Saturday, March 31, 2012

Question Of The Moment: Do you want to quit reading challenges? (1)


I started to write an article earlier this year about how some reading challenges aren’t challenging. When I originally went about picking the reading challenges I wanted to do, I picked out types and levels of books I was planning on reading already.  So, it wasn’t a “challenge”, it was just signing up to reach a goal I knew I was going to reach anyways.

At this point in the year, I am on time for my reading challenges. I’ve got several under my belt. Which is all well and good, but I’m kind of annoyed at the moment. Why? I look at my plan for the year, and the little wiggle room I’ve allowed myself when it comes to my total for the year. Sure, I can read these books I’ve challenged myself to read.

I know I can do it, I just don’t want to do it.

Of course, I’m still going to keep plugging away at my Classics challenge because it really is challenging and I like that, and, well, it’s MY challenge after all. The E-Book challenge isn’t that hard either. The books I’ve chosen to read for it are ones I’ve been aching to read. And reading The Complete E.E. Cummings is enjoyable in between the books.

But when it comes to the TBR pile challenge, I want to throw something at the wall. Yeah, I want to knock out some books that have been sitting on my shelves for awhile. The ones I’ve read so far have made me feel like I’ve gotten somewhere. My issue lies with the fact that I challenged myself to read 21 books on my shelf. That’s almost half of the reading I’ve allotted for myself this year. Take out the other challenges (10 for E-Book, 8 for Classics), and that leaves me with 12 books that I can read otherwise. I’ve already used up 3 of those freebies in the beginning of the year, leaving me with 9 books that don’t count toward challenges.

Why is this a problem?

I’ll give you some examples: Pandemonium (Lauren Oliver), Insurgent (Veronica Roth), The Evolution Of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkins), Heat Wave (Richard Castle), Catching Fire and Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins), The Babysitter Murders (Janet Ruth Young), Catching Jordan (Miranda Kenneally), Don’t Breathe A Word (Holly Cupula)…

These are books that came out/are coming out this year (first three), I purchased this year (the next five), or I received an ARC of this year (last one). Add them up, and what do you get?

Nine.

As you can see, that accounts for EVERYTHING this year. It doesn’t include any other books I purchase this year. It doesn’t include any books I decide to borrow from the library. It doesn’t include any ARC’s or review request books I get asked to read.

Can you see why I’m annoyed?

For a few weeks, I told myself, “Just keep going on the TBR challenge. You can make it. You don’t want to fail, do you?” I’m the type of person who doesn’t like failing when I don’t have to, so I reluctantly kept reading what I had to. But that just made me feel worse and less inclined to read. Until the day I thought to myself, “Does it really matter if you don’t complete a challenge? Or if you just drop out of the challenge entirely?” I mean, it’s just a linky you wrote your name on. Who cares if you quit? Nobody. Are you going to be listed as a challenge dropout or failure somewhere on the internet? No.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to just let it all go and see where the year takes me. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable. There are certain books that you just aren’t in the mood for. You shouldn’t read them because you feel obligated to. This isn’t school. It’s your free time.

How about you?

Have you ever wanted to just give up on a challenge? Have you ever felt overwhelmed with a challenge? Did you quit the challenge? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

14 comments:

  1. I just have to laugh reading this. I can feel your pain! Just read what you want. If challenging your self isn't fun right now don't worry about it. Or you could just be amazing and squeeze in more books. ;)

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    1. I'm glad I amuse you! I don't think I'll sign up for reading challenges again. I like being free to choose whatever I want. :)

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  2. I feel the same way about my challenges. I want to read 100 books this year, but I've signed up for some stupid challenges within that 100, including 15 books off my shelves, and 37 library books! We're already in April (well, tomorrow) and I've read like, three books from my library, and zilch from my actual book shelves. Sometimes I want to just throw in the towel. So I've stopped picking out books just so they can fit in the challenges. But I'll keep updating my challenge post, just to see where I stand at the end of the year.

