Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge

Another one I want to do.  I think this is a good idea to read about, and since I've gone through mental health services, this one seems like one for me.  I'll try to read up to four books, but may do more, time permitting.  Go here to sign up for this one.

I've decided to create my own Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge for 2015! 

This is a low pressure reading challenge meaning it's about quality not quantity. I'd rather you read one or two books and get the most out of them then speed through as many books as you can. I say this for myself as well as you. I've been known to skim a section because the info seems to be a review of something I think I already know but sometimes I learn something new that I would have otherwise missed.

However, this challenge isn't just for reading informative books. It's also for reading fiction and memoir. I once heard someone say the best therapy they ever received was from reading the memoirs of people who have recovered from mental illness. There is some comfort in reading about people that have experienced mental illness or have friends or family with mental illness because you know you are not alone.

This reading challenge is also for those who are newly diagnosed or have friends or family that have been recently diagnosed and want to learn more about a particular mental illness.

What Counts as a Book About Mental Illness? 
When I say mental illness, I include a wide range of illnesses and disorders. Books that include but are not limited to multiple personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, hoarding, sleep disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, baby blues and postnatal depression, suicide, self harm, eating disorders, asperger's and autism, mental retardation, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, social and narcissistic disorders, phobias, alcoholism and addiction can all be counted.

When it's informative nonfiction it's easy to know if it counts towards the challenge but when it's a memoir or fictional story this gets trickier. For the book to count towards the reading challenge, there must be at least one character with a mental illness or disorder that contributes significantly to the story. This means the story could not exist without that character's mental struggles.

Sometimes books you wouldn't think would be about mental illness will touch on the subject. For example, last year I read Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb. This charming Christmas story begins with a nun who has bipolar disorder having a mental breakdown and a substitute teacher coming in to replace her. I would count this book for the challenge.

Some books do not always help end the stigma of mental illness. Books such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck can do more harm than good. I leave it up to your own discretion whether or not to read these books. I think it's good to be aware of the misinformation out there so you can correct it. If you do choose to read books like these please read a good informative book on the same mental illness as well.

The Rules: 

The reading challenge runs from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 3015.

You may sign up anytime during the year to participate.

Books read in part or whole before Jan 1, 2015 do not count.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be novels, advice, informative, medical, or memoirs.

Books must be read in their entirety.

You may reread books.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

If you could be so kind, please place the 2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.

Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Use the hashtag #MIAReadingChallenge

If you write a review of the book, come back here and post the link in the comments.

Please choose a level. You may change levels at anytime. You may go up or down. Remember this is a low pressure challenge.

Curious: 1 - 2 books

Aware: 3 - 4 books
Familiar: 5 - 6 books
Knowledgeable: 7 - 8 books
Informed: 9 - 10 books
Expert: 11 or more books

My books for this one:

Back to the Classics Challenge 2015

Want to do this one now.  I think it's a good one to try. Sign up here.

It's back!!  Once again, I'm hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge.  I'm hoping to encourage bloggers to read more classics.  By reading and posting about a minimum of six classic books, one lucky winner will receive a $30 gift from or The Book Depository!

This year I've made two changes to the format.  First of all, there are no required categories.  That's right!!  If there is a category you don't like (or more than one), you can just skip it, and still qualify for the drawing! 

Secondly, I've increased the categories from eleven to twelve.  I had so much fun choosing categories, I couldn't decide, and so this year I've decided to make it an even dozen.  This results in a slight change to the way I'll calculate entries into the drawing.  Here's how it's going to work:
  • Complete six categories and you get one entry.
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries.
  • Complete all twelve categories, and your name is entered into the drawing three times!
So without further ado, here are the categories for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015:

1.  A 19th Century Classic -- any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic -- any book published between 1900 and 1965.  Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic.  The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.)

3.  A Classic by a Woman Author

4.  A Classic in Translation. As in last year's category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language.  Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language.  

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel -- a single work of 500 pages or longer, regular-sized print.  This does not include omnibus editions combined into one book, or short story collections.  Updated:  The 500 pages MUST be the actual text of the novel, not including endnotes, appendices, etc.  When in doubt, check more than one edition, and use an average page count.

6.  A Classic Novella -- any work shorter than 250 pages.  For a list of suggestions, check out this list of World's Greatest Novellas from Goodreads.

