Romance Readers Reading Challenges discussion

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Archive (general & ongoing) > How do you find books to meet challenge categories?

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message 1: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (last edited Feb 17, 2011 09:19AM) (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments I've received a couple of private messages for the past few days from some new members asking me this question.

How do we find books to meet challenge categories?

I've decided to throw this question to the group.

So, how do you find books? What resources do you use? Do you stick to your own personal TBR or are you willing to buy or borrow books to meet the challenge?

Drop by and share your challenge strategy.


message 2: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (wckdktty) | 479 comments Thanks for posting this. I am VERY interested in peoples answers.


message 3: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Shannon wrote: "Thanks for posting this. I am VERY interested in peoples answers."

Thought it would be nice to hear different strategies. : )


message 4: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Personally, I do a mixture of planning in advance and doing it by the fly. I prefer to stick to my current TBR, mostly using my own memory of blurbs and plotlines of books that I haven't read.

I also browse through other participants' lists and see what they have posted. I also search through GR's shelves using certain keywords.


message 5: by ♥Tricia♥ (new)

♥Tricia♥ (siddie) | 407 comments I look for books to match from my wish-list or to read list.
If I don't have anything to match I tend to skip the challenge.


message 6: by Michelle (last edited Feb 17, 2011 09:37AM) (new)

Michelle (michelle_mc) | 670 comments For the most part I try and stick with books I own, I also have online access to my local library network and reserve books that way.
I like having a look at other people's postings too for inspiration.
The category I have the most trouble with is the Geography one - my knowledge of the US is pretty limited! I usually have to do a Google search or Wikipedia just to find general info. Wiki often has a link to author's from that area or I google "romance books set in..." "authors from..." etc.

www.paranormalromance.org, fantasticfiction.com also come in handy... or it's pouring over shelves on here or lists too! It often takes me a while so I don't always post before hand, some categories I come by by acident (or maybe sheer luck?) :)

I do enjoy it though - it's half the fun sometimes and I often find new books/authors/series that I haven't before. Makes me happy but my Hubby and Bank account not so much


message 7: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 205 comments Since I usually have a huge TBR pile I try to use books that I already have or can get from the library. As a last resort I'll sometimes buy a used book if I can find an inexpensive copy. But I'll only buy a book once or twice a year for a challenge that I really want to do. If I don't have enough books to fit a challenge I'll usually skip it.

If I'm not sure what books I have that will fit a challenge I'll look and see what other people are reading or use Google to try and find books that fit the category.


message 8: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (wckdktty) | 479 comments I just thought of a way I could do this. I use a free software called Calibre for all my ebooks and a separate database for my physical books. It supports tags and I could search them. Might try it out in a bit.


message 9: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments I take a look at my to-read list, some are easy - the birthday one, or the title one - for the birthday one, I do a compre bookshelves and see what they have that is also on my to-read shelf.

For the geography one- I take at the Next Best Book Club around the world/USA lists - sometimes it gives me ideas since i've doing that challenge, or I search bibliotravel (although there is normally not a lot of romancey type books there).


message 10: by D.G. (last edited Feb 17, 2011 12:30PM) (new)

D.G. | 4477 comments I pretty much stick to my TBR. I borrow from the library for a challenge if a) I already had the book on my radar as a book I was interested in b) the book came recommended in the Pick It For Me challenge or c) the challenge is long term (at least 3 months long) so I don't have to rush to read the book.

To find books that meet the categories, I look at my TBR and start with the obvious categories (those that deal with a certain genres, colors in covers or a certain number of letters in the title because those you can figure out at a glance.) Then go to the less obvious categories (character is a fireman, etc.) and I do a search in PBS because it allows me to search the description of my books and that way I can find out if this character is a teacher, lives is Seattle, etc. After that if I'm missing something, I see what other people have posted...sometimes I don't know that a certain book I have fits a particular challenge until somebody else posts about it.

Like Michelle, I usually have problems with the geography category, so most of the time I end up skipping it.


message 11: by AlbertaJenn (new)

AlbertaJenn | 0 comments ♥Tricia♥ wrote: "I look for books to match from my wish-list or to read list.
If I don't have anything to match I tend to skip the challenge."


I'm the same as ♥Tricia♥. Need to get that pile down!


message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa | 1243 comments I use goodreads mostly. I read the description looking for names, occupations, plot lines, etc. that might fit. I start with my tbr bookshelf first. I also have a large list of books that are available at my library that I want to read so I also search through that. I do most of the challenges that are alphabet driven so I definitely look closely at the books I've chosen for those challenges to see if they will fit another challenges category. I, too, look at what other's have selected.


message 13: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments I forgot to add my library search engine is really good and I've had success searching for state/country +fiction and getting results


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments Well, I suppose I can let you in on the super secret method of finding books for the challenges in which I participate. But keep it a secret. I don't want anybody else finding out.

