Friday, January 13, 2012

Discussion: Reading Goals and Challenges

Last week I had Kathy from I Am a Reader, Not a Writer on to tell us about her 2012 reading goals and challenges. Today I wanted to take the time to discuss them some more and share my own.

So let's start at the beginning. What is a reading challenge? A reading challenge is a goal set, usually at the beginning of the year that focuses on reading a certain number of X type of books. That can be either general, like "Read 50 books in 2012" or more specific like "Read 15 dystopian books in 2012" or "Read 12 debut authors in 2012". These are usually done in a community where you sign up and track your progress (if you have a blog you may also post about your progress). It helps to keep you accountable, motivate you to finish, and meet new people interested in the same things you are (like dystopian reads, or debut authors, for example).

But why? could join a reading challenge because you want to expand your horizons or maybe because you love a genre and want to read more of it or even just to motivate yourself to find the time to relax and read more (the first time I joined a challenge I wanted to find ways to get away from too much tv watching).

Then there are reading goals. These are even more general and usually have something to do with well-being or financial goals. For example, "Use the library more.", "read all books from my own shelves before buying any more" or "read outside my comfort zone".

So my question to you is: Have you made any reading goals or joined any reading challenges in 2012? If not joined, have you made your own personal reading challenge or like Kathy have you decided just to relax take them as they come?  If yes, what are they? (I want to know if there are any really interesting ones out there!) And lastly...what motivated you to create or join a challenge/goal this year?

For myself, I join challenges to motivate myself to read more of the genres I love but for some reason don't read enough of. So even though my favourite genres are fantasy and dystopian/near future you wont be seeing those on my list of challenges - I'm going to read them anyways! I usually set a number goal of total books read I want for the year (Goodreads has made this extremely easy to track since I can just make a 2012 shelf rather than my old system which was a numbered list on MS Word).

This year I am also challenging myself to relax more about my choice of books. Every time I try to choose a book off my shelf I freak out about the amount of books I still have to read and start 3-4 rather than picking one and sticking with it. I'm trying not to question my choice and giving a book a chance before I put it down for another. I'm also challenging myself to read more off my personal shelf and use Netgalley more to save money (and yes, even using the library less is going to save me money - I seem to be racking up at least $15 every few months in fees because I get too many out at once and then forget to renew them).

These are the official challenges I've joined in 2012:

The challenge: read at least 12 books from young adult or middle grade debut authors.

My goal: 12 books

The challenge: read your desired level of young adult contemporary books, published in 2012.

My goal: Level 2: 10+ books


The challenge:
Option 1: Read more contemporary Y.A. books in 2012 than you normally would.
Option 2: Read more out of your comfort zone in contemporary Y.A. (for readers who are already reading lots of contemporary books).

My goal: Option 1, to read more contemporary in 2012 than I did in 2011. I read 15 contemporary books in 2011 (so far...I will recount at the beginning of 2012) so my goal is to read at least that plus more. I already joined the YA Contemporary Challenge, so there will be some overlap here.

The challenge: Read Newbery and Prinz medal books (winners and honors are both acceptable). Pledge to read as many books as you think you can finish in 2012.

My goal: To read at least 8 Newbery or Prinz medal books.

You can see my progress for these goals throughout the year on my Reading Challenge page. Then there are these off-site goals as well:

Hosted by Bookish. You can find my progress on Suddenly Books!

* Any genre, length, or format counts.
* Only books from 2011 and earlier count.
* No counting new purchases or fresh-off-the-press releases.
* There is a challenge for every month's wrap-up post hosted by a different blogger.
* To go along with the challenge is a prize.

My goal: 21-30 books (any genre or age bracket) from my shelves (obtained prior to 2012).

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Erika has read 4 books toward her goal of 175 books.

My # goal for 2012 is to read 175 total books. This includes every kind of book, short story, picture books, etc but hoping to read at least 100 novels.

The great thing about reading challenges and goals is that you can use one read book for more than one challenge (for example, Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic will be counted towards the Goodreads 2012, YA Contemporary, Just Contemporary AND 2012 Debut Author Challenges). So joining more than a few challenges can seem daunting at first but can also be totally do-able.

This post was part of my New Year's Signature Collection event.
Watch out for more guest posts,  lists, reviews of January releases, author interviews, and more throughout January.


  1. I decided not to really do many challenges this year... If I joined too many I know I would just stress out about it. I'm doing the DAC because that's totally simple, I always end up reading a good number of debuts since I've been blogging. And then I'm also doing Danya's New Adult challenge because I'm hoping it will introduce me to some more books of that category. And then I challenged myself to read 150 on Goodreads, but I don't really count that as much of a challenge.

    1. New adult sounds like a great challenge. I have a hard time finding books in this category but they are starting to pop up more and more. I will have to keep an eye out for your list to get some good suggestions of what to read. Last year I found DAC difficult to get into (library gets most YA books in 1-2 months after being published and some not at all) but that was before I got into Netgalley. I have better access now. Good luck on your challenges. Love your relaxed and focused approach!