It’s only in the past few months that I’ve started thinking about reading challenges. I know there are challenge groups on LibraryThing, of course, and I’ve been a member of the 50 Book Challenge for 2008 and 2009 (mainly to have a single place to track my reading, not really expecting to make 50 books…and that’s okay). But after I started following book bloggers on Twitter, got a glimpse of how many book blogs there are, and heard about all these challenges, I began to wonder which of them might be a good fit for me. The one I’ve chosen: the RYOB Challenge, which encourages you to Read Your Own Books. (RYOB is one of several challenges hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading — thanks for the extra motivation, MizB!)
For years now, I’ve been acquiring books much faster than I can read them. I love used book stores, the annual Friends of the Library sale is one of my favorite days of the year, I’m a sucker for a bargain, and I just love books — looking at them, having them around, dusting the shelves they rest upon, and of course reading them with whatever time I can manage. But I’m at the point where I might have — MAYBE — too many books, or at least, too many books that I haven’t read yet. At this moment, my LibraryThing collection called “Your Library” (books I currently own) contains 868 books, of which 413 are tagged “tbr,” meaning “to be read.” That’s a lot of books, already in my house, patiently waiting for my time and attention! Clearly, participating in the RYOB Challenge makes a great deal of sense for me.
The rules are simple: decide on a number of books you’d like to read in a given year, and choose those books from your own collection. The guidelines state that e-books and audiobooks are allowed (which makes me so happy, as audio allows me to turn housecleaning time and summer walks into reading time). Re-reads are not allowed, because those don’t affect your TBR Mountain. Books must be read between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010. I was initially thinking I’d choose 25 books, but I’ve decided to be a bit more ambitious and aim for 30.
One final note: I came up with the idea of “Shopping in my own shelves” when I was at Hastings some weeks ago. I think anyone who loves books and reading can relate to browsing at a bookstore, and getting that warm and fuzzy feeling as one encounters books one already owns, and/or has previously read and enjoyed. That day at Hastings, my eyes seemed to be drawn more to books I already “knew” than to potential new acquaintances and acquisitions. I thought, “I should just try shopping in my own shelves when I get the urge to browse.” Imagine, a whole crowd of warm and fuzzy feelings as I peruse my collection, and decide which one to spend time with! (I realize it sounds like dating. What can I say, it’s book love.)
With Jeff still out of work and his severance ended, shopping in my shelves could be my pastime for months to come, by necessity. Participating in the RYOB Challenge will make it more fun, and add to a feeling of accomplishment as I whittle away at my TBR total.