1. I read the categories carefully whilst sitting in front of Mt. ToBeRead. Sometimes something jumps out at me right off the bat and I need go no further. "Read a book with a red cover or with love in the title." Oh look - here's one now!

2. If it is a slightly harder category to fill, I look for suggestions in the suggestions thread. Megan Hart is from Pennsylvania? I got one of those around here.

3. I go to the library, walk up to the reference desk, and tell them what I'm looking for. "I want a book that takes place in Delaware, romance is the first preference but I'll take whatever you have available - NO HISTORICALS." "Give me a couple of days to see what I can find for you Jim. I'll drop you an e-mail once I order it for you."

4. I ask reading buddies for something that might qualify. "I need a book with a dog in it. Any suggestions that I might like?" "I have a book called Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. It's really an epic poem. You'll like it! I'll drop it off tomorrow."

5. If all else fails, I pick one of the books that was recommended from one of the above methods but was not available through other means and I go to the bookstore and buy it.

OK, so maybe the method isn't so super secret. But using this method I last did not complete a RRRC Monthly challenge in December of 2009 when I had some major surgery. Since I end up talking to just about everybody about what I am reading/need to read, I get tons of good suggestions and get to talk about books. I also get to read all kinds of things outside of my comfort zone.


message 15: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 4477 comments Photojim wrote: "I also get to read all kinds of things outside of my comfort zone. "

You have a comfort zone, Jim? GASP!!


message 16: by Katharina (last edited Feb 17, 2011 01:20PM) (new)

Katharina | 802 comments I use all of the above but for some categories I found this Special Title Listings page very helpful. It has lists for all kinds of different romance themes.

Shannon wrote: "I just thought of a way I could do this. I use a free software called Calibre for all my ebooks and a separate database for my physical books. It supports tags and I could search them. Might try it..."

Did you know that you can add non-ebooks to calibre. Just select "add empty book" from the "add books" menu.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I mainly try and use my TBR, if I'm struggling, then I'll go and look at other GR people who have loads and loads of good categorized shelves


message 18: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 4477 comments Good point, Rena. Tons of my friends have categorized shelves too!


message 19: by Tania (last edited Feb 17, 2011 06:51PM) (new)

Tania | 644 comments I currently have a rule that I'm not allowed to select books for a challenge that I don't already own. (really really trying to reduce the TBR pile this year - ha ha)

So essentially I print out the challenge and take a wander through my tbr pile. Other things I might try if I'm getting stuck are:

1. Search goodreads lists
2. Search Amazon
3. Google Search (particularly useful for location searches)
4. See what other people have been selecting for the challenge
5. Check out other Goodreaders shelves
6. Go into my local bookstore (THAT'S A DANGEROUS ONE THOUGH!)
7. Online library searches
8. Search tags in my Calibre library.

Oh, and probably my favourite method - randomly picking a book from my book shelves and seeing if I can make it fit somehow.


message 20: by Mary C (new)

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 1099 comments I have 900+ books here. It's rare that I have trouble finding something for every category of a challenge I sign up for. I rarely buy a book just for a challenge and if I do it's because I already wanted the book and the challenge maybe encourages me to buy it sooner. I also don't read anything I have no interest in just to fill a challenge spot.

I do get challenge books from the library if I can and I don't have one in my own TBR.

I find titles that fit challenge spots by seeing what other people use, asking for suggestions and using the search feature on papebackswap. I have all my books logged in the TBR Pile there and you can search that for keywords. Doesn't always work but it's helpful. You can also sort by title or author which helped with the A-Z challenges.


message 21: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments Last year I tended to buy books to fill challenge spots, but this year I'm attempting to cut down Mt TBR so I look at the challenge and then go bookshelf surfing to see if I have books that fit. If I don't I tend to leave the challenge, or see if it has levels of participation (e.g. I'm reading 3 books for RRRC's Feb Challenge as it's all I had that fit easily, but I didn't do PR's Feb Challenge despite it's awesomeness as I couldn't get it to work with my TBR).


message 22: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (casswish) I'm a paperbackswap member, and you can search for keywords on your tbr list there, and it will find the keywords in the plot summary and in tags that people put on the books. If I don't have a book that fits a challenge, I look at what other people have read for that challenge and see if my library has it.


message 23: by Beth (last edited Feb 21, 2011 11:08AM) (new)

Beth This is usually how I search:

1 - I search my own shelves. Changing the view to "covers" makes it easy to find books that are specific colors or have a picture of a certain object. I also like to utilize the sort feature, especially by page number. This helps me keep a good mix of long and short books or if I have to rework my list because it's 3 days before the end of the month and I still have 2 tasks to complete, I can find shorter ones.

2 - I search the shelves of my friends using the same types of sorting options that I use for my own shelf. I also love the "compare books" feature for the birthday task.

