There are a lot of interesting 2012 Reading Challenges floating around out there. The blog ExUrbanis has a great listing. I’m curious, do you sign up for challenges, and if so which ones?
Last year I signed up for two, a steampunk reading challenge which was mostly a site where you could post your reviews, and a Women of Science Fiction challenge. I was curious about all the women writers of science fiction I haven’t read (or in most cases, hadn’t even heard of). Alas, I read 1.5 books for the Women of SF challenge and then gave up. I disliked the first and was kind of bored by the second. Sorry, ladies.
In general, I want to read what I want to read, when I want to read it. So what makes challenges useful or fun? When they introduce you to new reads, or push you to read books on the “good for you” list (you have one of those, right?). But I think mainly, they’re another way for us to connect with each other online. Considering how many blogs are out there, and how many readers, any way to connect in a more meaningful way is a good thing.
So here are four 2012 challenges I’m thinking about.
The first will push me to read some of the books I’ve pushed to the bottom of the TBR list for too long. It’s hosted by Roof Beam Reader and requires you to name 12 books (in advance) that have been on your TBR list for over a year. That should be easy, I have plenty of those.
The second, hosted by November’s Autumn, is about reading classics. I like it because it (1) only involves seven books; (2) has a designated place and time for readers to discuss their classics each month; and (3) like the challenge above, will push me to read some of the classics I’ve been meaning to. If I can finish War and Peace, that is. Does that count for at least two?
The third, hosted by Literary Escapism is about reading new authors. Not debut authors but new-to-you authors. I can pick 15, 25, 0r 50 new authors to try. How many new-to-me authors did I read in 2012? A whopping 23 of 58, which isn’t bad – although one of those was a job-related book and one was an anthology. Okay, this one’s kind of a gimme – I’m probably going to read these books anyway.
The truth is, all three challenges won’t change my reading habits much, and will probably overlap considerably. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 for example: classic, new author, and a long-term resident on the TBR list.
Finally, there’s the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge over at Booking in Heels. This one is very rigidly defined. You read all the books that the movie/graphic novel League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is based on. This includes Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Invisible Man, Tom Sawyer, Sherlock Holmes and a few others. It sounds like a fun challenge, but I’m not sure if I want to commit to a specific group of books. On the other hand, I’ve already read the first two, and I’m interested in the others. I think exploring classic horror/science-fiction/adventure will be a lot of fun.
Should I pick a challenge that’s more “stretchy” for me? Maybe. I saw one challenge where you have to pick books from different genres. Another one where you only read vintage mystery, which sounded kind of cool. If you’re thinking about challenges – why are you signing up? Is it to stretch yourself, to push your reading in a new direction, to connect with other bloggers, or maybe just to have a few shiny new badges on your website to kick off the new year?
If I sign up for these challenges, I’m expected to post lists of the books that I plan to read. So look for that in the next couple of weeks.