Weekly Geeks 2009-23: Reading Challenges

This week's Weekly Geeks topic was suggested by Sheri of A Novel Menagerie. She writes:

Reading Challenges: a help or a hurt? Do you find that the reading challenges keep you organized and goal-oriented? Or, do you find that as you near the end of a challenge that you've failed because you fell short of your original goals? As a result of some reading challenges, I've picked up books that I would have otherwise never heard of or picked up; that, frankly, I have loved. Have you experienced the same with challenges? If so, which ones? Do you have favorite reading challenges?
This is the first time I've attempted reading challenges other than the 100 books a year or the perpetual Booker and Orange awards challenges the last couple of years. I had mixed feelings about starting in on a bunch of challenges - would it take away the enjoyment of reading? Would it feel too much like being back in school, when I never got to choose what I wanted to read?

But then a couple of them really sparked my interest - especially What's In A Name? This challenge has a list of categories, such as "a book with a building in the title; a book with a medical condition in the title." The categories change every year. I found this one easy and most of the books I chose were already on my TBR shelves. It was fun to match titles with categories. I finished this one (6 books) by mid-February.

I also enjoyed the challenge to read five books that Dewey (the originator of Weekly Geeks) had read and reviewed. We had pretty similar tastes in books, so it was easy for me to find five that I could enjoy and probably would have read anyway.

I can't say that the challenges are introducing me to many books I wouldn't have read; that's a bigger picture for me -- book blogs and Library Thing have been the motherlode of new authors for me in the last two years.

I usually save this for the last Sunday Salon of the month, but this is a good time to do an update on my reading challenges.

What's in a Name: completed 6/6 DONE!
Decades Challenge (one book from each decade of the 20th century): completed 6/10.
The Orange Prize and Booker Prize challenges are perpetual, but I've set a personal goal to read 12 of each this year (some are crossovers). Orange Prize: 11/12; Booker Prize: 7/12. With Orange July just next month, I'll be able to knock that one off easily! I already have seven books chosen for that month.
Dewey's Books: 5/5 DONE!
Pub Challenge (reading books published in 2009): 8/9
Short Stories: 21/25
Essays: 0/20
Jane Austen: 0/1
Classics (other than Austen): 4/4 DONE!
These last two are personal challenges. By my definition, Classic is any book older than me that has a high level of notoriety. There are a few exceptions (e.g. To Kill A Mockingbird).

I'm doing pretty well on these! The one I'm running behind on is my 125 book challenge - at the midway point, I've read 47 books. So I might just make it to 100 unless I blog less and read more!

And no, I don't feel like a failure if I don't meet my goals. They are just goals, not requirements.


Lezlie said...

Or as a popular pirate captain likes to say, "They're more like . . . guidelines." :-)


gautami tripathy said...

Now I join challenges only to look out for good books. I don't specifically read for those.

WG: Reading Challenges