Tag: challenge

Game of Books 2021

Posted January 2, 2021 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

A "Game of Books" image, based on the Iron ThroneGame on!

Since 2017, I’ve sort of stopped having reading goals about how many books I’ll read in a year. I felt pushed towards reading shorter books faster, always looking for more more more, instead of enjoying longer books like I used to.

Since then, I’ve moved to a points system, which lets me award myself more points for reading the stuff I want/need to read — books that have been on my backlog for a long time, for instance, or longer books.

This is that system! And it’s adaptable to whatever goals you like: whatever you want to incentivise, you can assign it a points value.

Will you be joining me?

That spreadsheet has most of the details and an example spreadsheet… which is good, because this year I’ve been too busy to set mine up yet. Last year’s post might also be helpful, since I knew what I was planning better back then!

I do know what goals I’m going for (I’m going to add in points for updating Litsy, reviewing books on time and commenting on other people’s blogs) and what I’ve given up on (no attempt to rate my enjoyment this time), but how exactly I’m going to make it work as a spreadsheet is a whole other question. Stay tuned, I guess…

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Game of Books 2020

Posted December 29, 2019 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

A "Game of Books" image, based on the Iron ThroneIt’s almost that time again! This is the fourth year of Game of Books, intended to incentivise reading and focus not on the total number of books read, but balancing a variety of goals like reading longer books, finishing up books in a series, reading books I’ve had on my TBR for longer…

In any case, everyone’s welcome to join in! I suggest you read through my ramble about how it works if you haven’t encountered the idea before, but skip to the end if you just want the spreadsheet!

So this year I’m personally trying to lean really hard on reading things I enjoy. Accordingly, the “joy factor” I’ve previously used has been scrapped — I’d get more points for reading books I hated, which was silly! I don’t think I did read anything I hated for that, but I did keep on with books I would probably have stopped. Also, I was supposed to guess the joy factor of a book before reading it, and that just never really worked.

So, instead I have the “enjoyment” column, which rewards me for DNFing, for being so excited about books I babble at my wife about them, for picking up a book to read the first page and accidentally getting halfway through, etc.

I’ve also nixed the one that rewards me for taking longer over reading a book, because if I can’t read a book in a couple of days, I’m probably not having fun, and that is not good.

I do also want to read books I’ve owned for longer, keep up with reading books in a series, and reward reading longer books.

Here’s my full setup:

PointsAcquisitionLength (pages)SeriesEnjoymentBonus
12020, reread, ARC, library book0-100Not in a series/not going to read more of the seriesFinished itFor each 100 pages over 500
22018-2019101-200First book in a seriesDNFed itARC 2019-2020
32016-2017201-300Middle book of a trilogyWas so excited I infodumped at LisaARC 2018 and older
42014-2015301-400Last book of a trilogy, middle book of a seriesRead the first page and accidentally ended up halfway throughBook club book read on time
52011-2013401-500+Last book of a series (to date)Read in 1-3 sittingsRead within a week of purchase or borrowing

I’ve made my monthly goal 220 points. To work that out, I tallied up how some random books I enjoyed from 2019 would score in the new system, and figured out the average score (11), and then multiplied that by how many books I would want to read each month if I was setting a simple reading goal. In theory, then, I can read fewer than 20 books as long as I enjoy them a lot or finish series I’m reading or whatever scores the high points. This usually gets revised a bit when I have a feel for how it’s going.

And that’s it! Feel free to share, join in, modify it however you wish (the idea is to ignore simplistic targets of books read to incentivise your ideal reading experience — which won’t be the same as mine!) and have fun with it!

You can find the spreadsheet here, and then:

  • Claim a sheet that isn’t already named (or duplicate the template sheet)
  • Rename it to your name/blog name/a unique identifier
  • Click on the arrow next to it and select “Protect the sheet”
  • Set it so only you can edit your own sheet
  • Copy over anything you want from the template
  • Personalise
  • Fill in throughout the year!
  • Profit???

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Game of Books 2019

Posted December 31, 2018 by Nicky in General / 15 Comments

It’s almost that time again! For the past few years I’ve been playing a kind of sort of game: a Game of Books! This year, I’m already set up to do a third year of it, alongside my sister (third year) and my wife (freshman). Basically: read books, earn points, stay on track.

A "Game of Books" image, based on the Iron Throne

The idea is to encourage me to meet not an arbitrary deadline of x books per year (which could be 200 really short books) but to give me a way of earning equal credit for each book, depending on effort and a few other factors.

