Saturday, April 4, 2009

Reading Challenge Idea.....

Ok - so my type-A personality is starting to kick in; I knew it would, although I have tried very hard to keep it under control.

I originally started this blog for personal fulfillment and a few friends and family members who enjoyed reading my first blog attempt last summer. I was shocked - and honored - to find other bloggers thought my blog was interesting enough to "follow". That kept me motivated and inspired to better my blogging posts. I eventually wrote my first book review and found that not only did I enjoy the writing process (and the fringe benefit of having a written record of books I have read), but I actually influenced a few of you to take a look at a book that I suggested. That is very empowering - and has now led me to want to push myself a bit further.

I was giving thought as to how I could take my blog to the next level (now that I have added 3 columns and a header - ha ha).....and I thought perhaps the next step could be a weekly meme or a quarterly challenge. I am not sure that I have the creativity for a weekly meme (I just don't know how some of you come up with such clever, thought-provoking questions each and every week) - so I decided to concentrate my efforts on a challenge. After quite a bit of thought - internal debate - and research (I perused the Novel Challenge website and I don't think I am stepping on any toes here), I have decided to host the Summer Vacation Reading Challenge 2009. Now, I have a skeleton of an idea here, but I may need some help.

I LOVE to travel, but with the economy the way it is, that is just not feasible right now. So I thought....why not travel through literature? I personally enjoy travel memoirs, and will probably focus my "vacation escape" reading in this way, but I do think there are other ways to "travel" in literature without reading memoirs. Here are my thoughts:
  • The challenge will run between May 1 and September 30, 2009
  • Summer vacations are to be relaxing and fun - not stressful. However, some people prefer to do nothing but go the beach and totally veg out - while others like to maximize their site-seeing adventures. To that end, I thought I would offer 2 levels of participation: Beach Bumb: you will read 3 books in this time frame. You do not need to pre-select books in advance and cross overs from other challenges will count; Globe Trotter: you will read 6 books in this time frame. You will make a initial list of books that you will read, but you may substitute up to 3 books if you need to change your travel plans. Crossovers for 5 out of the 6 books will count. Ideally, one book will be for this challenge alone.
  • you may read any genre of literature that allows you to "travel" to a locale that you would like to visit. Perhaps a mystery that takes place in Paris, France; perhaps a romance novel that takes place on the Floridian beaches; perhaps an historical fiction novel that takes place in Scotland; perhaps a fantasy novel that take place in a world far, far away that is appealing to you. It doesn't matter the genre, as long as it transports you to a part of the world (albeit US or otherwise) that you would like to visit
  • I would like to offer prizes
OK -- that is the idea in a nutshell. Here is where I need some help:
  1. Is this something that you might be interested in participating? IF so, please comment and let me know.
  2. Am I missing something? Again, I have never done this before and am not sure that I am covering all the bases, so to speak
  3. I have NO idea how to make a button for this? Could you possibly help in this area?
  4. I have NO idea how to post this idea to A Novel Challenge --- do you?
  5. I would LOVE to give prizes, but have never done this before. What criteria is typical? What prizes are highly appreciated?
I am very interested in YOUR feedback. If I am barking up the wrong tree, I am willing to accept that fact and begin again. This blogging experience is a learning process, and I am willing to learn from my mistakes.

Thank you so very much for any input you can provide.


  1. This has nothing to do with a challenge, although I did challenge you to tell me about tea, hat, gloves or pearls for the cyber tea party. You are the surprise! Please send me your mailing address so I can have Laura mail you a hard cover autographed copy of Oolong Dead. Congrats! Also read post, please.

  2. Molly, I love the idea! I took those two photos on yor post and turned them into challenge buttons, but I can't send them to you because I can't find an email address on your blog. Send your email address to me at robinsblogATgmailDOTcom and I'll send them right off to you!

  3. That's supposed to be "your."

  4. This is a great idea! The criteria for prizes is usually leaving a comment or answering a question like "If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?" For a Novel Challenge blog, just email Wendy from Caribou's Mom and she'll put it on the blog. Hope it helps.

  5. Kaye -- you have absolutely made my day --- week -- and possibly month with this great news. THANK YOU!!

    Robin -- you are a blessing! Thank you so much for the offer of making the buttons (which I will publicly acknowledge in a separate post) - and for your enthusiasm about this event.

    Vasilly - thank you for your enthusiasm and the valuable information regarding A Novel Challenge: I never new Wendy of Caribou's mom was one and the same.

  6. I'm definitely interested in joining this one! Great idea.

  7. That is a great idea, Molly! I'm too new at all of this to help with your questions, but I'd definitely be interested in participating.

  8. I think it is a great idea! I would definitely sign up for it and help you promote it. I don't know a thing about challenges though ... I don't know how if you are missing anything or how to post it. I think prizes should be what you are comfortable doing. Maybe all who successfully complete the challenge could be entered in a drawing for a gift card to a book store or Amazon or some such thing? I'm afraid I wouldn't be helpful with the button either. I hope you get some more feedback and proceed with this -- great idea!

  9. I would definitely join this challenge. I like all my reading to be in a locale more interesting than my own so this is a snap for me. Looks like you got knowledgeable people for buttons and advice already. Book gift certificates are nicest because the winner can buy something they really wanted for themselves. But it's really up to you. Most people don't participate because there's a prize offered. Sign me up when it's a go.

  10. You've done a good job of covering most of the bases in regards to challenges, Molly. :-) It's a great idea for a challenge!

  11. Great idea and I'm in!!! Robin already made you buttons, so that's good. Here's another thing you need: Mr. Linky!

    (1) Set up a sign-up post where people link their "I'm participating" post (not their blog, but their post) and commit to which level they're doing. Use Mr. Linky. This sets up a list of committed participants.

    (2) On May 2 set up another post with Mr. Linky where people can post links to their book reviews. Not everyone posts reviews, but many of your participants will want this -- also lets us all see what everyone is reading (helps keep the sense of community and exposes us to new books).

    (3) On Sept. 30 set up another Mr. Linky post where people can link their wrap-up posts. This is where a prize can come in. You can ask a question or just require a wrap-up post. People without blogs can leave a comment.

    Mr. Linky is pretty cheap -- one free post and I think it's something like $10 for unlimited Mr. Linky's for a year.

  12. I am SO very excited that there is interest in this challenge. I will work on details and publish an official post later this week. I have already decided to change the dates slightly to mesh with the summer vacation theme (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend).

    Beth F --- I thought about Mr. Linky last night and knew I needed to added that piece of the puzzle, was was clueless how to do that. Thanks for the comments, and I may be picking your Mr. Linky brain a little later on :)

    I have some ideas brewing for the prize --- I hope it will be enjoyed.

  13. Molly -- just email me and I'll try to help you with Mr. Linky. I looked into setting up an account, but I haven't actually done it. I'm happy to help; we can muddle through together! If you join Wendy's email list (from, you can ask for help there too -- people there are very friendly.

  14. What a great idea, Molly! I would love to participate. I've never set up a challenge, so I can't offer any help there, but I'll be in on the fun once you get it started!

    I love the theme, that was basically my thinking behind my blog name, too!


  15. I think it's a great idea, but I've given up on challenges, so I probably won't participate.

  16. Fabulous, Molly! i love this challenge! I'll join it. And, I'm so envious that you have figured out how to get three columns!!! The last time I tried that, I lost my entire blog (I forgot to save the base code) and had to start all over again. Now I can't find the site that gives you the codes for the three columns! So - well done, amazing, and I'm thrilled for you. Let us know when the challenge is ready for signing up :-D

    PS and if you don't know, your mini challenge answers are up on my blog now!


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