too little, but twelve is too much. Stretch a little and read nine books for the challenge.

Level III:

Throw away the lists, don’t look at your schedule, bring on the joy that comes with the freedom to chose books randomly. Read twelve books for the challenge.

Rules (come on, you didn’t think I would be THAT random did you?!?!?):

  1. NO lists allowed. Books for the challenge are chosen one at a time when the mood strikes.
  2. Sign up at any time during the challenge period using Mr. Linky below. Please give me a direct link to your blog post about the challenge. If you do not have a blog, no worries. Simply enter your name and leave the URL box on Mr. Linky blank.
  3. Book reviews are not required, but if you want to write a review I will be providing a review Mr. Linky after August 1st.
  4. Books are selected one at a time using the following procedure:
  • Randomly select any number of books from either your physical OR your virtual TBR pile (I don’t care how you do this, but it must be random…no “cherry picking” allowed)
  • Assign a number to each book based on how many books you selected (ie: if you selected 14 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 14; if you selected 28 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 28…you get the idea)
  • Go to THIS SITE and use the TRUE RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR located in the upper right hand corner of the page to randomly select the book you will read. NO CHEATING – whatever the random number generator generates is the book you must read!
  • Each time you select a book for the challenge, you will use this procedure. You many select different books each time, choose a different amount of books each time, etc…have fun, mix it up, keep it random.

I have decided to draw names for at least one prize during the challenge period (I may do more, but I haven’t decided yet). I will be drawing names from the sign up Mr. Linky and I will announce it on my blog – so if you don’t have a blog link in Mr. Linky and are not subscribed to my blog and have no interest in checking back here…then leave me a comment with a way to contact you if I draw your name.

Ready to get random!??!? Challenge begins August 1st!

1. Lindy
2. Gina (Book Dragon’s Lair)
3. Lori L
4. Juliann
5. Lauren
6. Deb
7. Shonda
8. kim in ohio
9. Icedream(Reading in Appalachia)
10. J.C.
11. Sally from Books and Musings
12. Nicola (Back to Books)
13. Nely
14. Pussreboots
15. yolanda
16. Jaime @ Confessions of a Bibliophile
17. Barb (Meditative Reading)
18. Margo Smith
19. Jeane
20. Sharry
21. Befth F (Beth Fish Reads)
22. Sandy (You’ve GOTTA Read This)
23. Tara
24. Annie
25. Amanda (The Zen Leaf)
26. Margo
27. Lost in a Book
28. Baba’s Book Blog
29. Melanie
30. Susan (Loving My Library)
31. Tim (A Progressive on the Prairie)
32. CB James
33. Michelle
34. Sandra
35. Carrie K. (Books & Movies)
36. LN
37. Alyce (At Home With Books)
38. Sherrie(Just Books)
39. Stephanie (reviewgirl)
40. Lisa
41. Rebecca (Lost in Books)
42. Deanna/ibeeeg
43. HildeSol
44. Jaime
45. Vivienne at Serendipidy
46. Potjy
47. Gavin
48. Robin of My Two Blessings
49. Missy
50. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)
51. Michelle @ Master Musings by Michelle
52. Staci-Life in the Thumb
53. (Sheila) One Persons Journey Through a World of Books (Sheila)
54. Alexia561
55. kt
56. Susan
57. Judi
58. puaa
59. MarthaE
60. Darlene (Peeking Between the Pages)
61. Annie
62. Milka
63. Kim (page after page)
64. Factwoman
65. Kay
66. Bridget
67. Bookworm Jules
68. Heather
69. Jenners
70. Steven
71. Abby
72. Sherrie(Moudbound)
73. Christina (Babbling Book Reviews)
74. Jennie (Biblio File)
75. Jo-Jo
76. Hazra (Advance Booking)
77. Staci-Life in the Thumb Challenge Book #1 Review
78. Jill
79. Kittty
80. Michelle
81. chaotic compendiums
83. A Bookshelf Monstrosity
84. Ramblings (Jeff)
85. Yule Time Reading
86. Faith
87. Annette
88. christine
89. Andrea [Buried In Books]
90. Amy S.
91. Marilu
92. JennJ
93. Cheryl
94. Matchless: A Christmas Story (Nely)
95. Gavin (page247)
96. Sharyla
97. Sharon
98. Realta Dubh
99. lucy
100. Alyssa
101. Graywolfie
102. Literate Housewife
104. Kristilyn
106. Joyful
108. miss cindy 🙂
109. OnTheQuest
110. Brandy Bryan

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Missy Missy
    July 30, 2009    
  2. July 30, 2009    

    This is a fabulous idea! It takes the ease out of picking my next book. I can’t wait to what my list looks like in the end!

  3. July 31, 2009    

    KT: Make sure you come back and sign into Mr. Linky (if he won’t take your name without a link to a site, give us the link to any site you’re associated with…otherwise, your name will not be entered for the prize drawing.

    Avisannschild: As long as your procedure is truly random…you can select it however (I used the random.org as a guideline because that is truly random)…you know me, I’m pretty flexible!

