Friday, January 4, 2013

End of the World Reading Challenge

I mentioned around mid-2012 - and you may have seen the banner on my sidebar - that I have been participating in a reading challenge from the Insatiable Booksluts called the 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge, in honor of the apocalypse that ultimately wasn't. The contest is now over and though a winner hasn't been announced yet, it wasn't me. I think I was the third person to post my page count total and I was already in third place. Not all the books I read last year qualified though, as the rules didn't allow for re-reads and I had a lot of those. My Not-So-Young Adult book group at work has read about 4 books in a row that I've already read. I also read a couple of graphic novels early in the year, and those didn't count either. That's ok though, it's all in fun.

The good thing about this particular challenge is that I didn't have to change my reading habits for it. I could have avoided the graphic and re-reads, but that's about it. I don't really like having assigned reading (I already have 3 book groups!) so this challenge is definitely my style. Several years ago I participated in the Book a Month Challenge which was my first-ever challenge (this one being only my second), and also fairly easy to do. Although each month had a theme, the themes were fairly general and open to interpretation. I was able to pick books I already wanted to read, so it didn't feel like there was extra reading to do or like I was missing out on the books I actually wanted to read.

Other challenges are more specific and I have shied away because of it. For instance, I just heard about the TBR Double Dog Dare in which you read only books on your TBR pile for a certain amount of time. There's also the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge, in which you every month you read one female science fiction author you haven't read before. Then there's the intriguing Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge that appeals to my sense of adventure but is fairly involved, requiring actual research on the countries in which your book choices take place. There's a challenge for every type of reader out there. However, I'm trying to read more serendipitously, which is already difficult with 3 book groups.

But there is something about a reading challenge that can be irresistible. Reading and blogging are pretty solitary activities but these online challenge create a bit of solidarity. When you can fit books in that you intend to read anyhow, there's just no reason not to join in and be part of something and meet (virtually, anyhow) interesting new bloggers.

Lest I continue talking myself into trying another challenge, I better stop here. What's been your experience with reading challenges? Do you take on more than you can handle? Avoid them all together? Have you heard of any really great ones starting up? (Not that I will be tempted to participate, I swear!) Share your experiences below in the comments.

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