Around the Year in 52 Books discussion

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message 1: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited May 24, 2020 02:05PM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Hello everyone! It is time to start the process of creating our reading challenge list for 2021! (Can you even believe it?!)

Our Wild Discussion is the place where you can talk about possible prompts you might want to suggest, give recommendations for various topics, ask the mods questions, pose questions to the group, and generally get excited about the voting process.

As always, please be respectful of the group members here... we may not all share the same opinion, but we do require a respectful discourse.

You can see our voting schedule on this thread!


message 2: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (new)

Robin P | 1734 comments Mod
I wasn’t clear from the description- if I propose a topic and it doesn’t win, can I submit the same topic on a different week? Not that I intend to do that, just curious.


message 3: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1631 comments Robin- In the past, topics that don’t win can be submitted. Often times the discussion helps, sometimes prompts start out too narrow or wide and rewording them helps.


message 4: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (new)

Robin P | 1734 comments Mod
Thanks, that makes sense. Looking forward to seeing everyone's creativity!


message 5: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Yes, Jillian is right! We typically have a rule that if a prompt has been suggested and not made it on to the list three times, it can no longer be suggested, and if a prompt ends up in our bottom votes, it can no longer be suggested. But most people jump in this thread and workshop their prompts if that does happen and they want to resubmit.

So excited for this process to start!


message 6: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (last edited May 26, 2020 05:04AM) (new)

Laura | 3824 comments Mod
I'm not sure if it happens to anyone else but I tend to get ideas for prompts here and there. Essentially a "oh, that would make a good prompt!" moment.

If people would find it useful, I can reserve this comment for people's ideas. That would allow them to be commented on ahead of the voting and saved for later :)

This has been suggested before but, A book recommended by an author
There's a fun summer article with recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1836


message 7: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (last edited May 26, 2020 05:11AM) (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
I've been thinking about lists and awards (those are really always my favorite prompts), and I found that the National Book Award website is really easy to navigate (a huge plus!) and has a ton of options from different genres.

https://www.nationalbook.org/national...

So maybe A book that won or was nominated for a National Book Award.


message 8: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Laura, I like that prompt, and I feel like people can make it easier by looking at the blurbs on books (like, John Green having a short comment printed on the cover of another person's YA novel). I personally don't care about author recommendations, but I do like that it's pretty open-ended.


message 9: by Entropia (new)

Entropia | 277 comments Time flies :O

I had an idea for a prompt couple of months ago, but I forgot what it was X____x


message 10: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1631 comments Emily wrote: "I've been thinking about lists and awards (those are really always my favorite prompts), and I found that the National Book Award website is really easy to navigate (a huge plus!) and has a ton of ..."

I'm not sure if it matters or not but the National Book Award was a prompt in 2019 and it is also covered this year in the 10 most coveted awards.


message 11: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Was it really? Ha! That's what I get for not even looking at previous challenges. I mean, I finished 2019's challenge, but I do not remember that prompt. Good to know!


message 12: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2157 comments I like the prompt of a book recommended by an author because it is very open. I like the list you provided, Laura. There are more recommendations from authors under “News and Interviews.”


message 13: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (last edited May 26, 2020 08:57AM) (new)

Robin P | 1734 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "I've been thinking about lists and awards (those are really always my favorite prompts), and I found that the National Book Award website is really easy to navigate (a huge plus!) and has a ton of ..."

That's funny, those are my least favorite prompts in that there is no room for creativity on my part. It's just a matter of looking at the lists. It's not a problem as I generally read some of those books anyway. But there is no great "aha!" moment as there is when I figure out a book will fit a certain theme, cover, type of author, etc.


message 14: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 925 comments I never mind the awards lists but I absolutely hate the recommended by a celebrity lists. The awards lists are indeed easy picks, but I find having a few prompts where I just get to pick something I want to read without any stretch is fine. I don't want every prompt to require extensive research.


message 15: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 375 comments I tend to like the prompts where you choose from a list, as I often find books I'm interested in that I add to my TBR. But as next year I really want to focus on reading from my TBR, maybe I should stay away from those prompts ...

I prefer open prompts where I have lots of options to choose from over narrow prompts, like read a book from a specific sub-genre, which might be a genre I really don't want to read.

