Bookish Challenges

I’ve always loved a good reading challenge. I’ve participated in many, and even created some myself. My own have included SFF Award Winners, tackling the Classics and a definitive list of science fiction. Reading challenges are a really great way to read outside of the box, get to that pile of books you’ve been meaning to conquer for ages, or use reading as a way to socialise with others – a lot of conversation comes out of the reading challenges on my Goodreads book group, Dragons & Jetpacks.

Here I’ve compiled a list of possible challenge ideas or themes, make of it what you will…

  • Country – books based in certain countries or groups of countries
  • City – books based in certain cities
  • U.S. States – books based in the different states of the USA
  • Author from country/city – authors only from a certain country or city
  • Country Alphabet – read a book based in a country beginning with A, then B, then C, etc… or any order, just cover the alphabet!
  • Road Map – create a map showing the settings of the books you’ve read recently/over the past year/as far back as you can remember

  • Books only by male authors
  • Books only by female authors
  • Books only by LGBTQ authors
  • Author alphabet – read a book with an author surname beginning with A, then B, then C, etc… or any order, just cover the alphabet!
  • Similar to… – read authors based on recommendations for fans of one specific author

  • Read books of only one genre
  • Sub-genres – choose a genre and explore the sub-genres e.g. science fiction = cyberpunk, space opera, dystopia, military SF etc
  • One of each genre – choose a selection of genres and make sure you read at least one book fitting each of those genres over a certain timeframe
  • Genres you wouldn’t normally read – think outside the box! If you love romance, try some sci-fi, if you love fantasy, give crime a go
  • Non-Fiction – this could be split into different areas e.g. travel, history, biography, etc
  • Historical Fiction/Non-Fiction – read about different periods of history, create a ‘timeline’ and travel along it by reading different books set in or about certain time periods
  • ‘Definitive’ reads of a genre – the ‘classic’ books of a genre, e.g. the SF Masterworks from Gollancz for science fiction

  • DC vs. Marvel type challenge – this is an excellent challenge created by Mpauli, a mod of Dragons & Jetpacks, and you can read about it here. However, please don’t take this challenge for yourself, as Mpauli works really hard every year to create this – I’ve just linked to it for inspiration
  • Award Winners – Hugo, Nebula, Orange Prize for Fiction, Pulitzer, etc
  • LGBTQ Characters
  • Recommendations – ask friends and other bloggers for book recommendations, and then try them out!
  • Classics – finally tick some of the classics off of your ‘to read’ list
  • Cover Colour – read books with only blue covers etc, or create a rainbow of covers!
  • Main Character – gender, nationality, good/evil, any other traits you can think of
  • Film/TV/Video Game Spinoffs – read books that are part of a franchise
  • Releases from a certain year/decade
  • Translated Fiction – stick to a certain country or create a map
  • Books inspired by music
  • Books inspired by art
  • Review Copies – tackle any review copies that you haven’t managed to read just yet
  • TBR List – books that have been sat on your shelves for ages

Can you think of any other challenge ideas?


My Bookish New Year Resolutions 2015

Resolutions 2015

Last year I set myself some Bookish New Year’s Resolutions, and I thought I’d do the same for 2015!

  • Try not to feel guilty when reading for pleasure. I had this during my Bachelors, and I have it again now that I’m studying once more. If I read a book purely for pleasure, I feel guilty that I’m using that reading time for something other than books relevant to my course. I can play video games or watch films without feeling guilty, but for some reason reading makes me feel bad!
  • Try to complete the DC vs. Marvel Challenge. In 2014, Michael, one of the moderators of my book group on Goodreads, hosted a really wonderful Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge, and for 2015 he is hosting another great reading challenge! I can’t wait to start that one and have already planned some books for it.
  • Stop requesting on Netgalley. For real this time. Yeah, I always say this. I thought being abroad and having most of my books on my Kindle, the large majority of which are from Netgalley, would do wonders for my review ratio. Nope. Instead, I’ve mostly read the books that I BOUGHT for my Kindle, whilst still requesting more from Netgalley. I’m still stuck at 55% or something…
  • Make a little more time for blogging and commenting. So this one might be more difficult, since right now I really have to be in the right mood for it, but I know I can do better.
  • Set my yearly goal at 50 books, but don’t be disappointed if I don’t achieve it. I’m studying for a Masters degree. I’m reading less than before – but we’ll see what happens.

And that’s it! I don’t want to set too many goals, especially since I have other things to concentrate on… like a thesis.

What are your reading resolutions for 2015?


Thoughts #23: Looking Back On My Bookish Resolutions


At the beginning of the year, I shared my Bookish Resolutions with you all. I wanted to take a look and review them, and perhaps look at them again at the end of the year or the beginning of the next!

I aimed to:

  • Read at least one book per week: definitely managed. I seem to be averaging between twelve and fourteen books a month at the moment, mostly thanks to all the Marvel comics.
  • Get my Netgalley ratio up to AT LEAST 50%: at time of writing, it’s 54.4% – and it has fluctuated a LOT between 50% and 60%. 60% has been my highest so far, but I always seem to end up requesting more after reviewing. However, apparently it was 21.3% at the beginning of the year, so I’m pretty happy with that progress. Maybe 70% for the end of December?
  • Finish my 2013 TBR Pile: ummm… nope. I’ve made some progress, but I definitely still haven’t conquered that pile – and won’t be able to for a while now.
  • Achieve my Re-read January goal: definitely not – I was a rubbish host and only managed to re-read one of the books I set out to read! I have re-read another since though.
  • Contribute points towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge: I think I’ve done pretty well with this one so far! There are a couple of villains I didn’t manage to beat, but several that I have – and still time to recruit more X-Men.
  • Schedule posts ahead of time and on time: yep, I’ve been pretty good at this. I’m getting even better at scheduling weeks ahead (I even had all of July planned out by the first week of the month which has NEVER happened before!)
  • Overall goal of 50 books for the year: I’ve almost doubled this goal so… yep, good!
  • Comment regularly on other blogs: I’ve gone through periods of commenting like crazy and not commenting for a bit. So I guess it kind of balances out…?
  • Don’t get distracted by video games: I did. I’ve completed more video games in the past year than ever in my life. I’m suddenly able to finish games! I don’t know why I set this goal to be honest, if I want to play games instead of read then I can.
  • And I’m still enjoying blogging!

