Reading Challenge Update

Haven’t written down any thoughts on Reading Challenges lately, so here we go:

September came and went and I didn’t make it through round 3 of my “Read one of everything” challenge. I lost interest, I guess a year is just too long to keep a challenge open. Instead of starting another Thoughts From the Back Challenge, I decided to go back to the Goodreads Seasonal Reading Challenge, the group that inspired my reading challenges in the first place. This group is comprised of CRAZY readers who come up with 3-month challenges based on themes. The Fall 2014 challenge is inspired by the game, RISK. Tasks are grouped into 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 point groups, with a bonus 50 pt challenge thrown in at the half way point. Some of the higher point tasks require you to read more than 1 book. In order to complete this specific challenge with its 51 tasks, you would need to read at least 64 books. There are official ways to post your completed tasks and a couple of moderators keep track of all the points. Can I reiterate that this challenge only lasts 3 months?! I told you, these people are CRAZY readers. I’d say on average that about 10 people complete the whole challenge. I haven’t officially competed for several years – it is a fun way to pick what you’re going to read next, but I don’t think I ever even reached a self set goal (like 10 tasks.) So despite my earlier comment about long-running reading challenges, I decided to tackle the RISK challenge, but over the course of a year instead of 3 months. Starting Sept 1, I have read 3 books, each fulfilling half of 3 different 2-book tasks. In other words, I have no points so far. I reserve the right to move books around as the year progresses, but right now I’m fitting books into the highest point tasks first.

And about the odds of even reading 64 books in a year? I’ve read 29 books this year, 3 behind schedule towards my goal of 40 books this year. Ah well, it’s good to have goals, right?

One last goal of mine – talk a few more people into reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. The first half of the book is told by and follows the childhood and young adult life of a North Korean orphan. He is a sort of everyman whose life intersects with some of the darkest aspects of North Korea’s authoritarian society. The second half of the book continues the story, but it is now told by a man posing as a  famous General, an interrogator, and the North Korean propaganda broadcasts. The book is a well-paced, darkly funny, fictional (tho well researched) look at a society that few of us know anything about. Still, humanity is humanity and there is plenty to relate to. Our bookclub had one of our best discussions ever about this book. You don’t have to take my word for it; among other accolades, The Orphan Master’s Son won the Pulitzer Prize.

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