Weekly Geeks #9: Challenging…

I haven’t exactly been a “weekly” geek lately, but I’m back in for this week’s theme, “Challenges.” Dewey says:

1. If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

2. If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one! There’s a good selection of possibilities over on my right hand sidebar (scroll down) where I list those I participate in. There’s also A Novel Challenge, a blog that keeps track of all sorts of reading challenges.

3. Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about getting your challenges organized OR if you’re joining your first challenge, post about that any time during the week. Once you have your post up, come back and sign Mr Linky with the link to the specific post, not just to your blog.

I have stayed away from the reading challenges that so many book blogger eat up, largely because my TBR stack is a challenge all on its own, mostly comprised of books I’ve bought for no particular reason. As it happens, I’m apparently not the only one with that problem, since there’s an annual TBR Challenge that makes it official; and I would have thought seriously about joining that one, but it was closed for 2008 by the time I found out about it (maybe next year…). There’s also what I’ll call the “book club factor” – the structure and scheduling of reading, as opposed to letting book choices be dictated by factors like mood, whim, or recommendation. I’m also gradually getting (and accepting) more offers of review books, which I feel carry a responsibility for reasonably timely reading and posting. It comes down to having only so many hours available for reading in the first place, and when much of it gets devoted to “required” reading – even it it’s a fun requirement – that doesn’t leave a lot of room for discretionary book choices.

I realize that I could join challenges that would push me to read books I already have – in a way, I suppose that’s probably one goal of all the challenges out there – but again, there’s the structure thing. What if I don’t feel like reading those 5 books I committed to in that specific time period? (Yes, I know some challenges even let you pick alternates, which should address that particular issue…) What if I just don’t have enough time? What if I want to get some new books anyway, and read them instead?

I did participate in MaryP‘s Book Binge during May, and I guess that was technically a “challenge,” since it did have some rules and a time frame for completion, but it didn’t require an upfront commitment to specific books, so I didn’t actually count it as a reading challenge. In any case, that ended on May 31, so I’m not currently participating in any challenges, and therefore, item #1 of this Weekly Geeks assignment clearly doesn’t apply to me, so I guess I have to move on #2.

Just in time for this assignment, Mrs S at Blue Archipelpago has announced her July Book Blowout, which works in much the same way that Book Binge did, so I’m going to sign up for that challenge. Follow the link to join in, but in case you want a quick look at the rules first, here you go:

How do I join in the fun?

  • You can sign up any time between June 25 and July 14
  • To join you need to post about the Book Blowout on your blog – and set yourself a target number of books you will try to read

  • Use the Mr Linky on the announcement post to link to that post so we can all see how many books you’re taking on in the Blowout

  • Post a list of the books you managed to read by the deadline of August 7 to complete the challenge

What rules do I need to know?

  • Only books read between July 1 and July 31 count towards the challenge

  • You can include re-reads – as long as they are read within the month of July

  • Books you abandon will only count as half a book

  • If you read to your children you can include all books which have more than 100 pages

  • You can include up to two graphic novels

  • You can include up to two audio books – (if you have a visual impairment that prevents you from reading then you can use just audio books for the challenge)

  • Books you read for other challenges are eligible – use this as an opportunity to catch up!

Looking at the Big Stack O’ Books on the table next to my reading chair, I know I need to get to one book for my next Book Club meeting on July 11, and I have three review books in there as well that I should give priority. Taking all that into account, I’ll set 6 books as my Book Blowout goal.

It turns out that there’s a challenge out there for the challenge-challenged, and I think that’s the one for me; in fact, you don’t even officially have to sign up for the Just4thehelluvit Challenge. I may just go ahead and count the book I’m currently reading toward that one, since I don’t have to make a list and commit to it either.

So, do you find reading challenges a challenge in themselves, or do you just love a challenge?

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  1. Even though if you look at my blog, and see how many challenges in which I’m involved, for the most part I’ve tried to pick out books that I already own and want to get to read. Personally, I think reading just for reading’s sake, to see how many you can tally up, without getting anything out of it, isn’t a good thing.

    Of course, that said, you’ll get to my blog and see I’m keeping track of my “tallies” per reading challenge. But I’ve seen some (and I won’t mention any names lest I offend them) who go more than a little crazy with the challenges.

  2. Justareadingfool – I do the same as you – sign up for challenges that include books I already have in my TBR or wish list – though I have thrown in one – the Classics challenge – to make me dust off the classics in the attic that I really didn’t want to read 🙂

    Florinda – welcome aboard the Book Blowout – it’s going to be a fun month – and I’m glad to see you have set yourself a target 🙂

  3. JaRF – I think part of it for me is that I’m not especially goal-driven, and I don’t feel that I need a special incentive to read. I also have a contrary streak that makes me reluctant to do things I feel I “have” to do sometimes, and I don’t want reading to be on that list :-). Like you, I don’t really see the point of reading for the sake of the “numbers,” either.

    Mrs S – It’s a target; not too ambitious, probably realistic. We’ll see what happens. Then again, reading’s not about the “numbers,” is it :-)?

  4. Oh no. You’re not going to get me to sign up for one of those again so I can look stupid. 🙂

    Good luck. You should be able to read that many with no problem.

  5. Mike – Oh, come on! You can read another 700-page book and count it as three :-D! But really, no pressure.

    I may or may not make it through 6 books – depends on what else goes on during the month.

  6. Have fun with your July Book Blowout.
    I always choose books from my TBR for the challenges and I found out last year that I don’t do well with a fixed list. So now I join flexible ones (most of them are) and don’t restrict myself to the list I started with, that way if something else comes along or my mood leads me to other books, but they still fit the challenge criteria, then it’s all good. 🙂

  7. Tanabata – Thanks! I’m already behind schedule, though…still finishing my last book from June.

    I have noticed that some challenges are pretty flexible, and I’m sure I could join in with books that I already have in TBR – heaven knows there are plenty! – but I think part of why I don’t really do them is that I have so much structure in other parts of my life that I like my reading to be more mood-driven. Or something :-).

  8. “It comes down to having only so many hours available for reading in the first place, and when much of it gets devoted to “required” reading – even it it’s a fun requirement – that doesn’t leave a lot of room for discretionary book choices.”

    Exactly why I hesitate to join challenges as well!

  9. Rebecca – Very much so. I’m not off to a particularly good start with the challenge I actually did sign up for, either. I have a couple of big work projects right now, but it’s mostly blogging’s fault that I have less time for books these days.