In the past I’ve avoided any sort of reading challenge like the proverbial plague as, these days, I like my leisure reading to be flexible and organic (I gave up reading the things I ought to read in 2001 and from that point on have only read things that take my fancy). However, this year my curiosity was piqued and I joined my first challenge: Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge which, at my chosen level, requires me to read 14 books set in different parts of the world. In a fit of challengitis I subsequently and rapidly joined the Audiobook challenge and the Aussie authors challenge.
You can check out all the books I’ve read for each challenge at my challenges page but a quick summary is that I’m well on track to finish them all, with the audio challenge likely to be first finished (I’m currently on book 15 of the required 20 for that one).
So, how do I feel about having introduced this new element to my reading?
I am enjoying the global challenge, to which I’ve added my own requirement that all the books are by new-to-me authors. Only 2 of the 6 books I’ve read so far were from my pre-existing TBR pile so the challenge has prompted me to seek out books I wouldn’t otherwise have read. This is a good thing for my reading (if not for my bank balance). In addition, because a lot of the blogs I subscribe to are also participating in this challenge, I see lots of other people’s posts about their exotic reading and I’ve added quite a few titles to my wishlist. This is both a good thing and a bad thing 🙂
Neither of the other challenges has changed my reading behaviour much or introduced me to a single new book. I admit part of that is my fault because I chose challenges that weren’t very challenging to me (I read a lot of audio books and last year I read 20 books by Aussies so aiming for 8 this year was hardly a stretch). But part of it is also the fact that ‘participation’ for all the challenges essentially equates to adding your list of titles read to everyone else’s list of titles read to create a giant list of random book titles. For me there is nothing at all inviting about these lists and I’m never tempted to click on more than one or two links (probably because I always seem to pick a link that leads to a romance title or something else I’m not remotely interested in). Without much discussion, participation seems to come down to ticking things off a list which hasn’t proven terribly motivating for me.
So I’ve learned that I quite like a challenge that prompts me to read things I might not have sought out without forcing me into reading things I’ve got no interest in. And I’ve also learned that challenges that don’t stretch me at all aren’t my kind of thing.
Are you a challenge joiner? Or is your reading more free-flowing? Are you participating in a challenge that you particularly like? Which one and what do you like about it?