Sunday Salon 12/20: Challenging, planning, and bookmarking

The Sunday

A few weeks ago, Jennifer at The Literate Housewife Review brought up the idea of “Reading Deliberately.” It’s a concept I find intriguing, and one that’s gotten a lot of other book bloggers thinking and talking too.

Part of “reading deliberately” seems to be ceasing to accept review books, or becoming much more selective about the books we’ll accept. I started to cut back on review books several months ago, and haven’t regretted it – especially when I look at the row of still-unread review copies on my shelf! Aside from entering LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers book raffles and hosting some blog tours for my friends at TLC Book Tours, I don’t plan to step up my acceptance of review books from other sources in the coming year. While one of the perks of review books is the “conversation” angle – when you’re not the only one reading something at a given time, chances are better that you might get some comments about it – I guess I’ll just have to take my chances that people will be interested in talking about my books with me anyway.

After resisting reading challenges for awhile, I tried a couple this year, and am already signed up for two that will continue into 2010. I think I’m beginning to understand how they really CAN be helpful in working one’s way through TBR-land in a focused manner. I’m signing up for the Read Your Own Books Challenge again in 2010, committing to 20 books, which was also my 2009 goal (and accomplishment!). Most of the books I’ve chosen for the Women Unbound Challenge will come from the RYOB pool, so I’ll get two challenge credits in one for those!
My idea of “reading deliberately” means that I have a tentative reading plan/pattern going into the new year: challenge book, review book, personal-choice book, and then back around again. We’ll see how it works out.
Here’s a challenge that I won’t officially join, but one that a few of my own books would probably qualify for: the Bibliophilic Books Challenge, hosted at A Life in Books, and themed to reading about reading. Another one that could be partly filled with books from my TBR stack: My Friend Amy‘s six-month Beth Kephart Reading Challenge. I’m not committing to that one either (yet), but I do like Beth, so it’s very tempting… However, I have joined Amy‘s Buy One Book and Read It Challenge again; she’s even got options involving buying 6 or 12 books this year! Frankly, I’ll probably accomplish the “buying” part a lot sooner than I do the “reading” part, but the challenge lasts for the full year.

**** I know it’s early to mention this, but I’m already excited about it: it looks like I’ll be able to get my husband to go to an author event with me in April! Christopher Moore’s brief bookstore tour for the upcoming publication of Bite Me is scheduled to bring him to Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Friday, April 9, at 7 PM. We’ve already marked the calendar. Lamb was the first book I ever loaned to Tall Paul, back in the first couple of months we were dating, and Christopher Moore quickly became one of his very favorite authors – I’m glad this will be his first reading/signing event! I realize it’s a few months off, but if you’re a fellow SoCal Moore fan and want to meet up there, let me know (I’m not sure Softdrink will ever forgive him for Fool)!

BOOKMARKS: Reading-related Reading

The Book Bloggers’ Top 10 Voting Booth is open, and will remain so until December 29 – go and make your preferences known! The candidates for book bloggers’ favorite books of 2009 were collected from Weekly Geeks participants, but voting is open to all!

Question: is it easier to talk about books than about reading? Maybe not.

When it comes to e-book readers, Jenn probably won’t be recommending Sony’s any more (if this seems familiar, it’s probably because I also included this link in the Weekend Review post on Friday)

Here’s a book you’ll only put on your TBR list if you absolutely have to

As my Google Reader overflows with book-bloggers’ challenge-signup posts, some will choose to refuse. Speaking of refusal: does not wanting to read Christmas-themed books make you a Grinch? Then again, some families have a holiday-reading tradition

I’m a LibraryThing loyalist, but it’s still good to see this about the growth of GoodReads

I’ll be posting a special edition of Bookkeeping: The Reading Status Report later this week, in connection with my “Books of the Year” picks, so please check back for that! But if you haven’t seem my “Books of the Decade” yet – I posted those on Thursday – I’d love to get your take on those.

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  1. I like the idea of deliberate reading. I classify my reading as spontaneous slow reading. Not that I physically read slowly but that I allow myself to read relaxed. I sign up for a few challenges to help me to guide my reading in certain directions but I have yet to actually complete a challenge. Enjoy your reading!

  2. Late Summer 2009, after blogging for only 6 months I had to stop accepting books from everyone. I wasn't enjoying reading anymore – and more importantly… how does one write a positive review about a book genre they have NO interest in?

    I only read 2-3 books a month… looking at 50+ books only creates stress (for me anyway).

    I can't wait to see how the book blogging community changes in 2010 as everyone get in a groove. That said, I do not blog to blog – my focus is on my two book clubs so I might have a different viewpoint.

    Can't wait to watch this discussion unfold.

    ps: I am also signing up for the RYOB challenge.

