Category Reading Challenges


LibraryThing’s Category Challenge Group

Many of us who read lots of books or want to read more have participated in reading challenges. Many have participated in a read a book a week challenge. Goodreads allows you to set up your own challenge and to see your friends challenges.

As I continue to get acquainted with LibraryThing, one thing I’ve discovered is they have a thing called “category challenges.” When they first started in 2008, the challenge was to come up with 8 categories of books in which they would read 8 books. Next year it was 9 and 9. Eventually they decided to let people set as many or as few categories as they please and read as many or as few in each as they want. People who sign up for this are in a group, each with their own page and thread of comments from other group members.

People are really creative with their challenges. One, for example came up with a “leap year” challenge, an acronym, which stands for:

L: Let Them Eat Cake — historical fiction
E: Elementary, My Dear Watson — mysteries
A: All You Need Is Love — romance and chick lit
P: Play It Again, Sam — re-reads
Y: Yer a Wizard, Harry — fantasy
E: Everybody! — CATs, dogs, and group reads
A: Age Before Beauty — from my TBR shelves
R: Roam If You Want To — set outside the U.S. and U.K.

I’m not sure if I like being that structured in reading, although I love the creativity! My reading follows what I tend to be interested in or exploring at the time. It is interesting, though, that most of us do have our default categories. Some of my defaults categories:

  • history, especially American, European, Civil War, and military history generally.
  • biographies, especially presidential biographies.
  • mysteries, especially some of the classic writers.
  • science fiction–currently I’m intrigued  with Philip K. Dick among others.
  • historical fiction–I want to read some Hilary Mantel this year.
  • sports–every year I read a baseball book. I also have a bio on Vince Lombardi, a legendary football coach.
  • higher education, because I work in collegiate ministry.
  • theology, biblical studies, spiritual formation and lots of “faith and…” books.

The one benefit of category challenges is they offer us the chance to break out of our reading ruts.  Here are four for me (we’ll see how many of these I get to):

  1. Different ethnic and cultural voices.
  2. Books on books, especially fiction, inspired by yesterday’s post.
  3. Different religious voices, including atheist voices.
  4. Youngstown books–I have a stack that I’ve browsed but not really read.

And one for fun is to read or re-read the mysteries of Dorothy Sayers.

How about you? What categories are your defaults? If you did a category challenge, what would be your “break out” categories?

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