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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments I know it's probably way too early to start talking about our approaches for the 2018 challenge, but I just love talking planning and some of the talk on the 2018 Wild Discussion thread got me thinking. We're talking about how people can tailor their own challenge to make it more or less difficult.

2018 will be my fourth year of doing the challenge, and I'm always seeing how I can keep it new and exciting. This year, I challenged myself to read in task order, which I've never done before. For a mood reader, it's definitely been a challenge!

Do you do anything to make the challenge more "difficult" for yourself? Or are you considering adding any of your own rules for the upcoming challenge?

Some ideas I'm kicking around are only reading books that I have on my physical bookshelf at home, or trying to make at least a quarter of my books be written by people of color.


message 2: by Brianna (new)

Brianna (bebecburt) | 549 comments Last year (my first year in the challenge) I focused primarily on physical books I own. It definitely made it harder for me! I may try to focus on books primarily by male authors next year (most of what I read is YA and female authors so trying to branch out a little bit).


message 3: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3823 comments Mod
This year I've tried to really fit in books published in either 2016 or 2017 so that I could finish my read 16 in '16 in 17 in '17 prompts. I also just like to be able to feel informed when it comes time to vote in the GR Choice Awards.


message 4: by Joan (new)

Joan Barnett | 1526 comments This is my first year so I tried to fit in the books I already had. I made a vow not to get anymore this year.........that worked for about two months but I have been a lot better about buying books. I couldn't resist those books that were 1.99 though. So I'm trying to figure out how to fit those books in next year and to make it harder.
I want to fit in even more classics but I get distracted by the new shiny books. Part of me wants to leave it more open then I did this year so I can feel more free to jump in on more buddy reads and group reads.


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2633 comments One thing I tend to do is try to avoid reading more than one book by the same author. Since I do multiple challenges and I have several series on the go, I've loosened it up a bit to avoiding more than one book by the same author for the same challenge...although I'm realizing as I write this that I've already made an exception by reading Pandemonium and Before I Fall, both by Lauren Oliver. To be fair, the prompt I'm using Before I Fall for is also in the PopSugar challenge, so I can always count it toward that one instead.

I also try to mix in a certain number of classics into my challenge, although I'm starting to run a bit low on classics that I'm interested in and willing to commit to reading.


message 6: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments The goal isn't specifically to make the challenge more difficult for me, but I'm trying to read per month: 1 non-fiction, 1 graphic novel, 2 audiobooks, 1 classic, 1 book for my Around the World challenge, continue 1 series and read 1 book for the Diversity challenge (those can overlap). This helped structure a bit my choices, even though I'm mood-reading.

I can't remember if the person is in this group or not, but I also stumbled on a blog talking about not reading books by white males this year and this could be a great way to make it more difficult!


message 7: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3469 comments This is also my third year. The first year, I just wanted to read more, and ended up reading over 100 books (from memory), and the Popsugar challenge definitely opened my horizons and forced me to read some books I'd otherwise never have picked up. Some were amazing, some not so much! I was really free with my plan, I made a plan, but swapped it around a lot, and ended up doing both the BookRiot and PS Fall challenges as well.

Last year, I decided to make it more challenging for myself by making a firm plan, as well as reading in order. It was a dismal failure. I still read plenty, around 80 books, but I failed the challenge as I totally lost interest in the books.

This year I've gone totally rogue, no plan at all, and I'm just reading what I feel like, and slotting it into a free topic as I start the book. I have a list of priority reads, which I've already refreshed once, and will probably refresh again soon. But, this isn't really challenging me to seek out new books, not yet anyway, as I've had no problem being able to fit books into promotes, so I've now joined the Wacky Challenges group, as I am looking for less generic - but not BookRiot "read a collection of poetry in translation on a topic other than love" specific - prompts.

