A challenge of relative ease and merriment discussion

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Looking to 2017

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message 1: by Pocki (last edited Oct 09, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
We started discussing this in the recent update thread so I thought I'd make a proper thread for it.
So, there are three months left of the year (how did this even happen? where did time go?) and hopefully most of you are nearing the end of your reading challenge. It's been fun, and some of you seem to have been really enjoying yourselves. So, I thought that I'd make "A challenge of relative ease and merriment 2017" once New Year is upon us. And hey, I suppose it's not too late to start working on it.

This year we've had 20 books to work with. Did you think that as a good amount? Should we stick to that for next year?

I thought I'd change things up a bit. Keep some basic categories, remove some that were either way too easy, or specific and could just as well be something else next time. So far this is what I have, but please come with suggestions:

a book released in 2017
a book written before 1900
a non-fiction book
a kids book
a YA novel
a book of fantastical fiction (fantasy/scifi/paranormal)
a cozy mystery
a book of poetry or drama (that is to say a play, not just ~dramatic~)
a biography
a book written by someone under the age of 30
a debut novel
a media tie-in (I'll elaborate once the challenge goes live, for those who might be confused)
an LGBTQIA book


Categories I am considering but don't know yet:

an audiobook
a book of contemporary fiction
a book with a blue cover (or something along those lines)
a book that was adapted into a movie
a romance novel
a graphic novel
a crime novel
a horror/scary/ghost story (not sure how to phrase it really)
a book mostly set in the desert (or something similar. something with setting)

Edit with more additions:
a book mostly set on an island
a book mostly set in the wilderness (as examples of other settings of course. I think we'll stick with one setting!)
a book about food
a book that is part of a series but not the first book


So, what do you guys think? Up for another challenge next year?


message 2: by Cathrin (new)

Cathrin | 14 comments Hi!
As I said yesterday I would love to be part of the challenge for 2017. Already looking forward to it! :)

I'm one of the confused about the media tie-in, but I've looked it up on Wikipedia and I think I get it. Never read any such book before, which in itself is a reason to do it, right?

I would really like to not read an audiobook. For whatever reason, I can't seem to focus on what I listen to (books, talk radio etc) in the same way as with print on paper. So, chances are I might cheat if that category makes the final cut.

Apart from that, I like all the categories that you suggest. Although I would need help finding a book mostly set in the desert, I think. :) I guess it can be either fact or fiction? To me, more than 20 categories would be totally acceptable (or indeed awesome), but I get it if not everyone can set aside the same amount of time for reading as I can (or want to).

I love it that so many of the categories you suggest are different from the ones this year. That is in itself a challenge, to think of something, right?

Looking forward to hearing more about this!


message 3: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Great! :D

I have even written a post about what a media tie-in is for next year haha. But basically it's a book connected to another type of media, usually tv or movie (and more and more computer/video games as well). Usually it's either a novel expanding the story, or a sort of companion fact book (but also essay collection or "making of" books). I don't read these often at all, but it can be really fun if you love a certain tv show etc.

Yeah the whole desert thing is obviously not set anywhere near in stone XD I would probably need help too haha. I just came back from spending three weeks in the desert (and I miss it) so that's where my mind went for a setting. I know I've read at least two (completely unrelated to each other) books this year mostly set in a desert though. And of course, any setting we end up with, cause I do like the setting idea as a general concept, can be either fact or fiction. You want to read a biography about someone growing up in a desert type environment? Absolutely!

I love the challenge of thinking of something new! I tend to attack it form two angles: what do I like to read that others might not even know about or almost never read? And what do I almost never read but probably should at least give a shot?

As for audiobooks... yeah, it might be too different and polarising. I really love them now. I didn't used to but a lot of commuting for better part of a year, including a summer working as a courier spending countless hours at airports, really made it work for me cause it meant I could read at times where carrying/holding a book would be difficult. I personally found that non fiction worked best, and first person non fiction at that. Cause it's as if someone is talking to you, rather than you just listening to someone read. But I get it, it's not for everyone.

