Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reading Challenges 2011

My 2010 Challenges either were no challenge at all to me - I needed to read 4 and I read over 20 for some of them - or else they stressed me out. I had never done any reading challenges before, so this was an experiment for me to see how they affected me. I don't like being told what to do so I worried I would have trouble with all of them but that didn't happen. The ones that have been problematic were not the ones I would have predicted at all. That was interesting. I thought I'd have trouble with Art History, but I was done before the year was half over. I thought I'd have no trouble with Australian and YA but I am still worrying over them down to the wire.

So I had decided not to do any Challenges next year. Except that I want to finally get around to rereading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I wish the Shelf Discovery Challenge would come back in 2011.) And I did like the Chunkster challenge - I like getting credit for huge books since they do slow me down after all. And next year I want to read not just 100 books - but 100 books without counting the rereads.

And then I saw the Southern Literature Challenge from The Introverted Reader. I really, really wanted to do a Southern Lit Challenge last year but there wasn't one. So I only read 2 Southern books when I certainly could have read more. I'm from Tennessee. And I love Southern Lit! I'm going to sign up for the top level, Level 4--Y'all come back now, y'hear! Read 4 books. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. I've saved some good ones. Here are a few at the top of my list:
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
Bloodroot by Amy Greene
Smonk: A Novel by Tom Franklin
The Wide Smiles of Girls by Jennifer Manske Fenske
Serena by Ron Rash
Bitter in the Mouth: A Novel by Monique Truong
The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips
I'll have fun choosing amongst these (and many more)!

So I'm also officially doing the Chunkster. In 2010 I signed up for 4 but I actually read 9 Chunksters (with another one as my January book club selection.) , so for 2011 I'm signing up for Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to 6 or more chunksters OR three tomes of 750 pages or more. I recently got both Shogun and Lonesome Dove so those are on the short list for 2011, along with Guns, Germs, and Steel which my boyfriend has been bugging me to read forever. This challenge doesn't start until Feb. 1.

And in 2011 I want to finaly really read 100 books, not including rereads. I just hope this doesn't burn me out! So that's the 100+ Reading Challenge.

And since I'm unemployed AND trying to get these piles of books off the floor in my living room,I am also signing up for 2011 Reading from My Shelves Project. It's Jan 1-Dec. 12, you set your goal but the minimum is 12, and the main part of the challenge is: Read books from your own shelves, and then pass the books on to someone else: a friend, relative, the library, used book store, swap them, just as long as the book leaves your house once it has been read. I already get rid of books once I read them. But only 7 books that I read this last year are books that I owned at least 6 months or more before. All the rest were new acquisitions last year (or late 2009). So I think 12 might be a stretch already as it'll be a doubling of 2010. But I think I should aim higher, so I'm going to set my goal as 20. Which sadly, will only get rid of one of the piles, not both. Sigh. But I think 40 would be overly ambitious.

That's it! I'm not going to sign up for the easy for me ones that I bested by many times over. It was a lot to keep track of, and I don't feel like it really improved my reading selections much. My natural resentment at being told what to do sometimes worked against me. For people who love lists, who are encouraged by checking things off, or who have a tendancy to get off track or read books they think are too lightweight, challenges might be a great thing. But that's just not me. We'll see how I feel 12 months from now, but I'm pretty happy with these decisions!


Melissa said...

Oh, my ... I didn't know about the Southern Lit Challenge! I'm in.

And I think I'll wind up doing the Chunkster Challenge too, as there are several such books on my list.

Sigh. :)

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

As someone who just finished Lonesome Dove, I highly recommend it for the Chunkster challenge!

Jeane said...

You're like me. I had decided not to do any challenges for 2011, but then I signed up for the TBR Dare and now I'm thinking of several others I can fit in with it....

Anonymous said...

I must admit I have been scared to do a challenge but looking over the southern Literature list - there are several on there that I already plan to read next year. And I was surprised at how many "clunkers" on the list I have already read. I just never thought of them as long books. Interesting, I shall have to mull this around.

Great post.

Eva said...

I want to read more Southern lit next year too! :)

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I was so happy to see that you joined this challenge. It really helped me a lot in 2010. Happy New Year!

Jen at Introverted Reader said...

Thanks for signing up for my challenge! Like you, I can resent feeling like I have to read something, so I kept my expectations low.

It's been years since I read Cold Sassy Tree, but I remember enjoying it. Serena is something else. It's a good book, but, my gosh, I loathed that woman. I have vague plans of reading Bloodroot as well. We'll see if I get to it!

Good luck with this and your other challenges!