Take a reading challenge in 2017!

I can’t resist a good challenge, and a reading challenge is the best kind! Not only does it make you accountable to yourself to try and pick up your reading game, it can broaden your reading horizons in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Here are a few ideas for reading challenges you could take up in 2017 if you were looking to add more bookish fun into your reading life!

 

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  • Chapter Break is hosting the 2017 Shelf Love Challenge, I participated in this last year as I found I had been ignoring the books on my own shelves in favour of library books. The goal is to read the books that you own first and foremost, ideal if you, like me, own lots of books that you haven’t yet read. I found it took me a good six months to get the hang of not requesting everything under the sun from the library, but once I started sticking to my library ban it was quite easy to look to my own shelves first, it was a matter of just doing it. I’m going to ramp up my commitment this year to read 21-30 books from my own shelves, which according to the Chapter Break challenge rules is the “give your shelves a warm friendly hug” level!

 

  • The 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge is a handy, fun little list for expanding your repertoire, and very doable. There are 40 prompts for you to attempt, most of which are quite easy, and an additional 12 prompts for those looking for a bit more. You can download a printable version of the challenge if you like to manually tick things off as you go, and there’s even a Goodreads group and an Instagram hashtag to keep you enthused all year.

 

  • The “Challenge Factory” GoodReads discussion thread has LOADS of suggestions from users, ranging from the easy to the advanced, from mini and weekly challenges to year-long ones. Lots of fun, you’re bound to find something that you like. The TCF Hangman 2017 thread looks like a fun game, and I’m definitely going to try the Give Me 5 thread for those times when I can’t pick what I want to read next.

 

  • I’m also going to try to Book Riot Read Harder Challenge this year – this one has a focus on diversity and will really push you to seek books that our outside of your norm. Book Riot offer plenty of backup throughout the year for completing this challenge, including an active Goodreads group, regular videos on the Book Riot booktube channel, and Read Harder book group meetups if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities that hosts them in the US, Canada or Scotland.

 

So, do any of these challenges take your fancy? What are your reading goals for 2017?

 

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Adventures on the Bookternet – favourite podcasters

Janelle says…

Because I am clearly hopeless at maintaining any kind of regular posting schedule (it’s been 5 weeks since my last post – the shame!), I thought I would take you on a tour through some of my favourite parts of the bookish internet, where I can be found regularly lurking and savouring every delicious morsel of booky goodness. That way, with your attention diverted elsewhere, you won’t notice the fact that I apparently don’t blog ever.

I love podcasts. I listen to them when I’m getting ready in the morning, in the car on the way to and from work, at home while I’m hanging out the washing or folding clothes, and with a glass of wine while I’m preparing dinner. It’s amazing how fast you can get through a podcast when you are using all of these small snippets of available time to listen to one. I usually get through one hour-long podcast a day with ease, sometimes two.

Here are some tried-and-true favourites!

 

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Image via Gratisography

 

Book Riot

The Riot actually have a number of podcasts available, and they are all fantastic. The Podcast is a weekly discussion of news, gossip, trends and stats from the book world. All The Books is a shorter weekly series which discusses new books released each week (really great for building up your TBR and getting on library hold lists early). Get Booked is a recommendation show where anyone (even you!) can write in requesting any kind of book recommendation. I may have done this already and been recommended some books in an early episode….And finally, Dear Book Nerd is a bi-weekly advice show with new guest co-hosts each episode. And if you like any of these shows, there are hefty back episodes to keep you busy!

 

The Readers

The Readers is hosted by UK-based Simon Savidge and US-based Thomas Otto. Their discussions are broad-ranging, from talking about literary prizes, to answering listener questions, to playing bookish games….it’s never boring. And the dynamic between these two is so amusing, they’re often poking fun at each other and making me laugh. Like settling in for a chat with friends.

 

Literary Disco

I’m quite new to the Literary Disco podcast, but my plan is to go back through the catalogue and catch up on previous episodes. The 3 hosts – Julia, Tod, and Rider – clearly have a lot of fun recording the podcast and talking about books together. There is also a lot of laughing, and sometimes a bit of swearing. They discuss individual books in detail, but also segue into more general bookish chat too.

 

Drunk Booksellers

Well c’mon, as if you can resist it, look at the title! I am also new to Drunk Booksellers, and not only enjoying catching up on past episodes, but also the GIF-heavy, highly amusing show notes. With episodes conveniently portioned into chapters with titles such as “In Which We Discuss Radioactive Bookworms, Lawnmowers, and What Makes a Good Event“, and “In Which We Discuss Book Problems in the Apocalypse, Kim & Emma Learn About Cities in Canada, and Sam & Emma Get In a Fight“, you know you’re going to be entertained.

 

So that should keep you busy for a while? Let me know what your favourite podcasts are!

