Thinking about 2009

Challenges. Reading challenges. I’m addicted. Are you? I’ve already begun to think about 2009. I’m really trying to figure out the plan. Or perhaps for the melodramatic THE PLAN. You see, I’ve committed a bit too much in 2008. To the point where I’m beginning to question my sanity. To the point where I’m thinking that I should never be allowed on the computer unguarded. It’s too late for 2008. But it’s not too late to save myself from this drama in 2009. I’m not saying I’m dropping out of the challenge world. I’m not. Have no fear. But for me to have committed to over seventy challenges in 2008…well…I think we can all agree that wasn’t the wisest thing I’ve ever done.

So here are the rules I’m thinking about implementing for myself.

1) Just because I have an idea for a challenge doesn’t mean I have to create and host it.
2) Just because I host a challenge doesn’t mean I have to join it.
3) Just because I’ve found the perfect image to be a challenge button doesn’t mean I have to create and host the challenge.
4) Just because a challenge has a cute button doesn’t mean I have to join it.
5) I shouldn’t join a challenge unless I’ve already got books that fit the challenge that I was already planning on reading at that time or in the near-future.
6) When I discover a new challenge, I should bookmark it, yes, but not join on the spot. I need to think about it for a few days at least and see if I really, truly need to join it.
7) I should not feel guilty for not joining a challenge even if it is a) hosted by a blogger I love b) a challenge that I’ve joined in the past c) a challenge hosted by a newbie that is just getting started.
8) Just because I’ve joined a challenge doesn’t mean I need to go overboard with it. If it says six books, then I don’t *need* to read twenty.
9) Just because I’ve joined a challenge doesn’t mean I have to finish it.

So last night I was reading and I got distracted by a challenge idea. I went to my computer, went to my favorite imaging site, and created not one but two (or four really) challenge buttons. I then started to write a challenge post. I was almost finished with the post before I realized that I didn’t have enough books in my tbr pile to complete the challenge without adding more books to it. And that is the LAST thing I need to do is to go out in search of more books at the library, online, or in the store. So I saved it, but restrained myself. Here are the two buttons I created.

The challenge would be to read a minimum of four–maximum of twelve–books written by women authors 1700-1900 throughout 2009. But most of the books in my TBR pile are for challenges I’ve committed to reading in 2008, but in all likelihood won’t be able to finish. I just don’t know if there is enough interest to have a challenge. This is when one and three come into play. Yes, I had an idea. And yes, I did without any extra searching on my part, have two images that make super-cute buttons (in my opinion) but is that really enough to justify giving birth to another reading challenge? If you should happen to like the idea for this one, then let me know.

I’m thinking about setting a horribly strict rule with myself. No more–absolutely no more–than 12 Challenge books per month. For a total commitment of 144 for the year. What that would mean is that I’d be able to a) read more 2009, 2008, and 2007 books. (I’m still playing catch up on 2007.) b) I wouldn’t feel obligated to seek out extra books at the library “just because” they’d fit in great with a challenge. It’s one thing to read a book because you WANT to read a book. Quite another if you read a book just because you NEED to read a book because it’s on your challenge list. I have no problem with adding a few spontaneous (if genuine) reads to the list. Especially if I see books being reviewed on other blogs that I can’t help myself with. But I don’t like feeling I have to read something no matter what. This new restriction would NOT include group reads for my group.

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24 Hour Challenge Completed

Post-Event Survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The wee morning hours (2-3) are always going to be the most daunting for me because as soon as I finish the current book, the book of the moment, choosing the next book, getting started, getting hooked requires a bit too much energy.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Frozen Fire was great, is great, I should say. The Stephenie Meyer books would probably work great. And Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Adoration of Jenna Fox would be a great choice too.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think things went relatively mostly smoothly. 🙂 I don’t know if the mini-challenges ever got ironed out or not. There were one or maybe two missing there for a while. But those weren’t biggies for me.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I think things worked well. I think Darcie did a great time with the cheerleaders. And I think Renay did really really well in organizing those two feeds and creating that one page that listed all the participants. Those were *super* helpful.

5. How many books did you read? 7 books; 1, 926 pages

6. What were the names of the books you read? Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler, The Trials of Kate Hope by Wick Downing, The Sherlock Files by Tracy Barrett, In the Company of Whispers by Sallie Lowenstein, Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee, Coraline the Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, Skin Deep by E.M. Crane.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee

8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked them all. I did. Sherlock Files was probably the least sophisticated of the bunch so I’ll go with that.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I didn’t cheer.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Yes. Definitely a reader. I might one day consider being a cheerleader. But I like the reading too much to really want to give that up or try to balance it.

© Becky Laney of Becky’s Book Reviews