5 Oct 2012

my book challenge

Ever since getting my Kindle back in July, I've been thinking about reading as much as I can. As a kid and to an extent, a teenager, I loved reading. However, when I got into Photoshop, web design, etc at the of 14, reading took a bit of a backseat and never really re-emerged until a Kindle caught my eye!

So, enter my own book challenge for 2013.

To read 52 books in 52 weeks. 

Am I crazy? Possibly. To read a book a week is pretty hard work and to find the time is also another problem. 

But, I figured that if I just read for an hour every day (e.g. an hour before bed), I could probably finish a book or two in a week! I read quite quickly (I demolished the 1Q84 trilogy in 10 days - books 1 and 2 took me 7 days and book 3 took me 3) so it should be doable.

So my own personal rules for this are:

- to read books spanning different genres - non-fiction, romance, thriller, fantasy, young adult (I hope I still qualify for this even though I turn 22 next month...?), etc.

- to record my progress in my own homemade inserts:

I designed these (badly) on Photoshop: a grey background with pink lines to separate
each section and a blue coloured rule. There is space for the book title, author and a
rating that I would give the book, in marks out of 10.

Now, you might ask, why would a reading challenge be a good idea? Well, reading, for me, is a way to enhance my vocabulary. My English has always been good but ever since concentrating on science subjects at the age of 17, I've found myself using less and less 'extravagant' vocabulary. Furthermore, it means that I would also spend less time in front of a screen.

Before 2013 arrives, I will be re-assessing this challenge to see how viable it could be and I may decide to change it to 26 books in 52 weeks instead, but then again, it won't be such a challenge? 

I recently found a site called Good Reads where you can make your own challenge and use it to keep track of your progress. For me, I think that would be a bit counter-productive because one of the reasons for me doing this challenge is to decrease the amount of time I spend on the internet and on my laptop!

How many of you out there are eager readers? How long does it take for you to demolish a book?


  1. I love books! as in holding a real one =) I have used Good Reads for about a year now.. I like to browse what others are talking about in new books and find some I like. I gave myself a challenge with 30 books and just finished the goal.Its nothing for me to read into the wee hours of night.
    I was wondering what you use to punch your holes for the home made inserts? I use 6 ring small planner and punch each hole separate.. ack! I have only saw the cheap punchers and wondered if you have something to share?

    1. I know what you mean, I have some books where I have both the Kindle edition and the physical copy too so that I can choose which one I'd like to use ;)

      Definitely going to be downloading the GoodReads app too, thanks for reminding me!

      For my homemade inserts, I use a Filofax personal sized hole punch (I've had this for two years and I wouldn't recommend it though). The Rapesco one has had good reviews though x

  2. I used to be a really eager reader. I still love books and reading, but over time I've found myself reading more and more scientific and technical books, many of them in English, which is very good for my English vocabulary and grammar.

    But I miss reading fiction. And, to be honest, it'd also make me good spending a bit less time in front of the keyboard and the screen in the evening. I need to get an ebook reader myself. I actually like the Sony models, since they are excellent not only for fiction books, but also for papers and technical books (tables, figures, columns, etc.)

    If I get it before the end of the year, I might join your challenge and try to read 26 (52 might be too hard of a challenge, LOL) books in the original language (that'd mean Spanish, English, and perhaps, French -my German and my Italian are not nearly good enough to even think about reading a whole book- for me). Wow! That sound really exciting, challenging, and will be extremely fulfilling if accomplished.

    1. 26 books in a year is still a lot of books! That's one every two weeks and depending on the length of books you're reading, that is quite formidable. My list will be a mixture of long and short books, which is why 52 should be an accomplishable number for me x

  3. I use goodreads, and I've got my challenge on there... My challenge is set at 125 books for the year, and I've read 88 so far! I'm getting behind though... Apparently I'm 7 books behind aha. Oh dear.

    I got my kindle last Christmas, and it's the only thing that's kept me reading so many books. It's just easier. I love having the book, but for ease of access and having a quick read on the bus, the kindle is brilliant.

    1. I need to get a GoodReads account and do that! I love the fact that the app has a physical bookshelf so guess what I'm going to be downloading :)

      And I'm the same as you. I only got my Kindle in July and already, I've read over 30 books! x

  4. I tend to average a book or literary journal per week over the long-term, but I'm actually quite a slow reader. Sounds to me like you could do a book per week quite easily; it took me 15 days to get through Book 1 of 1Q84! (I read two other, short, books during that period, but they were work-related.)

    I don't usually plan out my reading, though I do try to read, every year, a handful of women, a handful of books in translation, at least one Great Big Novel, and at least one in-bad-faith book (i.e., a book I read to verify that it's as bad as I suspect -- last year, I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which nearly put me off reading altogether!). These general goals are a kind of recurring annual reading challenge.

    I've had a Good Reads account for years but, except for the occasional massive update, I never use it. Oh wow, I just logged on -- I last updated in March 2010, oopsies. (The app [news to me] sounds like it may make Good Reads more usable. However, I agree, reading is a kind of antidote to the internet, combining the two may simply not work for me.) I track my reading in my Filofax, on ruled Filofax-brand notes pages; I add a column for start/end dates and another for a check/X/dash (finished, aborted, skimmed/to be finished at a later date). Easy-peasy, but certainly not as pretty as your self-designed insert! I also keep a list of books to buy in my Filofax, but my book-buying habits are even more whimsical than my reading habits, alas alas!

