I’ve done book challenges in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The first two years, I just sort of winged it. In 2018, I planned all my challenges based on books I already owned.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I started off the year reading a lot of books I didn’t like. There were whole stretches of time where reading felt more like a chore than something fun. And since reading is my escape/ primary coping skill, that was pretty miserable.
Midway through the year, I gave up on trying to force myself to read books I already owned. I did searches for YA books that fit the categories and got them from the library. It ended up being a lot more fun, and I discovered books I ended up loving.
A large number of books I own were bought by me in the past, and my reading tastes have changed drastically over time. The books I wanted to read 10 years ago aren’t necessarily what I want to read now. And forcing myself to read them for arbitrary reasons isn’t good for anyone.
I do think that planning the books in advance was helpful, but this year, I’m going to be very picky about it. If I can find books on my shelves that I want to read, I’ll use those. (I did read some great books I already owned for my challenge categories.) But if I can’t, then I’ll search online for other books to fit the categories. I think it’s all about balance, and reading challenges are supposed to be fun.
For this year, I’m going to do the Popsugar Challenge and the While I Was Reading Challenge again. I finished them both last year, finishing the last book for the challenge on December 31… I like to cut things close!
I’ve already made out my list, filling in some suggestions for categories. Starred books are ones I already own. I’ve tried to give myself more flexibility this year. Even though I might have multiple books in multiple categories, my intention is to count each one only once. There are still a few categories left blank, so if you have any suggestions, feel free.
Are you doing any reading challenges this year? Which one?