Show of hands, who’s participating in some sort of reading challenge for 2019? How’s that going? for those who are on track, or ahead of schedule, congrats. For the rest of us, read on….
First of all, let me start with a heartfelt “ulp.’ As thrilled as I am to have Thanksgiving just around the corner, Thanksgiving also means Christmas is only one month away. One week after that? New Year’s. That means the deadline for year-specific reading challenges.
New Year’s is also when we make our resolutions, often to read more, and when we declare our intentions for any challenges we choose to undertake. Maybe we want to stretch our horizons, try something new, complete a collection, or even just to read more books in general. Romance books, for most of us. At the start of the year, we put down a number, or other goal, full of good intentions, and possibly eggnog and leftover holiday cookies, and then….then life happens.
In my case, I started off strong. I didn’t expect this to be difficult. I love reading romance, after all, and we are currently living in a world where every sort of romance we could possibly desire, is literally at the tips of our fingers. I figured things would go smoothly, but here I am, only weeks away from the end of the year, and I am, as of this writing, seven books behind. Like I said before, “ulp.”
Competitive reading is not a thing for everybody, and, for me, I am only compteting against myself. This is why it bothers me this much to be this far behind. Life happens to all of us, and there are going to be times when we are going to fall behind in our reading goals. It’s easy to fall into self blame, or discouragement or frustration, but – and this is where my self-competitive nature comes to the fore- it’s much more fun to raise a fist to the sky, shout a hearty “challenge accepted,” and surge on ahead, the goal firmly in sight. Here are a few of the strategies i’m looking at to help me come from behind and make my goal:
This one is a biggie. As much as I love to gulp down five or six hundred page doorstopper historical romances, enough of them in a line, while I am reading toward a challenge goal can get intimidating. Shorter books, though, like novellas, category romance, some of the older gothics and that treasured gem of the past, the traditional Regency, pack a lot of romance into very few pages, and the “have been read” stack can mount quicker than one can imagine.
I never ever ever need an excuse to devour one of my all time favorite romances for the elebenty billionth time, but when the name of the game is reading as quickly as possible? Here’ where the old reliable favorites can shine. They also shine when it’s time to meander through well beloved territory, but the guilt over skimming through a book one has read multiple times before can be a lot less, and we can let memory do some of the work. The fact that we’re likely to find something new along the way, that we haven’t seen before, well, that’s an added bonus.
Thanks to our very own Lisa Schmidt-Rigsby, I now know that a) any book can be an audiobook if I have an e-reader with text to speech, and b) I can adjust the speed of the narration to suit my purpose. This was a game changer when Lisa first told me, and I wasn’t sure she wasn’t pulling my leg at first, but it is very much a thing. This does make it theoretically possible to read two books at one time, but I think that is a challenge I am not yet ready to undertake.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (kind of)
If I really, really, really want to rack up the reads, choosing books with a visual component, namely graphic novels and manga, are a surefire solution. Give me a manga or graphic novel collection the same size as my dining room table (not really, this is hyperbole) and I can clip through that baby in what seems like seconds flat. Right now, my manga experience is limited to Fruits Basket but I do have my sights on other stories by the same author (and man oh man, are they ever rich with romance)
While there are only weeks left in the year to tackle the numbers for my reading challenge, the good news is that there are still weeks left in the year, and, if my figures are right, I only need to read three books in each of them in order to meet my goal. Who knows, I may even top it.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Are you participating in any reading challenges for 2019? How are they going? Planning on setting any goals for 2020’s reading? Do you have a favorite trick or technique for upping your reading numbers in a short amount of time? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell u all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.