One option is to make a list of something like 30 categories, of which many are quite narrow and/or weird, and let people either go for all of pick 20. Meaning you could skip audiobook for example. But it might make it a bit too easy where one would just go for the easier ones and not challenge oneself (which is the point of a challenge obviously haha)

I am definitely removing male/female author cause it was just too vague and I feel like if you read all the different genres/whatever on a list of 20 you will get both kind of automatically. And I'm removing "a book for adults" cause that too tend to be too vague and easy. Sure, even if you read mostly YA you'd probably end up reading a few adult books trying to cover some categories that it's not really a challenge for anyone. And of course, a book written before 1900 makes "before you were born" completely obsolete.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments I love these ideas!! Some of them, I already have ideas of what I could read. . . I can think of two books set in the desert that I've been meaning to read. . . one is Dune. . . so I will probably go with the other one, because I seem incapable of reading Dune!! ^_^

I think "horror" is a perfectly fine way to phrase that category, unless you had a specific idea about what type of horror. . . if you do want specifically ghosts, that could be in there, though a lot of times horror books don't tell you upfront what the scary thing is, just "there is something scary over here."

I would personally be open to reading an audiobook, because I don't listen to many and should give them another shot, but could it be an audiobook or something else, for people who just can't quite enjoy a book that way? I am not great at focusing when an audiobook is on, either, so I understand the struggle. (Though I agree with you that first person nonfiction is easiest!) I'm not sure which category it should be "that, or," but maybe someone else has an idea. Maybe watching a movie based on a book, though since we are readers and we all know the book is usually better, I'd hate to think of people suffering through bad movies for the challenge! XD

The one category I kiiiiind of want to quibble with is "cozy mystery," but I think I'm just being a mystery hater. My first thought was, "How do we know if it's cozy or not??" but it appears that there are an awful lot of books defined as such, and the rules are pretty clear! So, if that is in the challenge, I will go outside my comfort zone and be. . . cozy!! XD


message 5: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Another setting option would be like... an island maybe? Or in the wilderness.

Horror might be a good category, and doesn't actually have to be that scary to still be classed as it I'd think. I dunno, I suppose I'll just have to look at some horror lists and see what kind of books generally end up there. On the other hand, something like ghosts opens up books that are not actually scary but maybe sad? But we also have the fantastical category which might be too similar? So maybe horror is best cause it is a bit more removed. "A creepy book?" Haha.

Yeah, an "or" for the audiobook might be good but man that is a tricky alternative to come up with.

You just gotta suck it up! :P
I kinda like including cozy mystery cause it's a genre a lot of people don't know exist, but it is a very specific genre. So yeah, put on your big girl pants and read about some knitters solving murders or something!

Oh! that reminds me. A good category would be "a book about food" I think! Could be a fictional book where the main character is a chef or a baker or something (I was reminded cause the main cozy mystery I enjoy is about a bakery), or a non-fiction about food (this year I've read about spices for example. And a general history about cooking related things), or simply a kind of fleshed out cookbook.

I was thinking, maybe "A book that is part of a series and NOT the first part". Meaning that either you read the next part in a series you like, or maybe you find that you actually enjoy the cozy mysteries about knitting amateur sleuths and you end up reading several in the series and can count them for different things!


message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments I am a horror reader from way back. . . or, "a creepy book" is more descriptive, so people can pick whatever creeps them out, even if it's not in the "horror" genre per se!

You are right; if I'm going to do a challenge, I should suck it up and read something I normally would not!! Even if I do hate it, it's only one book. There are so many series about different types of cozy mystery themes now, too!

I would totally support "a book about food." That could be so much. . . I've read a memoir on gardening that I particularly liked that would work, or a make-it-or-buy-it comparison!

And the "NOT the first part" category would help me a lot. I started more than one series in the 2016 challenge. . . haha. I have full intentions of getting back to those in the sequels, but it's hard for me to make it a priority, evidently. . .


message 7: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
At least in this case with cosy mysteries, it's a genre with generally short and easy to read books. I still haven't read my contemporary fiction this year and sort of dreading it haha.
And yeah there are many different versions out there! And some have magic in them too. I have read a a few of them and the two series I ended up properly liking were both magic. Hell one only had a murder in the first book and then they kinda forgot about that aspect and just went for I dunno, magical problems. I got it as a joke cause I was telling someone (I think Sofie, who is even part of this challenge?) about the genre and that you can find pretty much anything. Sometimes there's romance, sometimes it can contain magic, but you always have a "cozy" element like... knitting! (she knitted or crocheted or something right then) and I googled and found this insane cozy romantic magical mystery about knitting. And then ended up reading the whole series XD

I think we both read Make the Bread Buy The Butter this year didn't we ;)

Then it shall be included! It will be a really easy category for me cause several sequels of books I really like will be released next year. Including one of my new favourite fiction series (The Memoirs of Lady Trent) which I am really looking forward to.


message 8: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
I can't believe I haven't added "A LGBTQIA book" to the list. Shame on me and my queerness.


