In 2014 I took on four reading challenges. It was fun but also a little frustrating at times. Part of me doesn’t want to do any challenge except for the Mount TBR challenge (discussed later). Challenges add pressure to conform to a predetermined course of reading. During that past year I sometimes felt that I had to read something to meet a challenge, rather than reading what I want. On the other hand, broadening my reading horizons is a definite goal. The Literary Exploration genre challenge has been instrumental in doing that over the past two years. Steampunk is one example of that. I had been aware of steampunk as a literary genre but hadn’t read any of it until I did the first Literary Exploration challenge.
Another way I would like to broaden my horizons is in terms of the background of the authors. I did an analysis of what I read in the past year (so far) and found that about 59% of the authors were female and 41% were male. In terms of nationality, two-thirds of the authors were American. British authors came in a distant second, and Canadians third. I would really like to read more non-American authors. In terms of age groups, I wondered if I was reading too much young adult and new adult fiction. Young adult fiction is great but I don't want to miss out on adult books either. Turns out that while I have been reading a lot of young adult (and new adult) fiction lately, those categories made up only 22% of my reading, while adult fiction and non-fiction made up 70%. The remainder consisted of children’s books and books I characterized as aimed at any age.
With all this in mind, I am contemplating five reading challenges and goals for 2015: Mount TBR, Reading the World, What's in a Name, a genre challenge, and the Eclectic Reader challenge.
#1 Mount TBR
Mount TBR is the one I am most eager to complete. There are various levels to choose from:
- Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile
- Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile
- Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile
- Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles
- Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile
- El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile
- Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile
- Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile
In 2014 I was one book shy of making it up Mount Blanc. In 2015 I hope to make it up Mount Vancouver or even better, Mount Ararat. My goal is to try to complete the other challenges using books that would also qualify for the Mount TBR challenge. More information about the Mount TBR challenge is available at My Reader's Block.
#2 Reading the World
In analyzing my 2014 reading habits, what concerned me most was the lack of diversity in terms of nationality and ethnicity. My goal this year will be to read at least five books from non-American and non-British authors. I am especially interested in reading work from Asian writers (both Asian-American and those actually from Asian countries). Central and South America and Africa are also parts of the world I have read very little of and would like to read more of. I’m not sure if I have read any New Zealand authors but have read a few from Australia.
#3 Genre Challenge
I will once again to a genre challenge but am going to try to not worry about fulfilling every genre. If I do, that’s great but the Mount TBR and reading the World Challenges will take priority.
The last two challenges I am considering are The Eclectic Reader Challenge and the What’s in a Name challenge. There are purely for fun and relatively short and so shouldn’t be too hard to complete. The categories to read for those challenges are as follows:
#4 The Eclectic Reader Challenge
- Retellings (as in a retelling of a fairytale, legend or myth)
- A book set in a country starting with the letter S
- PI Crime
- A novel published before I was born
- Contemporary romance
- Fiction for foodies
- Science Fiction Set in Space
- Featuring Diversity
- Epistolary Fiction
- Middle Grade/YA Adventure
More information about this challenge is available on the blog, Book'd Out.
#5 What’s in a Name?
- A word including “ing” in it
- A color
- A familial relation
- A body of water
- A city
- An animal
Maybe I'm crazy to take on so many challenges. Perhaps the real challenge will be to not let the challenges make me crazy and to remember that the important thing is to have fun reading.
Do you have any reading goals or challenges for 2015?