December 5, 2016

My Reading Challenge Success (or not)

In January of 2016, I challenged myself this year to not only read 50 books (the GoodReads reading challenge) but to read a variety of categories and difficulties.  Scroll on to see my #bookstagram #shelfies for the year, and to see how the challenge turned out.

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First, I chose classics to fit into the Back to Classics challenge.  It doesn't look like I accomplished much there.  Here are the ones I did complete:

  • A classic in translation.  - *I, Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni (June-Aug) 
  • A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. - *Utopia by Thomas More  (Feb-May)
  • A classic detective novel. Agatha Christie (some googling led me to And Then There Were None, so I will try to start there) (May)
  • A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. - Middlemarch by George Eliot (completed Jan/Feb)
  • A classic which has been banned or censored. - *Paradise Lost by Milton (Jan-April)
  • A volume of classic short stories. (min. of 8) -The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale (December)

Then I chose books in other categories that are important to me, and there was some overlap between my personal reading challenge and the one above.

I have mixed feelings about these results.

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On one hand, I'm disappointed not to meet the goals.  Maybe I should have put more time into reading, and less time into Facebook, the AO forum, and Instagram.  I do think those things can be a negative if not controlled...and I wonder if my attention span is getting shorter due to using social media.  Concentrating on dense books has gotten harder this year!

 On the other hand, I loved the books that I did read.  I didn't rush through any of them, but did a slow, thoughtful reading, often with an online book discussion to give it even more depth (and fun!).  My life was enriched by almost everything I read, and I felt like my brain was full nearly all the time.  Sometimes too full!

This was also the year of trying to sell our house (and its final "sale pending" now!), so it was busy with decluttering, cleaning and showing, looking for houses and all that jazz.  So, life happened.

Was it worth taking the time to determine what I wanted to read, even if I couldn't achieve my goals? YES!

I learned that I need to schedule fewer than I did and participate in fewer book discussions (but never stop completely!).  I learned that quantity of books isn't as important as the quality.  I explored new authors and new genres and enjoy the trip.

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Did you do a reading challenge this year?  How did it go?  What did you learn from your success (or not)?


  1. I only completed six books for Back to the Classics as well. But I agree that having a plan is worth it, even if it doesn't get done - and anyway, it's fun to plan. ;) My wrap-up post is here:

  2. It's too bad when a challenge ends up feeling discouraging. I was running my own challenge (Reading New England) this year and put my energy into that, the Back to the Classics fell somewhat by the wayside. But I was still happy with what I did accomplish! I love the Peterkin Papers by the way...seldom see it mentioned anywhere these days.


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