2010 Reading Challenges – Already?!

Seriously, where has this year gone?! It’s like I woke up and it’s November already. I’ve been watching new challenge information come through on my Google Reader as well as through the ANovelChallenge Yahoo group. I can’t believe that its here already. 2008 was my first year doing challenges, and I went a little crazy with them. It got to the point where I was having to choose my books in order to fit certain requirements just to finish challenges. In 2009 I backed off somewhat and managed to sign up only for the challenges that I knew I would have no problem fulfilling (although I’m not going to make 100 books read for the 100+ Reading Challenge that J. Kaye hosts).

So I’ve been thinking about how I want to address 2010. I know that a lot of different bloggers out there have been posting about needing to make some changes in regards to challenges and their reading. I have been considering this a lot lately as well and feel that I need to do some things differently too. I have been receiving some emails about getting more books to review. I have been very selective from the beginning as to what books to even accept for review. So luckily, I only have a backlog of three right now. (And two of them I have had forever and they need to get read, now!) So I don’t feel as if I need to change anything in regards to review books, but it’s really the challenges that are going to need to change. A few months back I kind of “gave up” on my challenges. Not necessarily gave up, but just kind of let myself relax in regards to them so that I could read what I wanted to! Now there’s a shocker in the book blogosphere! So when I begin to think about the 2010 reading challenges that are starting to pop up everywhere, I realize that I’m probably only going to be interested in a select few.

I don’t think that you will see me signing up for a lot of challenges in 2010. And what you do see me sign up for, I think, will be pretty open challenges. By this I mean that I’m not going to be signing up for challenges like the “What’s in a Name” challenge where you have to choose books based on certain criteria (I’m STILL having trouble coming up with a book whose title has a building in it!). You will probably see me gravitating a little more towards challenges that are rather open ended and are more geared towards getting these books off of my shelves. I have an amazing amount of books that I have on my TBR MOUNTAIN! Here in the last few weeks I have been going through my books and really weeding them out. I posted probably 25 books on PBS and Frugal Reader that were from my TBR pile but that just weren’t that interesting to me. And trust me: Life is too short to read bad books! So I will probably want to sign up for challenges more like the 100+ Reading Challenge as well as ones like the Random Reading Challenge and the Read Your Own Books Challenge. Now, the question becomes, will these challenges be hosted again? I really don’t know yet, I haven’t done enough research. I’m pretty sure J. Kaye is hosting 100+ again. And the Random challenge runs into 2010. The RYOB challenge, I could do that one on my own (although it’s not as easy to do I find, lol).

But there are also other things that I am wanting to do with my reading. First of all, I was a history major in college. And I have noticed that since I graduated college in 2007, I really haven’t done much reading in terms of historical books. At first I was simply burned out on history, but now I want to get into history a little bit more. I would like to start reading about the Presidents for one. I have seen perpetual challenges out there where you read a book on every President. That’s something I would like to get into. I also enjoy true crime, I’ve let that fall by the wayside as well. There are just numerous directions that I can go in terms of my reading. But I think that the main thing that I want to get back into (and this is a theme that I have seen on a lot of other blogs as well) the actual spontaneity of reading! I want to just be able to go upstairs and choose a book and not have to worry if it’s going to fulfill a challenge requirement because I need to finish such-and-such challenge before such-and-such date. I want to get back into reading for fun. I have noticed myself slumping something awful this year. Maybe it was because 2008 was such a prolific year for me, maybe it was because of the challenges and their requirements, maybe it was because we bought a house and got a dog. I really don’t know. I probably will never know. But the fact of the matter is that I need to get back into enjoying reading and enjoying what I’m reading.

Another thing that I have been incredibly guilty of this year is suffering through books that I simply hate. Just yesterday I put down a book that I was 43 pages into because I hadn’t paid a bit of attention to it because I simply did not like where it was going. I didn’t want to take half of the month of November to get through that book, which is exactly what I would have done. So I did what I always said I would not do: I put it down. I gave up. I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. If a book doesn’t grab me in at least the first 20 chapters, it probably won’t ever grab me. Why waste my time reading it? Why have to write a mediocre review at best? Why have to suffer through it when I have what seems like a gazillion other books up on my shelves?

2010, for me, is really going to be a year that I get back into reading. I’m going to read what I want, when I want to. I’m going to read what interests me. I’m going to read what entertains me. I’m going to read what spooks me out a little bit. And I’m going to enjoy every bit of it. Will I miss the structure of book challenges? Probably. Will it kill me? Not really; they’ll still be around in 2011 (I hope!). This is just something that I need to do for myself because I really want to get back into the spontaneity and enjoyment of reading.

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