As I look at the rest of the year, I think there is no statistical way I can finish all my challenges, which makes me sad (at least not unless I suddenly start reading a heck of a lot more, more than I ever have read before.) I'm going to keep striving, but with the books I have to read for my new job at Soho Press, and the fact that when I run across a great book, I can't always stop myself from reading it, and that sometimes I'm just not in the mood for anything on my list, On the plus side, being currently without any book club does free up a few slots on my list.
Basically, I'm going to struggle this year even to hit 100 books. I have been 9 books behind, now I'm six. I think this month with my upcoming vacation, I can catch up a couple more. And I think I will try to do Fifteen in October mini challenge again. But last year to do that challenge I did mostly very short books, and almost none of them are on any of my challenge lists, so they'll only help me on my total 100 books challenge. Also I'm going to continue to read on average 2 Soho books a month.
The main issue is, I don't want any of this feeling like a chore. I don't want to not enjoy this. I like the challenge of doing Reading Challenges, but if they turn into work, they defeat their purpose.
I am at the halfway mark for both the Chunkster and the Reading the Books I Want challenges. But my hardest challenge of all, the Reading the 50 States, which I was planning to finish this year, I've only read 4/14 and those 14 are some of the hardest states. It might seem to make more sense to give myself another year on this challenge, but I've been doing it for 3 years and I really want to complete it. The challenge I think I'm going to choose not to finish is actually the Reading the Books I Want. It's a challenge I made up for myself, and getting in 10 of the 20 books I most wanted to read at the end of last year, seems really excellent. A lot of the books on that list still unread are ones I no longer am dying to read. I'll read a few more, I'm sure, but I really want to finish the 50 States. I have done more research on a couple of the harder states to find books I think I would genuinely enjoy, not just books I'd have to slog through that would fulfill those checkmarks. I'll just have to read 2 books for this challenge every month through the end of the year. I have 48 books left this year. 10 of those will be for this challenge, 8 will be Soho books. If I were to also add in the remaining 3 chunksters and 10 books I want, that's a total of 31 challenge books (but possibly less as some chunksters might fulfill 2 categories.) That only leaves 17 books for me to read on my own of books newly coming out and books long sitting on my shelves. It's not many. That's why I've decided to cut myself this slack.
So I am officially saying I have ranked my reading challenges and I will aim to finish them in this order: 50 States, Chunksters, The Books I Want, and if I don't finish them all, that will be okay. It's not been an easy year and I sometimes need to read feel-good and more stress relieving books. After all, books are supposed to be a good thing, and I need my books right now more than ever, and I need to give myself permission to not complete everything, or else I won't be able to enjoy them and I will actually be less likely to do the reading I need and want to do.