Monday, 12 May 2014

Books: Reading Challenges and Portable Magic


Last year I signed up for Goodreads's reading challenge for the first time. The challenge was simple - state how many books you'd like to read by the end of the year and keep track of them via Goodreads. By entering each book you read into your Goodreads profile, a handy little widget kept track of how many you'd read, how many you still had to read, and how far ahead or behind you were.

My target in 2013 was 52. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons I failed. It wasn't a massive fail - I still read 38 books. This year I'm way ahead, having read 25 already. Technically, the last four and my current read are all novellas from a collection. If I wanted to be obsessive about it, I should enter them as one read. Even if I do that, I'm still two books ahead.

When I started the challenge last year, I was worried I would become obsessive and that would take away some of the pleasure of reading. I actually think it has done the opposite. It means that no matter what is happening, I make time for reading. Not only does that help me as a writer, it's also a great way to relax and escape the problems of every day life.

If you haven't signed up for the Goodreads challenge, it's never to late. Sign up now and enter all the books you've already read so far this year. Pop the widget on your blog sidebar or website and watch your percentage grow.

I'm over at the Untethered Realms site today, talking about Stephen King, books and their uniquely portable magic. Drop by if you have time. I'd love to know what your favourite Stephen King quote is.

I'll be back on Wednesday, when the always cool River Fairchild will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer.

22 comments:

  1. Sounds too much like being back at work and having to proof read stuff to a deadline. Anyway, some books are 1000 pages or so and some are under 300 how does that work? If I only read pre-wordprocessor era books I could get through a lot more than those from the Game of Thrones era.

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    1. It really isn't hard work because the only person I have to please is myself. I do understand what you're saying about the length of books. However, I don't think it's something that needs to be taken to seriously. There's no prize or award at the end.

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  2. I was trying to place that "portable magic" line when I read the title. Stephen King, right?

    I might just do the Challenge next year, although I would probably set the bar quite low - I'm still a slow reader but getting better. There's so many I want to read and it would be a good motivator. I have read a lot so far this year, but I was on a blogging break. Agree about Game of Thrones though - if I threw those in I'd be lost. It took me a year to read Lord of the Rings!

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    1. You can set the bar as high or as low as you want, Nick. That's the great thing about it.

      I haven't read the Lord of the Rings. I have feeling it would take me all year as well!

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  3. Glad it's brought about more reading enjoyment. I'd worry about being too pressured to enjoy myself as well.

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    1. It really isn't a pressure, Alex. Just a gentle reminder that reading is just as important as other activities.

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  4. I've considered signing up for one of those challenges. Never have, though. Glad it's working so well for you!

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  5. It's a cool challenge. I suppose you have to finish the book? I've started so many books this year but haven't finished them.

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    1. Yes. You do have to finish them. It's not often I don't finish a book, though. You've still got over half a year left.

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  6. What makes River even cooler are the many nom de plume's that are under her command!

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  7. I beat it last year with many to spare and I'm on schedule this year. Thank heavens for audiobooks though.

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  8. I can't sign up for that, too much pressure.
    I already put enough pressure on myself about how much I'm not reading.

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    1. A lot of people react the same way. I guess it's one of those things you have to try to decide if it would be too much pressure.

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  9. I think it is so awesome that you read so many books last year. 38 is plenty and you should be proud. All the best with your target this year. I know you will do it. Thank you so much for your awesome words on my blog.

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  10. Reading that many books is still impressive Ellie. Sometimes it's not about the destination, but the journey.

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  11. I'm quite a way behind with my Reading Challenge this year. I'm working my way through the Game of Thrones series and they're fairly lengthy books. I'm a slow reader so it's taking some time.
    Still, I'm off work for the next few months so I'm hoping to catch up on that book count. Fingers crossed!

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    1. A few months off? Lucky you. Enjoy the time!

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