So here’s the points system (for me):

PointsAcquisitionLengthJoy FactorSeriesHow long did it take to read?Bonus
12019Comic book, sub-150 pagesGIMME ITNone / Gave upTwo days or lessBook club book read on time
22017-2018200+ pagesI'm pretty excitedFirst book of a seriesA week or lessARC (2018 onwards)
32015-2016300+ pagesIt can waitMid-seriesA fortnight or lessRead within a week of purchase or borrowing
42013-2014400+ pagesBit reluctantLast book of a trilogyA month or lessRead in a day (if 300 pages+)
52011-2012500+ pagesWhy am I doing this?Last book of a seriesO shit, what?ARC from backlog (pre-2018)

So let’s take the book I just finished, Rattle His Bones. I bought it in 2018, so it’d earn me two points for that; it has around 250 pages, so another two points for that; I was pretty eager to read it, so two for that as well. It’s from the middle of a series (three points) and took me more than two days but less than a week to read (two points). It doesn’t fit any of my bonus criteria, so that’s 11 points in total.

How do I pick my yearly goal? I pick an average sort of book, calculate the points, and then multiply that by the number of books I’d like to read this year. That way, I get plenty of credit for books that are a big time investment, one way or the other, or more important for me to read — and I don’t get tempted to hit an arbitrary goal of 150 books this year by just reading a ton of comics (though comics have their place).

Why am I blathering on about this? Well, you’re all invited to join in! The spreadsheet is here. To join in, just claim yourself a sheet, lock it so no one else can edit it, and set yourself up. Feel free to copy/paste from my formatting, edit the points system yourself (you’ll see both my wife and my sister have different point systems to me, and that’s fine — the point is self-motivation), and generally play around with it.

See you in the spreadsheet?

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Game of Books 2018

Posted January 4, 2018 by Nicky in General / 15 Comments

It’s time for another game. A game to keep me reading my backlog.

A game of books!

A "Game of Books" image, based on the Iron Throne

By some miraculous alchemy, I figure out how many points I want to aim for in a year, and then I can earn them in various ways through reading. It goes like this…

PointsAcquisitionLengthJoy Factor (calculated before reading)SeriesHow long did it take to read?
0Comic or novellaFrom the bookshop straight to my eyeballsNot in a seriesLess than a week
12018, borrowed, ARC, etc250+MUST READ NOWFirst in a seriesLess than two weeks
22017400+It can waitNext in a seriesLess than three weeks
32015-2016500+I'm not exactly pumpedFinishes a seriesLess than a month
42013-2014600+Do I have to?Less than two months
52011-2012700+WHY?OMG NIKKI

So say I have a book I purchased back in 2013… let’s say I read A Shadow in Summer. Purchased in 2013, so that’s four points for acquisition. It’s 336 pages long according to Goodreads, so that’s one point for length. I’d rate it as “it can wait” — it’s something I intend to read, but I don’t feel a burning need — so that’s three points if I finally get round to it. It’s the first in a series, so that’s one point, and… let’s say I devour it overnight, so I get no points for “how long?” Altogether, that’s nine points toward my monthly goal of 120, chosen based on my progress last year.

To work this out for yourself, you might want to see how many points you’d get for an average easy read from your TBR pile, and then add them up and multiply by however many of those you’d read in a month. That was my original reasoning, and it worked quite well in encouraging me to read longer books which would reduce my overall number of books per month, but get the same amount of points.

I have a template spreadsheet all ready here, and you’re welcome to steal the formatting from my own (locked for editing) sheet if you want to add in more of the bells and whistles. Feel free to customise it however you want, for your own goals; I only ask that you have fun and credit me for the idea, with a link back here.

Let the games begin!

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2016 Wrapup, and Onward 2017

Posted January 1, 2017 by Nicky in General / 10 Comments

In the last month of 2016, I gave up and decided to just read for joy. Following that, I’m only just getting round to signing up for any new challenges and the like. Here’s a quick rundown of 2016’s stats first…

2016 in Review:

Books bought: 228 (within my allowed number of 250)
Books read:
359 (slightly short of my original goal of 366)
Pre-2016 TBR read:
171 (short of my goal of 200)

So not bad at all.

For 2017, my Goodreads goal is 300 books, but really I’m focusing on my Game of Books score. I’m aiming to finish the year with 1,000 points — which would equal my usual amount of reading, but measured more by quality than quantity. Or that’s the hope, anyway.

shelf love challenge 2017

I am participating in ShelfLove again, of course. Once again, my aim is to read 51+ of my pre-2017 TBR books… There’s no book-buying ban for me this year, though my usual budget basically applies (it’s a percentage of my earnings), and I want to buy fewer books this year than I read by a bigger margin than last year. So I’m aiming at buying 200 books or less. That’s still a lot of books, I know — but I read so much!

