On Reading: My Own Personal Reading Challenge

Do you participate in reading challenges (If you’d like to share — link your challenge goals in the comment for as many challenges as you are participating in this year)? I love the community and the focus of reading challenges, but since so much of my reading is skewed by review reading (and I’m fine with that), I can’t add that into the mix. I try to participate in Katrina’s Fall into Reading Challenge and Spring Reading Thing each year for a couple of reasons: she’s one of my real-life BFFs, and it was her very first Fall into Reading Challenge that put my love of reading back into practice. That first fall, 2006, I went from being an occasional reader to constantly having a book in hand (Here’s my recap of that success, which I really enjoyed reading all these years later.)

I’ve also joined in the S. Krishna’s South Asian Authors challenge (two years in a row and planning on a third), because I like to read South Asian literature, and I like connecting with others who feel the same way, and it can easily dovetail with my review reading, since I’m drawn to those titles anyway.

But this year, I’m challenging myself in my own way. I’m going to read at least 12 books this year that are absolutely only solely just for me. No review copies, no deadlines, no reports. Twelve doesn’t sound like all that much considering I read over 150 books this year (including those audiobooks and lots of kids’ fiction). But I want to show myself that I can do it. It’s a goal that I put on my What’s on Your Nightstand posts throughout the year as well as those Fall and Spring challenges, but then I fall short.

Why? Why don’t I just read what I want to read?

There are good reasons for this, the top one being that I’m a book reviewer. I like being a book reviewer. I love the books that come across my desk via my inbox or unsolicited deliveries. Once I accept them, I have an obligation to follow-through in a timely fashion, so other books get pushed aside. But I can take time with twelve books over the course of 2012, and perhaps like that first Fall into Reading Challenge 5 years ago, this goal will just be the tip of the iceberg.

I’d also like to challenge myself to accurately track the number of books I read. I loved jotting thoughts, pages read, and when I started and finished my books in my Reader’s Notebook the last couple of years, but I was never 100% accurate about tracking it, and never had a good collection of my reviews either. Though I was planning to just use a page on my personal blog, after reading that post, and the post about buying my second reader’s notebook, I think I might keep it in paper once again, with just a list of links online (and duh–I guess I could use goodreads for that, right??).

To recap — in 2012 I’m challenging myself to read at least 12 books just for me, and I’m also challenging myself to keep an accurate record of what I’ve read.

What about you? Link to your reading goals for 2012 below, including any challenges that you are joining in.

Jennifer Donovan is grateful that she has the time to read and that she is surrounded by so many wonderful options. She’s shared some of her other personal goals for 2012 at her blog Snapshot.


  1. says

    I have a personal reading challenge on my blog (to read 100 YA and MG books in a year) and I do appreciate the list, keeping track of what I’ve read. It tells me about what I’m reading (in case I want to reflect on how that interacts with what I write) and reminds me of my favourites, so I can tell my friends!

  2. says

    I’m participating in Carrie’s (readingtoknow.com) LMM challenge in January and Narnia challenge this summer and I am hosting a Laura Ingalls Wilder challenge in February. Other than those and Katrina’s fall and spring challenges, I don’t have specific plans. I like to work in a few non-fiction (which I don’t naturally gravitate to) and a few classics through the year, usually using Katrina’s challenges to do that. Otherwise I just read whatever favorite authors have out, or something from my TBR list assembled from blogger friend recommendations, or interesting things from clearance tables.

  3. says

    I do both of Katrina’s challenges, and the LMM challenge that Andrea referenced. I don’t really do any other challenges. I’ve been tracking the books I read (middle grade and up, I don’t track picture books – too many!) for several years now and I love looking back through the list to see what I read when. I like the idea of 12 just for me books, I think I do a decent job of mixing in personal reads but that can get hard to do.

  4. says

    A friend shared a challenge that she and her husband are doing-they are reading 50 books throughout 2012. I am going to do this on my own and our family is also going to take this challenge together. It sounds like a lot of fun!!

  5. Katie says

    Two years ago, my lit professor from my library science master’s program challenged her blog readers to read 100 books in a year. I successfully read 100 books in 2010 and set a goal for 110 in 2011. Some life changes meant that I only read 89 books this year, but I’ve set my goal for 2012 at 100 books once again. My only “criteria” in the books that I count toward this goal is that they are “chapter” books-books that would be shelved in the fiction section of any library. It isn’t that picture books aren’t worthy, they just aren’t what I’m reading right now. I do count books on my Nook and audio books toward the goal.

  6. says

    Ok, you are now officially, my hero! 150 books? The whole reason I want to do reviews is because it forces me to FINISH! Being a book reviewer is to finishing books for me as being a Fitness Instructor is to me keeping my butt moving! lol.
    I looked forward to linking up for over a month with you all here. Looking forward to stretching my reading muscles to the max! Thanks for doing this. I have set a goal of reading 20 Books for the year. Without getting sidetracked before finishing. I am counting everything!

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