With every new year I like to think back on my previous reading year and try to figure out what worked for me and what did not. Did I read all the books I wanted to read? Of course not, I never do. But how many of the books I read were ones I really wanted to read? Did I have a good reading year? Did I find a balance between fun and challenging? And perhaps the biggest question of all, how do I want the upcoming reading year to look?
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The first thing I always do is head over to A Novel Challenge, a blog that acts as a central place to find all the latest reading challenges. I've been pretty honest about this in the past but it bears repeating -- I completely and totally suck at reading challenges. I rarely finish them successfully. Yet, I love to read about them and I find it a great way to get myself thinking about what I might want to accomplish in the next year.
The 2013 challenge on War Through the Generations is an American Revolution Reading Challenge and I have to say that interests me since I haven't read many books -- fiction or nonfiction -- set in that period. Then I think it's possibly a bad idea as I already have such a backlog of WWI and WWII books. Diving into another era could be dangerous for my bookshelves. Similarly, I really love the books that Caroline has selected for the Literature and War 2013 Readalong.
Do you do that thing where you read the first book in a series and then really, really mean to read the sequel but you just haven't gotten around to it yet? Then maybe you need to do the Sequel Reading Challenge. If you are like me you've probably started several series and need to finish them, which makes the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge a good option. There are also of plenty of challenges dedicated to reading a single series. Just stick the title of the series you want to read in search engine along with "reading challenge 2013" and you'll probably find one designed just for that series. Or maybe you've been reading nothing but series and you want to give the Standalone Reading Challenge?
A challenge after my own heart is the Foodie's Read 2013 Challenge. After all, I am the type that sits down and reads cookbooks cover to cover. However, I know I'm going to read plenty of food-lit (and cookbooks!) as it is. I'll be heading back to check out some of the participant's blogs to look for book suggestions though.
Last year I thought about doing an Audio Book Challenge, like the one hosted at Teresa's Reading Corner. I'm still flirting with the idea I had last year of doing an audio book and fitness challenge where I can only listen to an audio book when I'm walking, running, etc.
I always, always will love Mount TBR (To Be Read) Reading Challenge. I also love the annual Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge. I like the idea of pushing myself just a little bit more than I did the year before.
Now, I just talked about a lot of challenges. Am I going to do them all? No, though I have to confess it is tempting. It did give me lots of ideas. My next step is to check in on my 2012 reading goals. I made four goals. Did I hit them? Nope. But I certainly had fun trying and you know, my goals in 2012 were really good goals. I didn't manage to do outdo myself and I didn't blog nearly as much as I wanted or felt I should have but that's ok. It's ok not to meet your reading goals. I am, however, still going to make them.
I will not outdo myself: At least, I probably won't outdo myself. In 2011 I read 150 books. In 2012 I didn't quite get there. I'm tracking to come in somewhere between 135-140 books. I don't see myself hitting 150 books in 2013. I am hoping to hit somewhere around 100. That is less than I've read in the last couple of years but more than I'd read the few years before that. And really, 100 books is still a lot of books!
I'll continue to give back: In 2012 I pledged to donate $1 to my local library for every book I'd read that year. I'll be writing that cheque in January once I get a firm count for 2012. I'd like to do it again for all the books I read in 2013. Most of the books I read each year come from the library and it simply feels right for me to tie reading and giving in this way.
Clear out the stacks: In 2012 my bookshelves overflowed. Well, truthfully they started overflowing the year before. As I've been reading the books I've gotten rather brutal about the books I'm keeping. More and more often the books get tossed into a bag when I'm done. I then take those books to dinners or bbqs and let my friends go through them. Anything they don't want gets passed on to my local library brach as a donation.
What are your reading goals for 2013? Are you joining any reading challenges?
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