    Trish: Here’s the thing…if you want to randomly pick books which INCLUDE your challenge books, I don’t think that is a problem…BUT if you solely choose books just because they are being used for a challenge and you have to read them, then it defeats the purpose of this challenge. Make sense? Here’s what I am going to do: I’m going to ask my husband to select about 15 books from my various stacks which include review and challenge books as well as books just sitting patiently in my stacks…then I use Random.org. If random.org happens to pick a challenge or review book, well okay then 🙂

  4. July 31, 2009    

    Sounds perfect Wendy.

  5. kt kt
    August 1, 2009    

    I decided to start a public blog, so I did, about five seconds ago. 😉 I’m excited for this challenge, should be lots of fun!

  6. August 1, 2009    

    I’m in! My first challenge, I’m super-excited to begin!!!

  7. August 1, 2009    

    Okay fine, I give! I actually have quite a few “when I have the time” books to read! This is a reason!!!!

  8. MarthaE MarthaE
    August 1, 2009    

    Hi! I saw this over at Jamie’s site. I like this idea! But I have a couple of questions. I have my favorite authors on the bookshelf or in boxes alphabetically and chronologically (lists right?!). Then I have other misc books in boxes (also by alpha and year). So I would pick maybe a dozen or so from various shelves or boxes and then do the radom generator. When I pick from the shelves/boxes can I pick the first in series so I don’t read them out of order??
    Also I have quite a number of eBooks that are not on review or challenge. I guess I could pick randomly from a list of pdfs and then include that for the random generator, right?

    Thanks for walking me through! Martha

  9. MarthaE MarthaE
    August 1, 2009    

    Oh – I had one other question – if I sign up for level II and am doing good with that can I upgrade to level III? 🙂 Thanks! Martha

  10. August 2, 2009    

    MarthaE: *laughing* We are all so organized it is hard to be random, isn’t it?? Yes, it is okay to sub out a book which is farther down in a series so that you can read the first in the series first. I had thought of that myself in looking through my stacks. I’m going totally random…BUT if a book gets selected and it is a series and I haven’t yet read the first in the series, I’m going to sub it out. I’m beginning to think I need to post another post for all these great questions I did not think of when I put the challenge together! You can add in the eBooks whatever makes the most sense to you and include them by simply assigning them a number. Re: upgrading to the next level – sure, why not! Hope that helps!

  11. MarthaE MarthaE
    August 2, 2009    

    Okay – I’m in! And I decided to go for the full Level III! THANKS for the encouragement! Martha

  12. August 4, 2009    

    I’m excited to start reading more! (and randomly)

  13. Tim Tim
    August 10, 2009    

    Oops, forgot to put up the link when I signed up. It’s here. I’m going to shoot for 12 because there were 51 on a recent TBR post and I thought I would just use that.

    I’ve also completed my first one — Blameless in Abaddon by James Morrow, although I’m not going to do a review.

    Two of the books selected randomly actually ended up in the used bookstore/donation box. I’d started both before and didn’t get into them and since the same thing happened the second time, I thought it best to simply concede and remove them entirely from my TBR list

  14. August 11, 2009    

    I hope I signed up right. Since we have a year to complete this challenge I think I’ll go with Level III. Sounds like fun. I always have such a hard time figuring out the book to read next and this will solve the problem. Thanks for doing a great challenge. 🙂

  15. August 11, 2009    

    I think this is fun … and I like the generous time frame. I plan to use a variety of ways to generate my random lists of books — some times I’ll treat myself to something off my wish list, some times I’ll pick from classics I’ve been meaning to read, some times I’ll use it to pick a book off my TBR list. I like it!

  16. August 12, 2009    

    This should be fun but a little scary. I’ve done it before where I pick, say, three books at random and then select one by choice, but never letting the random number have the final say. I’m using all the novels and short story collections in my entire library, e-books and all, as the selection base, so each pick will be a random selection out of almost 2000 books.

  17. August 12, 2009    

    Hey! I’m into this! But my blog is in spanish but I made an exception for this challenge ^^ also I put the rules and everything else in english I just wrote a few lines in spanish explaining my writers what the hell I’m doing..

    Hope there’s no problem.

    You can also follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Abby_Colina


  18. August 15, 2009    

    Tim, sounds good 🙂 I’ve updated your link.

    Heather: I also updated your sign up link so that it links directly to your post about the challenge – thanks for joining us!

    Jenners: Looks like you have a plan 🙂

    Steven: Not so scary, but I hope a lot of fun!!!!

    Abby: It doesn’t matter what language you blog in…I’m glad you’re joining us 🙂

  19. MarthaE MarthaE
    August 15, 2009    

    Hey Caribousmom! WHen we pick our random books is there a post to announce them? Or just in our own reading sets at our blogs?? Just curious!

  20. August 17, 2009    

    Martha: I haven’t set up a post to announce your random reads…but feel free to leave comments either on this post or on the post with the links to reviews if you wish!

  21. August 18, 2009    

    I’ve finished my second random read: Grimm’s Grimmest.

