Friday, August 5, 2016

Challenge Ideas, If You Please


It's a little early to be thinking about 2017 reading challenges, but I'm considering running one (or more?) and for some reason I'm filled with ideas about what they might be. Creativity comes in strange blasts these days.

Which one of these would tempt you to sign up? There will be prizes, of course, but I'm really hoping that the ideas alone make you want to join.

Please keep in mind that these generic names aren't the actual names of the challenges, just placeholders for the catchy, memorable names that will come later (I hope).

Your feedback is welcome! And it should go without saying that honest feedback is the best kind.

I've made some personal comments about the ideas I like best, but don't let those sway you.

Birth Year Reading Challenge: I ran this for a few years and it was very well received. It definitely gets you out of your comfort zone and leads to some interesting books. I think it's been long enough that the "plain vanilla" version of simply reading from your own birth year would be interesting again.

Nature reading: Fiction and non-fiction in various categories that have to do with nature and the outdoors, such as Classic Work (Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Gary Snyder, et al.), Has Gear on the Cover (backpack, snowshoes, whatever), Animal Related, Female Focus, and Current Issue (climate change, biodiversity loss, etc.). Just so you know, I will probably do this one even if nobody's interested, because I want to read some of these myself!

Cooking theme: Cooking memoirs or otherwise with a cooking theme. I got this idea from an author interview by Rose City Reader and realized this could be a nice challenge theme. This isn't really my genre, though. Maybe its destiny is for someone else to host it?

Animal perspective: Books told from an animal's perspective. Another idea sparked by a bloggy friend, this time a review by Debbie at ExUrbanis. Again, perhaps not my strongest genre, but it could be done and would give me a chance to expand my reading horizons.

Prizewinners and Also Rans: Winner(s) of various prizes for a particular year, plus another book published that year that didn't win. My bloggy friend Nan who writes Letters from a Hill Farm inspired this idea, but I can't find the actual post or comment. I believe the example she used was that Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises was published in the fall of 1926, and Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927. Obviously we're all still reading one of them, but the point here would be to read both of them and compare and contrast.

Book Doubles: Books with the same title or nearly the same title (Life After Life is one such example) OR books sufficiently linked that they could be mistaken for each other. My recent confusion about Alice Adams the character and Alice Adams the author was the inspiration for this one.

Dread Books:  Books on your TBR list that you "have to" read but have been putting off. Anyone who reads prize winners will relate to this one. For me, there's not one but two books about violent, troubled children . . . and Karen at Bookertalk helped gel this idea with her mention of books she's been avoiding. So maybe this should be balanced with a reward book of some sort. Dread and Fluff? Dread and Reward? Or just a fun little something in the mail from me when you finish your goals? That would be Dread and Read!

Guilty Conscience Books: Books you "should" have read for school, or gift books you never read, or books you started and didn't finish. In short, any book you feel bad about. I did this as part of the Themed Reading Challenge a few years back (yikes, in 2009!) and it was very psychically clearing.

So there you have it. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!

26 comments:

  1. I could do any of these, Jane but the birth year one is the one that would stretch me the most. (I think I used Horton Hears a Who one year). When I did it in 2012, I chose to read my daughter's birth year and even that was a struggle.

    I love the idea of book doubles (a bit challenging - and fun, in fact I would look forward to this one the most) and, of course, the animal perspective - although that wouldn't challenge me really, but I would enjoy it! Prizewinners and also rans is another that would involve some research and stretching.

    What can I say about the 'dread' challenge or the guilty conscience? I'd probably do both but I can't say that I'd look forward to either one. There's a reason those books aren't read yet! ;-)

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    1. Thanks for all this great feedback, Debbie! Balancing stretching and fun is really important, I think. My heart is with the nature challenge, but I wanted to get outside my own perspective, and you've really helped with that.

      The "dread" and "guilty conscience" challenges would have to have prizes. Definitely! Otherwise it's just a long slog with little incentive.

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    1. You're welcome! Credit where credit is due!

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  3. I wonder if it was my comment on this post? https://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.com/2016/06/pulitzer-prize-for-fiction.html
    That So Big beat out The Great Gatsby!!

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    1. That's probably it - thanks! I knew it was you, because I made a note about it, but I had the books wrong. And this is why I write things down . . . .

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    2. P.S. Can you imagine "Gatsby" not winning?????

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  4. I am interested in the birth year challenge and the cooking challenge. Years ago Margot at http://joyfullyretired.com/ ran a Foodies Read challenge, and I so enjoyed participating. It is still around: http://www.spiritblog.net/foodies-read-2016-sign-up-page/
    but I haven't done it since that other year.

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    1. It seems that the cooking theme is nicely covered, and the BYRC is a leading contender for sentimental reasons - so your interests are spot on (as usual). I appreciate your comments!

