Saturday, 6 January 2018

Reading Challenge Round-up 2017

Despite a number of useful resources that help me keep track of my books and my reading like Librarything and Goodreads, since 2007, I have used a spiral-bound notebook where I write down everything I read. From 2009, I actually started writing down page numbers and checking how much I read per month and per year, and became interested in how many physical vs e-books I read and so on. Thanks to this book, it became very clear to me that from about July of this year, my capacity for reading was suffering. I was reading fewer books than in previous years, and my capacity for longer books seems to have gone straight out the window. Despite all this, I have taken part in and completed more reading challenges in 2017 than ever before. Below you can see all of the various challenges, and a short summary of how I did. I must admit, in the second half of the year, I've been absolutely rubbish about linking my reviews to the various challenge blogs (some of which have sadly also disappeared over the course of the year), so all my books will be collected here.
  1. The Cannonball Read is the reason I actually have a blog. The Cannonball Read or #CBR (sign-up here for #CBR10 if you're interested) is an online race to read and review 52 books in a year (or 26 or 13, if 13 is too big a commitment) with a mission to donate profits to the American Cancer Society. We’re essentially a virtual book club where participants read what they want and write what they want, all while shouting “F— Cancer!”. My goal has always been at least a double (104 books), which I reached in mid-October and as my reading slowed down massively in the second half of the year, I was starting to wonder if I was going to have the energy to keep going after that. In the end, I actually managed 2 and a half Cannonballs (130 books), with the last book posted on New Year's Eve.
  2. The Goodreads Reading Challenge. Since I had my goal of reading and reviewing to a double Cannonball, my Goodreads goal this year was 104 books, which I reached on 22/10/17. It's been bigger in previous years, it's going to be a lot lower in 2018.
  3. The Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. Read a total of 26 books, with a title starting with each of the letters of the alphabet (removing A, and or the). The exception to the rule are letters Q, X and Z, where the letter can be anywhere in the title. While early in the year, it's very easy to find books for the list, it gets harder as the year progresses. I finished the last of the books here on Christmas Eve. List of books here.
  4. The Backlist Books Reading Challenge. I have so many books on my TBR-list and books that I own, so this challenge, to read backlist books - defined as anything published a year before you read it, was good. To count for this challenge, the book had to have been published at least one year before the reading dates. I wanted 2/3 of the books I read this year to fit into the "backlist" category, that didn't quite work out. It ended up being a little more than half, which I've decided to be happy with. List here
  5. Color Coded Reading Challenge Read books with the colour in the title or as the dominant colour of the cover (the challenge became so much more doable once they changed this rule). Brown always seems to be the colour it takes me longest to get round to, I finished this challenge in early October. The colours in question are blue, red, yellow, green, brown, black, white, any other colour in the title/on the cover and a title/cover that implies colour. Full list of books here.  
  6. E-books Reading Challenge. This one was a given, as I read mostly e-books nowadays. I signed up for Terabyte - at least 75 books in a year, and was surprised to see that I didn't actually finish the challenge until the start of December, probably because I did a lot of audiobook listens over the course of the year as well. List here
  7. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge. Fantasy has always been one of my preferred genres to read. I challenged myself to read at least 12 books and this was the first challenge I completed in 2017, in early March. In total, I ended on 48 books
  8. 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge. At the start of the year, I had a lot of unread comics/graphic novels. I really wanted to motivate myself to read through more of them, but ended up reading the bulk of the books in late November, early December. I signed up for Modern Age - to read and review at least 12 books during the year, and finished the very last book (and review) in the afternoon on New Year's Eve. Full list here
  9. Historical Romance Reading Challenge. I do like a reading challenge that basically lets me keep reading exactly the genres and books that I already enjoy. It'll come as no surprise to people following my reviews that I read a lot of historical romance, but this year, the majority of the romance I read seems to be contemporary. I signed up for level 4 - Marchioness - 26-35 books, and ended the year with 31 books towards the end of November. 
  10. Diverse Reads Reading Challenge. Every year, I try to remind myself that I could do a lot better about reading books by and about people who are not cis-gendered, straight white women. In 2017, I challenged myself to read least 30 books that are written by or about characters including but not limited to LGBTQIA, persons of colour, gender diversity, people with disability (including physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual or developmental; chronic conditions, mental illnesses and addiction) and ethnic, cultural and religious minorities. By the end of June, I'd read 30 books, at the end of the year, my total came to 54, which is not bad at all. 
  11. Literary Pickers Reading Challenge. This challenge is basically a scavenger hunt, where you get a list of items (or characters, or story tropes) to check off of a list. The books you use to "pick" things off the list have to be romances, or books with a heavy romantic elements. I signed up for 25 items (the middle level) and managed to complete that by mid-June. In the end, I found 40 items in different books. What I absolutely sucked at, was updating once a month with my progress. Mea culpa. 
  12. Monthly Keyword Challenge. This has been one of my favourite challenges for several years now, and it allows me to do one of the things I love almost as much as reading - making lists about things I'm planning to read each month. With five or six keywords for each month of the year, you read books that contain one or more of said keywords. Sadly, this is one of the challenges where the hosting website just seems to have "died" at some point during the year, but my complete list of books can still be found here
  13. Monthly Motif Challenge. Very similar to the monthly keyword challenge, except you get 12 different motifs featured over the course of the year. Some months I managed several books, other months I only barely managed one. This is another challenge where I completely failed to link up my reviews in the second half of the year (I was struggling just to review at all). My complete list came to 30 books
