Monday, December 28, 2009
The A to Z Challenge
Every morning, twin brothers Guilt and Failure wake me up. I stretch a little and my blurry eyes are drawn to the vision and object of my guilt and failure -- a floor-to-ceiling shelf crammed with dead trees and millions of words. And that's just the shelf of fiction. It is a tower to procrastination and rabid acquisition. A tower of nearly a thousand books, more than half of which, unread. Unread by me, at least, because some were bought used. I want to remedy that.
The books are arranged alphabetically according to the authors' surnames. Some authors have multiple books, so it would seem that those are my favorite authors. I guess they are. They're my favorite authors when it comes to buying books. I haven't necessarily had any empirical basis for saying I love their work. I haven't read anything they have written. I want to remedy that.
Yes, I buy more books than I can read. I enjoy reading, but I guess shopping is a much easier and less time-consuming task. So I have a TBR pile of crazy proportions. I want to remedy that.
My remedy is to read at least 26 new authors in 2010. By new, I mean authors I haven't read yet. I will focus on fiction, and I will do my best to take only books that are already in my shelf. Except for a couple of letters near the end of the alphabet, I think I have enough to go from A to Z.
To read 26 new authors from A to Z, in that order --that is 2010's reading challenge. I will do this alone, but I hope there will be people out there facing the same overwhelming TBR situation who would want to join me and make this experience more more fun and motivational.
It is daunting but doable. It is intimidating, but it will invigorate your reading life. Do this with me!
Here's my author list: http://gegeflipspages.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-26-authors-for-2010-to-z-book.html
So, here are the details of the A to Z Reading Challenge:
Goal: To read 26 authors with surnames from A to Z between January 1 to December 31, 2010.
I will focus on fiction authors I have not read before. But you might have different goals and limitations, so you can choose how you're going to interpret the above challenge.
FAQ (thanks to Deborah for allowing me to steal her format)
Do I have to read alphabetically from A to Z?
Hmm. Ideally, yes. It gives you a system and an order to follow. That was my original plan. But I anticipate you might have to read other books at certain times like for other challenges or for your book club discussions, so this rule is very bendable. I, myself, will try to read from A to Z but will most likely deviate from the plan quite a bit.
Can I base it on the author's first name instead of the surname?
Sure. Your call. You might decide to use the first names for all the books, or all surnames, or a combination of both. Just don't count the same book and same author twice. For example, if you use Zadie Smith for Z, you cannot list her for S.
Are audiobooks and ebooks allowed? How about graphic novels?
Yes! Any format will be allowed for this challenge.
Are nonfiction books allowed?
Why, yes, of course.
Do I need to buy the books for the challenge?
You don't HAVE to buy them unless you want to. You can get them from the library, borrow from friends, use your own copies.
May I reread a book I've read before 2010?
Because this goal is about making a serious dent on your TBR piles, rereads are not ideal. But then again, whatever rocks your boat.
Do I have to write any reviews?
Reviews are not required, but sharing your reviews makes the experience more fun and interesting.
Can these books be used for other challenges?
Sure, why not?
How do I participate?
Just leave comments below with links to your blog posts about The A to Z Challenge. Include a list of authors you're aiming to read in 2010. Throughout the year, periodically, update through your blog, and leave comments here. Feel free to right click on the image above to post on your blog. I'm also using a Mr. Linky feature so you can send me your URLs.
What if I don't have a blog? Can I still participate?
Yes! Sign up at http://www.shelfari.com/groups/48066/about and participate in the thread - there you can list the books you have read and plan to read.
Are there prizes for people who complete the challenge?
Yes! The satisfaction of making a serious dent on your TBR pile, the enjoyment of reading, and the fun of discovering authors. I also didn't set up a complicated point system because, well, it's complicated. I also truly believe that reading itself is the reward.
But I am considering giving prizes to the best reviews. Let me think more about how to make this more exciting for all of us.
I hope the above FAQ covers everything you need to know to join and enjoy this challenge. Let's read more, learn more this 2010!!!