I'm undecided on next year yet. If we get a bunch of the same prompts again, I might sit it out, as I have little interest in doing the same ones over again - particularly a book published this year, GR Choice, and a book being made into a movie this year.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I want the challenge to do the challenging. I don't want to have to think about how to create an extra layer of difficulty for myself. I do have my own personal goals (a certain percentage of books in translation, by female authors, and by non-US/UK authors), but I've not really had much difficulty with those. Depending on how the challenge shapes up, I might end up making my own 52 out of all of the suggestions, using the 52 that will challenge me the most. I mean, what challenges me won't necessarily challenge someone else, and vice versa.

But then, I don't want things so hard that I fail again. That didn't feel great. So what now? Ugh.

tl;dr - basically I'm having an existential reading crisis and I don't really have any idea what I want.


message 8: by Zaz (new)

Zaz | 3034 comments This year, I tried to fit various genres when I planned, but I don't think it really change my overall reads. For next year, regarding my horrible stats for the moment, I'll try to have at least 50% of categories with authors from outside US & UK. I would like to have a bigger percent but depending the prompts and my tastes, I'm not sure it'll be possible.


message 9: by °~Amy~° (new)

°~Amy~° (amybooksit) | 2872 comments I start the year with a list of books that I want to read for each challenge, and then continue on to change each and every one of them as the year progresses. One, I am a mood reader. Two, I read a handful of advance reader copies of books for authors/publishers that I can't really plan ahead for. If I can work them into the challenge, I certainly will though.

As for making the challenge harder, I agree with Jody that I want the challenge to do the challenging. Simple challenging though, like "a book with a green spine" not Book Riot specific. I like a fine line where it's not so specific I can't mood read, but not so general that I can grab anything off my shelf to fill the prompt. A mix of easy (but not completely reader's choice) topics and harder topics that require some thought is perfect.


message 10: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Sterling | 452 comments This is my first year to do a challenge (I started with the Popsugar challenge, but found this group & plan to add the ATY challenge in 2018), so all the prompts are new to me and didn't bore me. I can understand how doing many of the same prompts year after year would get a little tedious, though, so I like the idea of being able to vote for our favorite choices. It seems like maybe there are enough people who are tired of the often used prompts that there could be some new & interesting picks for the challenge next year. That, in itself, could be enough of a challenge for most people.

Having said that, I have fulfilled many of my Popsugar challenge prompts by listening to audiobooks while I work or while I'm in the car. I think if I wanted to make my challenge more difficult, I would make audiobooks off-limits next year so that I have to find the time to sit down and read the book, instead of being able to listen at times when I otherwise wouldn't be able to sit & read.

Also, I like the idea of trying to fit books I already have into the prompts before venturing out to libraries & bookstores & Amazon. This past year, I have paid for Scribd, eStories, Kindle books, BOTMC and B&N to find books for all my prompts. However, I have a ton of books on my Kindle, so I can save quite a bit of money if try to go through my physical books & my Kindle books to fill as many prompts as possible before buying/borrowing.

Of course, I make the mistake of looking at the discussion posts to get ideas of what everyone is reading for the different prompts, and then my TBR list just keeps growing & growing. I guess I could read the physical books & Kindle books I have, but if I don't have any that fit a prompt, I could make my TBR list my backup, so I don't keep buying/borrowing random books, and maybe if I can stay of the discussion pages, I'll quit adding so many books all the time!


message 11: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 223 comments I'm with you, Nicole. This is my first year for challenges, and I joined with the intention of reading the absurd number of unread books I have on my shelves at home and my Kindle. I have a bad habit of reading the newest book I have and forgetting about previous purchases. This challenge (as well as Popsugar and the Seasonal Reading Challenge) has helped a bit, but the discussion threads have caused my TBR list to grow because I am learning about so many new books and authors. I guess that is a positive problem though.


I am a mood reader, so the way for me to make the challenge more difficult is to stick to what I originally planned to read for a certain prompt rather than change it out for a newer purchase. Another thing I am trying to do is complete the prompts that aren't as interesting to me earlier rather than later.

Maybe after I've done reading challenges for a few years I will have other ideas for making them challenging.


message 12: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments Jody & Amy, I definitely recommend the Seasonal Reading Challenge group here on GoodReads. It is a challenge issued quarterly & there are definitely some more challenging & narrow & sometimes out there prompts. Plus, each challenge only lasts 3 months, so you do as much as you can or the prompts you're interested in, and then you get a whole new set & more planning (which I love). I really like doing that challenge & this challenge together. I have my books overlap in the 2 & it gives me a bit more direction on the books I'm choosing for ATY.