 

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#ShelfLove – A reading challenge for 2016

Janelle says…

I have a problem. I buy books and then I don’t read them. Because I’m too busy reading all the library books I borrow. And my bookshelves have run out of room so I can’t buy any more books! You know, the ones I won’t read anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I really want to read the books that I own. I gaze at the titles on my shelves and I get that fluttery panicky feeling of having too many books in front of me and not enough time to read them all. I want to read them all NOW. But then, I’ll find out about some amazing new book about to be published and I’ll think “I need to read it straight away!” and I jump in the library queue and then all of my library requests arrive at once and I only have a few weeks to read them and AAARRGGHHH!!!

So, obviously I need a good kick up the bum for me to stop reading library books and start reading my own books. I’m not talking an all-out library ban here, I don’t want to completely miss out on amazing new releases! I just need to prioritise my own books for reading. What’s the point of owning all these books if I can’t recommend them to others because I haven’t read them!

 

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Mmm, some interesting books here. And I’d tell you about them, if I’d actually read any of them!

I assumed the Internet would have a solution for me, and of course I found one! I stumbled across the #ShelfLove Challenge, hosted by Bookworm Brandee, Chapter Break, and Second Run Reviews. First, you set a goal for how many of your own books you’d like to read throughout 2016. My overall Goodreads Reading goal for the year is 36 books. I’d be really happy if half of those read books were from my own shelves. So my #ShelfLove Challenge goal is:

11-20 books – pat your shelves on the back!

The challenge guidelines also talk about deciding whether or not you will abstain from buying new books to get your shelves under control. Personally, my favourite event of the year is the local secondhand book fair, and I don’t think I could live if I knew I was missing out on that, so I won’t be abstaining from buying more books for myself. This is simply a motivator to try and get through more of my own books than I have in recent years, and if the pile grows while I’m doing that, then whatever. More books = yay!

I’ll be posting here occasionally throughout the year about how my challenge is going, and linking up with the hosting blogs above, along with other people joining in the challenge from around the world. Wish me luck! Although I don’t think I’ll need it, if I do say so myself, just quietly. I’m very competitive – I love a good challenge!

 

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Tis the season to give bookish gifts

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Looking for a Christmas gift for the book-lover in your life? Something slightly more interesting than another bookstore voucher (although personally, I would never be unhappy with that)? We’ve got you covered. Check out these sweet bookish gift ideas-

 

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Frostbeard Studio – Book Lovers’ Soy Candles

Know somebody who loves the smell of Old Books? There’s a candle for that. Or someone with a hint of a Librarian fetish? There’s a candle for that too. In fact, whether your precious book-lover is in to romance novels, the Outlander series, Doctor Who, or just gorgeous old libraries and bookstores, you’ll find a waxy treat to tempt their nostrils with at Frostbeard’s Etsy shop. These candles are a bit of a thing on the bookternet, and seem to pop up everywhere on bookish Instagram feeds. My pick of the bunch for the festive season? Christmas in the Great Hall. Mmm…smells like yule.

 

Blackmilk Clothing

Looking for a gift for someone who enjoys wearing tight clothing while they read? Look no further. Blackmilk has you covered with their extremely popular leggings, tanks, skirts and dresses, with collections inspired by Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC Comics and more. Mel is a big fan, and will personally vouch for their comfyness.

 

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Hello Papers – Handmade Magnetic Bookmarks

Basically, Etsy is a treasure trove for book fiends. I just discovered this store and have fallen in love! I would love to build up a really good bookmark collection. And have them displayed in some kind of hanging showcase in my house, from where I can lovingly select a different bookmark each time I start a new book. It’s going to happen.

Anyway, this store has Star Wars bookmarks, Hunger Games bookmarks, Winnie the Pooh bookmarks, to name a few. Super cute, and very affordable too.

 

Obvious State – Homewares

For the sophisticated reader among us. Stylish black + white literary designs on prints, tote bags, mugs, and notebooks, inspired by the classics. All items on offer at this store would easily blend in with any type of decor. My favourite is the Jorge Luis Borges quote print, which is going to hang in my library someday. Next to the hanging bookmark showcase.

 

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Funko Pop! – Figurines

Also all over the Bookstagram. I have to admit, they are super cute, and they look great on a bookshelf. Just check out #funkopop on Instagram for the proof! Admittedly, they do seem to be more centred around TV, movie and comic characters more than anything else, but you still have a good chance of finding a little plastic icon to suit you (or someone else). There are soooooo many to choose from, too many options to start listing here. I’ve seen Harry Potter Funko’s, Hobbit Funko’sSherlock Funko’s…..and if you’re a fan of HBO TV series, boy howdy! You’ll be in heaven!

 

So, now your Christmas shopping list is sorted! Go forth and buy my presents!

 

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