I love reading challenges.
I had never joined a reading challenge before June, so I had no idea that my competitiveness would join with my love of reading to create somewhat of a monster. I love the idea of reading for a purpose. I love the way this draws me to read books I would never have discovered otherwise. Case in point: Xingu and Other Stories by Edith Wharton (reviewed yesterday – read all about it here). The reading-challenge monster said that I had to have a title that actually started with X for my A-Z Reading Challenge. Did you know that there are not many titles that start with X? When I discovered this one, I was ecstatic. This is a book that I never would have picked up, let alone known about, if not for the A-Z Challenge. And it is far from the only book that I have read just because it helps me with one of my challenges. The list is long.
There can be the occasional awkward moment, though, when inspired by the reading-challenge monster. Not that long ago, I spent 20 minutes scouring the library shelf of E authors. I needed one for my A-Z Challenge, but I wasn’t satisfied with just meeting that requirement. I’m also working on the Color-Coded Challenge, and I needed a book title with brown or black in the title. So I had two missions to accomplish with one book (hopefully). I would imagine that library shelves do not typically receive the amount of attention that I paid them that day, and I do not typically receive the amount of strange looks I garnered by pouring over all the book titles in such detail. My mission was successful, though! I found Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.
Despite those moments when I get way too into this reading challenge thing, I would say that it is good for me as a reader. I read books and discover new authors that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I connect with other readers and bloggers. I learn to stretch myself. And I find a great sense of accomplishment (because the reading-challenge monster says that I will never leave a challenge uncompleted).
So how do you feel about reading challenges? Do you love them or hate them? Embrace them or avoid them? Do you find them fun or stressful? I’d love to hear your thoughts!