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...


message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 913 comments This is my third year doing a challenge The first year was the Popsugar one and then I found this group. As I finished the first two years early (August last year) I decided to try and read longer books this year, and mostly physical books, to try and free up some space in my house.
However as someone said , I do keep adding books as I find more books to add, due to this site.


message 14: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3469 comments I'm part of that group, Katie! :) I like their challenges, but I found that I didn't really like the group. It's so strict, and I found the one or two times that I posted I almost had an anxiety attack (actually only a slight exaggeration), so I decided to stop participating. The Wacky Challenges group is a nice balance for me - their challenges are similar to the Seasonal ones, but the only restriction they have is that books need to be 125 pages. None of the "no children's books, or if they are they have this score from this other page, and you have to post the data from that page, no graphic novels, and if you read an ebook you have to use the most reviewed mass market paperback, even if it's in a different language" ... yikes ... I get nervous again just thinking about it.


message 15: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments Yeah, it is kind of militant, haha. I'll have to check out the wacky challenges group.


message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2633 comments I love looking at the Seasonal Challenges group and I joined it to be able to look at the prompts they use, but I never post there. I find that group/environment a little intimidating. I get what they are trying to do by placing the restrictions on the books people can choose, but I don't want to second-guess every book I pick. I do enough of that anyway, since I try to follow the prompts we have pretty strictly (ie. if it's an adventure book, it should be a very obvious example of an adventure...I failed that one this year with Pandemonium. Counted it anyway, but it didn't seem like much of an adventure to me).


message 17: by Bryony, Circumnavigation Mod (new)

Bryony (bryony46) | 1058 comments Mod
This is my first year doing a reading challenge so I've found the challenge itself is enough of a challenge for me. Next year I might try adding some extra goals, like reading a certain number of books from one of the "best books" lists I'm reading through.

As it's my first year I liked the prompts like a GR choice book, or book you meant to read last year, but I can see how they would feel a bit repetitive and not as challenging to people with more reading challenge experience.

I enjoy the seasonal reading challenge too, though I agree it can be pretty strict on what books fit the prompts. Spring was my first time participating and I think I ended up in the questions about completed tasks thread about five times! Katie, are you the same Katie who wrote the Whole30 task for this season?


message 18: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2369 comments Bryony, that is my task on the SRC! It's the first time I was able to create a task, and I'm super excited, haha. I totally neglected this challenge for the past few months to focus on getting that one done. I've been wondering if you were the one from that group as well! I figured you were.


message 19: by Marina H (last edited Jun 05, 2017 11:34PM) (new)

Marina H | 1315 comments Bryony and Katie, I saw you both posting in the Seasonal reading challenge during Spring. Congratulations on completing Katie and to you Bryony for making the 50 point task.
I've never completed the challenge yet even though I've participated 10 seasons already.
I actually really like how strict the group is, but I also don't think the rules are difficult to follow once you'r used to them. I like the fact that there's no discussion. No offense to this group, but I kinda enjoy that everybody doesn't has a say. I guess the two groups sort of balance each other :-)

I'm like Jody and Amy, I want the challenge to do the challenging, so I don't want to make all kind of rules for myself. That's why I'm probably prioritizing the seasonal challenge because it really forces me to step out of my comfort zone and then I can always fit the books in to the ATY as I go along.


message 20: by °~Amy~° (new)

°~Amy~° (amybooksit) | 2872 comments Jody wrote: "I'm part of that group, Katie! :) I like their challenges, but I found that I didn't really like the group. It's so strict, and I found the one or two times that I posted I almost had an anxiety at..."

