The (reading) challenge of (Shelf) Discovery, and the Readathon Event Survey

I’m starting to understand how book bloggers get pulled into these reading challenges, although I’ve held out against them pretty well. I’ve only signed up for two so far, and they’ve both been targeted at trying to thin the TBR herd.

But here comes another that will not only add to the stacks – it’s going to add books that I’ve already read! Granted, I last read them over 25 years ago, but it will be the first time I’ll have to get books specifically for a reading challenge. I’m not sure exactly what I’m thinking here…except that I can’t resist this one! I suspect the seeds were already planted, and the challenge is just giving me an excuse to work in the garden (not the best analogy, but it will have to do for now).

Julie of Booking Mama is hosting her first reading challenge: The Shelf Discovery Challenge! This six-month challenge starts on November 1, and is inspired by Lizzie Skurnick’s “reading memoir” of young-adult literary classics, which I reviewed in September and truly enjoyed. It reminded me about so many old favorites, and mentioned quite a few books that I somehow managed to miss, too – and so, as I said, the seeds were planted for revisiting the YA of my day. Julie’s challenge is providing the Miracle-Gro. (I have a black thumb and therefore don’t garden in real life, so once again, another lame analogy.) Once I link this post at her announcement post, I’ll be officially signed up! (If you don’t have a blog, you don’t have to miss out; just leave a comment on that post to let Julie know you’re in!)

Here’s what the challenge requires:

Grab the challenge button at the top of (the announcement post) page and write a post detailing what six Shelf Discovery books you are going to read within the next six months (you always have the option to change your original list).

On November 1st, 2009, Julie will place a Shelf Discovery Challenge button in the upper right hand corner of her blog. When you click on this button, you will see a post where all the participants are listed as well as the links to their Shelf Discovery updates and “book reports.” So, every time you have a post relating to the Shelf Discovery Challenge (with the exception of your first sign-up post) you should leave a comment there with a link to your post.

It’s very tempting – and very easy, to be honest – to make all six of my picks re-reads, but I feel like I should choose a couple of books that I missed during my own YA years. The list may change, since changes are allowed, but here’s what I’m starting out with (new-to-me books are *’d):
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle (I still have a copy of this!)
The Arm of the Starfish, Madeleine L’Engle
The Moon by Night, Madeleine L’Engle
Forever, Judy Blume
Jacob I Have Loved, by Katherine Paterson*
Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell* (to be borrowed from my sister)
Yes, I know it’s a bit heavy on Madeleine L’Engle, but given that she’s an all-time favorite author of mine, I can’t pass up the chance to re-visit Meg, Polly, and Vicky, L’Engle’s “holy trinity” of teen heroines. And I’m really curious to see what my adult perspective brings to re-reading Forever…
It’s not too late to make some “shelf discoveries” of your own – sign up for Julie’s challenge!


End of Event Survey for the 24-hour Readathon

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hours 9 and 10 were a bit difficult, as I hit a mid-afternoon lull, but some coffee and The Hunger Games kept me in the game. I hit the wall ten hours later, though – despite desperately wanting to finish Catching Fire, I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more, and bailed at the beginning of Hour 21 (1 AM Pacific time).

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

The two I just mentioned are ideal Readathon material, actually, but so many people have already read them by now. Hopefully by this time next year, the last book in the trilogy will be out too!

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not really. I know a few things I’d do differently for myself, but I think that it was really well organized and run.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The cheerleaders did a fantastic job!

5. How many books did you read?

I finished two books (I was already 60 pages into my first one) and got about 3/4 of the way through a third.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

8. Which did you enjoy least?

I liked them all!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?


10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’m not sure at this point. I got a lot of reading done, which I loved, but didn’t do so much on the blogging/commenting side, which is probably why I totally forgot about the mini-challenges! I think I might be an official cheerleader for a couple of hours the next time, and an “unofficial” reader, but I’m not making any decisions yet.

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  1. I'm so glad you're doing the Shelf Discovery Challenge because I'm excited about it. I bought Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. this weekend to get me started. Good luck with the challenge.

  2. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – I almost wish I'd had to think about this one a little longer, but it was very easy to decide to join :-). I'm really glad Julie came up with it!

  3. Yay! I'm so happy you "caved." I think we're going to have so much fun. I still haven't picked my six books yet — it's just too hard!

  4. Oh why to you tempt me so? My chance to revisit Lois Duncan and L'Engle! I've actually saved a lot of these books from storage boxes or bought new copies because I wanted Daniel to read them. It's just…I suck at challenges. I'll have to mull this over.

  5. Julie – Thanks so much for hosting the challenge and giving me an excuse to revisit my aimless youth, most of which I spent buried in books :-)! And yes, it's very hard to narrow down the list.

    Lenore – I hope you decide to jump in! I don't think this will be a "challenging" challenge at all, since you can read books you already know you love :-).

  6. Ooo I have to write my post. You have two of my all time favorites (A Wrinkle in Time and Island of the blue Dolphin) on the list. Hooray!

  7. Sounds like a very fun challenge, and one I would like to join myself, and I also know which books I would pick, but they'd all be in Danish, and I guess that is not really a lot of fun for the other readers πŸ™‚

  8. I have been eyeing this challenge for almost as long as Julie has had it posted. I should probably pull my copy of Shelf Discovery and just dive in although I think I want to read things that I haven't read and might have hanging around the house in my daughter's stacks.

    Glad you enjoyed the read-a-thon. I had a good time cheerleading and was sorry we had so many commitments that day, making it impossible to do more.

  9. Pam – I'll look forward to seeing what makes your list for the challenge!

    Louise – I think the books for the challenge all have to be mentioned in Shelf Discovery, but maybe you could do your own Danish version of it?

    Kristen – I thought about reading more books for the challenge that I hadn't read the first time around, but having already read Shelf Discovery, I know WHY I skipped some of them – and would still want to :-).

  10. How many hours did you last? I noticed you went to bed before I got up for work Sunday, but you seemed to have held out longer than I would have. Good job!

  11. Mike – I lasted about 20 hours all together. I was a little disappointed when I needed to quit and get some sleep, because at that point I was more interested in finishing my book than concerned about the time, and I didn't manage that. Still, I figured I'd bail by 10:30 and I lasted til 1 AM, so go me :-)!

  12. Michelle – I wasn't sure I'd even last that long! But I really did want to finish Catching Fire during the Readathon, so that was a little disappointing.