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments Contemporary can be pretty easy reading, depending on what you pick, which is nice! Not so nice, considering you like non-fiction and magical fiction most, but I bet you can find something. ^_^ Maybe something LGBTQIA? I read a book about an intersex girl None of the Above for my YA category this year, and the writing wasn't amazing, but it was a good topic to cover.
I also particularly loved these middle-grade books about trans kids! Gracefully Grayson George
Gracefully Grayson is more well-regarded, but I liked George a lot better. ^_^
Anything by John Green would also work, if you happen to like anything by him.
All this is assuming you aren't telling yourself it has to be an adult contemporary novel, of course! Which would be valid. One adult contemporary book I really liked was Tell The Wolves I'm Home. . . Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Anyway, knitting and cats are two things common to the cozy series that I do like, so even though I don't see myself picking up Mrs. Marple or Poirot anytime soon, I could find something with elements I like, or at least easy reading!

I forgot that we both read that Make/Buy book! I think about that all the time. I should be making more bread, really.

I definitely vote for a LGBTQIA category! My queerness is shamed, too. . . I guess I didn't think about it because I look for books in various genres that have queer characters anyway (like I knew I would read a lesbian book for my Romance this year).


message 10: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Yeah I might give YA a try for contemporary. Although I suppose a contemporary romance counts too. There are plenty of those I'm sure I can get through. But somehow I feel like I'm cheating if I get a basic romance you know? It isn't actually cheating with the way I set up the rules for the challenge though, it's just in my own mind. Just like I felt I'd be cheating if I read a book and then saw it won some really obscure award and I put it on my Award Winning category.
But I'll take your recommendations into consideration!

If you like knitting, cats, and magic may I suggest the Sugar Maple series?

I completely forgot about it til you brought it up! But I should make bread too... I was going to make my grandmother's bread but I keep putting it off. And right now I can't fit it in my freezer (and it needs to be frozen cause it turns stale in a day) cause I've filled the freezer with homemade cinnamon rolls xD

For this years challenge my short story collection was all asexual (but pretty darn boring sadly) but I think that was it. I did read a YA superhero book with queer kids though, and I think the second one will be out next year. And the book I'm currently listening to has a lesbian lead so that's nice. Oh! And of course, Every Heart A Doorway was a lovely novella with an ace protagonist for once. And I did read a lesbian supernatural romance. So at least I got some queerness in this year! I might go for one for historical romance, looking at some recommendation lists to find one. Shouldn't be too hard.


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments Yeah, it's all about how you see the rules. . . I took *Bought* Before 2016 very literally and read a book I'd paid for myself, not one that was a gift or some other kind of acquisition. And when my Fantastical Concept book didn't turn out to be that fantastical, I changed that to another category and read a different book with fantastical concepts!
I think YA Contemporary is valid Contemporary, and what a lot of people read, but it's all about how you see it. (For mine, I read You, which is Adult Contemporary that I really loved, but it would be a big page commitment if you weren't sure about it!)

I will definitely look into that series! That will save me some research for next year. ^_^ It might even be easier than doing my Mystery for this year, because I scoured through a lot of series books I wasn't interested in before I found mine!

I would really like to see some more ace fiction in the future. I do kind of want to read that short story collection that you read, even though it sounds like a dud, just to have something like that to read. My friend is currently writing, and I am currently beta-reading, a book with a bisexual protagonist, but that hardly helps anyone else until (and assuming) he gets it all drafted and published! haha.


message 12: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
I think what I'm going for for acquired before 2016 is a book I uh, acquired by... other means. But it's a book I have been planning to read before it even came out so it's one of those "why did you never get to this?" books, which is how I decided to look at it.

I think I used a cozy mystery for my mystery this year XD I mean the series I love is called A Magical Bakery Mystery after all, gotta be a mystery! (so if you like magic and baking that's also one)

I want to se good ace fiction! A few of the short stories were fine but pretty much all were quite meh. Every Heart a Doorway though, now that was really great!
And I recently read Not Your Sidekick which was a pretty neat take on superheroes and just randomly featured a lesbian, a trans boy, a bi girl? I'm not sure about the girls actually. It has a girl/girl love story and I can't remember their specific preferences actually. But it's such a throwaway thing, even if it's integral to the story you know? But no one actually cares. It's way more about heroes vs villains and if the villains are actually evil etc. Who cares about sexuality when you have those problems?