Bout of Books 18
Aaaand there’s a Bout of Books read-a-thon from the 2nd January to the 8th, and I’m intending to join in. I have no particular goals, but a book a day would be nice.

I’m also using the Litsy app now, and would love to have more people to share short snippets, quick reviews and book photos with on there. You can find me under the username “shanaqui”!

So there we go. Onward! What book are you starting the year with?

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ShelfLove October Update

Posted October 2, 2016 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

ShelfLove Challenge 2016

ShelfLove Update!

The goals where I’m ahead are in blue; bang on are in green; behind by up to five books are in orange; anything else is in red. I now have a running total to show where I should be for the month too (e.g. by June I needed to read 182 books overall).

  • Targets: 
    • 250 or fewer books bought;
    • 366 books read overall;
    • 200 books read which I owned prior to 2016;
    • no more than 10% of income on books per month.
  • Books bought this year so far: 171/180.
  • September books bought: 16/20.
  • September budget: £26/£30.
  • Owned books read this month: 18/16.
  • Books read this month: 34/30.
  • Owned books read overall: 145/150 (5 books behind).
  • Books read overall: 269/274 (5 books behind).

So as you can see, it’s been a really productive month: for September, I was ahead on all my goals, and I caught up with the deficit from previous months. Let’s hope I can keep that up as I plunge into the second year of my BSc, taking double the amount of credits I was before…

This month’s theme for the challenge is to talk about books and bookish gifts I’m hoping for in my Christmas pile. Well, Genevieve Cogman’s The Burning Page is due on the 15th December, so I’ll probably ask for that, and Dennis Hopeless’ Spider-Women has a pretty big price tag so that’s probably going to be saved for then.

Other than that, I don’t know yet. Probably some comics-related stuff — there’s a Winter Soldier hoodie I want, and a Spider-Gwen one. But my partner is making me a Captain Marvel hoodie, so there’s that. We’ll see, I guess! Normally I wait a little longer to make my wishlists.

As for a TBR for the month, here’s a bunch of books that I either need to review or are part of series I’m trying to finish!

  • Ilona Andrews, Magic Binds.
  • Marie Brennan, In Ashes Lie.
  • Mira Grant, Deadline.
  • Mira Grant, Blackout.
  • Joseph Hansen, The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of.
  • Joseph Hansen, Skinflick.
  • Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Certain Dark Things.
  • Emma Newman, After Atlas.
  • Cherie Priest, The Family Plot.
  • John Scalzi, The Ghost Brigades.

I’m gonna keep it to those ten, this month, and see if having a short list encourages me to get round to all of them.


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Bout of Books Progress

Posted January 5, 2016 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Bout of Books Readathon

Bout of Books Progress

Whoa, the last couple of days went by in a flash. I almost forgot that Bout of Books started yesterday! Luckily, I’ve been reading anyway (well, that’s no surprise). So this is my progress post! You can find my sign-up post here, too.

Day one: 

Books read: One.
Total pages: 410.
Titles: Unnatural Creatures, ed. Neil Gaiman.
Challenge: Introduction in six words — “TBR pile taller than I am”.

Day two:

Books read: Two in progress, none finished.
Total pages: 200.
Titles: The Last Argument of Kings, by Joe Abercrombie; A Portrait of the Brain, by Adam Zeman.
Challenge: From here. I would rather: lend books to someone who dog-ears pages than to someone who reads with Cheeto fingers, meet a character than meet an author, never be allowed in a bookshop rather than not be allowed in a library, have to choose a couple to break up in a book rather than a character to die (but really it depends on the book!), and be required to read The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of my life than Twilight.

Day three:

Books read: One finished.
Total pages: 150.
Titles: A Portrait of the Brain, by Adam Zeman; Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey.
Challenge: Pass.

Day four: 

Books read: One in progress.
Total pages: 150.
Titles: Impulse, by Dave Bara.
Challenge: Pass.

Day five: 

Books read: One in progress
Total pages: 100.
Titles: Impulse, by Dave Bara.
Challenge: Pass.

…And it’s over and I barely read anything at all on the last day, though somewhere in there I read The Frog Princess and finished Impulse. Sigh. Just too busy, I guess!

