I joined Goodreads late in 2010, and loved the way it allowed me to organize my past, current, and future reading activities, as well as the social aspects of the site.
During 2011 I noticed that other members of the site were in a reading challenge where they set a goal to read a certain number of books during the year. I decided to participate in 2012, and set myself a goal of reading 50 books. My sister said that wasn’t a realistic goal, and she turned out to be right. About halfway through the year, I was so far behind schedule that I reduced my goal to 25. I ended up making it to 32.
In 2013, I increased my goal to 40, and read 42. Last year I kept it at 40, and barely squeaked through. I did manage to finish I Know This Much Is True on New Year’s Eve. (Who needs a party?) I’d started it on December 3rd, but at nearly 900 pages, it wasn’t exactly a quick read.
In case I wasn’t able to wrap it up that night, I read The Man with the Violin during the afternoon to ensure I reached my 40-book target. You might think that counting a 32-page picture book is cheating, but as winner of the TD Children’s Literature Prize for 2014, it counts. By the way, if you haven’t heard, the author, Kathy Stinson, is my amazing sister, who knew I wouldn’t read 50 books in a year.
Kathy has also said that it’s pointless to have a target number of books to read, probably because it doesn’t account for the fact that a 30-page picture book is not an equal challenge to reading a 1000-page novel. She suggested that targeting a number of hours would be far more meaningful. However, since it’s easier to let Goodreads keep track for me, I’m going to stick with my goal of 40 books again this year.
A few months ago, I stumbled upon a blog called The Introverted Reader. Jen, who is the blogger behind it, hosts and participates in a number of different reading challenges with interesting themes such as Books in Translation, Immigrant Stories, and Banned Books. I was tempted to sign up, but hadn’t actually taken the time to find out what was involved.
In the meantime, I spotted this in my Twitter feed:
— Julie Bestry, CPO® (@ProfOrganizer) January 2, 2015
I checked it out, and it’s so fantastic I decided right away to do it.
It’s very simple: read 12 books in 12 different categories in 12 months. But the categories aren’t connected at all to specific genres; they’re far more interesting. The first category is a book you’ve been meaning to read, and I’m going to finally get to The Happiness Project! Of course, with topics this broad, you can choose just about anything; it’s really just about having some structure. And I do like structure!
Do you take part in any reading challenges? I’d love to hear about it!