  14. New Author Reading Challenge. I do like to try new things, and this year challenged myself to reading books by at least 30 different new authors. I completed the challenge by mid-October, and in total discovered books by 39 authors in 2017.
  15. New to Me Reading Challenge. This challenge isn't just for new authors, but also genres or series as well. I wanted to discover at least 40 different new things (which I managed by 22/10, but by the end of the year, I had 52 different "new to me" items, which is a decent result. 
  16. Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This challenge is all about historical fiction of all kinds. If it's set in the past, it counts. It's one of the ones I can normally do fairly easily, without really changing my reading habits at all. As always, I signed up for the highest level (Prehistoric) of 50+ books and I reached it by the beginning of November. At the end of the year, my total was 61 books.
  17. Pick Your Genre Challenge. Because I couldn't find a specific challenge for all the various romances I read, I made this my Romance Challenge for both 2016 and 2017. The minimum amount to read here is also 12 books, but knowing how much romance I tend to get through, I set myself the challenge of 50 books, which I reached in early September. By the end of the year, I'd read 75 books
  18. Paranormal Reading Challenge. As with romance, paranormal/urban fantasy books are a genre I read a lot of. So it seemed pretty natural to sign up for a challenge I'd probably be able to ace without doing anything new. I challenged myself to read at least 24 books, and ended up with 41 at the end of the year. 
  19. Pages Read Reading Challenge. In 2016, I didn't read as much as in previous years, and therefore set myself a lower level on this challenge, just in case. I signed up for level 4 - Apple Tree - 48 000 pages. It turns out that was a good idea, as this year, I read fewer pages than since I started actually checking that sort of thing in 2009. I had to read a lot in December to make sure I would even make this goal (which I reached on December 30th). In total, I read 48276 pages, which only just covered this goal. Suffice to say, it's not been a great reading year for me.
  20. Review Writing Challenge. Since the whole point of the Cannonball Read is both to read and review, to make money for charity, signing up for a review writing challenge seemed like a good idea. I hadn't counted on how much of the year book reviewing was going to be a massive chore, and I spent far too much of 2017 trying to remember a book I read two months ago when it finally came time to blog it. My goal for this challenge was the same as on my blog - a minimum of 104 reviews, but since I frequently review more than one book in a post, it took me much longer to complete this challenge than to get to my double Cannonball. Having gone back and checked, I didn't actually complete my 104th review until the 23rd of December.
  21. #ShelfLove Challenge 2017. This challenge was all about reading the books you actually own already. At the start of 2017, I had 544 books listed as "To Read" in my personal library (according to LibraryThing). In 2016, 28% of the books that I read were ones I'd acquired before 2016, so I wanted my goal for this 2017 to be at least 30% of the total. Because of that, I signed up for level 5 of this challenge, "My shelves are now my BFF (41-50 books)". By Christmas Eve, I'd read 41 books, and by New Year's Eve, I'd read 46 - which means a whole 35% of the books I read this year, were books I physically owned and acquired before 2017. I'm happy with that result. 
  22. #RockMyTBR Challenge 2017. After a heroic cull of my Goodreads TBR shelf, said shelf still contained 947 books at the start of 2017, so more books than I could read in about six years, even if I didn't keep adding to it. Now, at the start of 2018, it's on 1096 (Ha! It's never getting smaller) One of the side effects of the Cannonball Read is that I keep discovering authors and books that seem so tempting, and that's before you count all the other ones I find on the many other review sites I frequent. December, with it's many "best of the year" lists is especially dangerous. I set myself a goal of at least 50 books from my TBR list, which I reached in mid-October. At the end of the year, I'd read 68 books (no one message me to say just how many more I actually added to the list over the course of the year). 
  23. What an Animal Challenge. A reading challenge that I've taken part in for years was made a tiny bit harder this year as you can no longer count a book if it just has an animal in the title or on the cover. The animal has to play a major part of the plot, or a character has to turn into an animal or creature or some sort. Nevertheless, I was pretty confident that I could manage the highest level - 21 or more books, and I completed my 21st book by early May. By the end of the year, I'd read 54 books that qualified. 
  24. What's in a Name 2017 Challenge. I failed to complete more than two of the seven categories of this in 2016, because I just didn't feel inspired. I liked the categories for 2017 a lot more, so decided to try again. I completed the challenge on the 9th of July
  25. Women Challenge 2017. This reading challenge is clearly geared towards people who don't already read primarily female and female-identifying authors. I still sign up for it, and try to make it a tiny bit harder by only allowing myself to list each female author once on the list. As in many years before, I signed up for level 4, Wonder Woman, 20 or more books written by a woman. I'd hit that number by the end of April, and by the end of the year, I had read books by 66 different female authors
  26. 2017 YA Reading Challenge. I read a lot of YA literature as well, so I challenged myself to read at least 12 books in 2017. I hit that goal by the end of April, but by the end of the year, I'd only read a total of 26, so I really haven't been hitting the YA books as much this year as in previous ones. 
  27. #RIPXII Reading Challenge. Hosted by Estella's revenge. Read books in the mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, Gothic, horror and supernatural genres. I sign up for all three reading levels, totalling 7 books
  28. You Read How Many Books? 2017. In 2016, I failed in my goal to reach level 2 of this (150 books), so for 2017, I signed up for level 1, 100 books. As it turns out, this was a good plan, as I was far from reaching level 2 this year. 
  29. Reading Challenge Addicts 2017. The highest level for on this challenge is "Out of This World - 16 challenges entered and completed by the end of 2017". While I may have read fewer books and total pages in 2017 than at any point since 2009, I still successfully took part in and completed 29 separate challenges, as this post proves. I'm still not sure if that's sad or impressive.

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