Wednesday 22 January 2020

Reading challenge wrap-up post 2019

While I may not have completed as many books, or read as many pages as I entirely would have liked (I may just have to accept that I simply don't have as much time to read anymore - sob) in 2019, I signed up for a wide array of Reading Challenges (they really do help me read more diversely and get through more of my infinite TBR list), and I can happily say that I completed most of them. Now, some might say that counting my first and second Cannonball as separate challenges is cheating, but since I honestly didn't know if I was going to make it to 104 reviews this year, I'm going to say it counts.

Total list of Reading Challenges for 2019 - all of these challenges have separate lists on Goodreads, which I simply cannot be bothered to all link here. Anyone who searches for me on there can find them, though:
1. The Cannonball Read: As I said, I'm going to count this as two separate challenges. I finally completed my first Cannonball, 52 reviews on the 23rd of July, which I think is the latest in the year that's ever happened. So I feel I deserve to count 52 more as an added achievement, finally reached on the 29th of December. As it turned out, I managed to finish in the top 10 of reviewers, which considering the winner read and posted reviews for a staggering 730 books, I count as a win.

2. The Goodreads Reading Challenge: I signed up for 104 books (I'm so glad Goodreads finally counts re-reads towards your total tally) and hit that goal towards the end of December.

3. The Audiobook Challenge 2019, hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer:  I really wanted to motivate myself to listen to books more this year, and to help myself along, I signed up for "Socially Awkward" - 15-20 books. As it turns out, I listened to a whopping 25 in total, hitting my lower goal of 15 on the 20th of July.

4. The Backlist Reader Challenge 2019: For this challenge, books have to be published in 2017 or earlier and they have to have already have been on your TBR. In the end, I read 41 books that qualified for this list, and completed it on New Year's Eve.

5. Beat the Backlist: This one is obviously rather similar to the one above, but books have to be from 2018 or earlier. I love challenges that overlap heavily. The books had to be started and finished in 2019 to count, and I completed my last one on New Year's Eve.

6. #Bookiary 2019 Challenge: Read and review at least 52 books in a year. Books have to be more than 100 pages long. Reviews have to be at least 150 words long. Comics and graphic novels don't count. I really liked it when Cannonball Read decided that you could read whatever you wanted, short or long, as long as you could write 250 words about it. Still, this challenge didn't ask me to do anything I wasn't already going to be doing - I completed it on the 7th of August.

7. Color Coded Reading Challenge: This is one of the reading challenges I pretty much do every year. It's become slightly easier to complete since the rules were changed so the colour can be the main one on the book cover, rather than one that has to be mentioned in the book title (seriously, green and brown were super hard to complete before that change). The challenge is to read at least nine books, one per category (blue, red, yellow, green, brown, black, white, any other colour, implies colour). The book's title has to feature the colour, or dominate the cover of the book. This year, I completed the challenge on the 30th of April.

8. Contemporary Romance Challenge: I was always going to do well in a contemporary romance challenge, even one that doesn't let you count anything from a sub-genre like elements of historical, paranormal, time travel, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/suspense/thriller) The  books/novellas had to be at least 100 pages. I signed up for "3rd base" - 11-15 books, and ended up reading 21 books that qualified. I completed it on the 26th of May.

9. Diversify Your Reading 2019: This one actually pushed me out of my comfort zone, I really doubt I would have read poetry without it. Each month of the year was given a different category and genre, and the goal is to read at least one book from each of them. Ironically, December's prompt of fantasy should have been an easy one to complete, and then I became super busy with work (and knocked out by illness) and in the end, I only managed to read one book that would straight up qualify as fantasy, completed, you guessed it, on New Year's Eve.

10. 2019 Diversity Reading Challenge: This challenge does exactly what it says on the tin: read more diversely. Read books featuring characters with or by authors including, but not limited to People of colour/non-caucasian background, Native American or other indigenous background, LGBTQIA, gender fluid/transgender/non-binary, refugees, ethnic or religious minorities, mental illness, neurodiversity, feminist issues, physical/mental disabilities. I'm a white, cis-gendered, coming up on middle age, lower middle class woman (who to be fair, after I realised I was asexual fits in on the queer spectrum, but that's about it). I need to challenge myself in my reading. I set myself a goal of 40 books and completed it at the end of October. In the end, I read 51 books that qualify for the list, so a bit under half of my total for the year. I'm happy with that.

11. E-book reading challenge: Read e-books. I signed up for the "Terabyte" - 75 books, and this is one of the few challenges I didn't manage to complete. At the end of the year, I was on 71 e-books, close, no cigar. So while I surpassed my audiobook goal, I failed on this one.

12. For the love of E-books Challenge: I did manage to complete this one, where the goal was simply  40+ e-books. This one, I completed at the end of July.