The prompts I really don't like are prompts that I won't know if a book would count until I have actually read it. For example, read a book that makes you laugh out loud / cry / feel sad etc.


message 16: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
It's so interesting to see all of our different perspectives. I like lists because it helps me narrow down ALL OF THE OPTIONS. I liked the National Book Award because it covered fiction, YA, and nonfiction, so there's a good bit of variety in the lists. But I'll probably go look at other lists and awards since we had that one so recently.


message 17: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1614 comments I think it has a lot to do with how you go about the challenge. I like to read the books I want and then figure out where to put them afterwards/ during. So I like the 'choose a book with a cool title', 'x on cover', 'made you laugh' type of prompts, and I dislike the lists. If you like to plan the book for the prompt beforehand I think it's the other way round. Across the ways of doing the challenge I believe a majority of us dislike the 'recommended by a celebrity'...


message 18: by Jackie, Solstitial Mod (new)

Jackie | 1251 comments Mod
I think recommended by a celebrity is one of those prompts that was good the first time, but at this point we've had it so many times. Especially since I do multiple challenges each year, I've had so many iterations of it : recommended by a celebrity, from a celebrity book club, recommended by oprah, etc etc. That's how I feel about all the variations of "book made into a movie" too. I've gone through all the options I'm interested in at this point.


message 19: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1614 comments Yeah, that too.


message 20: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 911 comments This has been my 6th year of the challenge. On all the other years I have stuck rigidly to a plan but this year I have changed my plan a lot by reading what I wanted then fitting it in. I'm not interested in what celebrities read, and like Hannah, I can't tell if a book will make me laugh or cry until I read it. I don't mind lists, and I quite like titles, or book covers as choices


message 21: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1631 comments I prefer prompts that are broad and that allow me room to make them more challenging rather than starting out really narrow and I feel like I'm cheating stretching the prompts. This year has been my favorite year of prompts.

I don't enjoy looking at list of books and having to pick from them. I think, it has to do with doing so many challenges for so long. Most books on list seem to fit three categories: either I have read the book, I've already reread it several times, or I have zero interest every reading the book.

I have also found that how I vote does not always reflect how I feel about the prompt once I get to it. There are some prompts that I wonder why did I vote for that I cannot find any books I want to read for it and others why did I down vote that prompt it is wonderful.


message 22: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (last edited May 26, 2020 06:40PM) (new)

Robin P | 1734 comments Mod
Johanne wrote: "I think it has a lot to do with how you go about the challenge. I like to read the books I want and then figure out where to put them afterwards/ during. So I like the 'choose a book with a cool ti..."

Yes, this is my method. I mostly read what I feel like and then figure out where it goes, or I look at a few books I mean to read soon and assign them. It was only after finishing some books that I could know they were "about the arts", or had a dual timeline.

I think a lot has to do with where we are in life. When I was in my 20's I really had no idea what to read. There was no internet (!) The only thing I had was Book of the Month Club and a few articles in the newspaper. There were also no book groups. So lists would have been handy. Now I get input daily from several newsletters (Book Riot, Lit Hub, BookMarks,NY Times, Atlantic, as well as GR) and my library has all kinds of lists. And I belong to book groups online & in person. I have lots of TBR books.

I really like the open-ended nature of ATY challenges. I did Read Harder for a couple years and I commend the goal of getting you to read from different cultures/voices/races, but I found I was reading things I really wasn't interested in. Life is too short! This group has prompts that are challenging enough without limiting my options and that's why I joined.


message 23: by Barb (new)

Barb Dudziec | 13 comments I don't mind 1 or 2 prompts where I look at lists to make my choices, as in award winners or books in a genre I'm not familiar with; as long as many prompts allow for creativity. And if a few require a little research, that can be fun too. I thought this year (my first) there was a good mix of types of prompts. I was able to preplan many books to use, and find other books along the way.
How about 2 books with similar titles, but in different genres-


message 24: by Serendipity (new)

Serendipity | 436 comments I was thinking of suggesting a prompt that played off this year’s “nominated for one of the 10 most coveted literary prizes” prompt. My suggestion would be a book nominated for a lesser-known literary prize. I got sucked into reading all the books nominated for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, one I’d never heard of before then. And then went down the rabbit hole of researching literary prizes. There seems to be a huge variety - something to suit most tastes which I’m sure will lead some people to criticise the prompt for being too broad! But I like that since it is simple for those who like to KIS while easy for those who want to BIO ie only read a prize winner or pick an award you’d never heard of before. Some of the prizes I discovered - Glass Bell Award (best storytelling in contemporary fiction), Diagram Prize (oddest title of the year), McIlvanney prize (Scottish crime), Wellcome Book Prize (medicine and heath), Lord Ruthven award (vampires), Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Awards (comic writing), Firecracker Awards (books from independent publishers), Reading the West (Fiction and non fiction about the west), Orwell Prize (four categories for political writing), Ondaatje Prize for a book best evoking then spirit of a place, Jhalka Prize (published in the UK by an author of colour).


message 25: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 108 comments Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole year already. I'll have to start thinking of prompts!


message 26: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2484 comments I agree with Jillian about not being as interested in some of the prompts that I voted for! At the time, they sounded interesting and challenging but now I’m thinking what am I going to read?! I always find something, though. Looking forward to the new list and the list-making process!


message 27: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments I didn't join the group until the end of last year, so can't wait to see all the suggestions and voting!

