Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Salon

The Sunday

A few weeks ago, I posted about creating a reading schedule. Since that time, I've been diligently working on this schedule only having no schedule still. In the meantime, I've been reading what I want, not reading the books that I wanted to add to my schedule (make sense?). What have I learned? Reading schedules are just not for me. So, I had to back track to my initial reason for creating the schedule and came up with: reading challenges.

Last year was the first year I participated in challenges. It was fun and I read more books than I ever had. I discovered new authors, read more outside my comfort zone and challenges introduced me to the world of blogging.

The difference between my participation last year and my participation this year is that now I'm allowing the challenges to dictate what I read next. Last year I just read what I wanted, when I wanted. If the book could be used for a challenge, great. If not, then that was fine too. I'm such a mood reader and love that I don't have structure to my reading. A few weeks ago, I forgot this very important fact and caused myself unnecessary stress. (Seriously, if it's not broken, why must I break it???)

I've decided to stop focusing so much on challenges and return to reading what I want. I want to have fun with challenges again and go back to the attitude I had last year. I think allowing myself to take a "challenge break" will help. That being said, there is one challenge that I won't finish in time: The Themed Reading Challenge. I did not participate last year, so I was looking forward to it this year. My theme is new-to-me female authors currently living in NYC. I won't have the last two books read by July 31. I just decided to let it go and read the remaining two later. I fear that I will cram them in to meet the deadline and end up not enjoying them.

What about you? Has anyone went into challenges with the purpose of having fun, but found yourself feeling trapped with your reading? Deciding to not read a book because it did not fit the challenge that ends in a week? How do you balance it?

Yesterday I spent most of my afternoon catching up on reviews. I hated that I was so far behind and finally made an appointment with myself to write them all. Look for these reviews this week. I also decided to return to using ratings. The change is I'm using letter grades instead of stars. I've decided to use "plus" and "minus" as well, so I'm still in the process of writing what each letter grade means. For whatever reason, if I rated a book 4 out of 5 stars, it doesn't necessarily mean it will get a "B". I view letter grades a bit differently than I do star ratings. Anyway, when I finish writing my rating system, I will post it.

Last week I attempted to listen to 6 Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber. As some of you may know, I've been listening to this series back-to-back and discover this audio book is narrated by a new female. And it was not working for me. . .at all. I managed about 90 minutes until I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I'm now reading the book instead.

The good news is I'm listening to Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. This title has been on my TBR list for awhile and so far I really like it. I've only read one book by Ms. Dessen, however I've repeatedly heard positive things about her. Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott are two young adult authors that I've been told I MUST read. (Meg Cabot is also included, however I've read half of her young adult books.)

Well, that's it for me. I'm currently reading Paradise Lost by Kate Brian, the ninth book in the Private series. I'll finish it this afternoon and start The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow for an online book club I decided to join.

I hope all is well with everyone. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.


  1. I like reading challenges because they keep me reading. But I know they can be frustrating. I joined quite a few challenges this year, but I tried to find ones that would allow me to read things I probably would have wanted to read anyway. And I tend to stay away from those with too many rules and set topics. And if I don't finish the challenge right on time (or ever!), I don't get too upset about it, since I'm just doing it for the enjoyment.

  2. I'm doing some challenges but really I like the freedom of picking up a book and going with it. Go with the flow. I'm like you, I can't follow a plan or structures. Some people can but it's not for me.

    I'm the type of person who'll start a book, pick another book and start reading it and then another and another and alternate between them. It's like my mind I tend to go on tangents and free associate so to sticking to a plan is like imprisoning my mind.

  3. Maybe you should just crumple up that schedule and throw it away? As you seem to already know, just read what you want, when you want. Challenges and shared reads can create great community and conversations but when they become burdensome they should be ditched. Happy reading!

  4. Here is my mantra: I am a grownup. I can read what I want, when I want, if I want.

    Say it with me: "I am a grownup...."

  5. I think that if we start feeling pressured to read certain books because of a challenge, then we need to re-think what we are doing...I have given myself permission to not finish challenges. The whole reason I join them is to motivate myself to read from my stacks...and to have fun. No biggee if you don't read every book on the list!

    Thanks for participating in The Themed Challenge...I may not finish it either and I am the host! *laughing*