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2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Announcing the 2019 PBT Challenges!

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message 1: by Nicole R (last edited Dec 16, 2018 11:08AM) (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments The PBT Members have spoken! The two official PBT Challenges are:

Trim the TBR
Expanding Our PBT Horizons


There are more details about each of the challenges below, and we opened the folder for 2019 Member Challenge Tracking. Feel free to start your personal tracking thread at your convenience to start your planning!

Questions? Ask below!

Trim the TBR

Each person compiles a list of 36 books from their TBR and, each month, the admins will use the random number generator to select one book for the PBTer to read. But, we have several different points categories below, so you can be strategic with what you put on the list!

Each month, we will award points as follows. These points are cumulative so, for example, if I read a book that happens to fit the tag and it is the longest of the month then I would get 3+2+5 points for a total of 10, not to mention the 2 points I get if I post my review in the Monthly Tag folder!
• Read your book - 3 points
• Your completed book happens to fit the tag (must be tagged as such on GR) - 2 points (plus you'll get an additional 2 for posting your review in the Monthly Tag folder)
• Read the longest book among all people who completed their randomly assigned book in any given month - 5 points
• Read the most pages in any quarter (up to 3 books total and quarters are Jan-Mar, April-June, Jul-Sept, and Oct-Dec) - 25 points
• Read the most pages for the whole year (up to 12 books total) - 100 points
• Read the most books that fit a tag for the year - 25 points (totally random luck, but still fun!)

We will start a reporting thread each month for you to post your review (or a link to your review) when you complete the book assigned for that month. I will announce the random number assigned on the first of each month for everyone to read.

Don’t finish your book in the month assigned? You can still read it for the 3 points, but you will not be eligible for points if “your completed book fits the monthly tag” or if you “read the longest book in any given month.” You may still be eligible for the “most pages in any quarter,” but you may only count books that are assigned in and you complete in that quarter. Let me know if that is not clear and I will come up with some examples!

Worried that you may need to swap out some books on your list as the year progresses? We will have one week in the middle of the year where you can switch out up to six books on your list whose number has not been assigned. We will not allow other substitutions, so make sure the books on your list are ones you can easily get your hands on!

Expanding Our PBT Horizons

Read 12 books about other cultures. Ideally, these should be written by someone who lives/has lived in that culture and provides insight into what life/society is like in a place other than in our own little bubbles. Books can be fiction or nonfiction, but the goal is to have them be a real reflection of the culture and not fantasy/dystopia (though I love those genres!).

As an added element, PBTers can nominate up to three cultures that they would like to read. We will throw them all into the proverbial hat and will select a focus culture each month. Think about your cultures and I will be opening a thread before too long for nominations. More than one person can nominate a culture and each time it is nominated it will get a separate entry into the “hat.” However, once a culture is selected, it is not eligible to be selected again.

It is not required that you read from that specific culture that month, but we encourage people to do so if they would like to have a more robust discussion around a specific culture! There will be a reporting thread each month for this challenge where you can put all of your reviews, and we will have you note at the start which culture it covers, even if it is not the monthly bonus culture.

Is 12 books unrealistic for you? (I know it would be for me!) Then, pick a goal that is reasonable for you.

You will receive one Participation Point per book with a cap of 12, plus a second point for each book that matches the monthly culture! So, be strategic as you read and review these books! If you read and report 12 books in, say, 6 months, then you will have hit your cap and not be eligible for other monthly bonus reads!


message 2: by Joanne (last edited Dec 18, 2018 07:50AM) (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7469 comments Wow terrific choices! My lazy "reading Sunday" has just been turned on it's head I as try to pick the 36 books!!!


message 3: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Joanne wrote: "Tow terrific choices! My lazy "reading Sunday" has just been turned on it's head I as try to pick the 36 books!!!"

Glad to add some excitement to your Sunday!