3 - The "explore" tab on Goodreads is also fantastic. For example, you can search all of Goodreads for shelf names, which is a great way to find books for geographical locations or occupations. Sometimes you have to use your imagination but I've found some good books using this tool. Listopia can also be useful sometimes.


message 24: by Shellbelle (new)

 Shellbelle  | 195 comments First thing I do is see what books that are on my Must Read list that will be coming out during that time period. If it's a monthly I go with the new release I Must read, and if it's quartly or Yearly then I look ahead at the new releases coming out during that time. Then I look at my TBR list and see what will fit. If I still have books after that I look at what other people are using to get some ideas. I find if I stick with books I was going to read anyway I am more likely to finish the challenge, but it's also a good chance to force me to read some of the TBR pile that has been hanging around for awhile:)


I really love making these list! I had never done a challenge until recently and now i'm totally addicted!


message 25: by Lacy (new)

Lacy (lacy_stewart) | 1864 comments D.G. wrote: "I pretty much stick to my TBR. I borrow from the library for a challenge if a) I already had the book on my radar as a book I was interested in b) the book came recommended in the Pick It For Me ch..."

You sometimes search in PBS...what is PBS?


message 26: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments PBS is paperback swap...you can sign up and after you list some books you have...you can request books that others might have listed - they send it to you (they pay the postage) and then if people request your books, you do the same


message 28: by Lacy (new)

Lacy (lacy_stewart) | 1864 comments Thank you!


message 29: by Juana "Darkness" (new)

Juana "Darkness" Duran | 423 comments Well I go to the library or go to the store to see what is available. Or I order it from the book store and I get it in the mail.


message 30: by Barbara ★ (last edited Mar 05, 2011 03:23PM) (new)

Barbara ★ | 3557 comments I join a lot of challenges each month so I try to cross-challenge whenever I can. I usually check what I've already committed to read that month and see if anything fits the new challenge. If not, I do the same types of searches as everyone else. I go to my books and search keywords, authors, titles, etc. I also have lots of descriptive shelves so sometimes I can just check a shelf and come up with a hit.

If all else fails, I take a list around my physical shelves and search book by book until I find everything I need. However, if there is still something missing, I will enter TBD because sometimes while just reading other books for the month, I mysteriously find what I'm looking for. If I'm totally stumped on a category, I check other posts. And if it's totally hopeless or just a category that I don't like, I skip that challenge item.

I wouldn't buy a book to complete a challenge but I would try to get it from the library if I could.


message 31: by Kim (last edited Mar 09, 2011 12:21PM) (new)

Kim Galla (catmommie) I do the same as Barbara, but I made myself dizzy last year! I backed off a little this year. I definitely use the books I own first. If I don't have a book for a challenge, I usually don't do the challenge.


message 32: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (bugaboobear) I usually pull from my to-read list to meet challenges. If there's nothing that fits, I'll try to find something by looking at other people's postings of what they will read for that category and see if there's anything I like. Then I fly by the seat of my pants.

As far as finding books, I use both my local library and an e-Library in Florida which I can download books from for free. I wish I could buy all of the books that I read but that would take some serious bank. I'm considering joining the e-library in another state to get a better selection.

-OddBookOut


message 33: by Debbie (new)

Debbie  (db_debber) | 2757 comments I use a lot of them also. I also look to see what others are reading or are planning on reading for that challenge and see if it is available to me either in my own tbr, the library or easily picked up somewhere. I am also a big right now about not buying anything new so that puts a bit more of a challenge to it. But, so far I have been able to do it.


message 34: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vanessamc) | 394 comments I start with my TBR shelf, first zeroing in on the books I own.

Then I look at what other people have listed in the thread.

I also make use of the library; sometimes you can find a book by a subject or word browse.

The hardest categories for me are the geography one and one where the genre is not one of my favorites. Being over 50 I am reluctant to spend time on my least favorite genres; I have so many other books from genres I enjoy, and want to use my time wisely. Occasionally, though, I try a book I would not normally read and am pleasantly surprised. With a little encouragement from a friend, I discovered the Dream series by K.M Moning that way.


message 35: by Clare (new)

Clare P (heidelbergerin) Really interesting thread. Thanks for sharing!!


message 36: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7316 comments ohh something I thought to add, and i don't know if others library systems are as good...but for the geography, I find I can normally search by country +fiction and get a potential list (if the various countries have been added as key words) - i've had good luck doing that with states as well


message 37: by Debbie (new)

Debbie  (db_debber) | 2757 comments there is also the hit and miss strategy of reading what you want to read and then trying to find where it might fit in to your challenges - a little more difficult but you get to read what you want.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

That is actually a really good question. (:

Personally I usually pick them of my TBR sheld and if I don't have a book to meet the criteria on my TBR I sneak around other peoples challenge lists and try to find some suggestions. ^^ Also it often happens to me that I go to library and I find tons of good books and then I try to squeeze them onto challenge lists as much as I can.


message 39: by MountainKat, Moderator (new)

MountainKat | 19605 comments I usually have several books that I really want to read soon, and by soon I mean NOW, so I try to fit those in first if I can by checking out the cover colors, words in the title, or themes. Then I search through my TBR mountain, I can usually find something to fill spots there. I will also look at other peoples' lists and often wonder "how could I have forgotten that one!?" And I have a good friend who does these challenges too, we will compare lists and help each other out.

