Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reading Challenges

Up until recently I've never taken part in one of the myriad of reading challenges that there are around and about in blogworld.  I have a few reasons for this but the main one is that my life is already crazy-busy as it is with many demands on my time. I run my own blog at Well Read, another review site with Tam, Brief Encounters reviews where we review m/m romance short stories and I also guest review at Reviews by Jessewave and Three Dollar Bill Reviews.  This means I've always got at least two books and 5 short stories a week which I HAVE to read if I'm going to keep up with my blogging commitments.  Crazy, huh?  Just as crazy as some of you out there who run blogs, I expect.  So after all that why would anyone want to then impose further on their reading by taking part in reading challenges? It certainly left me scratching my head.

Until recently.

Something odd happened to me a few weeks ago, which links a little with what Lesley blogged about on Monday. I got bored with reading.  I still kept up my reviewing commitments but when I did get the opportunity to choose something from my own personal TBR pile, all I got was a case of the blahs.  Nothing appealed.  I've got about 300 ebooks on my TBR pile and I didn't fancy reading any of them.  I still wanted to read m/m romance but I think I was just so overwhelmed by the size of the TBR pile, I didn't know where to start.

It was at that point that I noticed my blogging mates Lily and Tam were doing a challenge that Lily had made up called the A-Z Challenge.  This basically entails choosing a book from your TBR pile beginning with A, reading it and posting a short review on your blog, then you move onto B etc.  For some reason this challenge appealed to me - maybe because it's so systematic - and so I decided to give it a go with the added twist that I would choose the book which has been on my TBR pile the longest that began with the right letter.  I began with After Anna by Theda Black and haven't looked back since.

The main benefit for me of taking part in the challenge it that it has rejuvenated my reading. I now look forward to choosing the next book in the challenge and I get a little frustrated when I have all my pesky reviewing reading to do first!  I'm currently up to N - Nikolai by Angelia Sparrow - and really enjoying it.  Another benefit is that I'm shifting the older books from my TBR pile and remembering why I bought them in the first place.  It's all been great fun!

I don't think this means I'm going to start taking part in all the reading challenges out there, but this one certainly worked for me.  How about you? Have you been taking part in a challenge that revitalised your reading, or have you found them to be just another chore or commitment you wish you hadn't decided to take part in?


Tam said...

And I'm the lazy ass who gave it up. LOL I ran out of books for the letters I needed. I should go back and see if I've actually achieved anything more on my alphabet. I think I needed about 8 more obscure letters. I salute you for taking it to heart, I was still wishy washy about it all. :-)

Good luck with finishing it off.

Chris said...

I do really, really poorly on reading challenges - they seem to make me not want to read whatever the challenge is about.

But congrats to you on doing so well with this one!

Jenre said...

Tam: I thought you'd finished it!
I'm only half way through at the moment, partly because I had to take a break when I was doing the marking.

Chris: Yeah, that can happen sometimes, you just switch off and get entrenched :).

Tam said...

I just checked and since May 1, when I last posted I have not read ONE book with the letters I need. Sigh. I'll have to check BER.

But I need: N, O, Q, R, V, Y, Z

Sheesh, you'd think N and R would be easy. Apparently not.

Lily said...

I really enjoy doing the challenges. Last year I participated in quite a few. This year I did my A-Z by title and author and now I'm doing another one on GRs.

I think it's cause my OCD side loves making lists and keeping track of them. :)

Jenre said...

Tam: I think N is a bit of an odd letter to begin a title. I only had two books on my pile with that letter at the start.

Lily: Yes, I can see how liking lists can link well to reading challenges! I'm really enjoying the A-Z one so thanks for making it up :).

Aurian said...

Well, how about some Nora Roberts? That sure takes care of 2 of your letters.

I really dislike reading challenges myself, having to read something I am not in the mood for at that particulair moment. The only reading challenge I have given myself recently is: I have to read at least 1 book a month that has been on my shelves for over two years. And so far, so good. Have discovered some old goodies that way.

Jenre said...

Hi Aurian
I'm starting with book title first so Nora's no good until I move onto name of author :).

That sounds like a good reading challenge you've got going. I think it's nice to be able to dig out something really old from the pile and remind yourself why you bought it in the first place.

LesleyW said...

And I'm sitting at my computer going Yes! Yes! You see! It isn't just me. Lol.

I'm still in the blahs but feeling more optimistic about getting out of them now.

And I have two reading challenges on the go, but I'm not really that focussed on either of them. Maybe I'll make more of an effort in the second half of the year.

Jenre said...

It's nice to know you're not alone, isn't it Lesley? :).

Hope the reading challenges go well for the rest of the year.

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