In over my head? Yep, I need to get out of the deep end.

The Sunday Last summer I declared, I’m free to read what I want, any old time. Also along with that, I said, “I’m not going to play by their rules anymore.”

At the start of the year, I also resolved to keep it stupid simple with “no 10-point, three-parter resolutions with promises of marathons and how much mileage I’ll run, promises of challenges and how many books I’ll read and promises of living the holy life and how many times I’ll attend Mass.”

What have I done since last summer’s declaration? On the reading front, I’ve joined and rejoined challenges…let me think about this: one, two, three, four, FIVE…five too many? As I sit here on the couch, with a stack of Agatha Christie books piled beside our coffee table, and a stack of books –a combination of books I’ve borrowed from my brother-in-law that I still have to read and books I bought from a local bookstore Friday– sitting on the bookcase next to me, I’m thinking, “Yes,”  is the answer to that question and that I’m in over my head. Those books aren’t counting the poetry, Huraki Murakami and James Bond books and audiobooks I’ve promised to read/listen to.

While I still might read some of the books/audiobooks (or just audiobooks, period) included in the challenges, hence my still staying in the metaphorical pool, I’m going to read them on my own schedule and not anyone else’s. I appreciate all the founders of these challenges bringing to my attention to the authors and genres aforementioned, but ladies, I’m not very good at following rules, at least in terms of blogging and reading. Whenever I have participated in memes, I almost always subverted them in some way to fit my own (evil?) devices. The only planned books are the ones I’m reading now, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 2, which I’m reading on my dinner breaks at work, and Maisie Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear, which I started on Friday after downloading it as an e-book loan from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

All this to say, I’m declaring again, “I’m free to read what I want, any old time.”

Also along with that, I said, “I’m not going to play by their rules anymore.”

In that previous post, I used a remake of the song, but now, thanks to John Bray pointing out to me the error of my ways, I’m using the original:

Do you ever feel you’re in over your head with reading challenges? Are you free to read what you want, any old time? Or do you like the structure reading challenges provide?

27 responses to “In over my head? Yep, I need to get out of the deep end.

  1. Pingback: Anything Goes | an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe)

  2. Geez, just when I was getting ready to leave some smarmy comment you went and mentioned me by name. Actually all I was going to say was “right on, Bryan.” That’s exactly what I do. I’ve been reading the 4 volume box set of A Song Of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones, etc.) since December. A week or so more and I should be done. But complicating my reading time is the time I want to devote to the DVD box set of Boston Legal, one of the most brilliantly written TV shows I’ve ever had the fortune to come across. I never saw this series when it was on TV. Which is probably a good thing because now “I’m free” to watch as many episodes at a time as I want – usually 4 a day.

    Anyway, here’s to reading, watching and listening to what we want when we want. And who cares when we finish.

  3. “I’m free to read what I want, any old time.” = One of my all time favorite sayings, and songs!

  4. A couple of years ago, I used to feel that way (overwhelmed by reading commitments.) By mid-October I would find myself in a panic because I hadn’t, or wasn’t even close to finishing the challenges I had signed up for. Then I realized I was doing challenges wrong, because it’s not really about finishing x number of books and/or reading a certain kind of book. It’s really all about playing, discovering and sharing. So, I read what I want and sometimes it fits in with a challenge I’m participating; but most times it doesn’t; but when it does I remember to write, link and share. I’ve discovered some interesting books that never would have made it onto my bookshelves, either because they fit a requirement or someone else posted a link to their review and I had to check it out! Challenges don’y really circumscribe my reading so much as it opens up new opportunities to read out of my comfort zone and meet new people. Like you 🙂

    • Oh, I should add that I plan to be there Saturday night, at least, for the first part of the discussion on the next audio book in the Shaken, Not Stirred Challenge…I will listen to the short stories applicable to the movie. However, I won’t be able to participate in the movie discussion because I committed myself to watching Sunset Boulevard with another group on Twitter for something called #fauxhitchfest. It started as Hitchfest, for movies of Alfred Hitchcock, but has spun into other movies similar in theme to his movies.

  5. My philosophy on reading challenges changed this year – only challenges that would actually challenge me and with small commitments, plus the one I’m hosting myself. I don’t ever want my reading to become a chore again. I still need to work on to many review commitments, but I’m making progress on that this year.

  6. Life is challenging enough without adding to that. Reading is supposed to be relaxing. You’re right. Declare your independence!

  7. Oh yea… I’m in over my head, too, alrighty!! I was careful with Challenges to join in where I’d be reading anyhoo… but I’ve rec’d more books “for review” than I am enjoying reading… ’cause my “what I want pile” seems too far away to get to until after I tackle some committed reads. And then some of them committed reads aren’t hookin’ me right off, which makes it feel too close to work, which… ugh!! No way!! So, yea. Great post! Here’s my Sunday: Colorimetry

  8. Need to keep that in mind for next year, but with my book club with a group of friends, that isn’t possible, if I remember!

    • Oh, no, I’m not counting IRL book clubs as part of that…although I don’t belong to any of those either. However, if I did, I don’t consider them “challenges.” At least, not to my way of thinking.

  9. Sounds like you know what works best for you, so stick with it! 🙂 I joined some challenges for this year after spending all of 2011 challenge-free, but so far I keep forgetting I’m doing challenges again. LOL Thanks for reminding me!

  10. I feel like this all the time. Maybe it’s the blog that I have to keep up with because people expect me to read, or maybe I finish a really lovely book and I don’t want to read anything else for a few days, but I need too. I’m not sure. Sometimes my to-read pile grows too tall for me to even want to start. I totally understand.

    This is the first year I’m doing reading challenges and I’m thinking I chose too many…ehlkasjdfk bleh.


  11. I really don’t participate in any challenges, with the exception of the Agatha Christie one I’ve recently begun. I try not to bog myself down with those sorts of things. Although I am participating in a read-along for Charles Dickens’s Bleak House that might be fun, and plus, it’s sitting unread on my bookshelf!

    But generally speaking, I just read whatever, whenever, even when I have something structured, as you know, I did last year. I’m finding that not having any structure this year has been a bit more adventurous than last year.

    I hope you have a great week!

    • How long has it been sitting unread on your bookshelf? Maybe there’s a reason for that, buddy. 😉

      • I want to say it’s been on my shelf for about 2 years now. That’s a much shorter time than most of my other books! I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Dickens that I’m hoping to break soon, but we’ll see!

  12. I like your attitude, unfinished person. I planned to join fewer challenges this year, too, and added only the ones I felt comfortable with…nevertheless, I still joined more than I should! (Also five).

    But I vowed to meander through the books on these lists at my own speed, too.

    Despite this vow, I do find myself galloping along every week as if someone somewhere is cracking that old whip! Not good….


  13. No, I’m with you: I refuse to tie myself down this year. I will stop reading if I feel like it. I will browse a book rather than read every word (and I will still add it to my Books Read list, if I feel like it.) I will toss aside review books if I don’t like them. I will bail out of challenges if I want to.

    Remember: We are the grownups.

    Here’s my Sunday Salon.