Challenges

2015 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

There’s always a lot of discussion among book bloggers about whether challenges are good (they encourage you to read more or better or just differently) or bad (they put stress on something that should be relaxing and fun). For me the key is not signing up for too many challenges. I like for challenges to push me to read more difficult or diverse books, and they also help to keep me from just reading whatever is flashy and new. Challenges are also a great way to engage with other bloggers.

I will say that 2015 is the first year I started feeling what bloggers call a “reading slump”. I committed to too many books, and then found I wasn’t enjoying reading as much. So in 2016 I want to be careful about that.

This year I participated in four challenges, and here’s where I ended up.

2015tbrbuttonFor the TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by Roof Beam Reader, you make a list of 14 books at the beginning of the year and you have to read 12 of them.  These have to be books that you’ve wanted to read for at least a year  (no recent releases). I completed this challenge. Sadly, RBR will not be hosting this challenge next year, but I appreciate all the time he’s put into it over the years!

  1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. The Humans by Matt Haig
  3. Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  4. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
  5. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  6. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  8. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  9. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  10. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  11. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  12. Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

around-the-world-2015The Around the World Challenge, hosted by Giraffe Days, asks you to read books set in other parts of the world.  I needed to read 12 books over the course of the year set in a different country.  I read and reviewed at least 13 books set in different countries (I didn’t include the U.K.). I covered most of the continents, but I did not read a book set in South America.

  1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria — Africa)
  2. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (Mexico, Panama — North America)
  3. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (Sweden — Europe)
  4. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti — North America)
  5. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (India — Asia)
  6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Germany, France — Europe)
  7. Redeployment by Phil Klay (Iraq and Afghanistan — Middle East)
  8. Us by David Nicholls (Europe)
  9. The Constable’s Tale (Canada — North America)
  10. A Tale for the Time Being (Japan — Asia)
  11. Girl at War (Croatia — Europe)
  12. The Secret River (Australia)
  13. The Things They Carried (Vietnam — Asia)

discussionThe Book Blog Discussion Challenge by Feed Your Fiction Addiction is for writing posts about reading and blogging. I really enjoyed this challenge and will definitely participate in 2016.

  1. How do you use Twitter?
  2. BEA Bloggers Conference, should I go?
  3. How authors get paid for different book formats
  4. Should book bloggers write book reviews?
  5. Choosing books – when reading starts to feel like a chore.
  6. Top ten bad book reviewing habits
  7. What do you NOT write about on your blog?
  8. Did these books live up to the hype?

backtotheclassics2015BUTTONThe Back to the Classics Challenge, hosted by Books and Chocolate, asks you read at least six of the following categories.  I completed books in these six categories:

  1. A 19th Century Classic (Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy)
  2. A 20th Century Classic (We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson)
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author (House of Mirth by Edith Wharton)
  4. A Very Long Classic Novel (The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James)
  5. A Classic Novella (The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  6. A Humorous or Satirical Classic (Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons)

I also continued to work towards my list of 50 classic books for The Classics Club. Some of the books listed here count towards that challenge too.

So how did you do this year on your challenges? And how do you feel about challenges in general? Do they help you read more, or better? Or do they just put stress on something you really want to enjoy?

What will you be signing up for in 2016?

11 thoughts on “2015 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

  1. I love challenges. I try to combine challenges so I don’t feel too pressured. We also like to host challenges and try to do ones that can be combined with TBR challenges. You read some really good books for your challenges so it seemed to have worked out for you 🙂

    • I try to combine challenges too, and I also try not to sign up for things I don’t think I’ll finish. I wish I had more time to participate in your Scavenger Hunt, I think that’s such a fun idea.

  2. I find challenges helpful for getting me a bit more organized and motivated to get into certain books or interests that otherwise always remain on the fringes of my reading. It sounds like you had a very successful year in that regard. I’m especially impressed with your Around the World list; I would like to diversify my reading as well. I enjoyed the Back to the Classics and Discussion challenges so much I’m going to do them again in 2016, and I’m also excited for my own Reading New England challenge. With all of those underway I have plenty on my plate! Looking forward to your selections next year.

    • Thanks Lory! I think if I just redo the challenges I did this year, I’ll also have plenty. I do think it’s important to diversify my reading — otherwise most of what I read would be U.S. and U.K. It would be interesting to look at the racial/ethnic diversity of the authors I read, I’m probably not so good on that front.

  3. Talking to my husband. Walking my dog in the park. Cooking a good meal for friends. And then, if I have time left over, reading a good book slowly so I can slowly savor the words and the story.

  4. Pingback: 2015 in Reading and Blogging: an End of Year Survey | The Book Stop

  5. Oooh, that Book Blog Discussion Challenge looks particularly intriguing.

    Looks like you did a great job meeting all your goals, but I know what you mean about that “reading slump” feeling that can go along with over-committing. I did the TBR Pile Challenge this year, too, and discovered that that sort of challenge just wasn’t as much fun as I expected it should be.

    • I love the TBR Challenge, but I put books on it I really want to read (but need a little nudge to). The Discussion Challenge is great, I think more discussion about blogging is a good thing.

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