January 8, 2011

Book Challenges?

Man, people are nuts for these things and I can certainly see why.  Laura Miller ha a cool article about them over at Salon.  My favorite idea for one is also one she mentions, the TBR challenge.  C.B. has a great variation on this, the TBR Dare, which just sounds a bit nicer than a challenge, no?  You have to read only
 books you've collected but not gotten around to in a while.  A great exercise in relieving the guilt involved in book buying.

I seriously considered joining this one, but I really make myself grumpy when I force myself to read things from a list.  I am working seriously on my TBR list this year but I'm not going to give it any specific number or time frame.  I'm also going to be a little pickier about which book club books I read so I can continue to enjoy self-chosen books.

As a first-year children's librarian I have a great desire to read more middle aged chapter books (from about grades 3-6) along with all the picture books I read aloud to K-2 anyway and I have done some of that this past year.  But I am really dedicating this year to at least knocking off the big guilt-pullers near my bedside which I feel I must knock off before much more time goes by.

The closest thing I've done to a reading challenge in recent memory is when I took that Children's Lit. class as part of my library degree.  I thought about getting out of the class because I felt like I'd read quite enough of that stuff as a teacher.  It turned out it was more work to get out of it than just take it.  When I saw the syllabus I really had read more than half the books on the list but I was very glad I took it.  It made me read books I would have otherwise passed up and I found a few I quite enjoyed.  That's probably the best thing about these kinds of challenges.

There will be a little of that in my upcoming polishing off of bedside books.  Some gift books I might not necessarily have picked, but from authors I've enjoyed before.  That kind of thing.

What about you?  What are your favorite reading challenges?  I've been thinking about this also because our school does not do AR but some people have been talking about it.  I think if I can come up with some kid-friendly "reading challenges" instead that I might be able to head them off at the pass.  I'd love to hear your ideas...

Be a better reader in 2011

The TBR Dare


Lee Wind said...

I like challenges - not so much just for the bragging rights, but because it's a good reminder, or motivator, of something you want to do. So yeah, I like the idea of challenging myself to get through my TBR pile... err... piles... err.. stacks. Yikes. Well, I'll think about it.
In the meantime, I am doing the Comment Challenge!

Beth said...

I do like lists, but not if they are the boss of me. I like challenges that get me to read stuff I wouldn't ordinarily pick, so the A-Z challenges were fun, and the Take-a-Chance, which is all about picking books based on crazy ideas.

It's even better if I can grab from my TBR pile for these challenges.

Amy LV said...

I like the idea of kid-friendly reading challenges and think you could have an article or even a book in that idea. Sometimes school challenges are so competitive and reward-based, and things get sad and out of whack. Maybe you could throw a challenge out there and then invite students to invent some challenges too! A.

Jim Randolph said...

Lee Wind,

Yea, Comment Challenge!


A-z Challenge sounds fun, I'll have to check that out.

Amy LV,

I like that idea! I'm realizing that a lot of these "grownup" challenges would be just as good for kids. The A-Z Challenge, the Dewey Challenge, the Around the World Challenge, etc. I should give some student representatives a list and see where it goes.


Doret said...

I don't do reading challenges. I just like to read what I like to read when I want to read it.

I never want to feel like I have to read something.

Though I do think challenges help readers to read outside of their comfort zone.

I did sign up for the comment challenge.