One of the things I have always loved about the book blogging community are the reading challenges developed by book bloggers from around the world. In the past two years (in my former blogging life), I participated in a total of twenty-four challenges and each one has brought a different book into my reading life. Some were easier to finish; some I never did. But since I decided to step away from the rush of book blogging — that feeling that I had to read and review as many books as possible to keep reader traffic up and comments bountiful — and give myself a clean state where I can discuss my feelings and enjoy the books I read, I’ve been debating over whether or not to sign up for challenges this year.
For example, I know for a fact that the A to Z Challenge does not fit into my new outlook on book reading. A wonderful challenge with an equally wonderful host, the A to Z offers participants a great way to branch out and try different authors as they attempt to fill every letter of the alphabet with a book title or author’s last name or both. I’ve done just title and both title and author in the past. However, as I was updating my book log, I found that as I rushed to fill X and I or U and B I forced myself to finished books I neither enjoyed nor would not have picked up in the first place.
But I do believe challenges — whether they are year-long or perpetual, self-created or another blogger’s creation — bring a certain pizazz to our personal reading lives. And besides working my own “challenges” that I plan on bringing over from my former blogging days, I want to sign up for this coming year’s challenges. (I’ve bookmarked quite a few posts from A Novel Challenge.) It’s just difficult trying to find the balance between my new outlook on reading and my former “competitive reader” mindset.Photo © Me. Old books I discovered while cleaning out my grandfather’s basement. St. Louis, Missouri. Taken: May 6, 2008.