The Review: 2012 Reading Challenges

As the year comes to a close, so does the 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge. (For those who do not know what a reading challenge is: it is a challenge set, usually by bloggers, to read a set amount of books on a certain subject, in a specific genre, from a particular region etc. by a specific deadline.  Think of it as a triathlon for bookworms).  I did dismally – falling embarrassingly short of my goal.  But I really enjoyed taking part.  I think the reason is that, though I’m not that enthusiastic about reading challenges in general – I love games.  And the way Goodreads set up their challenge really catered to that.  I found myself planning out my To Be Read list, constantly updating the page numbers on my Currently Reading shelf.  Re-checking how many books I’d read towards my goal, how many books (and what percentage) I was behind.  Now that I think about it, all that time probably would have been better spent reading.

It wasn’t until November that I noticed that if I reached my goal I’d get a badge!  And by then I was too far in the hole.

Well not this year!  A friend & I have built a small side-bet into our Goodreads Reading Challenge experience.  Think of it as a way to stoke the competitive spirit.  And if you have a friend who is also a fellow-bibliophile you might want to set up your own reading challenge side bet.  Lori @TNBBC has agreed to go head-to-head, reader-to-reader, mono e mono…and  we’re setting the goal at 100 books.  Whoever gets there first (or comes closest) gets the prize.  Well, it’s not really a prize.  The loser has to read a book of my… um, I mean the winner’schoosing and then blog about it.  Titles thrown around in these giddy early days include:  Bridges of Madison County and any novel by Danielle Steel (The Klone & I is a serious contender).

So here are the qualifiers –

  • Audiobooks count.
  • Graphic novels count, within reason.
  • There is no page minimum.  That having been said, either party can call foul on the other.
  • Any book over 400 pages counts as two books.  Audio books, regardless of length, can only be counted once.
  • Twitter trash talk is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.

Now we need to come up with a badge…


Looking forward to our 2012 Reading Challenge (well, it’s actually GoodReads 2012 Reading Challenge that we’ve hijacked) got me thinking.  Which, as usual, led me to Google.  Type in “2012 reading challenges” and 5,360,000 results appear.  If you don’t feel like coming up with your own reading challenge, here are some great ones:

  • A Novel Challenge is hosting the 2012 Zombie Reading Challenge.  BBBBBoooooookkkkssss…..
  • Not exactly a challenge – but I do like Savidge Reads Books to Read Before the World Ends Manifesto (complete with a new regular feature entitled “Books for the Bunker”)
  • Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness is taking part in The Roof Beam Reader blog’s 2012 TBR Challenge (I probably should take part in that one myself).
  • Literary Escapism has a New Author Challenge 2012
  • The Black Sheep Dances is continuing her 2011 Eastern European Reading Challenge into 2012 (a.k.a. 2012 READ EAST).
  • Books and Movies announced the 2012 Graham Greene Reading Challenge earlier this month.  Because we can’t get enough of Graham. (I find it very interesting that I could not find a 2012 John le Carre Reading Challenge).
  • I love, love, love Simply… Challenging‘s Death by Gaslight Reading Challenge in which you get to choose from 4 levels of participation: The Merry Widow of Windy Nook; Palmer the Poisoner; Burke and Hare, Body Snatchers; and Jack the Ripper.  Special Bonus Challenges include Serial Killers; The Great Detective; Arsenic & Airships; and Penny Dreadfuls.
  • And last, but not least, Notes from the North‘s Nordic Reading Challenge is back by popular demand in 2012.  Snow covered expanses and huge, dripping icicles as far as the eye can see.
  • OK, not quite last – I know I’ve mentioned it before and technically it started in October – but the Around the World in 80 Books group on GoodReads is sooo much fun!  And if you’re looking for something to combine with a friendly wager – oh come on, I can’t be the only one thinking of The Amazing Race!???

16 thoughts on “The Review: 2012 Reading Challenges

    1. Hi Kinna –
      That’s probably a more realistic goal than 100 books (and still more than I read this year!). Good luck!


  1. Hey lady! So excited to be duke-ing it out book for book with you this year 🙂
    We totally need to create a badge. Let’s brainstorm at lunch today!!

    Btw, I am determined to NEVER read Bridges of Madison County in this lifetime or any other.. so bring it on …… heehee


  2. At SimmyandHerstory I’ve been looking for my own book challenge to start in 2012 and the Goodreads Reading Challenge sounds perfect, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve also heard about Orange January. You’re required to read at least one of the books that were nominated or won the Orange Prize and I thought that that sounded like a great way to kick off the year. Fantastic blog BTW.


    1. Simone –

      Welcome to the blog – I’m glad you found it.

      Orange January sounds brilliant! I’m a huge fan of the Orange Prize – I wish we had something similar in the U.S. Though I suppose we can all share. 🙂

      For the challenge does it have to be a winner or do shortlisted books count?

      Thank you so much for commenting.


  3. Hey You,

    Started off the New Year by reading the new Sherlock Holmes book on the train (The Silk House by Anthony Horowitz). It’s a great read and an excellent tribute to Conan Doyle.

    My New Year resolution is to start commenting on your (excellent!) blog… I’m off to a good start!



    1. Chris –
      About time you took your familial duties seriously! I’ve heard great things about Horowitz’ novel. I can’t wait to sit down and read it myself.

      Happy New Year – give Hazel a kiss from us. 🙂


    1. Hi Beth –
      Thanks for commenting. The nice thing about the GoodReads Challenge is it’s so non-specific. We don’t have to read anything specific – we’ll just have to read ALOT. 🙂


    1. Thanks Kim! We shall see… it’ll probably stop being fun if I lose and find myself staring at Chapter One of The DaVinci Code!


    1. Hi Taylor –

      Thank you so much for commenting. Regarding your question – I think one place to look for recommendations would be YA (Young Adult) Blogs. A very popular one is The Story Siren. I also like Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.

      I don’t read that many YA books – but some books that I have reviewed that I think you might like are The Alchemaster’s Apprentice by Walter Moers – a fantasy novel that I loved. In fact, any of Moers’ Zamonia novels are great if you enjoy fantasy. Or, for something different – In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda is the story of a young boy who travels alone from Afghanistan to Rome. It’s a true story – sometimes sad but very exciting.

      Lastly, if you haven’t read them already – I really enjoyed The Hunger Games. I probably should warn you that they are violent. The first two books in the series were great and I couldn’t put them down. I’m looking forward to reading the third… when it FINALLY comes out in paperback.

      I hope that helped. Good luck! 🙂


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