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Winner Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2008
Shortlisted for Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2009, 2010
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. July 22, 2009    

    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.

  2. July 22, 2009    

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

  3. July 22, 2009    

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

  4. July 22, 2009    

    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?

  5. July 22, 2009    

    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.

  6. July 22, 2009    

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

  7. July 22, 2009    

    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 🙂

  8. July 22, 2009    

    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…

  9. July 22, 2009    

    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.

  10. July 22, 2009    


    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!

  11. kim in ohio kim in ohio
    July 22, 2009    

    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

  12. Kim Kim
    July 22, 2009    

    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!

  13. Kim Kim
    July 22, 2009    

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

  14. July 22, 2009    

    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.

  15. July 23, 2009    

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


  16. July 23, 2009    

    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.

  17. July 23, 2009    

    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 🙂

  18. July 23, 2009    

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

  19. July 23, 2009    

    This is perfect for me… I’m in!

  20. Barbara Barbara
    July 23, 2009    

    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.

  21. July 24, 2009    

    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?

  22. July 24, 2009    

    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.

  23. July 24, 2009    

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

  24. July 24, 2009    

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

  25. July 25, 2009    

    I’m officially in for 12 books!

  26. July 25, 2009    

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

  27. July 25, 2009    

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

  28. July 25, 2009    

    Great idea! I’m entering at Level II.

  29. July 25, 2009    

    Great idea! Count me in!

  30. July 25, 2009    

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

  31. Janeene J Janeene J
    July 25, 2009    

    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

  32. July 25, 2009    

    I’ll try for 12. Sounds fun.

  33. July 25, 2009    

    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.

  34. July 26, 2009    

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

  35. July 26, 2009    

    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.

  36. July 26, 2009    

    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?)

  37. July 26, 2009    

    That makes perfect sense!
    Thanks so much Wendy.

  38. July 26, 2009    

    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!

  39. July 26, 2009    

    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!

  40. kt kt
    July 27, 2009    

    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.

  41. July 27, 2009    

    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!


  42. July 27, 2009    

    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

  43. July 28, 2009    

    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…

  44. July 28, 2009    

    What a GREAT challenge!!! I love it!

  45. July 28, 2009    

    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)?

  46. potjy potjy
    July 29, 2009    

    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.

  47. potjy potjy
    July 29, 2009    

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

  48. July 29, 2009    

    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/

  49. July 30, 2009    

    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. 😀

  50. Missy Missy
    July 30, 2009    

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

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