Monday, January 2, 2012

Reading Challenges!

There's a fresh new year here, and it's time for some fresh new reading challenges!

Last year, I set myself a low bar--I figured I'd be doing well to read 35 books in a year. Imagine my surprise when I read nearly 50!

I credit the upsurge in reading to several things:

  1. I got an e-reader. I had played with them before, but I thought I was getting the e-reader mostly to aid in quickly reading friends' manuscripts. I was shocked to discover that I actually read faster on an e-reader, and now prefer it as a format for many books. Additionally, it's so easy to snatch up samples, short stories, and on-sale books this way. Easily half of my reading this year was done with my e-reader, and I never would have started some of the giants (GRR Martin, anyone?) without the Kindle.
  2. I got more books for free. There's something about being sent an ARC that makes me want to drop everything and read :)
  3. I read more books of friends. I feel truly blessed to count some of my writer-idols as friends now, so of course I wanted to be sure I read every single title of theirs I could. Also, writer friends make great recommenders, too. After the last retreat I was on, I bought five more books before catching the flight home (on my Kindle, natch)!
So, this year, I wanted to challenge myself a little more, and set my GoodReads goal to 45. I think I should probably have set it to 50, but I want to write a little more this year than last, so I compromised. 

But of course, there are also some great reading challenges online, too. This year, I'm going to try to participate in the Story Siren's 2012 Debut Author Challenge. This is a great challenge that features books written by debut authors. A debut year for an author is often one of the most important years--a successful debut can carry an author a long way. So support the new authors in the world and their baby books!

The official challenge is to read 12 books...but I'm going to be slack and challenge myself to read six debut YA books in 2012.

But there's a new challenge that I just heard about recently (from The Hardcover Harlequin) that I also want to participate in. 

It's called the Sophomore Reading Challenge, and I'm really excited about it--partly because in just 10 days I'm looking at my own sophomore release! It's hard to believe that I'm on my second book release all still feels so new! And from where I'm sitting, I feel just as fresh and inexperienced as last year, with my debut, so I definitely feel the love of having a challenge to continue supporting the authors you found last year in their debut year.

The official challenge is to read 10 sophomore novels, and she's got a great list of titles here. I'm going to stick with simplicity for myself, and challenge myself to read six sophomore titles this year.

What about you? What are your challenges for your reading life?
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