Saturday, September 26, 2009

Explaining an addiction

Are you new to the book blogging scene? Are you wondering what's up with all the reading challenge talk? Not quite sure what all the fuss is about? Wondering why all these bloggers make such a big deal about joining and finishing challenges? I'll try to answer two big questions in today's post:

What is a reading challenge?


What are the benefits of joining a reading challenge?

A reading challenge is typically hosted by one person or one blog. (Though this isn't always the case.) That person sets the rules and guidelines for the challenge. He/she helps facilitate participants by setting up special posts, pages, sites, or groups related to the challenge. For example, Carl, of Stainless Steel Droppings, hosts the R.I.P challenge. He posts the sign up challenge on his own blog. And he has a separate blog for posting links to the reviews.
Most reading challenges give participants rules as to how many books are required and the deadline for reading those books. 6 books for 6 months, for example. 12 books for 12 months, etc. An average book challenge might ask readers to read anywhere from six books to twelve books. (Though some are larger like the 999 challenge, the A to Z challenge, the 100+ challenge, etc.) Some are seasonal (fall, winter, spring, summer). Some are topical (science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, mysteries, romance, historical fiction, chick lit, classics, etc.) Some require reviews, some don't.

Reading challenges come in all different shapes and sizes. They all have different goals. Though typically the goal is to have fun reading books. Sometimes there is more of a challenge involved than others. Some ask you to go where you haven't gone before. To get out of your comfort zone.

The benefits. Are there benefits? Most addicts would probably say yes. I'm guessing. First, you're challenging yourself. You are setting goals and making a commitment. Can you read six classics in six months? Can you read three Shakespeare plays over the summer? Can you read five nonfiction books in five months? Can you read 100 books in a year? Second, you're meeting new people, making new friends. By joining challenges, you are bringing new readers to your own blog, and most likely, adding new blogs to your feed reader. It's a great opportunity to become part of the community. Visit other participants. See what they're reading. See if you want to read it too! Comment on their blogs! Encourage them! They'll most likely be dropping by your blog too throughout the course of the challenge. You may just make a few friends. Third, you're more likely to read books that you wouldn't have otherwise. Yes, that's a bit of an awkward sentence. But I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. Would you have read that book, that author, that genre without a little bit of motivation? a little bit of encouragement? Was this your first time to read a mystery? a romance? a thriller? Did you try an author that you thought you'd never, ever try? Did you like him/her? Will you be back for more? Reading challenges are all about growing. Growing you as a reader. So not only will your blog roll grow (most likely) and your TBR pile grow (that's a given), you may just grow as a person.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Rebecca Reid 8:09 PM  

what a nice post! Natasha was saying on twitter the other day that some non-book bloggers find book blogger confusing because they're alway talking about "challenges" and using unknown acronyms for things. So this is great.

I'm personally a challenge addict but I'm trying to quit. It's just changing my reading in the wrong directions. I started blogging to get out of the "page-turning" habit and get back to serious study as I read. Challenges are just plain fun, so I'll never quit completely though!

Lenore Appelhans 4:06 AM  

I am very, very bad at completing challenges...

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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