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    1. Yeah, that's where I am right now--whatever happens, happens. I'm gonna read what I can and wherever it ends this year is where it ends. I'll read these books someday, just probably not this year. :P

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  3. Just go back and change your TBR challenge level. I did that when I added another challenge. I adjusted another challenge. although the TBR seems to be the real Challenge for you. maybe you should adjust the level of reading from another challenge to make things work out for yourself. Good Luck!!
    http://sidnereading.blogspot.com

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    1. I did go check that but apparently they won't let you drop down a level, you can only go up. It would be a real challenge for me though, you're right! :)

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  4. I am the last person who should be giving any kind of advice about challenges! I think I've read a few books that would count towards my total for the few challenges that I'm doing but I'm really bad at keeping track/updating the information. Sometimes I think about just quitting. Not an official kind of quitting. Just easing up on myself and not worrying about it so much. You're right that at the end of the day there's no list that your names goes on if you didn't finish a challenge. And if there is, well, I'll be right there with you!

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    1. I try to update my pages, but I probably only do it once a month, lol. I'm glad to hear that I'll at least I'll be in good company! :D

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  5. This post really reminded me of myself! I don't tend to sign up to many challenges, but I do tend to give myself no freedom when it comes to my reading choices. I request a ton of books from Net Galley and I borrow a ton of books from the library and then I have to make these lists of when I need to read everything by and before I know it, 3 or 4 months of reading are set, with no wiggle room at all. And that's a third of the year!

    I failed a challenge last year, so I know of what I speak and...nothing will happen. The challenges are just for fun. If I were you, I'd definitely slim down my choices; I support picking one that is easy and you know you'll complete (ebooks) and one that's more challenging but ultimately rewarding (classics) and just being all 'whatever' about the rest.

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    1. I had to stop even going on NetGalley myself because of all this, and I found that sad, because it's really awesome on there. And I haven't been to the library since the beginning of this year either, which is more sad!

      Yeah, challenges are just for fun! Thanks for the support! :D

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  6. Oh man, do not remind me about the challenges :P I haven't read any of the Classics or Arthurian books and only a few on my TBR challenge, most of them have been new books. Shame on me!!

    I didn't finish my own challenge last year because all of you book bloggers brought too many great books to my attention :P but like you said if reading becomes a chore, then it defeats the purpose of having a great hobby.

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    1. Lol, that's how it goes! I just bit off more than I could chew. You'll get to some of those books, I know you can do it once things settle down. Sometimes life gets in the way of the things we would like to do for fun.

      Oh I know, exactly! Too many book recommendations. I can't handle it sometimes, they're too tempting! :D

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  7. I've actually already dropped out of a few challenges, but it was because I either realized they were sort of pointless, or because the hosts aren't doing a good job of engaging the participants or keeping them interested. I signed up for way too many, but my problem right now isn't books that count for challenges, it's reading books I agreed to read for review but don't actually want to read. What's wrong with me?? I feel like it's been ages since I read a book for pleasure instead of because I 'had' to. I'm finally learning to say no and not accept requests for books that don't really interest me. Getting off track lol...I think you made a smart move - you don't have to justify yourself, reading is supposed to be fun and if the challenges were making it not fun, then you did the right thing.
    I can't believe it's already April and I haven't read a single classic. Yours was one challenge I was really excited about because I KNEW it would be a challenge...and obviously it is! I'm the worst for putting things off. Hoping to finally get one classic read this month!

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    1. I did the same thing, accepted a few books for review, and even though they were good, it felt more like obligation rather than because I want to. I guess I can consider myself lucky because I don't get that many requests via email these days, or if I do, it's for books I specifically say I'm not interested in on my review policy, lol. I've only read ONE classic so far, and I said I'd read eight. FAIL. LOL. I'm hoping to get through the current one soon so I can move on to another one. It's definitely a challenge! I hope you can get to reading one soon. ^_^

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