With the new year comes new expectations! New standards for the months ahead! That means reading challenges. I personally love them. All of them. I’ve changed the style of the way I set these challenges for myself over the years. I think it’s a great discussion topic because there’s often some sort of shift when they aren’t completed. Or sometimes they are completed, but the pressure of it sucked all the fun out of it & became stressful instead. But mostly I wanted to get ideas for the different ways we can enhance our reading abilities or experiences in the upcoming year & get some feedback from you guys. So here are some types of challenges I’ve tried.
The Goodreads Challenge is the most popular here. You pick a number of titles you’ll read & try to complete that goal. I’ve heard people get ridiculously stressed when their “on track” status is too far behind.
It’s also problematic because what constitutes as 1 read? What if you read several short stories or comics that year? What if you read a ridiculously long book that took months to complete?
Also, people read at different paces. Just because you’ve read a book quicker, & can therefore fit a higher number of books into a year doesn’t make you a more attentive or better reader.
I’ve been increasing my amount over the past years, but this year I think I’ll still participate, but I set it at 40 so that I don’t feel as pressured.
I like this one. You set certain specific goals for yourself to accomplish whenever you’d like throughout the year. Last year I used the increasingly popular strategy of writing my goals on post its & keeping them in a jar. Some of the examples were A Pulitzer Prize Winner or A Book By Hemingway. I didn’t complete all of them, but the ones I didn’t I can just add to the jar for this year. It also kind of forces you to take those steps since I pick mine out of the jar randomly, I can’t pick & choose which ones I’d like more.
It was a bit problematic because sometimes I just wasn’t in the mood to Read A Sci-Fi Book, but I was trying so rigidly to follow the post it. I think this year I’ll let myself repick a post it after a try or two just so that I can thoroughly enjoy the book, but still accomplish the things I set out to do at the beginning of the year.
The Fuck It:
This is for people who either don’t think challenges are for them, or for people who’ve tried a challenge & became so stressed out that they just said to hell with it & do whatever they damn well please.
I admire these people. This is pretty much my attitude once summertime hits because I can’t be bothered with structure.
The Big One:
You have a giant Moby Dick of a book. Literally & figuratively. You have this one giant book you’ve always wanted to accomplish & this is the year you’re going to do it.
I’ve done this with Infinite Jest when I first read it, also Anna Karenina, but luckily those didn’t take me all year. If I ever get around to Ulysses…then maybe that’ll be another story. Definitely Proust… Proust may take two years..
The Group Reader:
Reading groups or class projects or anything that falls under a shared experience. I love these, but I never stick with them for some reason. I love being able to discuss the book I’m reading with others who are experiencing it for the first time as well. But my tastes change so quickly as far as genre & what not that I tend to fall out of these sorts of things.
The Online Challenger:
These are specific challenges thought up by various internet persons. They have a challenge for literally anything you can think of. Genre challenges, rereading challenges, etc. My personal favorite is the Rory Gilmore Challenge. I will complete this one year…this year is not that year.
& lastly the challenge for those readers who are also writers. Writing! Whether it’s a little every day or you’re a NaNoWriMo fiend, I wish you good luck!
So those are some of the goal oriented reading challenges I’ve set for myself in the past or that I can think of at the moment. Let me know if you participate in any challenges or have any reading related standards you want to accomplish in 2016! Or just your thoughts on these sorts of things in general 🙂
Also for those more interested in my reading jar approach, I’ll be reviewing 2015’s post its on Snapchat & making new ones later tonight! @ReinReads