The number of reading challenges offered in the book blogging world is amazing. There are challenges for every interest under the sun! I joined my first official challenge–the World Party Reading Challenge–a few months ago and, so far, I’ve been keeping up. However, I’ve decided not to formally join any more challenges at this point.
That being said, as more and more bloggers declare their intentions to participate in an ever widening variety of challenges, I’ve begun to look at challenges in another way: as guidelines for establishing my reading goals for 2011. I’m not, at this point, officially joining any of these challenges, but if I were to join some, these would be the ones, as they fit my 2011 goals.
Goal: Read More Classics (hence, my Classics Reclamation Project)
- The Victorian Literature Challenge: Hosted by Bethany from words, words, words, this challenge includes any book from any country that either was published during the years of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901) or is by an author generally considered Victorian. (I even color coded my potential reading list to show which books are eligible, just in case I want to join the challenge later!)
- A Year of Feminist Classics: This is more like a year’s worth of readalongs than a challenge. Many of the books being read are on my classics project list, so I hope to participate in several of the discussions.
- Back to the Classics Challenge: Hosted by Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much, this challenge asks participants to read 8 books from different classics categories: a banned book, a reread from school, a 20th century classic, etc.
- Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge: Hosted by Lisa from Lit and Life, this challenge counts any book Rory reads in Gilmore Girls. The list includes a lot of classics I’ll probably end up reading anyway! (And let’s be honest…I loved that show.)
Goal: Read from My Own Shelves
- The TBR Dare: More dare than challenge (as the name implies), the TBR Dare was offered on Ready When You Are, C.B.. Participants pledge to read only books from their TBR pile for as long as they choose. I actually did sign up for this, with the following pledge: “I pledge to read only books from my TBR pile for as long as I can, with the exception of books I need for challenges or projects to which I’ve already committed. These books I pledge to get from the library, so as to lighten the burden on my shelves and my wallet!”
- Reading From My Shelves Project: Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosted this challenge in 2010, which is where the link will take you. The idea is to read books from your own shelves and pass as many as you want on to other people (blog readers, library sales, friends, etc.). Regardless of whether Diane hosts this challenge again, it’s inspired my own 2011 reading goals.
- South Asian Challenge: Hosted by Swapna from S. Krishna’s Books, this challenge asks you to read books either by South Asian authors or about South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, or the Maldives). I’ve amassed a fair number of qualifying books, mostly from or about India, and would love to make a dent in them in 2011.
- Awesome Author Challenge: Hosted by Alyce from At Home With Books, this challenges focuses on the authors that have been recommended to you again and again but which you’ve yet to read. I’ve collected works by several of these authors, and I intend to get to at least some of them in 2011: Kazuo Ishiguro, Alison Weir, Robertson Davies, A.S. Byatt, Julie Orringer, Emma Donoghue, and Hilary Mantel, to name a few!
- 2nds Challenge (hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages) and I Want More (hosted by Marce at Tea Time with Marce): These aren’t quite the same challenge, but they’re both about reading second books by authors you liked the first time around. For me, that includes Barbara Kingsolver, Jose Saramago, Jonathan Safran Foer, Kate Morton, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and many others I already have waiting for me on my shelves.
Goal: Expand My Literary Horizons
- GLBT Challenge: The goal of this challenge, hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf, is “to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.” I’ve read very little GLBT lit and would like to change that. Anyone have any suggestions as to where I should start?
- The Dystopia Challenge: One of Bookish Ardour’s reading challenges, this challenge is–as you might have guessed from the name–about reading Dystopian lit. Again, I’ve not read much from this category and want to remedy the situation. Recommendations would be much appreciated!
- Memorable Memoirs: Hosted by Melissa from The Betty and Boo Chronicles, this challenge focuses on memoirs of all stripes. I used to read more memoirs than I have of late, and I would like to get back to reading them in 2011. I already have a good-sized collection of unread memoirs, but if you have favorites, feel free to alert me to their existence!
- Editorial Ass’s Project Fill-in-the-Gaps and Pub Writes’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die: I definitely feel like I have gaps in my literary experience. While my classics project will cover the older titles on that list, there are plenty of books published after 1969 (my project cutoff) that I would like to have read. At the risk of being overwhelmed by lists, I’m not actually writing out which books constitute this particular category, but I have a sense of which ones they are and would like to tackle at least a few of them.
Do you participate in reading challenges? Do they take the place of reading goals, or vice versa, or do the two peacefully coexist for you? What challenges have you joined, and/or what reading goals do you have for yourself for 2011?