I should also add that you can simply put your list of 36 in your personal challenge tracking thread, for anyone who was wondering where in the world they should go!


message 4: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jennywilliams88) | 687 comments Do we have to do both challenges? I've got a personal challenge to read more diversely next year so "expanding our PBT horizons" will be happening anyway.


message 5: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Jenny wrote: "Do we have to do both challenges? I've got a personal challenge to read more diversely next year so "expanding our PBT horizons" will be happening anyway."

Nope! All challenges are completely optional. You can do as much or as little as you like.


message 6: by Rachel N. (new)

Rachel N. | 1470 comments I'm excited for the new challenges. I think these were my top two choices. Glad we have a few days to pick out 36 books for the trim the TBR challenge.


message 7: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments I'm excited about both of these challenges.

I have some questions about culture. Can we be non-specific as middle-eastern or Asian or do you want more specific as Syrian or Japanese.

Also, what about Native American and African American as culture choices?


message 8: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Wow, you're fast. This will be fun. I was both dreading and hoping for the TBR challenge. I have so many on my list, it will be hard to decide. I have a feeling I'll still be making changes on New Year's Eve! (Can I take that long? I can't do it until after xmas.) Thanks for the mid-year adjustment.

I love the addition of the monthly culture focus for more robust discussions!


message 9: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7469 comments Nicole R wrote: "Joanne wrote: "Tow terrific choices! My lazy "reading Sunday" has just been turned on it's head I as try to pick the 36 books!!!"

Glad to add some excitement to your Sunday!

I should also add th..."


Is that where you will gather from for the randomizer, or will there be a different thread?


message 10: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Booknblues wrote: "I have some questions about culture. Can we be non-specific as middle-eastern or Asian or do you want more specific as Syrian or Japanese. "

So, the specificity is a bit of a challenge. We want it to be narrow enough to make people put some thought into what they pick, but not so narrow that there are only a handful of book options.

To that end, I think more specific than middle-eastern or Asian. But I think Native American and African American would work.

Also, for some more guidance....

The culture can be on that is no longer around (like Incan Empire or something like that).

I also think that major religions would be acceptable. I say "major" religions so there are enough books about them that to choose from. However, you can choose to read a religious book without it being the monthly culture selection. (Does that make sense? It totally does in my head).

I will NOT accept US regions (like American Southwest, or something like that) but I will allow people to nominate US if they would like.

This is a bit subjective as I am just trying to keep the classifications a reasonable size. If there is something that you feel very strongly is actually a good option that I see differently, then make your case for sure!


message 11: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Awesome! Thanks ladies!


message 12: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments NancyJ wrote: "I have a feeling I'll still be making changes on New Year's Eve! (Can I take that long? I can't do it until after xmas.) Thanks for the mid-year adjustment."

All lists need to be set by January 1st, so you have some time!

If you join the challenge after that, you are totally welcome! But, you have to post your list before you read for your first randomly assigned number.

So, if I announce the first number on January 1st, but you don't post your list until January 7th, then you will start the challenge with the number posted on February 1st.

This is all on an honor system, so please play in the spirit of fairness that PBTers are always so great at embracing!


message 13: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Joanne wrote: "Is that where you will gather from for the randomizer, or will there be a different thread?"

How I will do this is post a random number between 1 and 36 at the start of each month (with no duplicates!) and then EVERYONE will read that number on their list.

So, for example, if the random number is 5 for January, everyone will read the 5th book on their list.

Does that make sense?


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8518 comments Love these! Great work and the year is going to be great fun. forgive if this question was already asked and answered, or explained in detail. So I pick these thirty six books, and i number them 1-36. Lets say, In February 7 is picked, and I read my book seven. But what if in March, there is a tag, and I want to read from the 36 that might be later picked from the randomizer. What if I end up reading one of my 36 - am I not supposed to? So lets say in May, book 12 is picked, but I read it in March or April because it fit the tag or something. Can I substitute a new book in for numbers that have been already read? Like we each have a next ten list, that goes in for the missing book? Or am I not supposed to touch these 36 once I've created the list? And given the cultural challenge, we should have a fair number of those on our list of 36, right?


message 15: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7469 comments Nicole R wrote: "Joanne wrote: "Is that where you will gather from for the randomizer, or will there be a different thread?"

