Reading Challenges: Good or Evil? | Alexia's Books and Such: Reading Challenges: Good or Evil?

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reading Challenges: Good or Evil?


An admitted challenge-a-holic, I love reading challenges and tend to sign up for way too many. Was only going to sign up for the Goodreads Challenge this year, but couldn't resist the Off The Shelf, eBook, and What's In A Name challenges. Frankly, I'm amazed that I was able to stop at four! Hope I don't jinx myself, as the year is still young!

Anyway....someone had a post not too long ago, asking if reading challenges had changed the way you read (I can't find the original post in my Reader, so if you have any idea what I'm talking about, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!). The thought must have stuck in the back of my mind and percolated a bit, because now it's front and center and won't leave me alone! 

After blithely dismissing the idea that challenges were anything but a fun way to track my reading, I think that yes, they have affected my reading choices. This is bad. 

My biggest reading challenge this year is for Goodreads. I was on a reading roll in December, so decided to shoot for 110 books in 2012. That's more books than I've ever read in a single year, but what's the point of a challenge if it's not challenging? My secret goal is 10 books a month so that I have a cushion, just in case. So far, I'm right on track with 5 books under my belt. This is where the bad part raises it's ugly head...

So there I am, staring at my bookshelves, deciding on my next read. Oh look, Stephen King's Under the Dome is sitting front and center! DH really liked the story and it sounds intriguing, yet I reached right past it for a smaller book. Have you seen that puppy? It's over 1000 pages long! I actually thought "too big" as I reached past it, then stopped myself in surprise.

When did I start letting the size of the book dictate my next read? I took a good look at my shelves and realized that there were quite a few large books sitting there, waiting to be read. So despite my best intentions, I guess that size does matter. *snicker* (sorry)

I don't want to abandon my challenges, as I need motivation. Yet I don't want to ignore books because of their size either. So I think I've come up with a solution....I'll read both! As I tend to read several books at the same time, I think I'll read the chunksters at home (so I don't have to lug them with me) and read the smaller, more manageable books at the same time.

So am curious if anyone else has found themselves ignoring the larger books in favor of small ones so you can have more notches on your reading challenge belt? How to you deal with this? And isn't there a reading challenge out there somewhere for ginormous books....

20 comments:

  1. I used to do that. I don't do challenges anymore, I used to, and the reason why I did is to get me reading more. So now that I'm a voracious reader I think I'm going to take a break from doing reading challenges for a while :) it's a great motivator to make you read more though!

    As for book size, I used to choose the thinner books over the thicker ones. Yet I notice recently the thicker books are slowly starting to take over. ;)

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    1. I need something to motivate my reading whenever I get into a slump, so think I'll stick to challenges for now...

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  2. I use to love chunksters, now I bypass them also. I start thinking I can read 2-3 books in the time it will take me to read one really big one. I didn't like that I was overlooking them, so I picked up Sundowners, it has 656 pages. I just finished it, and it was great.

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    1. I never really thought about the size of a book before, but just went for the story. Am going to start Under the Dome as soon as I finish the 3 bks I'm currently working on!

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  3. I can see your point about chuncksters but I think I almost avoid them because I won't be able to review as quickly if I am reading them. However I do love reading challenges regardless. I just think they are fun!

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    1. I know what you mean! And I enjoy the challenges too much to give them up, so will try to figure something out.

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  4. I do do some challenges (I'm joining you in the Goodreads one after seeing it on your blog) but only if I know they are books I'd be reading anyway. I'd never for example sign up to say a Western chalenge as I know I'd be dooming myself to failure.

    With regard to the new comments thread you mentioned last post, I'm encountering some difficulties on some blogs but not all - yours thankfully seems fine, touch wood (well, it is Friday the 13th.)

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    1. I'd be right there with you with failing a western challenge, as I never could get into those books!

      I think there are a few bugs with the new threaded comments, so hoping that blogger works them out soon! I'm not thrilled that the page has to reload/redirect after each comment, but at least the comments are working! (fingers crossed!)

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  5. This is my first year doing any challenges and I started off by intimidating myself in my goodreads challenge by starting off with 11/22/63 by King. But I followed it up with a couple of easy reads to stay on track (who wants to fall behind in January?) I picked a couple of the other challenges to force myself out of my comfort zone but I've already promised myself that I will not freak out if I do not make it... there's always next year :)

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    1. Nice start to your challenges! King does tend to write some long ones, doesn't he? DH is reading 11/22/63 right now, but said it's only okay. And you're right, if you don't finish a challenge, there's always next year! :)

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  6. I only signed up for two challenges this year. One I know I will complete the other I just won't stress out about. I signed up for way more last year but got tired of doing it all.

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    1. That's why I cut back on the number I signed up for, as it was just too stressful. Here's to a great 2012, Ryan!

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  7. I've signed up to three challenges this year but they overlap a tiny bit so that's a bit of a relief. I'm reluctant to read gigantic books as well, but not because of the challenges. Like you, I tend to read a few books at a time and unless the huge books are absolutely fantastic, I don't find myself picking them up again after I set them down. For the most part, I think reading challenges are great. There are some books I never would have read if it weren't for reading challenges so that's a plus for sure!

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    1. I don't think I'd complete any challenges if there wasn't any overlap! And you're right about challenges introducing us to new genres/titles that we might not have picked up otherwise. One of the reasons I'm such a big challenge fan!

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  8. I signed up for the GoodReads Challenge but lowered my goal from last year because I didn't make it. The only other challenges I signed up for were TBR challenges since my stack is out of control.

    I have the same dilemma with chunksters. They may lower the stack by 3 inches but they only take one book off the list. When the stack is miles high, three inches isn't much. I feel better reading more short books because the number on the list reduces more quickly. But some of those chunksters are really calling my name. I'll have to fit them in soon.

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    1. Looks like we've got some of the same challenges! My TBR piles are ridiculous, so am hoping to whittle my stacks down a little this year. And you're right about 3 inches not being much, but I hate to avoid a book just because of it's size. Think I'll be struggling with this for awhile... :(

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  9. Reading Challenges do bring some stress when you just want to get them filled. They are really fun to begin but to finish is another story. Signed up for about 3 reading challenges this year:)

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  10. Reading Challenges do bring some stress when you just want to get them filled. They are really fun to begin but to finish is another story. Signed up for about 3 reading challenges this year:)

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  11. I personally prefer the big, fat chunksters. IF they are good. I love spending time in a book and hanging out with the characters. So no, I don't push them aside, it's just hard to find them. I liked Under the Dome, didn't love it but liked it.

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    1. Size never mattered to me much until recently, so going to make a conscious effort to read at least a couple of chunksters this year!

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