Read Your Own Challenge


Last year Lazy Gal took a challenge to read books off Mt. Bookpile. She passed on the challenge and I accepted. She’s doing it again. So am I. Actually, I’ve been doing this unofficially for years. This helps me be accountable.

The rules – read books added to Mt. Bookpile (aka to-be-read) before 2012. The intent is to bring the pile down, of course. It doesn’t work, though, because I pick up as many as I read. Re-reads and books submitted by publicists for review don’t count.

The list at the left of this blog shows 44 books off my Mt. Bookpile in 2012. Actually there were 65, but I didn’t review all of them on the site. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?


I read 201 books in 2012. So Mt. Bookpile accounted for less than half. Why? There are three main reasons.

1. I read a lot from the library. I’ll see an interesting review of a book (like right now I’m reading Odd John because of a site I stumbled across) and request it from the library. Although the book may be an older one, it’s not on Mt. Bookpile, so doesn’t count in the challenge. Also, I like to listen to books in the car. Most of my Mt. Bookpile books are not available in audio from my library – I’ve checked. Then there are the new releases that I don’t buy but want to read, such as Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie series.

2. I accept one or two advance review books a month on average. I’m then committed to those. I couldn’t count them even if I had received them in 2011. I’m picky about my books so I usually like them and then may want to follow up with more of the series.

3. I keep picking up new books. I’m one of Mysterious Galaxy’s A-list customers. When the new Jim Butcher, Margaret Maron, Jacqueline Winspear, Jasper Fforde, Ann Perry, Jayne Ann Krentz (in any guise), Nora Roberts, etc. etc. is released, I’m picking them up shortly after publishing date. They have authors doing signings in both stores all the time. I get to my share of those signings. (The last one was during Timothy Zahn’s visit, but I wasn’t there to pick up his book. My granddaughters loved all the visiting Star Wars characters.) Of the new books I bought there in 2012, about half of them are still on Mt. Bookpile, including a Connie Willis, a Lisa Lutz, a Janet Evanovich, a Nora Roberts, and more. That means I can count them this year when I finally get to them, doesn’t it?

But I finally read some great books that had been waiting for me. I finally read Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Louis Sachar’s Holes, both books that had been subtly calling my name. How long had Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead been waiting for me to pick it up? And wasn’t it about time I finally read Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple novel, Murder at the Vicarage?

I put a good dent in my Nora Roberts collection. A few years ago I went on a mission to find all her old Silhouettes as well as her newer novels. I have almost all of her books now. While those are easy reads, they kept sitting there, along with Jayne Ann Krentz’ books. Those two have their own section, but it’s much smaller now.

A month into 2013, and I’m already reading as many non-Mt. Bookpile books than those that are. In January I read ten library books, re-reads, advance review, or brand new books. I’ve read ten from Mt. Bookpile.

Book-a-holic. Yep, that’s me.

I’m taking up the Read Your Own Challenge again. My goal this year is over 50, although the original challenge calls for 22 (an odd number – I wonder how that one was chosen?). You’ll see some of them over in the left hand column again. I want that list to be over 25.