Friday, February 8, 2008

Book Challenge Curmudgeon

Okay, so I'm doing this Jewish Literature Challenge- five books by Passover. I work in a Hebrew school library and probably read 5-10 qualifying books every week, not to mention what I include in my personal reading, so it's going to be a pretty easy challenge to meet, which is probably why I'm participating. I've never been much for reading challenges, and I see them tossed around all the time on book blogs. It's just not "me". I'm not a joiner. I have enough to read without having to meet some arbitrary goal set by someone else. I don't read that many blogs so I don't get into the whole sharing/bonding aspect. I just like to do my own thing.

I see the advantages though. You always have something to read. You never have to decide what to read next- just pick up the next biography, or kids' book, or whatever. You learn about a specific genre or topic. And you can use that opportunity to either deepen your knowledge of something with which you're already familiar, or to branch out into something new. Participating in challenges might also help increase the visibility of my blog. The problem I had with my reading, before I became a librarian and had access to advance reader copies, was staleness. I liked what I liked, but I didn't always know how to find the next book or the next author. At that time, reading challenges would have been welcome, but ARCs fill that role now and I feel overwhelmed. Books to read for work, books to read for review, books to read for fun, books to read to keep up with what's new in books. Right now my active reading pile includes the following:

The Translator by Daoud Hari, to review, courtesy of LibraryThing,
Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, for work,
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, for work,
Fall in Love Like a Comic v. 2 by Chitose Yagami, for fun, and
The Demon of Dakar by Kjell Eriksson, for fun,

not to mention Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell and The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Ewan (also from LibraryThing), both for review. Dreamers of the Day isn't a top priority and The Moon in the Mango Tree hasn't arrived yet, but they're out there. Waiting.

And then there are all those things I want to read, that are either sitting on my shelf or I haven't bought yet.

No wonder I don't have time for War and Peace. Or challenges that mean adding more books to my list!