I read, and some would say, I read too much. Because I like to read, I have gotten involved with both Bookcrossing.com and Goodreads.com, two webistes connected with books.
Both are reading websites, but are very different in nature. As I have previously blogged, Bookcrossing is a book-sharing website. Books are shared with the wider world in two different ways. One is by registering a book and then leaving it for someone to find and take (called a wild release); the other is by registering a book and then giving or sharing it with another person so that you know where the book is (called a controlled release). I have registered and then released books (both wild and controlled) since 2009.
There, I have also become involved with reading challenges like the pages-read challenge and SIY (set-it-yourself) challenges. Both of these are self-imposed challenges in which I chose my goals for them. I also participate in other aspects of bookcrossing like book rings and release challenges, but I digress.
Goodreads is a different kind of reading site. Among other things, this site allows a person to discover books, list books, and review books. For me, it is a way to keep track of the books I am reading, have read, or wish to read in the future. Through Goodreads, like Bookcrossing, I also have gotten involved in reading challenges. At Goodreads, most of these reading challenges are ways to open my eyes to new authors and books.
Some of the challenges I have become involved with this year are rather odd. They are aptly named Crazy Challenges. I have five challenges going there. The first is a general challenge to read at least one hundred books in the calendar year. I have been involved in that for several years even though I haven't always accomplished it. It just gives me a target to shoot for.
However, in the Crazy Challenges, I have chosen several that are a bit off-the-wall. The first is an A to Z title challenge in which at least one book (150+ pages) starting with each letter of the alphabet (The, a, and an don't count) must be read. The second is an A to Z author challenge in which at least one book (150+ pages) by an author whose last name begins with each letter must be read. In each case, the more uncommon letters (X, Z, Q) have a few dispensations in the last two months. Fortunately, the challenges are such that they are meant to be fun, and the lists don't have to be specific to only one category (cross-posting between challenges is even encouraged). The last crazy challenge is a New-to-you author challenge that requires that certain letters must be used each month, and the author chosen has to be a previously unread author. The last challenge is a three-year challenge suggested by fellow bookcrossers. It is to read a book that has as its main setting each of the fifty states.
All of these challenges have really stretched my imagination in regards to my reading material. I have discovered new, favorite authors; I have discovered books I would never have read; I have found a different way of looking at books. These challenges have opened up new possibilities for reading. So far, I haven't completed any of them as I have a few more letter-specific titles to read, a few more letter-specific authors to find, seven more months of the new-to-you author challenge, and most of the states to complete (having just discovered this challenge, I am way behind since I never choose a book for its setting).
Whether I complete them or not, matters little (although I hope to). What matters is that I have discovered some great books and authors as well as had a bit of fun along the way. Yes, that makes me a bit crazy. Whether I will do anything like this next year, who knows? As previously stated, I read, and sometimes too much.
But how do you choose books? How do you discover new books and authors? What new or great books have you discovered this year?
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association