I really don't want to read something just to fill a spot in a challenge, there are too many good books out there that I haven't read yet! But I am competitive enough to push myself to read books lower in priority, something you want to read someday, and have found some real gems by doing so!


message 40: by taita (new)

taita Great thread. Thanks for sharing your tips for newbies like me. Reminded me not to go crazy (though it is so easy to do!). My first stop from now on will be the TBR shelf.


message 41: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (cklueh) | 447 comments Throwing my constant dilemma to the crowd. I, like most of the rest of you, choose books off my TBR list for the challenges. I also have a list going at the library for books I'm waiting for (both digital and regular books). I have to rework my list when those books come up, or risk going back to the bottom of the waiting list. Does anyone else have this problem?


message 42: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments Yep - and my library won't let you renew anything thats been requested by someone else, hence why I ended up reading I Am Number Four in one afternoon so I wouldn't be late returning it. That said, I don't request that much from the library as our library doesn't have many books I like :(


message 43: by Jane (PS), Moderator (last edited Apr 02, 2011 03:21PM) (new)

Jane (PS) | 19618 comments Me too Courtney - but I can only empathise, no solution :(. I mostly get audiobooks from the library. I find audiobooks pretty easy to juggle if I miss out (take something else out and wait again). Plus our library lends for 28 days - so plenty of time to get the book 'read'.


message 44: by Monica (new)

Monica Maybe (monicamaybe) | 45 comments I've been wondering how people do multiple challenges. How they keep their books in order and how they manage to get books that meet a few different challenges. I'm in the middle of my first challenge, the April Pick it for me challenge, and I had debated in between that challenge and another, but I didn't want to get overwhelmed and I also just didn't know how to make them work together.


message 45: by MountainKat, Moderator (new)

MountainKat | 19605 comments One of my favorite parts of the challenges is trying to get books to fill spots in multiple challenges! Can I make the Pick it for Me work in one of the monthly challenge spots? Will the Featured Author Challenge fit in too? That and of course trying to get in all of the books I want to read. That challenge is as much fun as finishing any of the official ones here! But the most important part for me to remember is that I read for enjoyment and not to get so competitive that I read something I'm not interested in just to fill a spot. Using the challenges to push my boundaries and pick up new authors is a good thing! Reading bad books is not.


message 46: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 4477 comments Courtney wrote: "I have to rework my list when those books come up, or risk going back to the bottom of the waiting list. Does anyone else have this problem? "

To avoid this, I just try not to have more than 6-7 books from the library on hand and the majority of them are books that I can renew, that way I can renew them multiple times and not be forced to having to read them immediately. If I get a book I can't renew because somebody else is in line for it, then I just read it as soon as I get it.

Monica wrote: "I've been wondering how people do multiple challenges. How they keep their books in order and how they manage to get books that meet a few different challenges. "

I do multiple challenges as well and like MountainKat, I plan my books so they fit multiple challenges. I only participate in two monthly challenges though: the monthly where you can pick and choose how many categories you can make and the PIFM. For the rest, I have more time. :)


message 47: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (cklueh) | 447 comments I work at the library, so it is very difficult to walk out of there without a book and even harder NOT to add something to my TBR list when I'm checking in all the new books. My self control is getting better, though, b/c I haven't gotten close to the 50 item limit in quite some time. Our digital collection is seperate from our print collection, so that gets me into a little spot of bother.

Having a large TBR list isn't such a bad thing b/c I can usually find a book I wanted to read anyway to fit into the challenges. If not, I keep an eye out for possibilities when I'm at work.


message 48: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (casswish) Monica, I keep two documents on my computer that I cross reference to keep track, and when I add new challenges, I can see what I'm already reading, fill in what I can, and then fill in the blanks with other books. If you wanted, I can email you the two documents so you can see.


message 49: by Monica (new)

Monica Maybe (monicamaybe) | 45 comments Thank you ladies! I think I might have worked it out by adding a new list, and shelving some things there, so fingers crossed that it works out!

Cassie, I'd be very interested in seeing how you do that. Might be easier in the long run!


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments Monica, my Pick It for Me (PIFM) book is my Reader's Choice book every month (unless of course the book qualifies for something else).


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