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  5. I like "Prize Winners and Also Rans". The birth year one sent me to googling my birth year and discovering only a few mysteries that intribue me. One adaptation / twist I might welcome is to read books published during a reign of the Prime Minister or England, President of the USA, and / or President of France for when the challengers were born. Allow readers to select any two World Leaders who were reigning when they were born (I thought of variety because President Gerald Ford had such a brief reign and Prime MInister Alec Douglas-Home was in office for just under a year).

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    1. The Prize Winners and Also Rans is one of my favorite ideas, also. And twists on the BYRC are most welcome, because variations help keep the challenge fresh. Eventually I will have to make a decision . . . .

      Thanks for visiting and your ideas!

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    2. Back to the basics for now (but will keep your idea on hand for future years). Hope you can join us!
      http://hotchpotcafe.blogspot.com/2017/01/birth-year-reading-challenge-2017.html

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  6. The BYRC was a great favourite of mine. I'd love to do it again but am also interested in the Dread n Read and the Guilty Conscience challenges. For two years, I participated in the Guilty Reads challenge and it was nice to hv those books off your shelves n conscience.

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    1. It's nice to hear from you, Neer, and that the BYRC was fun for you. It's definitely the sentimental favorite here.

      As for the others, you and I must be on the same wavelength when it comes to clearing off those lingering books.

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  7. Hi, I saw your link on My Readers Block. I too participate in a lot of challenges each year, and am hosting my first one this year:
    http://jannghi.blogspot.com/2015/10/literary-loners-reading-challenge-2016.html

    I plan to do something different next year: a bingo-grid challenge for memoirs, since I am in the process of writing one. You can see my progress on my blog: jannghi.blogspot.com

    There is a Foodies Reading challenge that I do each year. It's currently hosted here:
    http://www.spiritblog.net/foodies-read-2016-sign-up-page/
    And this blog regularly hosts an animal-themed challenge:
    http://socratesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2015/11/what-animal-reading-challenge-ix-2016.html
    Though there are often challenges with similar themes. Several mystery/detective challenges are offered each year.

    I like the book doubles idea. I've stumbled onto many books with the same titles. I'd like to try this idea should you go with it.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jamie, and relaying all this great info and your preference for the Book Doubles idea. I rather like that one, too.

      Your Literary Loners challenge sounds very interesting, as does the memoirs challenge you're planning. Will you be doing both of them?

      Congrats on making such progress with your memoir. I'm sure you will read other memories with a fresh perspective now that you've written your own.

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    2. I'm not sure about doing the Literary Loners challenge again. Only a small number of people signed up, and some have deleted their blogs. I definitely want to do the memoir challenge, though. As I said, it will be in a bingo-like format. Participants may play it however they wish, one line, blackout, etc.

      I got the idea for my challenge for this year around May of last year and did some research for reading possibilities before making the post official in October last year. I chose this theme because I have pretty much been a loner. Similarly, I got the memoir idea this year around June. I've come up with categories and will be Googling for examples for participants. I hope to get the official post for this one up by November or December. when most challenges start going up on the host's blog.

      Another genre I've been reading a lot is humor. I have never seen a challenge for that one.

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    3. A small challenge could still be fun (especially the bingo format), as long as it was worth your time. Humor sounds like a good theme, also. I'll be looking for it/them!

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  8. J.G.: Sorry I'm getting back to you on this so late (August was a crazy month and I did little in the blogging world besides try to keep up with my review posts). I loved your birth year challenge (as you know) and would do it again--if I could get my hands on any from my year that I haven't already read (I knocked out quite a few that first time I did the challenge ;-) ). The others that appeals to me are the "Dread" and "Book Doubles." I've got several books staring at me from the TBR piles that I keep intending to read for one challenge or another but I always seem to find something else to read instead. The Doubles category would be fun--a bit more challenging, especially if I tried (as I have been) to stick to my own TBR piles.

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    1. No worries, Bev. I know how things can get crazy busy without much warning! The BYRC seems to a clear leader, so I'm planning to host it again. And I doubt I'll host just one as I personally like most of the others. So . . . thanks for the input (it's still in plenty of time) and keep your eyes open for announcements before the end of the year!

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  9. Hi, I added a poll on my blog to see what challenges readers are interested in for next year. You can see it in this post and in the sidebar of my blog.
    http://jannghi.blogspot.com/2016/09/poll-reading-challenges-for-2017.html

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  10. Hi, I decided to do he Loners and memoir challenges. I was hesistant about doing more then three a year (this year was my first time doing one), but I decided to do an Epistolary and a Humor Reading challenge. I once did an postal/epistolary-themed challenge that hasn't been offered since. And like said before, I've never seen a humor reading challenge. So I decided to start challenges for both of these. I've gotten ahead of the game and have already posted them on my blog.

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    1. Nicely done, Jamie. It sounds like you'll have your hands full and have a lot of fun! Did you post them on A Novel Challenge? It's a great site (novelchallenge.weebly.com) to help people find challenges. You may even get your own category!

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    2. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog. I just now sent them to A Novel Challenge

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    3. Great! I hope you get lots of participation and have fun with it.

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