Some ideas I've had -

- a book mentioned in another book that you read for the challenge. Might be fun trying to find a book you want to read mentioned within another book you have to read.

- a book that you delayed reading. I know there was a prompt for this year relating to the 2020 olympics, which has been been pushed back, so might be fun to read a book that you pushed back, or that the release date was delayed.

- a book related to your favourite Disney film. Disney might be too specific, but you could read a fairytale retelling, a book with royalty (or superheroes if Marvel is your thing) or just a book with the same character name.

- a book from the Rory Gilmore reading list. Gilmore Girls - it's a massive list, but mainly classics, so might not be everyones cup of tea.


message 28: by Mairéad (new)

Mairéad | 12 comments Serendipity wrote: "I was thinking of suggesting a prompt that played off this year’s “nominated for one of the 10 most coveted literary prizes” prompt. My suggestion would be a book nominated for a lesser-known liter..."

I love this! Also, thank you for letting me know about the Diagram Prize, looking at the list of past winners, and loving these titles!!


message 29: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Barb, I like that idea, but I'm interested to see how it would play out in the voting. Multi-week prompts are always hit or miss but I like that one because it's pretty easy to connect the titles and it makes you read two different genres.

Serendipity, I love that! You would definitely need to either define what you mean by "lesser-known" award, or you would need to give a list. People generally don't like ambiguity when it comes to that kind of stuff.

Mairead, I really like the Disney idea, especially now that they have expanded to Star Wars (for sci-fi people) and Marvel. We've had the Rory Gilmore prompt in the past, but I think it was maybe 2017 or 2018... so you can suggest it and see how it goes. The delayed prompt is also intriguing (some of my most anticipated books have had pushed back release dates), but it could also go with books you bought and didn't read right away, or books you had on your plan for this year but switched out for another one... I think there's a lot of opportunity to personalize it.


message 30: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Kristick | 480 comments I like the idea of lesser-known literary prizes. I'm a librarian, and last year I published an article on diversity-related literary prizes. Found lots of good books researching the article, and the award winners and nominees include a wide range of book genres (e.g., memoirs, erotica, mysteries, poetry, scholarly books) by and about various underrepresented people.


message 31: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 1346 comments I like prompts that allow me to look at a book and know - with some small knowledge of the genre, author, and cover - if it fits the prompt. List prompts don’t allow me to do that, so I find them a bit annoying, because then I have to go check a list. Of course, list prompts make it easy to find a book that works, but they make it hard to know if a book works when I don’t have the list in hand.


message 32: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2157 comments I really like the lesser-known literary prize idea. We could have a list of awards to choose from like we did this year for the top 10 awards.


message 33: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1614 comments I also like the lesser known literary prize. It made me look around, and lo and behold there's also a 'worst sex scene in fiction' award, and 'weird ass picture books' https://the-digital-reader.com/2015/1...


message 34: by Jackie, Solstitial Mod (new)

Jackie | 1251 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "I really like the lesser-known literary prize idea. We could have a list of awards to choose from like we did this year for the top 10 awards."

I like the idea of the lesser known book awards, but I wouldn't want to be told I have to choose from these 10 specific book awards. I think when submission time comes, it would be good to offer people examples of lesser known awards but to be clear that *any* lesser known award could be used.


message 35: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Harris | 704 comments I like the lesser known literary prize idea also. It could have a listopia link attached & also be worded to say any known lesser award is fine.
I also don’t plan ahead what I’m using for the challenge. I pick a book that interest me & is available through a library resource. Then I see what prompt it fits.


message 36: by Robin P, Orbicular Mod (new)

Robin P | 1734 comments Mod
I imagine that many states and regions have prizes for best book set there or by a local author. They may not get a lot of attention or give big money, but they are still prizes.

Somewhat related are books that have been chosen for citywide reads. A number of cities have had projects (usually organized by libraries) where as many people as possible are encouraged to read a certain book and sometimes the author will come to speak. It might take a little research to find those books. Here in Madison, WI, we have had it for maybe 15 years, other cities like Chicago, Seattle, etc. have similar projects. Many colleges now have a title they ask all incoming freshmen to read.


message 37: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2633 comments I don't mind list prompts if they are lists that have a lot of options. I find a lot of list prompts tend to lead back to fairly limited lists which have a lot of the same books (classics, for example). In a lot of cases, I've already read the books I wanted to read and have no interest in the others. I don't mind being pushed to read something a bit outside my comfort zone, but for the most part, I prefer when a challenge gives me room to mostly read the books I'm already interested in.


