How Reading Challenges Motivate Me

Posted on April 2, 2017 «
Categories: 2017 Discussion Challenge, 2017 Shelf Love «
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The #ShelfLove Challenge has been an amazing challenge for me. I’ve come to some amazing conclusions about my reading and book buying habits. I do know that my book buying habits have been curbed somewhat since starting the challenge.

In the first year, because I didn’t spend any of the general Visa gift cards I received for Christmas, I was able to acquire my iPad Mini 2 which allows me to read all sorts of eBook formats easily. This past Christmas I received $50 in Barnes and Noble gift cards plus my measly eBook settlement of like $6 and I just spent $30 of those funds last weekend. So my buying habits have been curbed. That’s certainly a win in my book. The bigger challenge has been reading the books I actually own.

I can see you over there

Physical books haven’t been so tough to tackle. My must-read-to-be-read pile is on the top shelf on a bookshelf I see every morning when I wake up and every night as I drift off to sleep. The shelf has become quite haunting since adding all my MidAmeriCon II books at the start of the year.

my physical tbr pile


So while that shelf does haunt me, by the end of 2016 I had cleared all but 2 books I had acquired prior to the #ShelfLove Challenge even starting a couple years ago. I have either read or purged the books I decided I wasn’t going to read. They went to good homes or were taken to Half Price Books. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to clear the current backlog. I did up my overall GoodReads Challenge goal from 52 to 60 (I’m currently 5 books ahead of schedule) and my #ShelfLove goal is to read 30 books I own. Maybe it won’t take too long to clear that shelf. It’s certainly a multi-year effort. I have no doubts about that.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

eBooks to Read

Scroll some of my TBR eBooks

The bigger issue is my eBook collection. I have 138 eBooks logged in Calibre right now. I’ve learned that because I don’t see them every morning and every night, I don’t read them unless there is a “deadline” attached. I have no problems with NetGalley or book tour eBooks. But apparently I suffer from amnesia if I one-click a book.

I have not figured out a solution for actually remembering to read my eBooks. Although the COYER Challenge certainly helped a great deal this past winter. I tackled 13 books during those 2 and half months so I’ll probably joining COYER again (or other similar challenges) in the future.

Finding the Oldest Book on my Shelves

I got my first eReader when the first Nook Colors were released (probably 2010). I used a bunch of holiday gift cards to acquire it. I quickly discovered that if I was patient enough often times it was cheaper to use my Barnes & Noble membership and handy coupons the company would send at the perfect time and get physical books instead of eBooks.

Back then it was harder to find free books for the Nook and with eBooks being, often times, MORE expensive than physical books, my eBook collection grew slowly. I remember waiting for the weekly Barnes & Noble freebie email hoping it would be a book I would actually read.

The first eBook I purchased (and I’m sure that this will surprise NO ONE) was Outlander.


Barnes and Noble SUCKS for tracking back old purchases. My oldest unread eBook is probably this one.

book cover a child al confino

A Child al Confino: The True Story of a Jewish Boy and His Mother in Mussolini’s Italy
Author: Enrico Lamet
Pages: 322
GoodReads | Affiliate Link

Eric Lamet was only seven years old when the Nazis invaded Vienna—and changed his life and the lives of all European Jews forever. Five days after Hitler marched in, Eric Lamet and his parents fled for their lives. Unable to remain together, the family split—he and his mother hid out in Italy, while his father returned to his native Poland and an even darker fate.

In this remarkable feat of memory and imagination, Lamet recreates the Italy he knew from the perspective of the scared and lonely child he once was. We not only see the hardships and terrors faced by foreign Jews in Fascist Italy, but also the friends Eric makes and his mother’s valiant efforts to make a home for him.

In a style as original as his story, the author vividly recalls a terrible time yet imbues his recollections with humor, humanity, and wit. With a rare compassion toward friend and foe alike, little Eric Lamet shows us that there is light to be found in the darkest places—and that we should remember the good as well as the bad.

Outstanding in this memoir, the author never shows hate for the people who have murdered the great majority of his family nor does he call for revenge. The work is uplifting with love and humor throughout.

Why is it unread? Well, it’s nonfiction. It’s a memoir. I don’t normally read nonfiction novels even if they do involve World War II, one of my favorite time periods to explore.

Why did I download it? Well, it’s about World War II, one of my favorite time periods to read about. And the most obvious reason…it was FREE.

Will I ever read it? I do want to give it a shot. I’m better at abandoning books now than I was in the past so if it doesn’t sit well will me, I don’t mind giving up. And who knows maybe it will be my next Outlander?!


How Reading Challenges Have Motivated Me

So far my progress in 2017 has been steady. Of the 19 books I have read this year, 15 have counted towards #ShelfLove. Since I want half the books I read this year to count towards #ShelfLove this isn’t bad progress at all since over HALF the books I’ve completed to date are books I owned prior to January 1, 2017.

I’m happy with the progress on my goals so far this year and certainly feel like all reading challenges I’ve participated in motivate me to read. Because of the challenges, I have a good chance of achieving both my GoodReads goal, my #ShelfLove goal and my pages read goal. We’ll see if I feel the same in June.

So what’s the oldest book on your shelf? Are you making progress on your reading goals? Give a shoutout in comments.

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5 responses to “How Reading Challenges Motivate Me

  1. I have some older books but weeded out and donated some of my oldest since my interests have changed. I love challenges as they keep me focused. Good luck!

  2. hah, Terri! I have the opposite problem. I’m much better at reading my ebooks than my physical books. But the goal of half the books you read this year being shelf love books is lofty! Good Luck!

  3. I don’t even want to talk about the ebooks I have because the number is the thousands. When I get stressed out I feel the itch to buy things, so instead of buying anything, I will spend hours upon calming hours looking up and finding free ebooks. It’s a problem, but it’s better than going broke in an evening.
    As for physical books I have quite a few I need to read, about 249 if I remember correctly. I’ve been weeding out and getting rid of books at a semi-steady rate for the past year, so I have significantly less than I did.
    Challenges are more of guidelines than actual challenges for me because I’m a mood reader. So my motivation lies in being able to trade in books and get new things to enjoy.

  4. Reading challenges help me to complete those books I would otherwise neglect. Especially the montly keyword because it gets a lot of books that otherwise would have been put off.

  5. That’s awesome that you’re doing a challenge for your TBR! My TBR is just out of control right now and I don’t even know what to do. I waaaant to read them all but I’m really just suffering from “omg I have no time”.?? I just need to read a separate book with each eyeball clearly hahah. Ahem. I don’t even know quite what the oldest book I have is. Although I do have an ARC from June last year and I feel so guilty about it. Must get onto that!