Full rules and sign-up linkups can be found at the link for each challenge.
The quarantimes had a significant impact on my reading habits in 2020. There were times when I couldn’t focus on reading at all, times when I reread voraciously but couldn’t face reading anything new (or new to me), and a few periods when I felt up to reading books I hadn’t read before.
Since I don’t expect life to get back to “normal” before summer at the earliest (more likely fall or winter), I am cutting way back on challenges this year. I’ll be focusing on just a few, and throwing in the occasional short-term challenge or readathon. There are a lot of tempting challenges out there, and I may add some later in the year if things are going well, but… well, right now, I don’t want a lot of pressure when it comes to reading. Reading isn’t only my escape; it’s how I keep my balance, emotionally. I want to feel free to read whatever I want, whenever the mood strikes me. And I want the freedom to reread without guilt, if that’s what it takes to get through the coming months.
My 2021 Challenges
I’m setting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal at 180 books for 2021. (Graphic to come, once Goodreads makes the 2021 Challenge available.)
I will be hosting The Backlist Reader Challenge 2021 again this year! After a disappointing personal finish in last year’s challenge, my goal this year is to read 15 books published in 2019 or earlier that have been on my TBR list (on Goodreads) for a while. My secondary goal is to actually post reviews for all of them… or at least most of them.
I’m participating in the Audiobook Challenge again this year, hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer. I set my sights too high last year, so this year I’m aiming for the Weekend Warrior level of 5-10 audiobooks.
COYER now runs all year, and has built a whole community of readers and bloggers. For 2021, it will become 2 separate but connected challenges: COYER Seasons and COYER Community. There are associated readathons and even a book club. I will be participating in one way or another all year — certainly in COYER Community, and in most or all of the COYER Seasons challenges. I’ll set goals for the Seasons as they approach, and update them below:
- Winter Season (Jan. 1 – Feb 28, 2021): My goal is to read and review at least 4 of my January and February ARCs. How did I do? I pretty much failed this one. I read and reviewed 1 ARC.
- Spring Season (March 1 – June 23, 2021): My goal is to read and review at least 5 books for COYER Spring 2021.
I want to read and review at least some of my backlog of review copies. 2020 was a bad year for me in terms of reading the ARCs I received. 2019 wasn’t a whole lot better. I would like to clear at least some of those books from my NetGalley shelves—and my conscience. (As a bonus, they will all count for COYER Seasons, and the 2019 books will count for The Backlist Reader Challenge.
I want to read more of my own books, especially books that were given to me, or books recommended by close friends and family. Robin mentioned to me this year that I never read what they give me or recommend to me, and I realized in the last few years, that has been true. There are so many books clamoring for my attention now that I haven’t been good about reading the ones I was given, and that isn’t fair to the givers, to the books, or to me.
I want to be better about reviewing generally. For some reason, I have been in a major reviewing slump for a while now. I hope it’s just inertia, and that I can do better this year. However, I am not setting a specific goal, for the reasons I mentioned at the top of this post.
I want to read more diversely. Books by and about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) people. Books by and about LGBTQIA+ people. Books about people of non-Christian religious faiths. Books about people with disabilities and books about people with mental illness.*
*Some books are apt to trigger my anxiety, and I will continue to avoid those. Oddly, it’s not usually the ones about people who have anxiety disorders. What I find difficult are books about certain traumas that I never experienced myself but find horrifying, like child abuse, or books that delve into the minds of people who prey on other people in some way, or who relish mistreating others.)
So that’s it, for now: the Goodreads Reading Challenge, The Backlist Reader Challenge, the Audiobook Challenge, and COYER, plus my general reading and reviewing goals. I will miss the PopSugar Reading Challenge, the Library Love challenge, and the Diversity Reading Challenge, along with some of the other challenges I have done in years past. But this year, they all became too much to keep track of, especially when it came to linking up reviews. Challenges came to feel like a burden instead of like fun. Hopefully by cutting back, I can rediscover the joys of a good challenge while not overcommitting myself.
By the way, if you are looking for more challenges, check out the 2021 Master List of Reading Challenges over at GIRLXOXO!