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

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    • Lori L on July 22, 2009 at 08:55

    I LOVE this idea! I’m going for the 12 books in level three. I have a TBR stack that’s out of control, again, and randomly picking after numbering all the books not listed in other challenges is going to help me get to some of those neglected titles.

    • Lindy on July 22, 2009 at 09:00

    I hate lists, so this one is for me, and I have done great on my TBR this year reading about 20 so far.

    • Wendy on July 22, 2009 at 09:08

    Glad you will be joining this one Lori and Lindy!!! I need to get to my neglected stacks too 🙂

  1. I’m not sure about this one….I love my lists!

    I also vary what I’m reading according to my mood – sometimes I really want to read a thriller, or need something a bit challenging. Is it acceptable to put 12 thrillers on the list and get the random number generator to pick one, or is that not random enough?

  2. I’m horrid at reading challenges and this one sounds fun and whimsical enough for me. One problem. August is a month from hell for me work and personally. I’m gonna think about it but I truly love the idea.

  3. I am in – one of my goals is to deplete my TBR pile so this is perfect for me.

    • Wendy on July 22, 2009 at 13:00

    Jackie: If you wanted to just grab a stack of thrillers from your TBR pile and then randomly select one…that is pretty random! When I say don’t cherry pick, I mean don’t go through your stack of thrillers and pick and choose which ones you are going to choose a winner from. Does that make sense?

    Bibliomom: The challenge runs for an entire year…so you could skip August and still participate! You can join ANY TIME during the challenge period 🙂

    Juliann: Yay! Hope it will be fun for you 🙂

  4. I love lists and I’m already struggling with the five challenges I’ve signed up for, but on the other hand, I desperately need some incentive to chip away at my TBR pile (as opposed to buying/receiving new books and only reading them). So I’m tempted to join…

    • Jeane on July 22, 2009 at 15:29

    Okay, I’m still working on finishing the first few challenged I joined, and just jumped in on an Animal one, but this looks like fun- sometimes I don’t really know what kind of book mood I’m in, and have a hard time choosing the next read- this would be a great way to whittle the stacks down in those moments.

    • Shonda on July 22, 2009 at 16:46


    I know I’m taking a challenge break, but how can I pass this one up??? I love the idea behind this! This will be a fun one, I’m sure! Great idea!

    • kim in ohio on July 22, 2009 at 17:29

    Since I am the leader of a f2f group, I have to do the level II. Boo Hiss. But I know that I will be reading more that nine books. I hope that my f2f group is able to stay together after this month’s meeting. One of the cofounder’s is moving to FL and there will only be 4 of us left. I am praying for new blood. So we will see what happens.
    kim in ohio

    • Kim on July 22, 2009 at 18:43

    Okay–this challenge makes me smile. I have been itching to through away my lists and challenge commitments–but I just can’t do it–I will be even more selective next year. I am more compulsive than I thought, but since the challenge runs for a year I will commit to 9 books!

    • Kim on July 22, 2009 at 18:45

    oops–I do know how to use the words “throw/through/though correctly, in spite of what I wrote in my last comment!

  5. I really need this. I am trying to really focus on making a dent in my huge TBR pile. I am aiming for Level II. I don’t have a problem with lists, I just need more motivation to focus on my own books- not reviews or library books.

  6. On holidays until the 5th August but spotted this challenge – being obsessed I had to sign up NOW!!!!!!


    • Beth F on July 23, 2009 at 04:01

    Wendy, what a fabulous challenge!! I love it. I’m going to sign up for level III — that’s just one random book a month. I can do it!

    I’ll be back next week to sign up with Mr. Linky.

    • Wendy on July 23, 2009 at 05:46

    Avisannschild: Come on…you know you want to!

    Jeane: That was exactly my intent when I designed this!

    Shonda: Glad you’re joining in!!! I hope it is fun 🙂

    Kim in Ohio: Oh, I hope your F2F group will stay together…I am talking to some people in my little town and hoping to start one here, but we’ll see.

    Kim: Yay! (and I knew you meant “throw” and not “through”!!!

    Icedream: I hear ya!

    Sally: *laughs* Glad you are obsessed 🙂

    Beth: Glad you like it!! I’m going to try to do 12 too 🙂

  7. I’m in. I have tons of books that I want to read. This will keep me out of a rut.

    • Jaime on July 23, 2009 at 12:15

    This is perfect for me… I’m in!

    • Barbara on July 23, 2009 at 19:20

    This is the perfect challenge for me. I have my TBR books in stacks that are tilting and falling over onto the floor. It’s about time to read them and get them read so others can replace them. I decided to read 12 books and that should be simple enough for me over the next year. I look forward to participating in this challenge.

    • Jeane on July 24, 2009 at 04:13

    I have a question: do you gather a new pile to randomly draw from each time, or at the beginning gather a pile of the total number of books to read, and randomly draw just from that pile each time, until only one is left?

    • Wendy on July 24, 2009 at 06:24

    Jeane: I guess it depends on how many books on your TBR pile…personally, I am going to choose a new group of books each time, but you don’t have to. To make it even more random and fun, I’d suggest you choose MORE than the number of books you intend to read if you are going to use the same pile for each pick.

