My 2017 Reading Challenges

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I'm not a competitive person but I love a good challenge. The ones where I'm only competing against myself are the best. That's why I love reading challenges- winning or losing is based on how good I did in the past. Last year I attempted to do too much and got overwhelmed. I always start at full speed but crash and burn because I don't pace myself. I completed my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge, but didn't finish a lot of the other goals I had set for myself. July will mark the halfway point and I wanted to take a look at my 2017 reading progress. Indulge me while I give some thoughts to how it's going. 

    Goodreads Reading Challenge

    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

    2016 was the first time I'v completed a Goodreads Reading Challenge. As simple as it gets, Goodreads asks you how many books you plan to read and you check them off as you go along. I'm very proud that I pushed myself to meet my target. I passed my goal of 20 books and read 23! (Don't laugh at me and my excitment.) However, at the rate I'm going, I won't make it this year. I may have been too excited and gave myself a goal I wasn't ready to complete: to read 50 books. The younger version of me would have no problem but as an adult I'm still finding the right balance between reading and reality. 

    Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

    I also tried the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge last year and failed miserably. But that doesn't mean I won't try again. Pop Sugar provides a PDF version and you can check off each book you complete them. Of my current 11 finished titles so far, I can check these off the 2017 list: 

    • a book by a person of color
    • a book with a title that's a character's name 
    • a novel set during wartime
    • a book with pictures
    • a book about an interesting woman
    • a book you bought on a trip
    • the first book in a series you haven't read before
    • a book about a difficult topic (advance column)

    Follow the Instagram tag #popsugarreadingchallenge to join in. I also have a Pinterest board where I'm posting reviews of select titles.  

    Book Riot

    In it's 3rd year, the Read Harder Challenge by Book Riot is focused on diversity. They have enlisted some popular authors of color and LBGT writers to add to the list. Printing and marking off these titles are highly suggested because you can receive 30% of the Book Riot online store by emailing a completed challenge. Here are some of their book examples: 

    • a debut novel
    • a book that is set within 100 miles of your location
    • a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country
    • a classic by an author of color

    The social media hashtag for this challenge is #ReadHarder. You can follow my Read Harder Pinterest Board for suggestions. 

    An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

    An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    Free Black Women's Library

    This challenge is my favorite. The Free Black Women's Library is a mobile collection of books that pops up around NYC. You show up with a book written by a black woman and trade for a book written by a black women. "The library uses books to build community, and explore intersections of race, class, culture and gender while creating space to center and celebrate the voices of Black women and girls in literature. Part social art project part academic exploration, this is a salute to our brilliance, creativity, resilience and grace." Their reading challenge is to read and post about 26 books all written by black women.

    Hair Story by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps

    Hair Story by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps

    The entire list includes these book examples: 

    • a book by a Caribbean author
    • an Afro Futurist novel (Science Fiction/ Speculative/ Fantasy/Horror)

    • any book by Alice Walker

    • any book by Octavia Butler

    • a book classified as LGBTQ via its author or content

    You can follow them on social media with the hashtags #TFBWLReadingChallenge. I'll be posting my challenge selections on Instagram. 

    Reading Or To Be Read 

    One of my weird bookish habits is that I like to start reading the first few page of a new book I've bought or checked out from the library. Now I have 4 or 5 (or more) books that have bookmarks in them. This is how I count what's in my true TBR pile and not just books I mark on Goodreads. Here are the books I've marked soon to be read, currently reading, or almost finished:

    • Daughter of Gods and Shadow by Jayde Brooks
    • The Word by Marita Golden (editor)
    • The Life and Times of Joseph E. Clark by Olga Fenton Mitchell, Gloria Fenton Magbie, and Marion Civette Elden
    • Octavia's Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown (editor) and Walidah Imarisha (editor)
    • A Life in Letters by Zora Neale Hurston (edited by Carla Kaplan)
    • Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

    Books I want to get to this year

    I had a whole pile from last year that I wanted to read that never had a chance. I don't read as fast as I use to and when I started this blog I assumed I could read 100 books in 2016. Yeah, I don't know why. Now I have an extended list of books that are sitting on my shelf (or in storage since the move) that I need to read. Believe me when I say there are MUCH MORE than this small list.

    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

    • Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy DeGruy

    • The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward

    • Beloved by Toni Morrison
    • The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
    • Evenfair by Nisi Shawl
    • Sula by Toni Morrison
    • Reflections from Zora (a collection of essays celebrating 25 years of the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities)
    • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    • Brow Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander  

    Reviews I'm working on this week/very soon

    I'm learning I don't write as fast as I read. I have some books I read in 2016 that haven't been reviewed on the blog yet because I am so behind in reviewing everything I've read. I'm working on it, starting with these books: 

    • Hair Story by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps
    • Between the World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Binti and Binti:Home by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 

    Wondering where the photo challenges went from last year? I didn't complete them and now I'm sticking to reading challenges. All of the above goals have hashtags attached to them and that will serve as enough photos to last me all year. My overall goal is to end 2017 with all my reviews written for the last two years.

    These reading challenges have rekindled the anticipation of getting to the next amazing book. I love a good challenge, especially ones that involve books. 

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    About the author

    Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to guide the authors of tomorrow into the bookstores of today.  When she's not hanging out on line, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.