No More Challenges…

I made the decision this weekend not to finish any challenges for 2009. Actually, the only one I had to finish by the end of December was the 9 for ’09 Challenge challenge. I had only one book left to read, but I had five reviews left to write, and I realized: my heart was not in it. I seem to be in a bit of a reviewing slump. I am reading every chance I get, but when I finish, my main impulse is simply to pick up the next book. I have started and stopped reviews for Hummingbirds, Norwegian Wood, The Poisonwood Bible, and Reading Like a Writer. All of these are good books–each in its own way–but I can’t seem to string together the necessary coherent sentences to tell you why they are good and why you would not be wasting time if you read them.

In addition to dropping the 9 for ’09 challenge, I have also decided not to go ahead with the 1% Well-Read challenge, which is to finish in March of 2010. I’ve also decided that I will not join any challenges in 2010, not even the Flashback challenge (re-reading some old favorites) although I have already prepared a list of books I want to revisit in 2010 (which I am reluctant to share, just in case I change my mind!). My reading style is simply too haphazard, something I have lately come to appreciate. It’s a bit like setting off on a road trip without a map. It’s more fun to read whatever strikes my fancy and share thoughts as they occur.

It makes me a bit sad, because I like the camaraderie challenges provide. I love joining and making the lists, seeing what everybody else is reading. It also seems like a good way not to get lost in all the shuffle, because there are so many of us book bloggers out there. Challenges ensure we at least have a few people to talk to, some old friends and some new ones. It feels terrible, though, to start something and not finish it, and I have other areas I feel need more focus in the new year, like writing. Thanks to all of you out here who host and participate in challenges, though–you all make the blogging world that much more fun.

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12 comments

  1. Yay for haphazard reading. I’m doing the same, not joining challenges next year. I miss reading on a whim. Also, one of my habits is to read an author I like consecutively, which I can never do with challenges.

  2. I’ve never been able to do the challenge thing…I like the idea of it, but never seem able to stick with it.

    I’ve always been a haphazard reader – too many other things in my life are proscribed for me, I like to leave my choice of reading material up to fancy 🙂

  3. Claire, I agree: sometimes I get in the mood to read books by one author, or maybe in a certain period. That happened to me several times this year, but then I would think about what I “should” read instead.

    Becca, I think having things proscribed in other areas is a big part of it! Although I read regularly, just the fact that I can change things up on a whim makes it a little adventure.

  4. I joined four challenges for next year and I’ll admit to having second thoughts right after joining. I like the idea of challenges, but they do sort of make me feel like I’m stuck sometimes.

  5. My favorite part is compiling the list for a challenge and then…well…it feels like a chore. I always say there is no shame in dropping challenges. Reading is too much fun to have it become not so much fun.

  6. justabookreader, last year I joined two…then three…then kept adding. I ultimately joined five (which isn’t many, true), but I didn’t finish any of them. 😦 By the time I got to June, I groaned every time I thought about my lists, and I started cheating!

    Thomas, you are so right–reading is fun, and always should be. Some people have a great time with challenges, but after trying and failing dismally two years in a row, I know I should throw in the towel. It’s just not my style. And compiling the list is definitely my favorite part as well.

  7. I’m sorry you’re dropping out of the Flashback Challenge, but I can understand it, too. It’s hard to sign up for many and then they can be so stressful when you can’t meet them (which inevitably happens to me). I am also quite haphazard in my reading, but I am hoping the challenges I signed up for will help me be more diverse in my reading. Hopefully!

  8. Aarti, I am not dropping out, because I never joined exactly so I would not have to drop out! 🙂 As far as being diverse, I’ve done a good job with that this year, and my TBR list has titles I never would have thought to add a year ago–all thanks to some really wonderful book blogs out there, no challenge necessary.

  9. I decided not to do any last year and ended up doing six. I’ve never made a list I stuck to, myself. I just do them for fun and don’t really worry about finishing them.

  10. I’m like Thomas in that I like making the list but find that everything else about challenges feels like work. I actually made a couple of challenge lists thinking I wouldn’t worry about whether I finished, and *posting* the list felt like too much work! I’m sticking to readalongs this year if I do anything.

  11. CB, that’s a good attitude. I suppose I could try doing a challenge without making a list, but I don’t know. I love me some lists!

    Teresa, I think you know you are in a bad spot when posting the list feels like work! Readalongs can be a lot of fun, though. I enjoyed the GWTW readalong this past year. Just waiting for another one to strike my fancy. 🙂

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