The past few years I’ve tried to read somewhat more intentionally. Last year, I was more informal and just attempted to read a book a week for a total of 52 books in the year. In thinking about 2012 I’ve been thinking of how I might stretch myself further.
There are book challenges all over the blog world. There is Semicolon’s North Africa challenge. Or Carrie’s annual L.M. Montgomery and Narnia challenges . A Library is a Hospital for the Mind hosts the annual Maud Hart Lovelace challenge. There are many, many reading the classics challenges, including this one from November’s Autumn or this one from Sarah Reads Too Much. Or for those who want to really go back there is the reading the Greek Classics challenge from Howling Frog Books. For those of us who are better at buying books than reading them, there is the TBR Pile Challenge at Roof Beam Reader or the Mount TBR Reading Challenge at My Reader’s Block. There is the short, quirky and somewhat appealing What’s in a Name Challenge at Beth Fish Reads.
And if you really can’t get enough of reading challenges there is A Novel Challenge which links to challenges all over the blogosphere. There are cupcake challenges and Jane Austen challenges and I Love Italy challenges and steampunk challenges. Truly something for everyone.
In some ways, reading challenges appeal to me. I like lists and planning and projects. However, I also know that I have an overly active perfectionist side that will end up feeling stressed and guilty if I sign up for a challenge and then don’t finish it. Stressed and guilty aren’t really emotions I want associated with my reading life.
I like that the internet has made reviewing and discussing books so easy for people. I like the book blogging community, of which I’ve only really tested the waters. Ultimately I think that anything that has people talking about books and encouraging each other to read more is good. One of my goals for next year is to attempt to be a bit more social with my blog. I don’t want to become focused on things like stats but I would like to find ways to become more a part of the online community, particularly with book and homeschool blogs. Figuring out how to do that while keeping my virtual life in a good balance with the rest of my life is something I’m still thinking about.
So what am I going to read in 2012? In the end, I realized I liked the serendipity of not planning out a list this year. I do like goals but I don’t want to limit myself or end up feeling burdened by challenges I sign up for. I do plan on participating again in the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. It’s a good goal for me and doesn’t limit me to a particular list. The host and many of the participants are also members of the Well Trained Mind forums and I like the weekly book threads that can be found there. I will continue to read through the novels list from The Well Educated Mind, which is an ongoing personal challenge. I also have as a personal goal for 2012 to read at least one book in each category on my TBR list. I plan on participating at least once in Carrie’s online book club, just because I love the idea. Other than that, I’m not sure. I’ll just see what the year brings, I guess.