20 June 2009

Weekly Geeks: 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?"

As we pass the halfway point of 2009, how are you doing with your reading challenges? Did you participate in any challenges this year?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately; although not necessarily for the reasons listed. First, I love the reading challenges. I love completing them, and that is where my problem comes in. I sign-up for the challenge, look at my list for that challenge, and start reading. The problem is stopping. I'm having difficulty picking up books that aren't part of a challenge; I'm reading way too fast because I want to finish.

For example, in the past two and a half months, I have joined five challenges. The most difficult, The Chunkster Challenge, calls for books over 450 pages in length and no YAL. I have already read three books for this challenge. The What's in a Name Challenge - 4 books done. Dream King Challenge - 4 books and 2 movies. Technically, I'm done with The Chunkster Challenge, and I only have two books left for What's in a Name. And I have until the end of the YEAR to finish these challenges. It's ridiculous!

My other problem is that this is not the way I'm used to choosing books. Typically, what I read is the result of randomness, not planning. I pick a book off my shelves on a whim. It may be one I've never read or one I've read 20 times. But now, with reading challenges, I feel like I have to be more structured, like I have to read a book off my challenges lists.

All of this is very odd as I'm generally not a goal-oriented person. I don't make timelines for projects at work or lists of what to do on my day off. I'm perfectly happy starting something and not finishing it because something else came up. I wouldn't exactly call myself "flighty" but well, yeah, I can be flighty....easily distracted....ummm, refreshingly spontaneous and laid back!

For some reason, though, these reading challenges cause a great desire to finish within me. I really like adding the "strike" tags. If I don't slow down though, I'm going to burn out. So I'm going to take a deep breath, relax, and remember that the world won't end if I don't finish each of my challenges in record time.


  1. I never let a challenge determine what to read. Well, at first I choose the books according to the challenge, of course, but if my focus changes then the challenge takes a backseat.
    I just saw the link to the Sookie challenge. I might join that one, I still have two books to read and it might be nice to start from the beginning again.
    Happy weekend!

  2. You can come and read for me instead... I'm slogging through 10 challenges and have only come close to finishing two of them. Here is my post.

  3. I have the opposite problem. I join challenges that sound awesome, then defiantly don't read the books for them.
    Happy Weekly Geeks :)

  4. "The problem is stopping. I'm having difficulty picking up books that aren't part of a challenge; I'm reading way too fast because I want to finish."
    I know what you mean I do the same thing.
    Here is my link, http://trinsnook.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-you-enjoy-challenge.html

  5. I'm with ya! I also like adding 'strike tags' :))

    I'll have to write my own post about why I join challenges -- or think of my own :)

  6. I too agree with Maree. I have trouble completing them.
    Good for you though. Almost done with you challenges. Very envious!

  7. Hi!
    My problem is I want to join every challenge out there, then I get frustrated because I can't finish them. Have a great day!


  8. It's great to see so many others out there with the same problems as me. And did you notice that I joined yet another challenge?!?!?! The A-Z Challenge; although all of my other challenge books seem to be working just fine for it.

  9. Challenges are tricky things. On the one hand I like not having to think, "what do I read next?" and then go through a few books before I settle on one like I did before challenges. BUT, after two years of reading challenges, I'm tired of the strict structure as well. For me, the solution is to leave enough wiggle room that I can also read what I want in between challenge books. And the other trick is--if you don't finish the challenge, it isn't the end of the world. :) Took me two years and over 20 challenges to accept that one!

  10. Trish - I keep telling myself that not finishing is no big deal, but eh, it makes me shudder a bit. :) It's the same feeling for me as giving up on a book. It took 20 years for me to realize that I don't have to finish the book.


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