Monday, 6 January 2014

Opinion: Thoughts on Reading Challenges

When I started this blog it was the middle of the year and as I found my feet in the blogosphere, I realised that I'd missed out on the chance to join in with blog hosted reading challenges. A lot of blogs host their own challenges which start at the beginning of the year and run throughout, with participating bloggers linking up their posts, sharing goals and even competing to win prizes.

So at the start of 2013 I was excited to be able to take part in some challenges. I chose the debut author challenge and my own children's classics challenge, as well as setting myself a Goodreads target for number of books to read during the year. I failed both the debut author challenge and children's' classics challenge.

Firstly, I know why I failed the debut author challenge. Reading debuts was always going to be hard because most of my books come from the library, and the library doesn't always carry new authors. I found myself struggling to get hold of the books pretty early on. I also wasn't receiving review copies for most of the year, and soon discovered that the majority of people taking part in the challenge were bigger bloggers who had access to ARCs of these debut titles. I also struggled to keep up with what books were coming out in the UK because the challenge was very US based. So midway through the year I gave up on this particular challenge.

I did however read some debut novels - hurrah! Sometimes it was a conscious effort, where I looked at the novels listed on Goodreads as 2013 debuts and reserved them at the library or kept an eye on the price of them on Amazon to take advantage of when I could afford them. But I'll admit that most of the time, I read them because the book looked interesting and I wanted to read it, not because it was a debut. I always want to support debut authors, but as I become more of a mood reader, the type of book and what it's about are always going to be what draws me to my next read. Not just the fact it's a debut.

Anyway, here are some of the 2013 debuts I read last year:

Splintered by A. G. Howard
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Soulmates by Holly Bourne
Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter

There are probably more if you include self-published novels, and books where I wasn't 100% whether or not were debuts. So at the end of the day I don't really feel like I've failed, because I've read a lot of debuts. This is why this year I'll be making more of a loose resolution to read books by debut authors. There won't be any set target, so I can't fail.

When it comes to reading children's classics, it will still be something I aim to do. I read three this year which is nowhere near the amount I wanted to read. The reason I failed this challenge is because I just couldn't find the motivation. The whole reason I set myself this challenge because they were books I felt like I should read, not books I wanted to read. Whilst I did enjoy all the books I read, it made it harder to prioritise the books when choosing my next read. Also I got a lot of the classics for free from Project Gutenberg and the stingy person in me always prioritises books I paid for because I need to make sure I get my moneys' worth! It would be a waste of money to buy a book and not read it...

So for 2014 I'll still set myself a Goodreads target (because there's no doubt I'll be reading books all year so it's achieveable!) but instead of challenges, I'll be setting myself bookish resolutions. You can find out my full list of resolutions in tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday post!

Are you taking part in any challenges this year? What do you think of reading challenges? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I always do the Goodread's challenge because hey, that's what we do read books, right? I only entered one other challenge, to read sequels to books we have read before 2014. I am off to a good start because I read Plantation and just got the set of the first three of that series, as ebooks, for 99¢, and the fourth book is only $2.99. I also found out there is a third trilogy of the Thomas Covenant books; I hope the library has them. I would have loved a children's classics challenge because I have side blogs about children's and middle grade books. Good luck to everyone on their challenges this year!!

  2. I see you are reading the Chemical Garden trilogy. I loved it! Have you read Lauren's new book Perfect Ruin?


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