How I will do this is post a random number between 1 and 36 at the start of each month (..."



yes-thank you-I will await your reply to Amy, as she asked another question i had


message 16: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Amy, the only time you will be allowed to switch out books is at mid year as we describe above. So, you would be best served to not read from the list other than for this challenge. We all have so many books on our TBRs that we don’t anticipate this being much of an issue, especially with the mid-year swap out.

You can put whatever books you want on your list. Cultural books, not cultural books, long books, short books, anything! Totally up to you


message 17: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Would it be possible to add a bonus for reading ALL 36 books on your TBR list? (Even if it's not a huge point value.) That way, following Amy's example, if she already read book #12 before it was selected by the random number generator, she wouldn't mind that she missed those points.

An overall bonus would make it more challenging and motivating I think. It would also make it easier to plan ahead - e.g. for those in other book clubs, or for those who want to read newer books with long library wait lists.


message 18: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8518 comments So forgive my commenting again. One way you might think about this, is that if you really want to read something in 2019 for sure, you do best not make those one of the 36. But if there are books on one’s list that could possibly wait, but that might get picked anyway, this is one way to conceptualize the 36. 1/3 of which will be picked for each of us. I think this is going to be interesting to conceptualize and maybe it would be fun if when each of us post our lists that we could take a look to see how each of us thought about it. Definitely for those of us who complete the challenge, it does get 12 books off your TBR. I’m going to actually start putting some thought to it tonight just to see how this might get sorted out.


message 19: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Hi Nancy, we will take it under consideration.


message 20: by Karin (new)

Karin | 6997 comments Good choices and both fit with what pbt is, although neither are what I was looking for with my time constraints coming up, etc :). So, I may just watch others enjoy this one.


message 21: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 16, 2018 02:26PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Nicole R wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "I have a feeling I'll still be making changes on New Year's Eve! (Can I take that long? I can't do it until after xmas.) Thanks for the mid-year adjustment."

All lists need to be se..."


PERFECT! Thanks.

I love the inclusion of native american culture, religion, and ancient cultures. For USA, I was thinking about focusing on the immigrant experience, or Mexican American culture. I also have a book in mind that is historical fiction, covering life in colonial America.


message 22: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments Nicole, where do you want us to put our culture nominations? Should we send you a private message? Or just put them here?


message 23: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8518 comments OK - This got easier to conceptualize when I sat down and did it. I started by picking 12 books I absolutely want to read in 2019, and none of them are in my list of 36. But managed to compose a good 36 which include plenty of things I'd love to read, and others that I wouldn't mind being picked for me. And some of those, not that many, would double as cultural picks. Many of them would help my desire to read owned books, or those that are the oldest on my TBR.

Then, Nicole, Anita, and Cindy.... I got really excited! Really looking forward to this year. Every year has been great, and it looks like 2019 will be no exception.

Here's where the fun is. How to order the 36.... Alphabetical by title or author, forwards or backwards? By category, by longest on my TBR? I'm curious to see how creative people get in the order they choose - it matters right? So curious to see what the randomizer picks for all of us.


message 24: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Booknblues, sit tight for now. I will open a thread for nominations in the next couple of days and everyone will be able to post their (up to) three nominations there!


message 25: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments Nicole R wrote: "Booknblues, sit tight for now. I will open a thread for nominations in the next couple of days and everyone will be able to post their (up to) three nominations there!"

Okay, thanks. I have possibly 2, but trying to decide on the third.


message 26: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Booknblues wrote: "Nicole R wrote: "Booknblues, sit tight for now. I will open a thread for nominations in the next couple of days and everyone will be able to post their (up to) three nominations there!"

Okay, than..."


Booknblues, what are you thinking so far?


message 27: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments NancyJ wrote:" Booknblues, what are you thinking so far? "

I'm thinking Native Americans, Syria or Iraq and somewhere in Africa. I'm trying to pick a country in which there will be quite a few choices.


message 28: by Patty (new)

Patty | 80 comments Do we have to review a book to get any points in the TBR challenge?


message 29: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Yes, you have to review the book on the dedicated thread (they will be obvious when I post them in the first of each month) in order to get the points.

