Reading Challenges

I talk (write) from time to time about reading challenges. I felt like now was a good time to expand upon that topic a bit.

In my personal life, I am often asked about reading challenges because it is something that occupies a part of my life and is foreign to many people in my physical world. The challenges I participate in and follow on my own are similar in style and different in execution. I like challenges that help me to choose books from my groaning pile of books to be read. This typically manifests itself in the form of ‘tasks’. Each task can help lead me to a book I may have overlooked for a long time, or introduce me to a book I may never have seen. Not all reading challenges are set up this way, but my favorites are.

Reading challenges can look very different from one another. They can be competitive or not. They are usually individual, but are sometimes team challenges. They can last for a day, a week, a month, a season, a year, or any other amount of time desired. This summer, I am planning to actively participate in one competitive team challenge and follow along with one competitive individual challenge.

My team challenge is on GoodReads and is hosted by the group Nothing But Reading Challenges. The Wheelathon 5 challenge will run for 10 weeks starting June 12. Teams have been established and we know what we are trying to accomplish as a team for the first two weeks. This challenge looks more complicated than I hope it will be. Essentially, as a team we get a phrase (Egyptian Cruise) that we read books to spell out. To spell out this phrase, we can use the title of the book, the author, the series name or the name of major characters. In addition to getting points for spelling out the phrase, there are 200 tasks that members can use to get bonus points. The team with the most points at the end of the challenge wins. There is no great prize for winning, just bragging rights!

Individually, I will be following the Seasonal Reading Challenge, also on GoodReads. This challenge will run from June 1-August 31. Tasks in this challenge can require 1-3 books and there are 65 tasks to be tackled by each reader. Tasks will be assigned points and point values range from 5 to 50 per task. If my math is correct, a reader would need to read over 100 books to complete this challenge, but for many that is the goal. I like this challenge because it is competitive, but more against yourself than other players. If you finish the challenge(!), you get to design a task for the following season. There are other awards for participants who may not manage to finish the challenge, but are still active posters. This group looks a little bit strict about posting and how things qualify, so I plan on tracking my progress this season here. If I manage to do well (and stick with it), perhaps I will join in next season.

So, what does a task look like? From the team challenge, a task might say “Read a book set in Canada” or “Read a book with a lizard on the cover”. This can make going to the library into a scavenger hunt (if your library is open) or can make an interesting adventure into your own library-physical and digital. At the SRC, many of the tasks are similar to that, but they also include things like “Pick a Listopia with the word ‘Action’ in the title and read a book off of that listopia” or “Read a book with an author whose initials can be found in the word ‘MOVIES’.” For both challenges there are also tasks about genres and specific words in the title. Planning for reading challenge reads can be almost as fun as reading the books.

My next challenge is to figure out how to read books which will work for both challenges, so I am not trying to commit myself to reading 3 books each week for my team challenge and 3 books each week for my individual challenge and maintain the rest of my life. Wish me luck!

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