2015 reading challenges and lists

I used to be pretty good about doing annual reading lists or challenges, but I wasn’t last year. I had a brief few weeks where I read so many books that I foolishly adjusted my Goodreads personal challenge from 25 books to 50 books (which left me struggling at the end of the year – according to Goodreads, I only read 38 books, but I read a number of indie books, like these, that aren’t on Goodreads, so I was pretty close to 50 but, I did it and can prove it now that URB added their publications to Goodreads).

I really want to read more this year, so I’ve decided to challenge myself:

  1. I challenge myself to read 50 books
  2. I challenge myself to read at least one book from the Canada Reads list of five contenders
  3. I challenge myself to try to finish one reading list

Here’s the deal for each of the three challenges:

1. Read 50 books

Dear self. It’s lame that you struggle to read more than 25 books a year. Yes, you’re a slow reader, but you also don’t have kids, you don’t work overtime,and you can definitely find the time. Read!

(Here is my Goodreads challenge page in case you want to see the progress.)

Update: I completed this challenge sometime in November.

2. Canada Reads

In 2010, I challenged myself to read one of the final Canada Reads books and ended up reading 4 of the 5. Most of them were soul searing and brilliant (I loved Nikolski, in particular) and one just wasn’t my cup of tea. Every year since then, I tell myself that I need to read at least one of the finalist, and every year I don’t (though, I am currently reading the winner from 2013, read one from 2014’s list a few years ago and have two others from 2014’s list on my Kobo, so I’m catching up). This year, the focus is on “books that can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues.” All of the books look really thought-provoking:

I want to read one of these. Maybe even try to read all of them. Secretly, I’m using Canada Reads 2015 as extra incentive to finally get around to reading The Inconvenient Indian, which I’ve been meaning to read for years … let’s see if it works!

Update: I only read Ru, in the end, but that completes the challenge.

3. Finish a reading list

I’m going to be pretty relaxed about this one. I found a list that I really liked because it wasn’t dictating specific titles to read. Instead, it challenges people to be creative about finding books to read (a graphic novel, a book with a colour in the title, a book more than 100 years old, etc.). Thanks to Julie, who pinned a list on Pinterest, I found a second list that’s similar. I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I’m using both of them.

I have two reading challenge lists on the go. One I found in one of my blog feeds and one I found courtesy of ... I can't remember. I can't even remember whet I saw it.

My challenge is to try to cross off as many as I can on both lists, but instead of using them just as a means of finding new books to read, this is what I’m doing:

  • Every time I finish I book, I will start at the top of each list and go through them until I find the first that matches the book I just read.
  • When I want to find a new book, I will pick one option from one list and wait until I’ve finished it to see if it also fits on the other list.
  • I will try to finish the lists, but I’m not going to stress out about it too much.

For example: I recently finished Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1). On the first list, the first item that matches is “a book with nonhuman characters” (the horse is one of the favourite characters in the book). On the second list, the first match is “a book by an author you love” and I love Douglas Adams’ books! And, for the book I’m reading right now, I saw “a book with a one-word title” on the first list and picked February, which has been siting on my Kobo for a few months. If I don’t seem to be making much progress on the lists by mid year, I’ll try to focus on them for a little while to catch up.

Update: I decided to quit this challenge in June. You can read about my decision in this post

Aside from these challenges, I will also be unofficially trying to read at least a few of the books I have on my bookshelf which I haven’t read yet (and unread books on my Kobo). As always, I will be keeping track of my reading on Goodreads, so feel free to follow or friend me.

Update: I did read books from my bookshelf, but I also added a bunch of new books to my pile. Oops.

Also, I should note that I “read” a lot of audio books. I do this mostly when I’m stitching or sewing. They are like non-visual (and very long) movies for me. Some people seem to think that they don’t count, but I disagree. Yes, it’s true that I’m not as focused on it as I would be if I had to read the words myself, but I pay enough attention to enjoy the book. I mostly listen to “easy” or funny books (Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, Dorothy …’s Miss Pollifax books, etc.), so it’s not really a big deal if I miss minor details or need to jump back to the beginning of a chapter. And, there’s something really satisfying about spending the whole Sunday puttering around and still managing to finish a book!

I also count graphic novels. Contrary to popular belief, graphic novels aren’t just glorified superhero comics. In fact, most of the one’s I’ve read did not have any super heroes. Some of them are pretty amazing.

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