    Thanks for everything you do!!

  3. I've been seeing posts pop up recently about "Reading Deliberately". Not sure how I feel about it as I don't have a good handle on what exactly it means, other than setting reading goals, something I'm avoiding this next year with a couple of exceptions. Like I told Carrie from Books and Movies, I guess you could say I'm deliberately not reading deliberately this next year.

    Good luck with your challenges this next year!

    How exciting that you'll be seeing Christopher Moore this next year. I really need to try another book by him. I love his sense of humor on his website, but the one book I read I didn't care for all that much.

    I hope you have a great week, Florinda!

  4. Really like the approach you are taking here. Even the challenges you are eyeing seem to sync with this. To me, reading should be spontaneous and something we can follow a natural thought process through from one book to another. Our reading choices should not be dictated by any objective obligation like review books received, goals for pages or books read, challenges, etc. Additionally, the enthusiasm we generate as bloggers for new releases is fantastic and loads of fun but can lead to ignoring some very worthy mid and backlist novels of great worth. So good for you and happy reading in the new year!

  5. I found that the right reading challenge can make a difference if you already have a long TBR list. The Spice of Life Challenge helped me tick several books off my list because I had more food-related books on my list than I thought.

  6. BiblioMom – Not finishing challenges doesn't seem to deter some people from signing up for them, from what I've seen :-). It may be that they approach reading challenges as you do – to focus their reading in a particular direction.

    Mari – Given my other time commitments (my family and a full-time job) I don't usually manage more than 3 or 4 books a month myself. You make a really good point about how accepting review books too freely can make reading less enjoyable – I've felt that way a few times myself.

    Good luck with the RYOB challenge!

    Kathleen – Good luck with your reading, too :-).

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – "Reading deliberately" does seem to be the topic of the day, doesn't it? For the most part, I think I've always tried to do it, but sometimes I've felt like it's getting away from me, and that I'm missing out on "impulse" reading. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I'd like reading more "deliberately" to give more more opportunity to read what I FEEL like reading.

    I hope you give Christopher Moore another chance one of these days 🙂 – it's good that you read his blog, though. He's one of my favorites, but of course some of his books are better than others.

    I hope your week goes well too, Wendy. I'm glad I only have three more days in the office this year :-).

    Frances – I rarely set quantitative reading goals, and I have no idea how many pages I've read this year. I just wanted to read more books than I did LAST year :-).

    I don't do many challenges, and whether they fit with my general interests and goals is usually the first thing I consider if I'm thinking about joining one. I realize that my reading has become less spontaneous since I've been book blogging – for the most part I don't mind that, but I'd like to get a little of it back :-).

    Dani – That was one of the things that drew me to the Women Unbound Challenge; I have quite a few "women's studies" books in my TBR collection.

  7. I want to read the good books, the really good books. I always tell those who offer to send me books that I have high expectations, but they never seem to take me seriously. I just will not finish a book I am lukewarm about.

  8. Readerbuzz – They just can't imagine that the book they want to send you won't meet your standards, I guess :-). I love (not really) the pitches that include "Your review policy says you don't usually read X genre, but this book is different because/is more like/(some other reason I should make an exception)." I've been swayed by those in the past, but no more. I'll decide for myself when I want to branch out, thanks – don't try to sell me on why I should do it for YOU.

    Jill (Softdrink) – I was pretty sure he was still in the doghouse for that :-D. In any case, I'll definitely blog about the event and let you know how funny he is in person!

  9. I don't feel like I have been doing that. I've been to tied to commitments I'd made on a whim months and months before. Reading deliberately means different things to different people. At its most basic, it is simply about making a conscious decision with each new book you read. Kudos to those already doing it. I can't wait to join them. See you there, Florinda! 🙂

    Jennifer from The Literate Housewife Review

  10. Jennifer – Thanks for your inspiration to read more deliberately! You're right in observing that people will approach it in different ways, but hopefully we'll all find that our reading means more.

  11. I'm joining the RYOB challenge again this year, too. It really helped me clear room for more books 😉 Have you stopped by to vote on the 50 I'll read from my shelves next year?

  12. Stacybuckeye – The RYOB challenge helped keep me from going overboard on review books, which is one reason I'm re-upping for it. I'll try to stop by your blog again and vote – those are some BIG TBR stacks :-D!

  13. I'm trying to hard to do the deliberate reading thing. Which means I'm going to have to cut way back on review books. Which is a good thing. But then I just couldn't turn some down that I've been offered lately. I've got to get a plan in writing!

  14. Lisa – I'm not sure that review copies can't be part of "reading deliberately," as long as the ones we accept are books we are really interested in and we're not feeling pushed to read them.