Week of the Book 01 – Reading challenges

READING CHALLENGES

In honour of the World Book Night on the 23rd April, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s posts to books and everything related to reading and literature. I promise to do my best to entertain and not come off as a stereotypical stuffy librarian. I must confess I’ve yet to meet such a woman, though one of my relatives could come off as such if it weren’t for her quick wit and even sharper tongue.

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2013 READING CHALLENGE

1356116829-1356116829_goodreads_miscAs you’ve no doubt noticed in the right-side column of my blog, I’ve challenged myself to read 100 books in a year. Yes, you’ve read it right – one hundred. It’s a brave step, even for a self-professed bookworm. I’ve always been a voracious reader, maybe a little less so in recent years, but I doubt I managed to read so many books in a year before. That means 8 books a month, or 2 books a week – a manageable number when you start to think about it, especially when taking in account summer months when I’m able to read a book a day. The question remains if I would be motivated to do so.

And that is the crux of the challenge: you must find books that grip you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page. A site like Goodreads, various book blogs, and reader’s forums are an invaluable help here. I’ve avoided many potentially bad reads by going through the reviews and making up my own mind about a particular book without being too spoiled about the plot.

And what kind of books do I enjoy?

I’m drawn to books:

  1. with supernatural elements (especially urban fantasy), but I tend to avoid vampires,
  2. historical fiction (my favourite periods are medieval Europe, Renaissance, Victorian times),
  3. high fantasy (dragons, new worlds and magic rules),
  4. science fiction (I love stories taking place on other planets),
  5. and I’ve discovered a love for dystopias and zombies.

I’m careful with romances since many tropes of this genre offend my dignity as a woman, so I take some time before committing to a book. I can usually enjoy romance when it is a minor part or a sub-genre of a book with predominantly urban fantasy elements or similar. When the focus of the plot is centred on some problem or mystery that usually means that the characters will be a little more fleshed out than when it’s straight out romance. Or maybe I’ve just had bad experiences with romances? Who knows, but I do hate cardboard characters and insta-love; more about my dislikes in a separate post.

The greatest problem I’ve encountered so far is that I’m drawn to old literature classics (the ones I haven’t read for school already), which quite quickly prove to be rather long, written in antiquated language or style, and often not what I have expected. The latter, more often than not, turning out to be something positive than negative. Perhaps my desire to be more well-read and knowledgeable about the masters of the art is hampering me here. I’ll definitely finish the ones I’ve started and the stack of them on my bookshelves.

So far, I’ve read 37 books for my challenge and am on track.

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GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD CHALLENGE

In addition to the 100 books challenge, I’m also participating in the Choice Award Challenge. I must admit I’ve got quite a backlog of books. My goal is more modest though – I want to read one book for each month or 12 of the overall yearly challenge. Reading a book series is a great way to increase your count, so I don’t mind reading a book that is further in the series.

I’ve decided to read the following books for the challenge, but this might change as they add more additional reads each month:

  1. Graceling
  2. The Mark of Athena (3rd in series)
  3. The Long Earth
  4. Discovery of Witches
  5. Divergent
  6. Insurgent
  7. Dark Tower series
  8. Fifty Shades Freed (3rd in series)

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BRALNICA READING CHALLENGE

This is a reading challenge of my old book forum – 3 challenges are revealed each month, so there is always an element of surprise. You can decide to participate or not, but you only get additional points if you complete them, so I try to do my best. The great thing is that you can read in many different languages, though the majority is reading English books. To support our mother tongue and other languages, a contest for the most prolific non-English reader has been added. I don’t think I’ll qualify for that – the majority of my books is in English, with a smattering of Slovene, but I am seriously considering breaking out some German books as well, if just to brush up my skills.

When you compete in the monthly challenges you must post a review of the books you read for each category, which makes this a more time-consuming challenge although you’re limited to 4 reviews only. It’s certainly a great way to see how tastes differ. Not to mention the sarcasm and humour readers unleash regularly. I love it.

The challenges so far were (bold categories are the ones I’ve completed):

January:

  1. read a book about winter,
  2. a book you haven’t finished/started in a long time,
  3. a biography, or a memoir, or an autobiography

February:

  1. read a book with ‘love’ in the title,
  2. cover containing a mask,
  3. Poetry of F.Preseren

March:

  1. read a book whose cover contains green colour,
  2. a book about soldiers, war,
  3. a book whose theme is racism

April:

  1. read a book whose main character is a thief, or a con man,
  2. read a printed book, not an e-book,
  3. read 2 books whose covers are similar (cover-twins)
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