Reading challenges: Do you host or join in any? What is your success rate on completing them? Do they keep your reading goals on track, put too many restrictions/pressure on you? What do you think makes for a successful reading challenge?
Wow, that’s a lot of questions.
No, I’ve never hosted a reading challenge, and whether I join in I guess depends on how you define “reading challenge.” For the past several years I’ve been a member of a group on Goodreads with the goal of reading 75 books a year, and I’ve met my goal every year (though one year was a lot closer than I would’ve liked).
But as for reading challenges like an A-Z Challenge (titles or authors’ names starting with each letter of the alphabet) or an Around the World Challenge (books that take place in a set number of different countries), no, I’ve never felt the draw to join anything like that. I completely appreciate the idea of pushing outside your comfort zone and broadening your literary horizons, but it’s just not for me, at least not right now.
Now, challenges that focus on reading a set number of books that are already on your list… those I can get on board with. Something like a Classics Challenge or a Chunkster Challenge, if you already have books that fit on your TBR and you just need a push to actually read them, joining a challenge is a great way to do it. (Or, obviously, a TBR Challenge… which unfortunately doesn’t really work for me since those are usually about reading books you already own, but if I had a physical TBR pile, I’d definitely be participating in something like this.)
The thing is, there are already so many books I want to read, anything that adds to that list rather than helping me get through it just doesn’t appeal to me. Taking it back to the questions in the prompt, a strictly numbers-based challenge helps keep me on track, while a lot of the other challenges would feel too much like restriction and pressure to read something that I might not really want to.
I think any successful reading challenge needs to result in having fun. Reading, and more importantly, enjoying what you’re reading, should always be the goal. And the more restrictive challenges should definitely include participation levels low enough for those people who might want to get outside their comfort zone without taking away from their existing TBR.
Still, I think one of my favorite “challenges” I’ve come across is sj’s Year of Reading Whatever the F*ck I Want… although I might be biassed since that’s what every year is for me.
Sometimes I do get the “challenge bug” if you want to call it that, especially at the end/beginning of the year as I see everyone signing up for new ones. But the thought of adding more books, that I may or may not be all that excited about, to my already-growing-faster-than-I-can-keep-up-with TBR… like I said, I appreciate the broadening horizons thing. But right now, I just kinda like reading whatever the f*ck I want.
On a side note, I’ve now done a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday (sort-of), and a Thursday meme. Here’s another mini-confession for you: I have mixed feelings about memes. I think they can be fun, but I also think they can get old, so… while I might do one when a particular topic jumps out at me (or if it lines up with what I was planning to write that week anyway), I don’t anticipate them ever being more than an occasional thing here.
What are your feelings on memes and reading challenges?