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?