As a reminder, PBT reviews do not have to be extensive. Four sentences minimum and something in your own words (not just copied from the book blurb). It’s a pretty light lift!


message 30: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 16, 2018 06:17PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Booknblues wrote: "NancyJ wrote:" Booknblues, what are you thinking so far? "

I'm thinking Native Americans, Syria or Iraq and somewhere in Africa. I'm trying to pick a country in which there will be quite a few cho..."


Native American is a good category with recent hits There There, and Killers of the Flower Moon. There are many books written by Indian authors (set in India and other countries), and some really good ones from Afghanistan. I'd like to read more about China. The author of Americanah (who is from Nigeria), has several popular books.


message 31: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 714 comments Making sure I understand correctly, we don't have to choose our cultural books ahead of time?


message 32: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments J.W. wrote: "Making sure I understand correctly, we don't have to choose our cultural books ahead of time?"

No, because we won't know ahead of time what culture will be for each month. At least that is what I understood.


message 33: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments J.W. wrote: "Making sure I understand correctly, we don't have to choose our cultural books ahead of time?"

No, but if you have some in mind, you can put them on your tbr list or use them to suggest a specific culture.


message 34: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments JW, just to confirm that you do not have to choose your cultural books in advance. But definitely feel free to make as many lists of possibilities as you like on your personal tracking thread.

Also, just to reiterate (even though it was not your question JW), there will be a monthly cultural theme, but you do NOT have to follow that. You get an extra participation point if you do, but you can also choose to just read whatever you like or only read for the monthly cultural theme occasionally.


message 35: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments How to choose 36 books from a TBR of 500+...


message 36: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Susie wrote: "How to choose 36 books from a TBR of 500+..."

or 1156.


message 37: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5765 comments Susie wrote: "How to choose 36 books from a TBR of 500+..."

Your ideas?

I had a list of to read soon, I went through that and threw out as much as possible. Then I went to my to read list and started with most recently added, because let's face it that is what I like to read most and I chose from not the ones I was pretty sure i would read, but those which I wanted to read but needed that extra little push, but none I had serious reservations about.

Now I am going through and making sure they are all books that I own, because that is the whole point of it for me.


message 38: by Theresa (last edited Dec 16, 2018 09:45PM) (new)

Theresa | 6666 comments I am starting to compile my 36 two ways:

Going around my apartment and noting which books piled around in my various TBR pillars are crying to be read, and

Going through my GR to read wishlist (55 books) and next by author list (48), and isolate those I own.

From whatever list those 2 tasks produces, I will cull to 36. It will be quite eclectic.

My goal in any challenge is to read books I already own.


message 39: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8518 comments I found this pretty easy. I have like a shortlist of 50-60 on my phone. Once I picked, I got really excited!


message 40: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments This is really cool! I love pbt’s challenges

I have few questions:

If the nominated culture is actually your culture (say you choose Australia and we are here) - are the foreign cultures relate to the reader or to the group?
Say (randomly) people from Brooklyn will be a foreign culture to me

As for old cultures - would any historical book that is not of English/US culture work?
Any Russian / Slovak / Chinese book from any time
Or does it have to have certain themes that make a book eligible?


message 41: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments My problem is that I want to read the Booker longlist again in 2019, so I don’t want anything in my 36 that is a contender for that list. It is going to require some forethought.

I was going to try the Read Harder and/or Pop Sugar challenges this year, so I thought I could make my 36 books that meet those challenges.

I’m going to have be more clever about my book choices in the coming year if I do decide to take all of this on! My number one priority is PBT reading, followed by Man Booker. If I find that Read Harder/Pop Sugar are too much I’ll ditch them. I want to still enjoy my reading!


message 42: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Would you believe that my children are expecting me to parent them while I plan next year's reading? How dare they! ;-)


message 43: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 17, 2018 02:44AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Idit wrote: "This is really cool! I love pbt’s challenges

I have few questions:

If the nominated culture is actually your culture (say you choose Australia and we are here) - are the foreign cultures relate ..."