  22. August 21, 2009    

    I finished my first random read The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

  23. August 23, 2009    

    I just posted my first random read Serena by Ron Rash. Thanks for organizing this challenge!

  24. August 29, 2009    

    Love this challenge! Love that it forces me to read books I might be skipping over. I’ve signed up for level III.

    My post for this is here.


  25. September 12, 2009    

    Here is my second book for the Random Reading Challenge, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet .

  26. September 15, 2009    

    Jill: I updated the link here for you 🙂

    Gavin, Martha, Puss Reboots and Nicola: I now have a Mr. Linky set up for reviews HERE. I’ve gone ahead and put your links in for the reviews you have already done 🙂

  27. Rachael Rachael
    September 17, 2009    

    I’m obsessive compulsive so this is going to be a real challege for me but I’m determined to tackle level III. Here’s hoping for the best 🙂

  28. September 26, 2009    

    Welcome to the challenge, Rachael 🙂

  29. October 12, 2009    

    Just signed up! Hope Im not too late, was poking around and found the challenge. Love the idea of it. I won’t technically be starting until my list for october is complete but Im looking forward to it.

    Thanks! Faith

  30. October 14, 2009    

    I’m in, a little late LOL but this sounds like a good one.

  31. October 17, 2009    

    So, I think I am smart. I have a new blog home since signing up so I add myself again to Mr. Linky and am going to comment that my link (#58) is no longer valid. Well, the new link (#89) I left is incorrect (of course). So, I yet again entered as number 90 with the correct link. Are you able to delete the other 2? If not, I am so sorry for the confusion!

  32. October 17, 2009    

    Faith: Never to late! Glad to see you joining the challenge!

    Annette: Welcome to the challenge 🙂

    Christine: LOL! No problem…I can delete the “bad” links 🙂

  33. October 25, 2009    

    This is a great challenge. I haven’t been engaged in the whole “challenges” thing b/c I just discovered them by following some blogs on my RSS but this is a great way to clear off some TBR piles!

  34. October 31, 2009    

    Amy: Glad you’ll be joining us!

  35. Marilu Marilu
    November 5, 2009    

    Count me in!!! I love the idea of no lists. I know I am a little late but I think 12 books for this will be doable for me! Just one question……can the books overlap with other challenges? (the other challenge stipulates is that the books used come from your TBR shelf, and that’s it, so I figured some of the books from this one may work for that one too!)

  36. November 6, 2009    

    Marilu: Welcome to the challenge! The only hard and fast rule is books must be chosen randomly…so if you happen to choose a book randomly and it happens to meet the criteria for another challenge, that is fine. Happy reading!

  37. November 6, 2009    

    What a great idea I LOVE THIS and I love the avatar too that looks so much like one of our cats!!! I’m in this is gonna be fun! 🙂

  38. November 9, 2009    

    Welcome to the challenge, Jenn!!

  39. November 13, 2009    

    Thanks so much caribousmom! 🙂 I’m gonna enjoy this it’s my first challenge and actually inspired me to start my own challenge as well! 🙂

    Here is the link to my challenge post on my blog –

    I’ll update it as I go along! Thanks again for making this fun challenge!!! 🙂

  40. November 20, 2009    

    JennJ: Thanks for joining!!

  41. December 29, 2009    

    Hi, sorry to be a bother, but the blog for original link I used for the challenge is going to be deleted, so I want to give you the new link. I’m currently at

    67 – Bookworm Jules.

    Here’s the new link: http://bkwrmjchallenges.blogspot.com/2009/12/random-reading-challenge.html

    Thanks, sorry for the trouble.

  42. December 31, 2009    

    A little late at entering, but I’m gonna give this a shot! I think I’ll go ahead into level 3 participation.

    Here’s a link to my blog entry: http://hawkthebookworm.blogspot.com/2009/12/random-reading-challenge.html

  43. December 31, 2009    

    Oh…I’m so super late for this challenge..I just learnt about it..
    Hope I can still join in..aiming to complete 6 books…

  44. January 1, 2010    

    While checking my different challenges, etc. I clicked on my link in Mr. Linky #34 and found that it was connected to the wrong link. The link below is the actual link. Thanks.


  45. January 18, 2010    

    Jules: I edited your sign up – thanks for the new link 🙂

    Sandra: I’ve made the change in blog address for your link 🙂

  46. April 23, 2010    

    I’m coming along really late, BUT! I tend to read this way anyway. Maybe that’s cheating.

    Can I count retroactively? If so, I’m already well on my way, since I recently decided to start blogging about books that haven’t been out of the library in years. (You can see the origin of this at http://onthequest.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/disorder-of-longing/) They can’t have been recommended, and they can’t be something I’ve heard of.

    Oh… maybe this is not going to work. I just went back and read the selection rules, and I don’t have a TBR pile to enter. You can disqualify me if you want to. 🙁

  47. April 28, 2010    

    On the Quest: I sent you an email – I won’t disqualify you 🙂 welcome to the challenge!

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