    I hope you do the reading challenge, but regardless, I look forward to hearing more about your reading.

    [Longest comment ever?]

    1. Hehe I enjoyed reading your comment so keep these long ones coming!

      I got through 1Q84 (first two books) in a few days if I remember correctly but that was because I just couldn't put it down and as a result, it compromised my productivity with other aspects of my life!

      I'm like you - I don't plan out what books to read or even what kind; it mostly depends on what takes my fancy more than anything. I'll make sure I never pick up Atlas Shrugged then too ;)

      I've signed up for a Good Reads account but I'm finding the online interface a little rubbish? Hoping the app will be better but I'm yet to download it so cannot comment for now. I think I might just have to keep tracking the books I have read in a physical way as it does seem a bit silly to use the internet for something that is meant to keep me away from the internet in the first place!

      Hopefully, next year, I'll do another post where this challenge was a success :) x

  5. This is a good idea! I tried doing a summer reading challenge on goodreads of 15 books over the summer and failed miserably. Sometimes I read 2-3 books a week and sometimes I dont read anything all month.

    1. I know what you mean about getting through books like that. I had about three weeks recently where I just didn't feel like reading? But I'm back in the groove now and when I'm in the groove, I read quick! x

  6. I love reading, but while working on my masters I completely fell out of my normal reading pattern and set myself the same challenge for 2012, so far I have read 46 books, which according to goodreads puts me at 8 books ahead.
    I can fluctuate from finishing a book a day to taking months to finish something, but because I don't plan which books I want to read and when I read several at a time I don't find myself bogged down by being "slow" and it means that if I just don't feel like reading a certain book at that time I can happily pick up another one.

    I do actually strongly advise using good reads to keep track though, mainly for the progress bars, I can keep track of where I am in each book using it. I also love that it tells me how far ahead or behind in my challenge I am, as it keeps me driven and wanting to read more! But actually the best part for me is the to be read shelf, I find it incredibly difficult to remember all of the books that I have been wanting to read (I'm a librarian so I am forever coming into contact with books that grab my attention) and being able to just search the book on the app and add it to my to-read list for later is incredibly handy, it is also useful for on the go updates too if you are the sort of person who reads anywhere and everywhere.

    The other features of Goodreads I love which I didn't use for ages because I simply hadn't realised they were there are the groups, and listopia, listopia is fab for if you've just read something and want to read something similar, and the groups are great for if you like book groups but can't get to a physical one, I usually read a book from the group each month so that I am broadening my horizons a bit.

    On the non-digital side, I actually have a filofax completely devoted to keeping a paper record of my reading, with inserts i made based on the Moleskine Book journal (my original record book of choice) where I can review each book so that in future I know what I thought of it at the time of reading. It is more a diary of my reading as I am compiling it with the intention of keeping it until I am old and grey, but it also makes it easier to write book reviews for my blog :)

    I hope you manage your challenge :) xo

    1. Whoa 46 books! That's awesome! I'm the same as you - if I don't feel like carrying on with the current book, I start another. The great thing about a Kindle is that it automatically bookmarks where you are in each book.

      I've not found the progress bars you mention? Unless you are talking about the app? I've not downloaded the app yet though and I'm hoping it will be better than the online interface as I really don't like how 'ugly' it feels? I was expecting an graphic of like a bookshelf with the books I've read/am reading, etc.

      Listopia sounds interesting! I'm always on the look out for books similar to the ones I read (I mainly read chicklit ones hehe and there are SO many of that genre that choosing what to read can be a pain).

      I like the idea of documenting books read, what I thought of them, etc in a Filofax but I don't think I can be bothered with writing an actual review for each book read. I find rating them out of 10 is enough for me :) I'd quite like to carry on with a physical record of what I've read though cos I think it'll make for a great 'read' in a few years time!

      And thank you! :) x

    2. They are on the right hand side of the home page, but they only appear when you have actually put a book onto your "currently reading" shelf, and then you can update your progress with either the percentage (for kindle or kobo or any ereader) or if you are reading the hard copy you can select the exact edition you have and it already has the total page numbers on the database, so you can simply update which page you are currently reading and it works out the percentage for you, you can link it to twitter and things too :)
      If you want a prettier way to keep record, I used to use Shelfari, which does have a bookshelf image showing what you are reading/have read, I found it harder to use in the long run though!

  7. "Eager reader" would be an understatement for me. I devour books. I typically read for only an hour or two every evening, but somehow I manage to read an alarming number of books in a year anyway. Like over a 100 books in a year. Yes, I said it was alarming. I guess I'm a fast reader. Or something like that.

    Needless to say, I love books and reading! It's a great way to relax in the evening and take my mind off my own life. I track the books I read by hand in a notebook (listing them by title and rating each book) and on LibraryThing (which, in my opinion, is even more awesome than GoodReads).

    Happy reading!