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments I'm not really into either magic or baking, though I don't hate them! They are just not a specific draw for me. ^_^ What if there is a LGBTQIA cozy mystery series, though? . . . Hmm. . .


message 14: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
There must be right? Somewhere...

I did a quick search and apparently the Jane Lawless series (starting with Hallowed Murder) is considered a cozy mystery, even though the synopsis of the first book just sounds like a regular mystery to me. BUT Jane Lawless is a lesbian.

I'm sure there must be some more out there though.
I would really like a cozy lesbian mystery with baking involved! And magic if possible.
Oh man there's this romance series I read ones about chocolatiers. No mysteries or magic though. But in one book the lead character (different woman in each, but all set in Paris and kinda intersecting due to high en chocolate) lived with lesbian chocolate hippie aunts or something. I think they might even have had a hint of magic. I really REALLY wanted a book about them...


message 15: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
I have finalised (I think I have at least) the list for next year:

a book released in 2017
a book written before 1900
a non-fiction book
a kids book
a YA novel
a book of fantastical fiction (fantasy/scifi/paranormal)
a cozy mystery
a debut novel
a book of poetry or drama (that is to say a play, not just ~dramatic~)
a biography/autobiography/memoir
a book written by someone under the age of 30
a media tie-in
an LGBTQIA* book
a book about food
a scary/creepy book
a book that is part of a series but not the first book (this could be a later released prequel though!)
a Goodreads Choice Awards winner (any year, any category)
a book with an animal on the cover
a book mostly set in the desert
a book that was adapted into a movie

I will set up the challenge group closer to New Years, but before 2017 rolls around so that people can ask questions if they want and whatnot.

But hey, if you're a part of this years challenge, here's your sneak peek and a chance to prepare ;)


message 16: by E (new)

E | 10 comments You are creating another group? People might miss that unless you send out a special notification. Didn't know if you planning to send one. I think there is a way to do that, but I've never run a Goodreads group, so I'm unsure how to do it. I've gotten notifs from other groups before and I think if you have your settings set for it, it will send you an email and/or Goodreads notification/message.

Another idea is to reuse this group and stick "2017" at the beginning of the shelf names. But I can see how you'd not want to do that since it might get messy/prevent people from adding books to categories if they are reused.

The categories look good! I'm glad you stuck with the desert theme since I've been meaning to read an Amelia Peabody book for while so I already had ideas for that one! I will have to ponder the animal on the cover category.


message 17: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Yeah I thought a new group would be easier and cleaner, since it's different categories.

It is super easy to send out a direct message to all group members at once so don't worry about that. I'll definitely be doing it once the new group is up.

I'm glad you already have a book in mind! I think the one I have down for me is autobiography. I've wanted to read the one by Bruce Springsteen but it's really long so I thought I'd hold off until next year.
Animal on the cover is one of those I'll wait and see what happens. I'll probably read something and suddenly realise there's a cat on the cover and be all "yay, a category!" .... hmm, do dragons count as animals? Cause my most anticipated release for 2017 has four different types of dragons on the cover. And another has a mechanical winged horse.


message 18: by Cathrin (new)

Cathrin | 14 comments Excellent! Sign me up! Or... send me a notification of some kind :) So glad you have taken the time and put in the effort to do this! I've really enjoyed being part of the group this year.


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments Awesome list--I'll start over-planning now!! XD I really like matching up my to-read list with categories, and hunting for possibilities, especially those that double or triple up. ^_^


message 20: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Laura: I like it when a book fits many categories, but it also means it's hard to choose which one! So many of mine will go into non-fiction that I never even have to think about that genre.

You'll probably be done by March won't you? ;)


message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura (kittennuisance) | 29 comments I like to read a multi-category one and then lock it down based on which categories I find easier to fill later! XD

I very well might be if I let myself start now, but waiting until 2017 will be one of those "rules" I'll take very literally (like for the 2016 list, I challenged myself to use a book I actually purchased myself for "*bought* in 2016," instead of a gift or a library book!). ^_^


message 22: by Pocki (new)

Pocki | 56 comments Mod
Well if you have made your schedule so you can start at new years, who knows XD

I'm still not done with 2016. I feel almost like I'm cheating counting my historical fiction, cause I wanted something that was very specific (like you knew what year almost) and didn't have any fantastical elements. But I think I will allow myself to count The Warrior's Path which is a bit... generic? And a little bit fantasyish, but no actual magic so it's okay. I think.
And I have banned and "from before 2016" left. I know which ones I want to read but I just have to get around to it. Of course I'm reading other books instead.


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