Thanks Bernard.

Thanks Bernard.

Did you set yourself any bookish resolutions? How have you done so far?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: January 2014


Every first Wednesday of the month (Tuesday this month, due to the Book of Apex tour!) , I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.


This month I read fifteen books, which as far as I’m aware is a personal record! Admittedly there were a couple of novellas and graphic novels, but I’m happy with my progress. The Death Pit by A.L. Kennedy, Into the Nowhere by Jenny Colgan, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Archaeology: the Basics by Clive Gamble (refreshing my memory!), Supernatural: Origins by Peter Johnson, The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon, The Creature in the Case (The Old Kingdom #3.5) by Garth Nix, Watchmen by Alan Moore, Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone & Walter Geovanni, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, Mass Effect: Foundation by Mac Walters, The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and The QI Book of the Dead by John Lloyd.

Standout books include Brideshead Revisited, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Screaming Staircase. I’ve now read fifteen books towards my goal of fifty for this year – so I may have to raise it, but I also have to remember that my reading will greatly decrease from mid-August.


Challenge progress:


Currently reading:

Mistborn (The Final Empire #1) by Brandon Sanderson The Trojan War by Barry Strauss


Reviews on the blog on this month:


Other posts:



  • I’m taking part in the Book of Apex tour, organised by Andrea @ Little Red Reviewer. Yay, speculative fiction!
  • I’m also taking part in Insta-love 101, hosted by the lovely ladies at A Novel Idea. Boo, insta-love!
  • And finally: the Review Copy Cleanup hosted by Books, Biscuits & Tea! and Nyx Book Reviews – time to tame that Netgalley ratio!


And that’s been my month! Pretty busy I think! How was January for you?


Challenge: Review Copy Cleanup

After my worries earlier this week about my Netgalley ratio, I have been introduced to the perfect solution by several people: the February Review Copy Cleanup hosted by Vicky @ Biscuits and Tea and Celine @ Nyx Book Reviews. These lovely ladies are challenging each other, and other bloggers, to read as many review copies in the month of February as they can. It’s perfect for people like me who may have gone a little crazy with the ARC requesting.

I’ve gone through my ‘to review’ list and my Netgalley dashboard, and submitted a message for all the books I lost when I got a new Kindle. My ratio is now 30.5% (the highest it’s ever been!), but should actually be higher as it says I’ve submitted 36 pieces of feedback, rather than 48. Apparently this is a glitch that Netgalley are working on, so I’m hoping it will be sorted soon to reflect my real ratio. Thank you also to Faith @ Student Spyglass, who has shared a post on improving your Netgalley ratio, including a brilliant formula to work out how many books you need to read to reach certain percentages. I’ve used the formula on my to review spreadsheet, and apparently I need to read 94 books to reach the recommended Netgalley ratio of 80%! I’ll also be putting my Weekly Roundup feature on hold for now, as I attempt to stop buying and requesting books. Madness.

I don’t have a specific goal for February, I just want to read as much as possible – but my overall goal before I start my Masters is at least 65%EDIT: I finally hit over 50% yesterday, when Netgalley caught up to my most recent feedback where I informed the publishers of lost books. 65% should be another thirteen or fourteen books, and now I’ve looked at it that way, it doesn’t seem all too bad! You can see which of my ARCs I will read first this month by taking at look at my review copy ‘to read’ list. If you want to sign up to the challenge, please click the image above!

Are you taking part in the challenge? Do you have many review copies to read?


My Bookish New Year Resolutions 2014

New year

I don’t normally bother making New Year’s resolutions because I generally don’t keep them – but I think I can keep some bookish ones! This year I aim to:

  • Read at least one book a week – my standard is normally two or three, but it’s been slipping lately and I hope I’ll be able to keep this up when I’m back at uni too.
  • Stop requesting a crazy amount of books from Netgalley and get my review ratio up to AT LEAST 50%. It’s currently sat at 21.3%, and that’s a vast improvement from a few months ago when it was 8%…
  • Finish my 2013 TBR Pile. These books have been waiting to be read for a while, so it would be nice to actually finish off this challenge!
  • Achieve my Re-read January goal, a challenge that Kelley and I are hosting together.
  • Also contribute as many points as possible towards the X-Men team for the Avengers Vs. X-Men Challenge, and make some progress towards the Dragons & Jetpacks Ultimate Booklist Challenge.
  • Make sure I actually schedule posts ahead of time, and post my regular features on the right days!
  • My overall goal for the year is 50 books.
  • Comment regularly on my friends’ blogs.
  • Finish tidying up the blog after the migration! I think I’ve got about 75 posts or so left to sort out. I’m hoping this will be done before the end of January.
  • It would be nice to not get completely distracted from reading by video games, as I have for these past few weeks… damn you, Steam sales.
  • And finally: carry on blogging and enjoying it!
  • Plus one non-bookish resolution: carry on learning Dutch for September.

What are your bookish (or non-bookish!) resolutions for 2014?