Jody, that is actually quite hilarious because I had the exact same problem when I joined the seasonal group! My anxiety went right into hyper-drive! I was so afraid I was going to misunderstand a rule or the scoring or whatever. I just couldn't do it and that made me sad because on the outside, it looked like so much fun. My anxiety doesn't do fun apparently. lol

I haven't checked out Wacky Challenges yet. I may do that since I am almost done this challenge. If it still allows me to mood read, I might join. :-)


message 21: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3469 comments Katie wrote: "Bryony, that is my task on the SRC!"

Congratulations! That is super exciting - I'm going to have to go over and check it out. I'd noticed you had been really quiet here of late, I thought we'd lost you!

Amy wrote: "Jody, that is actually quite hilarious because I had the exact same problem when I joined the seasonal group! My anxiety went right into hyper-drive!"

LOL ... I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm more than a little anal about doing things, so the thought of making a mistake and then having it pointed out is pretty much a nightmare for me. Wacky Challenges definitely allows for mood reading - you should check it out!


message 22: by Emma (new)

Emma (factandfable) | 178 comments I'm the one Sophie mentioned above who took this year to avoid books by straight white men. It wasn't originally about makibg it more difficult, but mostly seeking voices that aren't anyways at the forefront of the reading culture. I am writing a blog about it - come by my profile and check it out if you are interested!

This is also why I like the Book Riot challenges, although I don't think I have completed one because there is always one category I am just uninterested in.

This is the best set of categories I have seen and I like that it is flexible enough to accommodate personal reading goals.

I think I will have to check out the Wacky challenges!


message 23: by °~Amy~° (new)

°~Amy~° (amybooksit) | 2872 comments Jody wrote: "LOL ... I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm more than a little anal about doing things, so the thought of making a mistake and then having it pointed out is pretty much a nightmare for me. Wacky Challenges definitely allows for mood reading - you should check it out!

Definitely not the only one! I still have a hard time adding a graphic novel or a middle grade book to the 52 weeks challenge because I am afraid someone will see it and call me out on it. I have to keep reminding myself that it's MY list and I can do what I want with it, but I go through that argument in my head EVERY SINGLE TIME I read a graphic novel or middle grade book. So ridiculous. lol

I joined the Wacky Challenges group last night. I didn't have time to really look around but I will try to get to it later today. :-)


message 24: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3469 comments I'm thinking of doing the seasonal challenge, but just not posting. I love how the prompts would stretch me, but I also want a little more flexibility (to add children's books or graphic novels, for example). I went and had a look this morning, and started putting the prompts into a spreadsheet ...

I've discovered this year that having a yearly TBR isn't really working for me - I've already refreshed it once (in April) and am itching to do it again already, so I think a quarterly challenge would be perfect for me, for now at least.


message 25: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Sterling | 452 comments Jody wrote: "I'm thinking of doing the seasonal challenge, but just not posting. I love how the prompts would stretch me, but I also want a little more flexibility (to add children's books or graphic novels, fo..."

Jody - I was thinking the same thing. The Seasonal challenge looks like fun, but I'm really not interested in putting all the time & effort (plus stress!) into that, so I might follow some of the prompts, but not actually post in the groups. I could just add the challenges I decide to do to my challenge list in the "To Infinity and Beyond" thread, so I can keep track of them in one place with my other challenges.

I also checked out the Wacky Challenges & those look fun, too! I'm afraid if I go from just doing the Popsugar challenge this year to doing a lot next year, I might get overwhelmed, so maybe I'll add in a seasonal or wacky challenge soon, just to get a feel for working more than one challenge at a time.

When you say you "refreshed" your challenge in April and want to do it again, what do you mean by that? Just curious. :)


message 26: by Jody (new)

Jody (jodybell) | 3469 comments I didn't make a plan this year - instead, I made a list of books that I really wanted to read, and as I start one, I just stick it into a prompt that it fits. However, after a few months, my interest in quite a few of them had waned, so I took a bunch off and added a bunch more. Now I'm feeling unenthused again, so I'm about to do another one. :) After a cracker start to the year, I'm in a bit of a slump, so this will hopefully help!


message 27: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Sterling | 452 comments Jody wrote: "I didn't make a plan this year - instead, I made a list of books that I really wanted to read, and as I start one, I just stick it into a prompt that it fits. However, after a few months, my intere..."

