I am personally not a fan.
I think it’s good exercise if you are not an avid reader or if you worship at the alter of one genre only e.g. Fantasy, because it forces you to think more creatively about the sort of books you should read and get you out of your comfort zone. I also think they’re lots of fun because I’m curious to see what people would select for different categories.
But it would personally irritate me because I already have all sorts of books I want to tick off my bucket list and it’s tricky enough for me to fit them into my lifestyle without having to worry about scrambling to read another set of books.
I saw one on Popsugar.com the other day and it had challenges like ‘A book with a cat on the cover’ and that kind of upset me because if I end up reading some cheap chick lit about a sad lonely woman with a cat who can only find happiness when she gets married (as opposed to the thousands of other factors that makes life what it is) I will stab myself in the eye (yes I know my taste is painfully pretentious, but I am under no delusions as to the type of person I am).
I would be more open to reading challenges that weren’t so structured, like if it was more along the lines of “read a book each week and make sure it includes a book from a genre that you’ve never read, and a book written by an author starting with the letter ‘A’ etc etc”. It would give me more flexibility and I can still treat reading as what it is, a fun hobby that I can pursue at my leisure as opposed to another target I need to work towards.
I’m also worried that in the rush to complete the reading challenge, I may cut corners and just re-read old books or skim-read books and basically stop enjoying reading. I’m pretty goal-orientated, I thrive on achievements and all that other jazz but pursuing this kind of ‘achievement’ (as personal and private as it is), wouldn’t really sit well with me.
What if I only read the short books so I can reach a number or meet a criteria? What if I avoided the heavy duty reads because it wouldn’t help me reach my goal? I want to have the luxury of chasing after the challenges or dialling back on lighter reads if need be. Or worst of all, what if I read only to finish as opposed to enjoyment? And I don’t remember the book at all only the moment of finishing it?
There’s nothing wrong with setting goals, even in hobbies, but there’s also nothing wrong with treating something as purely ‘playtime’ and having a reading challenge would be too structured, even for someone as goal-orientated as me.
Who is undertaking a reading challenge in 2017? What are the options on your list?