Tuesday, January 05, 2021

2021 Reading Challenge

Well last year turned out to be a bit of a slower reading year for me.  In spite of COVID time off, I was well below what I'd been averaging the last few years with numbers of books read.  I thought at the beginning of COVID lockdowns that it would be perfect time to motor through a bunch of books and it would help me to reach my 50 books read goal.  But nope, it had the opposite affect on me and I found myself struggling to pick up a book for the first month of lockdown.   And that's okay.  But weirdly, it's also the first time ever, I read a whole book in one day.  So when I  throw in the two books I started but Did Not Finish (DNF) I had a total of 34 books.  And I accomplished some other goals such as knocking off some of the books that have been sitting around here the longest, like I'm talking years.  And knocking some books off my library "for later" shelves.  I completed two audio books for the first time ever thanks to COVID.  I started listening to them as I clean and sanitize at the end of the work day.  What I have found with audio is that I enjoy listening to non-fiction but I struggle with fiction.  With fiction my mind wanders away too easily.  So all in all I am good with last year.

This year, 2021, I am changing up my reading challenge a bit.  Because confession time:  I am a book hoarder!  I cannot seem to stop myself.  Just take a look at one corner of my closet.   And under that basket is a file box full of books and there is also an under the bed bin full of books. 

 Please don't judge.  I haven't necessarily bought all these books, though some I have.  The dawn of the Little Library in my community has certainly added to the height of these piles.   I'm notorious for taking books I no longer want to Little Libraries but in turn I also kept finding books I wanted to read so my piles never actually went down, they increased.  Yikes!   BookOutlet has certainly added to my addiction as their books are so super inexpensive I just can't help treating myself at times.  Some of these are gifts or gift card purchases.   I'm also notorious for still going to the library on top of having all these books to read.  I can't help it, it's a de-stress thing for me but invariably I always find something to bring home to read.  So in the end I am bringing in way more than I actually read at any one time. 

So I've joined a challenge I found on a Youtube channel, Chantel at An Intentional Life.    It's called the "Read Your Bookshelf Challenge".  Each month there is a prompt and you pick a book that fits the prompt from your own shelves.  I have decided that I am going to take on the challenge by not just finding one book within the prompt but I'm going to pull all my books that fit that particular prompt and call it my possibility pile for the month and read as many as I can from it.  That way instead of being stuck with having to read a book I picked earlier but now am not feeling it, I'll have freedom to "mood read" within the challenge.  Sounds fun to me.  Here is Chantel's prompts for the year:

January ~ A book with a "home-ish" word in the title such as "house", "home", "room", "mirror", "kitchen", "garden" etc.  Feel free to interpret this one how you like

February ~ A book with red on the cover or spine

March ~ A book recommended by a friend

April ~ A book with 5+ words in the title

May ~ A book you should have read in high school

June ~ A book with an animal on the cover

July ~ Title that starts with the 1st letter of your first name

August ~ Book in a series

September ~ A translated book

October ~ A book set in a different country than where you live

November ~ A book with a night scene on the cover

December ~ A book with a winter element on the cover

I am going to really focus on getting this embarrassing pile down.   Hopefully I'll get some of these books read and out of my closet and house.  I am going to try and avoid the Little Libraries for awhile to try and not bring anymore books in. And I'm going to try and not use the library for awhile which is easy at the moment because it's curbside only.  Though I do have a couple of previously put on hold titles I will have to add when they come in. 

I also like the idea with this challenge that it is monthly.  The other challenges I've done have been kind of seasonal so I was picking books for 3 months worth of reading.  But last year I found this got overwhelming and I didn't always feel like reading some of my original choices as it got towards the end of the time frame.  And I ended up changing some of titles midway thru the season because other more interesting things came up or library books I'd put on hold came in.  So I think this monthly time frame will give me more freedom.  I also think by having a possibility pile instead of a for certain pile it will be more fun and I won't feel bad if the named titles don't get read.  It's a shift in mind set for me.  

So do you challenge yourself in your reading?  Do you take part in formal challenges?  Do you enjoy setting goals and what kind of  reading goals do you set?


Barbara Harper said...

I've often wished there was a little library near here, but maybe it's good there's not--otherwise I'd be in the same fix. :-) I have a couple of boxes of books in closets, too. Some have been there since we moved here 10 years ago, so maybe I should sort through them and get rid of some. I'm just trying to deal with the ones actually on my shelves just now--and there's who know how many in my Kindle app, bought when they were on sale for just a dollar or two, or free in some cases.

I participate in a few reading challenges. I have a post set for tomorrow listing what I'll participate in. I like a balance between intentionality and flexibility to change or pick up something unplanned for.

Funny about audiobooks--I am just the opposite. I can't seem to follow nonfiction audiobooks, unless it's a biography or written in story form. But fiction pulls me in. I use audiobooks for a lot of classics, which tend to meander a bit. I find I don't mind that as much in an audiobook while I am doing something with my hands. If I were reading pages, I'd be skimming through those parts.

Wendy said...

I think most people who enjoy reading have a bigger TBR pile than they would like but yes it is good to try and reduce it from time to time. I like having a challenge so I set myself one and I'm in an online book group that I enjoy. I'm with you on audible books - can't concentrate on them. (Although non-fiction might work better - never tried that.)
Happy reading Susanne!

Faith said...

what a fun challenge. I read about a book a week usually...at least i did before FB. one of my goals for the year is t really cut back on social media and read more. I don't have a certain number of books i want to read other than a goal of reading and really studying the books of I and II Timothy as well as 4 of the minor prophets in the bible plus I'd like to meet my goal of 4 non fiction books this new year. Last year I only read 33 books but I KNOW it's because i watched more netflix and was out hiking a lot more in the early spring than i ever have before. Also wasting time on crackbook.....i much prefer blogging and want to do more of that this year. also we stopped buying books unless it's for a small group study because we have such a good library and i cannot STAND clutter. We both have gone through our books and really narrowed them down...in fact, we are only keeping certain non fiction ones and the classic fiction ones. Good luck on this challenge!!

Karen said...

I haven't participated in a formal reading challenge in years. And even then, I didn't do very well, because I tend to choose books by the mood I'm in. I do like the idea of the monthly challenge you're going to do, and the idea of having several books to choose from. I keep track of all the books I've read in a little notebook and on Goodreads. This year my goal is to read 36 books, three a month. One will be the choice for my book club, and the second will be of my own choosing. Then, the third is for a challenge I've set to read about all the American presidents. I figure it will be one a month. Yes, it will take me a few years, but that's okay! I have a lot of books on my TBR pile here at home, but I'm not stressing over getting through them. Some are mine, many are from my aunt. I figure eventually I'll get to them.

nikkipolani said...

Such an interesting review of your reading year. I don't keep track of my reading and do most of it via my library's ebooks. Like you, I'm very tempted to try things found in those Little Libraries. But with space considerations at home, I resist. Roomie's books tend to be theological ones that are best studied in non-electronic ways so they get the shelves at our place.

I've definitely consumed fewer audiobooks with almost zero commute (working from home). These days, gardening is about the only time I listen to books. The fact that there's still a sizable backlog of audiobooks TBR tells you about the state of my garden.

Best wishes for your 2021 reading!