7.  A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title.  First name, last name, or both, it doesn't matter, but it must have the name of a character.  David Copperfield, The Brothers Karamazov, Don Quixote -- something like that. It's amazing how many books are named after people!

8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.  Humor is very subjective, so this one is open to interpretation.  Just tell us in the review why you think it's funny or satirical.   For example, if you think that Crime and Punishment and funny, go ahead and use it, but please justify your choice in your post. 

9.  A Forgotten Classic.  This could be a lesser-known work by a famous author, or a classic that nobody reads any more.  If you look on Goodreads, this book will most likely have less than 1000 ratings.  This is your chance to read one of those obscure books from the Modern Library 100 Best Novels or 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.  Books published by Virago Modern ClassicsPersephone, and NYRB Classics often fall into this category.  

10.  A Nonfiction Classic.  A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that's considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author.  You'd be surprised how many classic authors dabbled in nonfiction writing -- I have nonfiction books by Dickens, Trollope, Twain, and Steinbeck on my shelves. 

11.  A Classic Children's Book.  A book for your inner child!  Pick a children's classic that you never got around to reading.  

12.  A Classic Play.  Your choice, any classic play, as long as it was published or performed before 1965.  Plays are only eligible for this specific category.  
And now for the rest of the rules:  

  • All books must be read in 2015.  Books started prior to January 1, 2015, are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2015. 
  • All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; therefore, 1965 is the cutoff date.  The only exception is books published posthumously, but written before 1965. 
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books may also count for other challenges you may be working on.  
  • Books may NOT cross over categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  One book per category -- otherwise, they won't count.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicy accessible online format.  
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 31, 2015.  If possible, please link to your sign-up announcement post, if possible or applicable.
  • You do NOT have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it's more fun if you do!  You can always change your list at any time.  Books may be read in any order.
  • Please identify the categories you've read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!  Adding links within the post would be greatly appreciated. 
  • The prize will be awarded the first week of January, 2016.  All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, based on the categories completed.  One winner will be randomly drawn from qualifying entries.  The winner will receive a $30 (US) gift card from or The Book Depository, as long as they live in a country that can receive shipment.  See here for list of countries.

The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge

I just now came across this challenge and want to do it now, too. I like the ones with different categories and I know a lot of these categories will overlap with those in my other challenges.  Some stuff I've already read fits the categories for this one as well. Sign up at Book Riot.

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Whatever your preference for reading challenges, we here at the Riot enjoy the odd challenge. We’ve written before about the benefits of a reading challenge; they can stretch your reading, whether the intention is to push you to read more of your TBR, more classics, more backlist, more new releases, or just to read more. Or even if the intention is to read less.
January 1st brings with it both an abundance of challenges for the new year and an abundance of resolutions. These are often connected for readers, many of whom – Rioters included – make reading resolutions. As many of us here resolve to read more diversely, in any number of ways, we thought it would be a good idea to come up with our own reading challenge for 2015 to help you stretch your reading limits.
I’ve included 24 tasks, averaging out to two per month, that will hopefully inspire you to pick up books that represent experiences and places and cultures that might be different from your own. We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is – a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.
Where applicable, I’ve linked to previous Book Riot posts, to Goodreads lists, or other resources that might help you find books to fit the tasks.*
We hope this challenge will help you not only to read more, but to Read Harder.
We’ll be checking in here on the Riot periodically throughout the year, but we’ll also be talking about this challenge on social media with the hashtag #ReadHarder. Share your books, share your challenge plan, share your recommendations.

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:
collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people):
A book published by an indie press:
A book by or about someone who identifies as LGBTQ:
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own:
A book that takes place in Asia:
A book by an author from Africa:
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture(Native AmericansAboriginals, etc.):
YA novel:
A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.):    Ruby's Slippers--Leanna Ellis
A book that someone else has recommended to you:
A book that was originally published in another language:
A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over):
A book published before 1850:
A book published this year:
self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”):

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2015

Another one. I hesitated on this one, but decided it was one that was right for me. as I've read a lot of fantasy.  I will try to read at least five fantasy books, but may go over that.  Sign up here.

