Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Musing Mondays #3: Why Join Reading Challenges?

I just discovered Musing Mondays through Tuesday Thingers so while I am obviously a day late, I loved the topic so wanted to add my two cents worth. The question is: Why do people join in on reading challenges… what’s so appealing about them?

I was asking myself that very same question back in April and as a result decided to try Carl V’s Once Upon a Time II as my first challenge. I enjoyed many aspects of it. I enjoyed reading everybody else’s reviews although I never did get through them all as there were a total of 476 reviews posted. It was good for me to have some incentive to go ahead and post reviews and make comment’s on other people’s blogs as I have a tendency to lurk. I discovered lots of interesting blogs with similar interests and found some books to add to my wish list.

What I didn’t like was that I found it stressful and I resented the fact that I needed to read the next book for the challenge instead of reading whatever struck my fancy. I was also surprised by how many young adult books were included in the reviews. While I can appreciate that young adult books may be well written and other adults enjoy them, they are simply something that doesn’t interest me.

I concluded that I don’t read fast enough to do a challenge consisting of five books in two months and still leave myself time to read my book club books as well as a few simply for fun. I also concluded that I needed to be more discerning when picking the topic of the challenge. Fantasy is not an area that I normally read and I thought it would be good to branch out and indeed I found some great books that I had never thought of as fantasy that I loved. But I think that if it was a topic that really interested me I would have enjoyed it more.

With the end of that challenge in June I said that I was not going to start any other challenge anytime soon. See Once Upon A Time wrap up post. But then I discovered Belleza’s second Japanese Literature Challenge. That is a topic that really interests me and it only requires three books over a six month time period so I gave in a joined up and am really looking forward to it. The review site is here.

I note that many others have commented that they enjoy challenges because it reduces their TBR piles. It certainly does not reduce mine. For the last challenge I intended to read three books that I already owned but ended up only reading one that I had and buying five new ones. For the Japanese challenge I intend to read one that I own but all of the others that are on my list as possible reads I would have to buy. If I am going to commit to the challenge I want to be reading the best books that I can find for it and besides, what a great excuse for buying books - I simply had to!!

I also noted that others mentioned that they enjoyed the challenge aspect of it. My work is all about meeting rigid deadlines and I don’t have any desire to try and push myself to read more in my leisure time. My natural inclination is to read as much as I can in the time I have available and adding stress to it just takes the pleasure out of it.

I am in awe of people that participate in multiple challenges at a time as well as people that read a huge number of books but that is something that I simply cannot do. The verdict on reading challenges is still out for me but I will give an update when I finish the Japanese Reading Challenge after January 30, 2009.


Carl V. said...

Your concerns over reading challenges are some of the very same reasons why I don't join a lot of them myself. I am too much of a whim reader to plan ahead.

That is also why, if you read my challenge 'rules' you will see that I do one book options on up to 5 simply because my goal is to take the negativity off of the word 'challenge' and still have others enjoy the community of it all without the pressure. I hate the pressure as well. It just gets to be too much.

Moo said...

I considered doing your one book option for the Once Upon A Time II challenge but as I had never done a challenge before and wanted the full experience I decided to go with the five. I enjoyed the challenge and it was a learning experience. I definitely plan on participating in your future challenges but will most likely choose the one book option, which I am very glad that you offer.

Carl V. said...

The one book option is as much of a fall back plan for myself as it is to help everyone else...I certainly don't want to not complete my own challenges! LOL! :)

Carl V. said...

What happened to all of our comments?