    • Margo on July 24, 2009 at 08:51

    What a great and fun challenge. I am excited to get started reading with a definite goal in mind.

    • Sharry on July 24, 2009 at 17:49

    Haha this is the perfect excuse to get cracking on the tbr piles. Thanks for this challenge!

    • Beth F on July 25, 2009 at 03:55

    I’m officially in for 12 books!

    • Sandy on July 25, 2009 at 06:31

    I blame Beth. Nevertheless, I need something unscheduled in my life, so I am joining the 12 book level!

    • Tara on July 25, 2009 at 07:52

    Hey Wendy – I’m really looking forward to this one! Thanks so much for hosting!!!

    • Amanda on July 25, 2009 at 09:01

    Great idea! I’m entering at Level II.

    • Baba on July 25, 2009 at 11:29

    Great idea! Count me in!

  8. I’m in for twelve books! Sounds like fun!

    • Janeene J on July 25, 2009 at 12:00

    looking forward to doing this – huge fan of goodreads and my list of to read and books at home just waiting to be read continues to grow….like the idea of this book challenge

  9. I’ll try for 12. Sounds fun.

    • Alyce on July 25, 2009 at 20:08

    What an awesome challenge! I’ll put a post together sometime this week. I’m really a schedule and list girl, so I’m going to commit to six books.

    • Wendy on July 26, 2009 at 10:02

    Wow, I am psyched you are all joining the challenge!!! And glad you think it will be fun (the main purpose of it!)

  10. Question- Can I use books for this that I’m supposed to read for challenges I’ve signed up for. I don’t have any list per say but they are books that I never seem to get around to reading. I thought this might be the perfect way to get them read.

    If not, I’ll still join because, my goodness, I’m certainly not short of books I keep buying and want to read. I’ll do up a post later this week.

    • Wendy on July 26, 2009 at 14:55

    Darlene: Yes with a condition…when you select your pile of books to use the Random Number Generator on…you must be RANDOM in how you select them. SO, if you randomly select a pile and there happens to be a book in there which you are destined to read for another challenge AND it gets picked by the number generator…then you are good to go. The only thing you are not allowed to do is “cherry pick” books knowing that you have to have them read for other challenges….just think random (for example, I’m going to ask my husband to just randomly pick books from all my different stacks…some of those books are review books, some are books for other challenges, some are just books that have no purpose other than I bought them at some time….since my husband is picking them, I can’t cherry pick 🙂 And ultimately the random number generator makes the call. Does this make sense?)

  11. That makes perfect sense!
    Thanks so much Wendy.

  12. Yay for this challenge! Time to inject some randomness back into my life (though I suspect I’m already random enough..)

    I’ve just signed up!

  13. This is definately for me. I have a huge pile of books on my desk and I need the randomness to get me through it. My lists keep holding me back. Thanks for the challenge. I’m going for level three!

    • kt on July 27, 2009 at 08:26

    Sounds like fun! I was going to sign-up in Mr. Linky there, but as my blog was turned from an anonymous-public blog into a private one for my family… Hmmm, my shelfari page? 😉 Start a blog for book challenges?


    Ah, well! It’ll still be fun to try getting a few books off my TBR pile in such a fun way! I’m going for Level III. I currently have more than enough time, even with some of the books in my pile.

  14. Hi!
    This sounds like a great idea! I’ve posted about this at my place, Just Books. I am going for the Level 3. Have a great day!


    • Lisa on July 27, 2009 at 20:47

    I love this challenge–what a terrific idea. I forgot to give the link to my post on Mr. Linky. It’s here: http://litandlife.blogspot.com/2009/07/random-reading-challenge.html

  15. Great challenge -not only will t help me get started on all those books I’ve always meant to read but never gotten to, it also made me stop thinking about blogging in English and actually start doing it…

    • Jaime on July 28, 2009 at 15:36

    What a GREAT challenge!!! I love it!

  16. Ah Wendy, you’re right, I want to join! I’ve actually already selected a book and read it; I just have to get my post up now!

    Can we get someone else to randomly select a book for us (and not bother with the Random.org part)?

    • potjy on July 29, 2009 at 00:14

    I’m planning to move or expand my blog now. So I can’t decide which one to give Mr. Linky. And he won’t except my name if I don’t give him a url too.

    But I’m in, however, for the 12 books.

    • potjy on July 29, 2009 at 07:56

    Okay, solution found. I decide to keep track at the writing part of my Goodreads page instead.

    • Gavin on July 29, 2009 at 11:52

    Okay, here is my post. I’ve already got my first random read coming from the library! http://page247.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/random-reading-challenge/

    • Trish on July 30, 2009 at 10:29

    Wendy, I don’t know if this has already been addressed, but I’ve been trying to figure a way to join this challenge and still read from my current challenge lists (how pathetic is that??) 🙂 Nicola suggested I just choose randomly from my challenge books. What do you think? If not, I guess I’ll figure something out. 😀

    • Missy on July 30, 2009 at 10:52

    This is a great idea. I am looking forward to putting a dent in my TBR pile. 🙂

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