I think I have a love/hate relationship with Reading Challenges. On the one hand, they are so tempting! I am amazed at the wide variety and choices available. There are challenges to appeal to my current interests, and there are challenges that well....challenge me to read outside my comfort zone. I think I spent over an hour reading all the new posts on A Novel Challenge and I made a list of over 10 challenges that I would be interested in joining.
On the other hand, I have not done well with the 11 challenges for which I signed up in 2009. Of those challenges I have only completed 4 (RIP IV, Shakespeare Summer Challenge, Support your Local Library, and Just for the Love of Reading); I reached the 50% mark in 3 challenges --- one was the challenge that I sponsored (Summer Vacation Reading, Casual Classics, and TBR Lite), I read fewer than 50% in 1 challenge (Cozy Mystery) and embarrassingly sad to say, I did not read one single book in 3 challenges that I was eager to join (Everything Austen, 18th and 19th Century Women Writers, and Harry Potter). It would be very easy for this perfectionist to view these stats, admit failure, and vow never to join another reading challenge again.
However.....that will not be the case. I find that the community aspect of reading challenges adds a social element to the reading experience that I enjoy. I thrill at the thought of looking through my bookshelves (or browsing through the library website) to make a list of potential reads. I marvel at not only the vast number of books that I have already read --- but the seemingly endless number of literary genres with which I am totally unfamiliar. And I take comfort in the fact that there are others out there who enjoy my favorite past time as much - or perhaps even more than I do. My family does not understand my compulsion in this area (they tend to lean more in the direction of movies and music rather than the written word), and the appeal of being a part of a group who understands this side of my personality is uplifting.
So having said all that....I think I will sign up for one more reading challenge in 2009 and then set my sights on 2010 (I feel a part 2 post coming on....). In an attempt to help me relax this holiday season, and to help me get into the festive mood, I will join the Christmas Reading Challenge hosted by Michelle of The Book Addict. The challenge runs from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve and the rules are simple: read 1-3 books in that time frame. I think I can do that. For now I am going to commit to reading two books:
- The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn (which has been on my bookshelf for over two years now.)
- A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid (I just heard that the author will be at my local library on December 7. I have signed up for the event and very much looking forward to hearing him in person).
The next 3 weeks will be stressful in my teaching life. We have two weeks of classes and a week of finals. There are 15 research papers to grade, umpteen last minute worksheets to review, and then the final exams. I want to make the conscientious effort this December, however, to keep a better balance of life. I did not do so well in November.
May you all enjoy this final day of the Thanksgiving weekend, and relax and celebrate the holiday season with peace, love, and joy in your hearts.