message 38: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Peterson | 361 comments It's interesting to think about prompts that encourage you to choose a book in a different way than you normally do. I've been realizing this year that lately the only way that I read books is if I've heard of them before, either having seen them mentioned a bunch here or out in the real world. So for the list prompts, I've basically just gone to the list and browsed around until I see a book I've been meaning to read and go "oh, excellent, Normal People's on here" or whatever. I think I want most prompts to work for that kind of style, because I do have a lot of books on my TBR that I want to get through, but I have enjoyed the few prompts where I've had to go looking for inspiration in a different way, particularly the "stumbled upon" prompt from 2019. What a delight to read a book that no one I knew had read, I felt like I had discovered it!


message 39: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) | 925 comments I agree Hannah. Back in the days when I didn't have a list I read from, I used to just go to the library and roam the shelves. I often came home with books I'd never heard of and some of them turned out to be absolute favorites. I would love to get back to more of a mix of the planned and the unexpected. I am not a fan of cover prompts, but I might reconsider since that is one way to make the choice unstudied.


message 40: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Same same. I do miss browsing the library and picking up books that catch my eye (for better or worse). In 2019, I was upset that the indigenous peoples prompt made it in because I had no book on my (pretty extensive) TBR that would fit... and the book I ended up reading was one of my favorites of the year! (Trail of Lightning)

I try to keep that in mind while I'm voting... some prompts seem so constrictive and specific or out of my wheelhouse, but they end up bringing out the best books.


message 41: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
A question for the crowd:

Is there anything you'd like to see or like to see changed with the 2021 voting process?

The mods are hammering down the details now, and we have shortened the process as many have requested, but I just wanted to throw it out to the group.


message 42: by Serendipity (new)

Serendipity | 436 comments Obviously many of you are better at picking books from library shelves than I was. I felt I used to browse aimlessly and couldn’t find anything that appealed or ended up with lots of 3 star books .They were fine but that was it. Since I started doing challenges and especially utilising their groups her on Goodreads I’m finding titles that really appeal and then placing holds on them. I rarely browse the shelves anymore. My reading life is the better for it.


message 43: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1631 comments Emily wrote: "A question for the crowd:

Is there anything you'd like to see or like to see changed with the 2021 voting process?

The mods are hammering down the details now, and we have shortened the process a..."


I know that the process is some what fluid but I think it would be helpful to have a little bit more defined plans in a few areas. Just so we are all on the same page. Such as how many prompts per poll ( a random example would be 20 for the first 10 polls then 15 for the remaining polls), and how we are doing multi-prompts from the start. It felt a little confusing last year what was the actual plan and what was just a general discussion.

I think that you all do a great job!


message 44: by Chelsey (new)

Chelsey Keathley-Jones (keathleyc) | 234 comments I also am not a big fan of list prompts but at the same time I don't vote for prompts that I feel like I can fit most of my TBR on just because I want to be pushed to find a book that I wouldn't normally read.

I really like the list making process..no complaints here.


message 45: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3824 comments Mod
Maybe it would be easier to define “A book that won an award that you had never heard of” or something along those lines. It implies lesser known but doesn’t require you to decide what qualifies as lesser known.


message 46: by Emily, Conterminous Mod (new)

Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) | 6929 comments Mod
Jillian, we are planning on having a set number of suggestions from the beginning (probably 15), and we will probably have a poll to see how the group would like to handle multi-week prompts to hopefully avoid the confusion from last year.


message 47: by Avery (last edited May 29, 2020 10:03AM) (new)

Avery (averyapproved) | 464 comments I find that no matter what type of prompt it is (list, award, cover, title, multi-week, etc.), there will always be some members who like and some members who dislike specific prompt types. I personally don't like list/award prompts, but if there was a whole poll of them to choose from, I could at least have my say of which is the most interesting to me, rather than list-prompt-lovers voting in a list prompt because it's the only one in the poll. So I guess I'm suggesting taking another look at themed polls. Perhaps we have a few mix-bag polls, then have a 3-4 week stretch of themed polls, then go back to mix-bag polls. Just a suggestion, and I know there are pros and cons to this, but maybe someone can take this suggestion and do something better with it.


message 48: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 1346 comments I love the idea of themed polls!! A list poll, a cover poll, a genre poll, etc


message 49: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 375 comments Avery wrote: "I find that no matter what type of prompt it is (list, award, cover, title, multi-week, etc.), there will always be some members who like and some members who dislike specific prompt types. I perso..."

I love this idea of themed polls. It would hopefully mean that the final list would be balanced and not too heavy on one area.


message 50: by Jillian (new)

Jillian | 1631 comments I also like the idea of some themed polls the more polarizing themes.

My least favorite theme is the list/awards/recommendation but I do realize that they are need for a balanced list.


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