2014What are your reading aims for 2014? Have you set yourself a reading challenge? The advent of the new year is a great time to sit back and reevaluate how you want to spend your precious reading time over the next twelve months. When December 31st 2014 rolls around, what books do you want to have read? Are there particular authors you’ve always meant to read and haven’t? Perhaps you want to explore the classics? Or read more books written by women? Or only read books from the year you were born?

You would think that deciding what books to read was easy – and it can be as simple as picking the next book off your shelf – but read on for a survey of some of the diverse challenges available for interested readers in 2014. It’s not all about the numbers!

The basis for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, largest reading challenge on the web, is reading a certain number of books. A quick survey on twitter suggests that setting a simple numerical target is the primary way many people plan ahead when it comes to their reading (around 40 is a popular number to aim for!). But there are endless ways to direct your reading – some of the examples from the past couple of years include the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge and the Century of Books (which is back for a repeat performance in 2014).

library_1As I wrote in my previous blog, it can be oddly satisfying to keep track of what you read as you do it. But participating in reading challenges gives you a different perspective. Rather than simply keeping a record of what you read, challenges involve committing yourself to planned reading. They give you the opportunity to take part with fellow readers, who are aiming to do the same as you for the year. Taking part in challenges like these is a great way to discover books that you otherwise might not have considered reading, and meet like-minded readers doing the same

There’s a great list of challenges for 2014 over on BookRiot, some interesting highlights include:

Other challenges for the year include the 2014 Series Challenge (surely a great one for genre fans!), the third year of the Eclectic Reader Challenge, the British Book Challenge and the Global Reading Challenge.  The great part is, if there’s not a challenge that suits you, you can start your own and encourage others to join you, and it's never too late to start.

an-astronauts-guide-to-life-on-earth_1My own personal challenge, at least to begin with, is to read at least five books from my current To Be Read pile before I let myself buy and read something new. I’ve been meaning to read some of these books for years but the temptation of the new is always strong. So I’m not going to be allowed near a bookshop until I’ve reduced the number of titles on my TBR shelf. Having mostly read fiction last year, I want to devote some time to non-fiction (my copy of Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth has been staring at me since before Christmas) and also intend to explore some classic authors that I’ve been criminally neglecting. So although I’m not taking part in a specific challenge, I do have a plan.

So, over to you. Are you taking part in any reading challenges for 2014? Have you set yourself a target? Or are you just going to go with the flow and see where your reading takes you?