I know how that goes. I have had a couple of slumps this year. I started making my plan for the Popsugar challenge in November (I think), but I just listed any books I could find that sounded halfway interesting for each prompt. Sometimes I had a list of 5-8 books for certain prompts, so I had some choices for the prompts without having to start from scratch. And sometimes, even with that many books on a prompt, I would end up finding a completely different book I wanted to read instead. It happens.

I agree with many that the main point of the challenges is to get us reading more, though, so whether you're doing a full-year challenge or a seasonal challenge or just trying to get through your TBR list, I think you're killing it! :)

I'm a wife, mom, full-time employee & part-time volunteer, so my reading time is scarce. The last few years, I have hardly had any time to read and when I did read, it was mostly to/with my son. Starting the Popsugar challenge this year gave me so much motivation that I ended up reading more books in January than I had read in 2016, 2015 or 2014. Right now, I know I've read more books this year than probably the past five years combined. I don't think it matters how we do the challenge or which ones we do, it just matters that we are reading. I realized that I can find time to read, but I have to actively make that time for myself, or it just won't happen.

Can't wait to start voting on the new prompts for the 2018 challenge & start making my list for next year!


message 28: by Allison (new)

Allison (allison302) This is my third year doing a reading challenge (first year was PopSugar and last year was this group), and I failed miserably both times. I tried to make my books I was reading fit the challenges whereas this year I've planned out my list a lot better. The only problem I've found is that I like to read nonfiction Christian books, and it's hard to work those into the categories. I planned for 7, and I have one category that I could probably find one that would work, but since I'm 6 books ahead of schedule, I should be okay if I read a few that don't count.

One way I've made the challenge "harder" this year is by limiting the books I purchase, and relying on my local library or books I own. Part of the reason is that my husband and I are trying to limit the amount of stuff we have and because books are so expensive! I've had to buy a few (like the book we are reading in small group at church, and the one at the airport when I finished my book an hour before we boarded our flight), but other than that, I've been pretty good.


message 29: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2524 comments I don't want to make the challenge any more difficult for myself. I am just enjoying the journey! This is my 2nd year doing the challenge. Last year I finished with 2 days to spare! This year I'm 14 books ahead, at this point. But, what I discovered last year, was that it got more difficult the last 3 months to fit in the books I wanted to read with the remaining prompts. Along with others on this thread, I've also been doing the GR Seasonal Reading challenge. I enjoy the challenge of finding books that fit both challenges. Fortunately, I read such a variety of genres and authors that it is usually (but not always) easy to fit them in somewhere. I really like the 52 ATY challenge because the prompts are general enough where you can find a book without having specific requirements (like page length and no children's genre) that limit your choices. Before doing GR challenges, I was notorious for starting and not finishing books. Now, I finish most of them except for a few "false-starts". I have found SO MANY great authors and books that I would've never read if I wasn't checking what everyone else was reading!


message 30: by Jillian (last edited Aug 30, 2017 08:43PM) (new)

Jillian | 1636 comments My main goal this year is just reading books that I want to read and to read 20 non-fiction books (I'm only at 5 so that goal might have been a bit ambitious).

This is my 4th year of doing yearly challenges. The first one was some bingo challenge and I don't remember where I found it. Then I switched to Book Riot (one year was all for me the tasks were to specific) and the Pop Sugar Challenge which I had a lot of fun with. I was part of a very active FB group. The next year, I did the Pop Sugar and the FB group came up with 90 choices and we all selected individual 52 picks. That way we could make the challenge as hard or easy as we wanted. I got really burnt out last year. I read a ton of books just to fit challenge spots and did not really enjoy many of the books. (I did both the Pop Sugar and our groups 52 book challenge).

One of my FB friends told me about this group so this year. I liked how the group picked the challenge and variety. I'm doing this challenge and Pop Sugar and I read what ever I want and try and fit it to one task. I'm only using one book for either challenge and then if I need to in December I will go ahead and count a book towards both challenges if needed. (Right now that looks like the task a book that is being made into a movie this year).


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