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Reading Challenges – Part 2

On Sunday I posted about my love/hate relationship with reading challenges: I love the fact that it adds a community component to the solitary reading past time, and I love that they help me to read outside my comfort zone. I hate them because I am only batting about .400 completion rate this year and I realize that I have not succeeded in all my good-intentioned endeavors. Despite these short-comings, I am convinced that the pros outweigh the cons and I will sign up for at least a few challenges in 2010.

Two challenges that I had no problem completing in 2009 and so I will stack the cards in 2010 by signing up for them again include J. Kaye’s Support your Local Library Challenge and Carl’s R.I.P V challenge (assuming he will offer it again). I have always used my local library in the past, but typically I have pigeon-holed its purpose: when the kids were younger I would use the library to bring home stacks and stacks of new picture books every week; when I first started teaching I would use the library to find resource books to help me in this new profession. It was only this year, through this challenge, that I discovered the library as a great place to obtain current novels without the high price tag. I am not sure what level in which I sign up, although I think I may try to stretch myself and commit to the “Just My Size” level which means that I will read 50 library books over the course of the year.
I think the one thing that I learned about myself as a reader this year is that I like to be free to choose what I want to read in my free time. While I have the life long goal of reading many of the classics, especially Dickens, Bronte (Charlotte, Emily and Anne), Austen, Dostoevsky — just to name a few……I find that teaching the classics all day makes me less likely to want to read them at night, when all I want to do is just escape from the academic stress and strain of daily life. I think that is why I failed at those kinds of challenges in 2009. So while I am very tempted to sign up for Laura’s All About the Brontes challenge, or the collaborative Lord of the Rings challenge, or participate in Ti’s Moby Dick Mondays read-along challenge, I think I will hold until my retirement years to commit to such lofty goals.

A couple of challenges that have caught my eye as very interesting and creative challenges include Deborah’s Nancy Drew Challenge where she hopes to read all 56 yellow-jacket Nancy Drew books in a year’s time (I LOVED Nancy Drew growing up and while I never read the entire collection, it does have a certain appeal) and Shona’s Rory Gilmore Books Project where she hopes to read all 150 books referenced on the Gilmore Girls’ show at some point in time. Somehow Shona found a website that lists all these novels and she has created a Google Document to help track her reading progress. I LOVE this show and have always been in awe of Rory’s passion for reading. Since this particular challenge has no deadline, I am giving considerable thought to giving it a try (I am not sure how I could lose???).

Other challenges that I am giving serious thought to joining include: Book Chick City’s Thriller and Suspense Challenge (this is my go-to genre, so I think it might be a good fit for me, although I am somewhat nervous about the requirement to read 12 of this genre in 12 months); Aarti’s Flashback Challenge (where you re-read books of your own choosing. Since I already do this for several books that I teach, I think it would be easy to complete and I will hopefully add at least one book that I do not teach to the mix — like Little Women or Anne of Green Gables); C. B.’s Read the Book, See the Movie challenge (I have watched so few movies lately that I am beginning to feel that I can’t relate to my students who seem to see every movie as it is released. I am thinking this challenge may help bring me into the 21st Century without compromising my preference for literature); and MizB’s Read Your Own Books challenge (which truthfully is the ONE challenge that I should join so that I can begin to make a dent in the ever growing TBR piles).
Seeing how it just the first of December, I am sure there will be many, many more 2010 challenges posted on A Novel Challenge over the next several weeks. I plan to frequent that site and do some research before I definitely sign up for any of these tempting adventures.

In the meantime, let me draw your attention to the blogosphere event happening this weekend. It is the December Read-athon hosted by Dreadlock Girl and it starts at 6:00 am PST on Saturday December 6. This event is very low key – as I think there are no prizes, give aways nor designated cheerleaders. BUT…it is a great way to catch up on some fantastic reading. I am hoping to take part in at least a small part of the event, and I hope several of you will have time to do the same.

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