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ShelfLove Participation Post

Posted January 1, 2016 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

ShelfLove Challenge 2016

ShelfLove challenge

So last year’s ShelfLove challenge went really well and I finished up the year by meeting pretty much all my goals on not buying books. In fact, this is the first year since 2011 that I kept the average under buying a book a day. I am seriously addicted to books — for one thing, when I’m sad, I want new books — so this was pretty good. And I kept it quite a ways under that average, too, with only around 240 books bought or acquired before my Christmas presents, vouchers, etc, joined the list.

My goals this year? Beat this year’s buying average, stick to the budget I maintained in 2015 (no more than 10% of my income on books in any given month), and read 200 books acquired before 2016. I know, I know — the actual highest number suggested by the challenge is 51+. But I’m ambitious. I have no idea how attainable this is as a goal, but I usually read 300+ books a year, so I think it’s doable if I can just keep focused.

Another side-goal is getting my Netgalley ratio to 100%, after finally reaching that coveted 80% juuust at the end of December. Obviously I’m okay with this being via finally reading and reviewing the books, or accepting that it’s not going to happen: that’s how I got to 80%, after all. I also want to finish series that I’m partway through — like Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books — and get on top of my library addiction a bit. I currently have 30+ books out of the library and a special shelf to keep them on. I like having them there to look at, but I’m not keeping up with them properly. Time to fix that!

Ready? Let’s get reading!

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Bout of Books

Posted December 27, 2015 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

I’ve never managed to participate in the Bout of Books readathon before, because I always seem to realise it’s going on too late. But here I am, ready for this round!
Bout of Books Readathon
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Readathon Goals!

I’m not going to be too ambitious about this. I’d like to have one book finished per day, but life happens and I’ll be travelling during the readathon. So we’ll just have to see! I know I can read a lot if pushed, but 9th-10th will be the first couple of days spent with my partner for a while, and it’s a weekend too, so she won’t be working. On the other hand, maybe I’ll read a lot on the Eurostar… (I’m not holding out too much hope for reading on the train to London to catch the Eurostar, though. That train is always busy, and noisy too. The Eurostar is usually peaceful, though!)

If I were to be super super ambitious, I might hope for about ten books finished during the readathon, counting ones I was already partway through. If I beat that, I’ll be over the moon!

Anyway, look out for an update post at the start of the readathon — I’ll set it up on the 4th, and use it for all updates through the end of the event.

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No Book Buying Challenge: Progress

Posted December 25, 2015 by Nicky in General / 10 Comments

So, this is the last #ShelfLove update from me for this year!

#ShelfLove banner

The prompt is to show how you’re doing. Well, you can check out Mount TBR in the top menu on my blog. If you compare my books bought/acquired in 2015 with other years, I’ve made some serious progress in thinking before I buy. Also utilising the library, and only buying books I’m sure I want! Which is not to say I’ve had no duds this year, or that I’ve done particularly well at tackling the backlog — I still apparently have 440 books unread from 2013, for example. Eek. But I’ve dealt with some of the causes of that backlog, and learned to stick to a budget!

#ShelfLove Breakdown

  • 58/51+ already owned books read from prior to 2015 (302 books read altogether)
  • Spent: £21 out of ~£30 budget (budget is 10% of my income) for January
  • Spent: £20 out of ~£25 budget for February
  • Spent: £22 out of ~£25 budget for March
  • Spent: £15 out of ~£16 budget for April
  • Spent: £45 out of ~£30 budget for May
  • Spent: £18 out of ~£40 budget for June, plus stuck within holiday budget
  • Spent: £45 out of ~£50 budget for July
  • Spent £51 out of ~£60 for August
  • Spent £30 out of £40 for September
  • Spent £20 out of £20 for October
  • Spent £36 out of £50 for November
  • Spent £0 out of £25 for December

Here’s my more general progress on resolutions:

  • No books impulse-bought (pretty much all year, with only one or two lapses)
  • Read every day (even if it was only a page or two)
  • Bed before midnight (less great at this)
  • Up before ten every day (some struggling in December)
  • Only bought one book from a series at a time (except where I was confident I’d like it)
  • Posted to the blog every day (I missed one day through a scheduling mess-up)
  • Commented on at least one other blog every day (no days missed except when I had no internet access)
  • Tithed 10% in every month
  • Done 85 hours volunteering total (just short of the goal, not really under my control)
  • Reading/reviewing books from NG/etc (82% ratio)

So not bad at all, right?!

I’ll be taking part in this challenge next year too, so hang tight for my starting post as 2016 opens.

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