Thursday, December 17, 2015

All About Reading Challenges » 2016

reading challenges 2016Ah, December!  There's just something about that last month of the year that gets the planning juices flowing.  Not only am I printing out calendars, refining my New Year's resolutions, and designing my own blogging organizer, but I'm also signing up for reading challenges left and right!  I'm going to share with you the challenges I have picked out for myself for 2016, but first, a little introduction into reading challenges...

What Is a Reading Challenge?

A reading challenge is a structured reading plan that readers can join in on as a group.  Typically hosted by websites and blogs, reading challenges dare you to read a certain number of books, often in a specific type,  genre, or theme. A reading challenge can last different amounts of time, but year-long challenges are most popular.

Who can participate?

Anyone and everyone! Even if you don't have a blog, all readers are welcome to join in on reading challenges. The more diverse a pool of participants, the more fun a reading challenge will be — especially if you take the time to get an online discussion flowing.

Where do I find these challenges?

Head over to A Little Reading who is compiling a comprehensive list of 2016 challenges! Alternatively, you can google search for them. Image searching also helps, because you get to see all the cool banners that people have made for their challenges.

How many books must I read?

It's all up to you!  Many challenge hosts create fun tiers of difficulty that you can pledge to, ranging from easy to challenging. For instance, the Retelling Challenge 2016, hosted by The Daily Prophecy, has six levels. The levels even have names! If you want to be a "Goose Girl," read 5-9 books within the challenge parameters.  If you want to achieve "Cheshire Cat" status, read 26 plus.

This sounds stressful.  Is it stressful?

It can be, if you make too many commitments or pledge too many books.  That's why it's important to start small and plan within your usual yearly reading limits.  Personally, I average around 100 books a year when I'm reading at a brisk pace.  If I devote a quarter of my yearly reading to challenges, that means I can devote 25 books to specific challenge parameters, with room to grow. That is very manageable.

So what Challenges are you taking on?

Besides the annual Goodreads pledge (I'm aiming for 100 books this year), I'm joining three other challenges.  They all tie into reading habits I wish I had.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" class="imagepro-polaroid"]netgalley challenge [/caption]

First, there's the Netgalley Reading Challenge.  Netgalley is a website that dispenses Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of books, before their release dates.  Due to high demand and exclusivity, it can be difficult to get the titles you want on Netgalley.  There is a whole vetting process that has to do with your blog analytics and your membership stats, including your feedback ratio.

Your feedback ratio ought to be at or higher than 80% if you want to be competitive on Netgalley.  Mine is at 67% right now.  This means I still get books, but my requests do get rejected a lot of the time.

Then there's just the issue of politeness.  It's polite to review books after you've been given a free copy! The Netgalley Reading Challenge, hosted by Fictively, is all about reading your ARCs and reviewing them, all aiming to get that feedback ratio over 80 percent. I'm going for medium level — 11 to 20 books.


reading englandNext there's the Reading England Challenge, hosted by Behold the Stars.  This is a great blog that I found while searching for challenges! O, the blog runner, reviews nothing but classic works. (!!!) Can you imagine the mental strength it takes to read classics with the rapidity and interest that I consume YA novels?  O is amazing — I envy her reading interests and abilities for sure.  So, I'm participating in her signature Reading England challenge.

The goal is to read pieces of literature set in different English counties. O has compiled an impressive list of books for us to refer to on this point.  At first I was considering reading books just set in Sussex, a county where I got to live for two weeks last January, but then there are so many great works set all over Angleterre! I have not planned out which books I'll be reading exactly, but I expect to read some Wilkie Collins, some Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker, and Shakespeare.

And my third challenge is......... I haven't decided yet!  I still have half a month to decide, so I'm not worried.  But what I'd really like to do is partake in a challenge with a great community.  Does anyone have any recommendations?


  1. I use to join challenges a lot and then I think I did get stressed out and had to stop for awhile. I still join them every now and then but definitely don't go crazy like I did in the beginning.

    Good luck with all of your challenges, they are fun. ;)

  2. Reading England sounds like a great challenge. Have you been to Cathy's 746 Books blog? Her blog might be something you would like to follow as well.

  3. Yeah, I definitely started out 2015 with waaaay too ambitious goals. I'm trying to dial it back this year to prevent all of that stress. :P

  4. I haven't heard of her, but you know I'm headed over there right now! :D

  5. Hooooly shit. I just visited her blog. At first I was like, I get it! Her TBR is 746 books high and she's reading nothing but those. Cool. Then I read her Bio. 746 OWNED UNREAD books. I am... in shock. That is definitely a great blogging hook!

  6. Thank you! I'm hoping to be successful this year!

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