If Australia were chosen for a month, perhaps you could pick a book about a cultural issue or subgroup in your country, or a book about immigrants in your country (or from your country). If it's selected we'll be asking you for help too. I read a few Liane Moriarty books, but I don't think I learned anything about Australian culture. (The characters seemed like they could live in any US suburban area.) I wonder if it's the same for you when you read modern novels by US authors? A book about Brooklyn or Texas might have more cultural flavor (for both of us).

I hope historical fiction counts because most of the books I found today were set in earlier time periods.


message 44: by NancyJ (last edited Dec 17, 2018 12:25AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5222 comments Susie wrote: "Would you believe that my children are expecting me to parent them while I plan next year's reading? How dare they! ;-)"

LOL. Don't they understand priorities?

I feel like I got a lot done tonight but I'm still not even close.


message 45: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Idit wrote: "If the nominated culture is actually your culture (say you choose Australia and we are here) - are the foreign cultures relate to the reader or to the group?."

The goal is for it to be foreign to you. So, of course, with members spread all over the world, there is a chance that your culture will be chosen! In that case, you have a couple of options:

1) You do not have to read that culture that month but can pick any book about any culture you want. You will still get one participation point for it (instead of 2). Remember, there is no requirement that you read for the monthly culture theme.

2) Pick a book where you will learn something new about your own country. Maybe there is a bit of history you don't know much about. Or, a famous person that you have always wanted to learn more about. With no repeating cultures, it will only be a max of one month that this could possibly happen.


message 46: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Idit wrote: "As for old cultures - would any historical book that is not of English/US culture work?
Any Russian / Slovak / Chinese book from any time
Or does it have to have certain themes that make a book eligible? ."


I am not sure I understand this question....

If you choose an older culture, then it will have to be something that is not around anymore.

Otherwise, let's say the monthly culture theme is Russia. Then, you can read any book you want about Russia, including some from different historical periods.

The book you read for the monthly cultural theme does NOT have to be a book about modern times. It can be ANY book about that culture from any time.

Now, if a historical culture is selected, then of course the book you chose will have to be from that historical period.


message 47: by Susie (last edited Dec 17, 2018 02:39AM) (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Susie wrote: "My problem is that I want to read the Booker longlist again in 2019, so I don’t want anything in my 36 that is a contender for that list. It is going to require some forethought.

I was going to t..."


I've just done some calculating for myself, and I've decided that doing Read Harder and/or Pop Sugar is too much and will lead to me restricting my reading more than I want to. I feel as though the PBT challenges this year, along with my IRL book club read and the Booker Longlist, are enough prescribed reading. My calculations come out at a worst case scenario of 59. That still leaves me with some free choice books here and there. I'm happy with that.


message 48: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Susie wrote: "I’m going to have be more clever about my book choices in the coming year if I do decide to take all of this on! "

And remember, our challenges are not all are nothing, you can participate as often or as rarely as you want! So, if you make your list of 36 books, but only read for 4 months, that is totally fine! You still get some participation points, and we are not sticklers that you have to finish 12 books.

You may just choose to put 36 books on your list that have been languishing around forever and read them that month if they strike your fancy.

For those who are less intense about challenges, this does not have to be an overly burdensome task!


message 49: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments Susie wrote: "Would you believe that my children are expecting me to parent them while I plan next year's reading? How dare they! ;-)"

Ugh, kids are so needy! Like they just have to have food and attention and basic care. ;)


message 50: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7758 comments NancyJ wrote: "But I've noticed that some books are more "cultural" than others. When I read Liane Moriarty books"

This is a good point, Nancy, worth reiterating. The point of this challenge is to learn something new, so popular fiction books that are just set in a certain country with no insight to the culture are probably not great choices.

Of course, as always, PBT runs on the honor system, so we will not be policing this strictly, so we always just ask members to stick with the spirit of PBT!


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