I'm really, really, really excited to announce that I have teamed up with the lovely Rachel yet again - and this time, we're hosting a reading challenge! I've always wanted to host a challenge, and Rachel brought up the idea of teaming up for one a couple of months ago. We couldn't figure out what we wanted our challenge to be, and were so close to holding off till 2016... until I came up with the idea of doing a fantasy reading challenge on Monday. It took us no time at all to come up with guidelines & graphics, and so, here we are now, sharing this introductory post!

Rachel & I are proud to present the Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge! One of the reasons we became fast friends early on was because we share a mutual love of fantasy novels. We hope that all fantasy readers - whether newbies or veterans - will be keen to join us, and we promise we're keeping things real simple.

  • The challenge will run from January 1-December 31, 2015.
  • We're welcoming all readers to join us for this challenge! In order to sign up, readers must link to their blogs or their Goodreads profile in the Linky provided below.That way, we can see where you'll be sharing your thoughts on the fantasies you'll read!
  • You can read as many fantasy novels as you'd like to. No levels for this challenge!
  • There will be 2 giveaways, one at 6 months and one at the end of the year. More details will be provided closer to those dates.
  • Help us spread the word! Feel free to tweet about the challenge using our official hashtag#flightsoffantasy, grab the button to link to the challenge in your sidebar & pin the image on Pinterest.

  • Challenge yourself to read a certain number of fantasy books. Share your challenge number in a comment below, a post on your blog or even a tweet!
  • On the last Sunday of each month, we'll be sharing our personal updates on the challenge. We'll be including a Linky, just in case you decide to do the same. (This is optional!)
  • As mentioned, we will have giveaways! If you want to gain bonus entries for the giveaways, read any (or even all!) of our favorite fantasy books listed below:
    • Joint Favorites: Throne of Glass, Harry Potter, Fire and Thorns, Snow Like Ashes, Queen of the Tearling
    • Alexa's Favorites: Eon, Daughter of the Forest, The Elemental Trilogy, Song of the Lioness, The Hobbit
    • Rachel's Favorites: The Grisha Trilogy, Harper Hall Trilogy, The Fever series, The Winner's Curse, Graceling

Here is what I am reading:

Dystopia 2015

OK, I was unaware if the Dystopia challenge was going to offered again.  It hasn't appeared on the "A Novel Challenge" blog, where I find most of my challenges. I did see it, however, on another person's blog.  I did only somewhat well on this one last year;  I stopped reading books for this one in August and declared it finished months later.  But I just have to try again, as I know I'll be reading some this year. As such I'll be going for Level One. Sign up here. 

e will try to read 24 Dystopian books in 2015 as the challenge goal, which means 2 per month, if you would like to read them monthly. You can of course make your own schedule and read less or more than that. For me, two per month is plenty because it still gives you time to explore and love books from other genres. 
At the end of the year there will also be a giveaway with great prizes!

> The challenge will run from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. Each month will have its own link form so you will be able to share your book reviews. You do not have to review the books you read to participate, but only those who read/reviewed at least one dystopian book will be able to participate in the giveaway (you can track your reading without the reviews with Goodreads, Shelfari etc.). You can link book reviews for months that are already gone as the linkies will be open all year round!
> Books that count in this challenge must include any form of post-apocalyptic theme (book sites like Goodreads are good sources of genre information; also see below). The books must be full-lengthShort stories and novellas (.5 novels etc.) do NOT count as one book, so please stick to that! When you read 4, I can count it as one, but definitely not before.
> All formats allowed.
Rereads allowed (but not the same book five times in a year!).
It does not matter whether it's a series or a stand-alone book.
If you are participating, grab the challenge button from below and post it on you blog. You can also make a post with the header (the code is also below). Please include the link back to this post so others will be able to participate as well.
If you will participate, put the sign-up link to your blog post (about the challenge) or blog (for the button) directly into the linky below. Sign-ups will be open until December 15, 2015.
You do not have to list your books in advance, go and do as you please. Read as many as you want and whenever you want, as long as you have fun!
Info about the giveaway will be available in December 2015.
> Do not cheat with books of other themes/genres/topics because I do check!

I made a FAQ post for you for 2014 because so many people emailed me. That post still holds true for 2015 so PLEASE read it, and carefully!

Level 1Recruit (1 to 6 books)
Level 2Rebel (7 to 12 books)
Level 3Revolutionist (13 to 18 books)
Level 4Leader (19+ books)

Each time you reach a new level, you will receive a badge. Email me when you reach a new level for a badge!

Here is what I am reading: