Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Creating Reading Challenges for Ourselves

I am always amazed at the reading challenges that bloggers give themselves. We just love an excuse to read more or differently! For years and years, my personal challenge was to meet Mary Lee's yearly goal of reading 52 children's books. And I love to participate in Mother Reader's 48 Hour Challenge each year. I don't join or participate in order to win . Instead, it is a fun way to challenge myself to stretch as a reader and to be part of a larger reading community. They give us a chance to set our own goals.

Last year, I decided to stop keeping a reading log. Bad decision. I really have no idea what I've read and have trouble going back to those books and that thinking. This year, I've decided to join Goodreads as a way to log my reading and as a way to keep up with books and friends' reading. So far, I love it. I was lost this past year without a record or a goal for my own reading. My reading this year was haphazard at best.

After reading about Kristine's challenges at Best Book I Have Not Read, I became interested in this whole idea again. Kristine signed up for the To Be Read Challenge. In this challenge, you pick 12 books that you've been wanting to read for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to. WOW--love this idea! Although I am not officially signing up for the challenge, I think this is a FABULOUS idea. During my recent weeding experience one of the sad thing I noticed was how many books I have intended to read but haven't yet gotten to. So, this challenge makes sense to me. I tweaked it a bit for myself. I decided that the "for 6 months or more" didn't matter to me. Instead, I want to make sure to make time to read those "must-read books" from my 2009 pile. So, I decided on 12--one for each month. Books I really don't want to end up on the bottom of a very, very large pile. I am appalled that I haven't gotten to some of these. But sometimes things get in the way of reading and you end up forgetting about some of the best books out there for a little while. So, my own personal reading challenge--books I haven't given my chance to read this year so I'll read them in 2010.

Adult Reads
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Half-Broken Horses by Jeannette Walls
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Children's Books
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (so upset with myself for letting this one get lost in my next-read pile!)
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork
The Seriel Garden by Joan Aiken
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin (Can you believe I haven't read this one yet?)


  1. Great goal! I am procrastinating myself but plan to read Half-Broken Horses soon. I just need to start.

  2. The plethora of challenges lately has left me feeling unsuccessful. I posted 242 times last year, usually more than one book at a time, so I'm going to try just to keep up with that. I do love to see others working on something, but it's just too January for me right now!

  3. Anonymous8:46 AM

    I have a lot of books in the six-months-or-more pile, too, so I can appreciate this goal you've set yourself!

    I am reading CLAUDETTE COLVIN with my kids at the moment and it has really captured their attention. ANd, for the record, I only just read THE LIGHTENING THIEF last month ... and then because my kids are keen to see the movie and it is coming soon!

    Good luck with all your reading goals.

    All best,
    Loree Griffin Burns

  4. I think we all have our books that we can't believe we didn't read/review yet. I read When I Reach You from an ARC and never got around to reviewing it - until everyone had and there didn't seem to be any point. Ugh!

    You have some great choices there - Grace Lin's and Stork's books top among them. What a great reading list to start 2010!

  5. Your list is inspiring! Thanks for the link--I had no idea it was even taking place and it sounds like a great challenge!

  6. Fun to hear how someone else is approaching all the fun challenges this year. I thought the TBR was a great idea, too!

  7. Great idea, and I love your adult reads. I've wanted to read The Help for quite awhile, but haven't gotten to it. Ditto Phillippa Gregory's book -- love her! I may be raiding your bookshelf when you're done.

    I'm actually amazed at how similar our lists are. Just picked up Claudette Colvin today; trying to read and review it before next Monday.

  8. I hope you like the Serial Garden! I have loved the Armitage stories since I was 8 years old, and so feel rather protective of them.

  9. I really like the To Be Read Challenge -- my shelf of books that I haven't gotten to is absurd. I think I'll work on my list this weekend.

    I started utilizing Goodreads last year and found it really helpful with keeping up with what I read. I love making different categories so that I can do percentages of young adult, adult, nonfiction, etc.

  10. Anonymous9:20 PM

    One of the things I can hardly wait to do is unpack all my books in my new office and reorder my TBR pile and list for this challenge! Thanks!

  11. Anonymous12:28 AM

    Your post got me thinking about how readers/writers constantly set personal challenges for themselves. Every day my friend would book mark the page she wanted to reach – not the one she read – just to make sure she didn’t slack. Myself, I always read several books at once. I figure even if I don’t finish them all, at least I ingested more ideas than if I had just read one to the end.

  12. I just read several of the books on your list, and I liked them all. Maybe I'll some of the others to my TBR pile, since they are in good company.

    (I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and then my 8 year old bought it with his Xmas money because it was due back to the library. And I've read the Riordan, and Marcelo in the Real World.)

  13. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I am going to look up that challenge the TBR one. I haven't fully read tThe Lightening Thief either. Started but didn't finish.

  14. I've gotta read THE HELP already. So many folk keep recommending it.

  15. REading The Help and loving it but I need another snow day to get in deeper. Great goal Franki!

  16. I like the TBR challenge idea... thanks for letting us know about it!

  17. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I always love the idea of the To-Be-Read Challenge, but my giant stack of library books wins out every year. It's gotten to the point where I feel a little weird reading anything that's not library-bound or covered in plastic.... but I swear that this WILL be the year that I finally read some of what's been sitting on my shelf. Good luck in your challenges!

  18. Hi Franki! Love this goal! I just picked up The Help but haven't opened it yet! Keaton begged me to read Lightning Thief so I finally did before the big movie next month....loved it. He read the entire series in 2 weeks...Maty wanted me to ground him from reading because he did NOTHING else! :-) He is totally bummed to be done with it now...he asked me this morning to look on your blog for some new book suggestions...anything?? 3rd grader...loves Spinnelli, Korman, Riordan. I can't keep up with him. Any ideas?

  19. Lisa--I am finally reading The Lightning Thief. I can see why he loves it! Has he tried the Peter and the Star Catcher series or the Charlie Bone series or the Kingdom Keepers series. They are a bit long but he might like them. I hate when a great series/book is over! It is miserable;-)

  20. Well, I'm not one for resolutions for the new year, but this got me thinking that I might need to make one....so many wonderful books but always some that need to be read...and SOON! Thanks for the motivation to get at just one of the piles.


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