I had promised to write this post back in January, but things took over, so here I am midway through February writing it at last…
Book Challenges – are they a good thing or not? Well, it depends on the reader ultimately. I have taken part in the annual Good Reads Challenge since 2013. In this challenge, you set the number of books that you think you are going to be able to read over the course of 12 months. For some people, this can be as low as one (see below), but any number can be chosen. Apart from the first year where I set it at 185, have stuck to a regular total of 190 and have achieved that or exceeded it every year.
One of the disadvantages of this though is the self-inflicted pressure of trying to reach the total that you have set and for a number of people, it takes away from the pleasure of reading. Some people overcome this by setting their total for the year to one, finish it really early and then don’t have to worry about it until the following year. It will still keep a track of your exact number read by the end of the year too.
So should you do these? Well, it is entirely up to you. I do because I like doing them, and for those trying to get back into reading it can be a good way of getting a discipline of reading on a regular basis. It must work too as I frequently see comments where people are so pleased that they have achieved the target that they have set themselves.
The other sort of challenge is those that aim to push your reading boundaries. Often, people read well within their comfort zone, reading their preferred genres and almost never venture outside it. I run an online book group on Good Reads called Book Vipers and each year I have created a challenge for the members. This year it is the Dusty Shelf Challenge with the aim of getting people to rootle through their shelves and read some of the books that they have had for far too long.
I make these up in a bingo format. There are two reasons for this, one is the satisfaction of crossing off a square, secondly, those who might not read as much can do a row only should they wish.
The grid I created is below. The intention of some of these is to get you to find things that fit the criteria and often to do that you need to look outside your reading landscape.
The books that I have chosen to meet the criteria are below. I have had some of these on my shelves around the home for waaaaay too long, hence why I have picked them.
A Book With A Blue Cover – This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
A Book You Have Borrowed – Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran by Jason Elliot
A Book That Has Been Longest On Your TBR – Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks
A Book You Started And Never Finished – Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
A Book With An Animal On The Cover – Corvus: A Life with Birds by Esther Woolfson
A Book By A Female Author – Among Muslims by Kathleen Jamie
Free Choice – How the Light Gets In by Clare Fisher
A Book With A Red Cover – The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Non Fiction Book – Gathering Carrageen by Monica Connell
A Book From A Literary Prize – In Search of Conrad by Gavin Young
A Book Published In The Last Century – Against a Peacock Sky by Monica Connell
A Book With A Green Cover – The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood
A Book By A Male Author – Naples 44 by Norman Lewis
A Book Borrowed From A Friend – The Marsh Arabs by Wilfred Theisger
Free Choice – Herbaceous by Paul Evans
A Biography – Toast by Nigel Slater
A Library Book – The Edge Of The World: A Cultural History Of The North Sea And The Transformation Of Europe by Michael Pye
Free Choice – Letters by Saul Bellow
A Book With A Black Cover – The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
A Book With A Figure On The Cover – Travels With Myself And Another: Five Journeys From Hell by Martha Gellhorn
An Award Winner – The Prester Quest by Nicholas Jubber
A Book Over 500 Pages – Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
A Book Under 100 Pages – A Force That Takes by Edward Ragg
A Book In A Series – A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
A Book With A White Cover – Vicious by V.E Schwab
So do you take part in challenges?
If so, what are you preferred type?
What books would you include on this challenge?