Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reading Challenges and Non-Challenges

Lately I've seen a bunch of great-sounding reading challenges crop up in the book blogging community. The Historical Fiction Challenge and Debut Authors Challenge are two that have caught my eye as sounding really great. But I didn't join either, though I definitely thought about it, and the reason for that is tied up in my opinions/feelings on reading challenges.

For me, reading challenges are kind of like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) -- a great, fabulous, wonderful idea that I absolutely love but that doesn't work for me personally. Years ago when I first started book blogging (a blog that is now dead dead dead), I joined one or two challenges. I made a list of the books I was going to read and then... only read about half of them.

Not because I didn't want to, but because it just didn't happen. I ended up interested in books, authors, or genres that I hadn't expected when I joined the challenges. What I wanted to read changed and I found myself less interested in some of the books that were a part of the challenge.

The best part of reading is finding something you love.

The worst part of reading is being forced into it. Now, I realize that a reading challenge isn't exactly the required reading list for a lit class, but sometimes it has that same feel: I have to read something. I have to read a certain amount of something. 

I wish they worked for me, but they just don't. Instead, my reading goals are non-challenges. Vague reading hopes for the future.

I want to read and review debut authors. I absolutely love debut novels and a big part of this is the fact that I know every debut I read is going to be completely different. Every new author brings a fresh perspective and a different style of writing to the table. I love finding new books and authors.

I want to read more dystopian. I wasn't a super-huge dystopian fan, but over this past year I have found a few books that have made me fall in love with the genre. Candor. The Hunger Games. Fahrenheit 451, which I reread this year. I have Matched on my shelf right now and have a few more dystopian series I'd love to get my hands on. I'd also like to discover some new ones that I maybe haven't heard of or been interested in yet.

I want to find some YA (or MG) science fiction. Yes, please. I've been fangirl-style excited about Beth Revis' debut novel Across the Universe ever since I heard about it. I'm a sci-fi fan when it comes to movies and television, but I'm a tad bit (read: extremely) picky about the genre and have had a hard time finding sci-fi books that I'm really interested in and love. I'm hoping that changes soon because I have a serious fascination and love for the genre, even if I am picky about it.

I want to read more internet-style books. Especially ones that are text- or Twitter-based.

If you have any suggestions of books that fit into any of my non-challenge categories, let me know. Also: what's your opinion on reading challenges?


  1. I joined those challenges. :)

    Dystopia.. how about WATER WARS? Or THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO?

    Science fiction.. what about try some classics? My dad has always recommended THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS to me, and I did enjoy what I read. Or any by Orson Scott Card? Any of these seem interesting? http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/favorites/by_genre/science_fic.html

  2. Bri Meets Books
    The Water Wars is definitely on my list and my dad has some old Edgar Rice Burroughts (I think that's the author's name) sci-fi books I want to read.

  3. For debut novels, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore is pretty fantastic. (debuted December 2009) and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (which you must have heard of by now) is omgfrickenamazing. That is all I have to say about that.

    For dystopian, you MUST read Birthmarked by Caragh M. O' Brien. It fits right up there with The Hunger Games. And Inside Out by the one and only Maria V. Snyder is another little gem in the sand. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony... well I actually am in the process of reading it, but so far I'm enjoying it :)

    For sci-fi, the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld will do it for ya. (few years old, but it's still a best-selling series) Also, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson is so heart-wrenching you don't even know.

    So those are just some titles you can choose from, and I'm fairly certain you'll like them all.

  4. StoryLove
    Thanks for all the recs!
    Magic Under Glass - I've heard good things but I'm not a fan of paranormal.
    Anna & the French Kiss - DEFinitely on my list. I've heard nothing but great things.
    Birthmarked - I hadn't heard of this one - thanks!
    Inside Out - Looks like it could be interesting.
    Restoring Harmony - This one has actually been on my list for a while.
    And (woot!) I've read both of the sci-fis you recommended!!