13. Finishing the Series: The goal was to finish series you've already started before 2019. For an ongoing series, the goal was to catch up to the most recently published book by the end of 2019. I signed up for the "B-list" - finish 5-8 series over the course of the year, and ended up completing 24 whole series in the end. I think that's pretty good.

14. Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: As a big fan of historical fiction (especially romance), this is one of my favourite challenges. This year, I aimed a bit lower than in previous years, and signed up for "Ancient History" - 25-50 books. I hit my goal of 25 on the 12th of August, but would never have managed the next level up of 51 or more books - as I ended the year on 38 historical novels.

15. Literary Pickers Challenge 2019: This is one challenge that I've really enjoyed in the past few years, it's pretty much a literary scavenger hunt of sorts. The books need to be romance or have a strong romantic element. Only one item per book is allowed. As in previous years, I signed up for level 2- "Garage sale guru" - 25 items or more. I completed the challenge requirements at the beginning of August, and managed to tick off 47 items on the list at the end of the year.

16. Monthly Keyword Challenge: This is another of the challenges that I do each and every year, because it helps me read from my TBR list. Each month, you get a bunch of keywords. The goal is to read at least one book per month that features one (or several) of the words. At the beginning of every month, I make a long list of potential books (some months make for VERY long lists) and then I do my best to read as many as possible from it. This year, I managed 33 books, finishing the last on New Year's Eve.

17. Monthly Motif Challenge: Very similar to the one above, and another challenge that helps me read from my TBR list. Each month is assigned a motif or theme. The goal is to read at least one book a month that fits. For December, I finished the challenge on New Year's Eve and I read 20 books over the course of the year that fit into this challenge.

18. 2019 New Releases Challenge: To make myself feel slightly less guilty about reading new and shiny books, I signed up for this challenge. I chose level "New Release Pro" - 31-60 books. For a long while, I wasn't sure I was going to hit my goal, but I managed 38 books from 2019 by the end of the year.

19. Outdo Yourself Challenge 2019: I so wanted 2019 to be a better reading year than 2018. I signed up for the "Breaking a Sweat" category - to read 11-15 more books or 2750-3999 more pages than in 2018. This is one of the challenges I failed, and rather spectacularly too. I read fewer books and pages in 2019 than in 2018, I will need to step up my game in 2020.

20. Pages Read 2019: I seriously doubted I would be able to complete this challenge, where I chose  "Dwarf Peach" - 36 000-48 000 pages. In the end, I only just managed to clear 36 000 pages, but I managed, and since I thought I would fail, that feels extra satisfying. Once again, this challenge was completed on New Year's Eve itself.

21. Pick a Theme: For this challenge, I picked historical romance as my theme, and because I read enough of that each year, I couldn't really aim lower than the highest level, "Expert" - 8+ books. I completed the challenge my mid-June and by the end of the year, I had read 16 historical romances in total during the year, which long-time readers of my blog will know is a shockingly low number.

22. 2019 Retellings Challenge: I absolutely love retellings of all kinds, and had so many on my TBR list already. So this challenge pretty much seemed made for me. I signed up for level 2 - "Warrior Princess" - 6-10 retellings and hit my goal at the beginning of March. By the year's close, I'd read 11 books that qualified for the challenge, and I think this is one of the reading challenges I'm going to repeat in 2020.

23. #Tackle My TBR: My TBR list is always out of control (it has more than a thousand books on it now) and as a result, I always strive to cut down a bit on it every year. Hence this challenge, where I signed up for level "Field Goal" - 37-48 books. I completed my 37th book by the 20th of July and read 54 books (about half of my total) from my TBR list this year. I'm very happy with that.

24. Virtual Mount TBR Reading Challenge: Overlapping challenges are the best, I get twice the credit for doing exactly the same thing. "Mount Munch" 36-48 books, again completed by mid-July.

25. You Read How Many Books? - I signed up for "Teen" - 104 books, which a few years ago would have been low-balling it. This year, I only got that far by the very end of December. If I repeat the challenge, I probably have to aim for an even lower number.

26. RIP 14 Reading Challenge: A autumnal challenge where readers are encouraged to read books from the mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror and supernatural genres. I always sign up for 7 books, and completed the challenge by the 26th of October.

27. Cannonball Read Book Bingo: For the second year in a row, my book blogging buddies launched a Bingo Card in the second half of the year to keep review numbers fairly stable even in the months when a lot of people are losing their motivation. The Bingo ended on the 31st of October this year, and mainly thanks to the fact that my husband kept promising to read the books we were going to co-review and then failing to do so, I only got my last reviews in just before the deadline.

28. Reading Challenge Addict: Out of This World - 16+ Reading Challenges signed up for and completed. As you can see, I signed up for WAY more, and even with two failures, I more than adequately completed this goal, by the 31st of October.

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