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The Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge: How it Works.

The Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge: How it Works

As I mentioned Monday, I spent a lot of time creating this Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge for my Fantasy Buddy Reads group, so I’d like to take a moment to share with you the fully composed post I uploaded on there. I won’t be running the challenge here on my blog for others to join, but would love to hear if you end up trying one of my mini challenges and how it works out for you (however, feel free to start your own tracker thread in the challenge folder on the group page – it’s open to the public and we’d love to have you). Here’s a look at what the challenge entails:


Are you a few books away from being crushed to death under you personal TBR? Do you have waaay more owned books than read books? Do you love signing up for yet one more challenge?? If so, the Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge is for you!

The challenge is for those of us who buy more books than we ever get around to reading. The overall goal is to tackle as many titles as you can from your personal library and start making owned books more of a priority. As with our Incomplete Series Challenge, each participant will create their own thread, list out their unread/read owned titles, and come up with personal goals that suits your needs.

Pro tip: If you have too many books to list, you can always paste a link to a Goodreads bookshelf or any other database to your thread for quick access. Goodreads has a scan feature on the app that makes it super easy to upload all of your titles to a bookshelf.

That’s it – track your progress, let us know how you’re doing with updates, and have fun! If you want to get really serious about getting through the books you own, I have some Mini-Challenges below to give you some ideas on how to take this challenge to the next level (i.e. obsessively organized). :)

The Overflowing Bookshelf Mini Challenges!! :D

1. The Book-Buying Ban Mini Challenge: Are your overflowing bookshelves caused by your inability to stop buying books? This 3 for 1 Mini Challenge will help you get through the books you already own while still allowing you to treat yourself to new books. (Nik’s Notes: I’ve been using this challenge for a few years now and it has totally changed my bad buying habits – I love it! My favorite aspect is that it makes me really think about which books I want to spend my “reward” on, so I don’t waste money on books I’m only kind of interested in).

How it works: You must read 3 books from your personal collection for every 1 book you bring home (3 for 1 is an example ratio, so feel free to adapt it for your needs). Here’s a look at the tracker:

Niki’s Book-Buying Ban Challenge [1]:
1.
2.
3.
Purchased:

Nik’s Notes: You can also do a page-count version rather than a book count version (1500 for 1). The benefit is that you’re rewarded for effort, as longer books carry more weight towards completion. If you think the page version will work better for you, here’s how you adapt your tracker:

Niki’s Book-Buying Ban Challenge [1]:
1. The Shadow of What Was Lost 602/602
2. Knight’s Shadow 606/1208
3.The Aware 318/1526 <-the 26 pages over becomes my first entry in my next log.
Purchased: The Legion of Flame

The Borrowing Ban Mini Challenge: Are your bookshelves overflowing because you can’t resist the call of free books from the library? (Or because you can’t stop requesting ARCs from Netgalley?). The goal of this mini challenge is to help you reprioritize the books you actually spent money on.

How it works: You must read 3 books from your personal collection for every 1 book you borrow from the library or request from Netgalley (3 for 1 is an example ratio, so feel free to adapt it for your needs). The tracker should look familiar:

Niki’s Borrowing Ban Challenge [1]:
1.
2.
3.
Borrowed:

The Book Hoarding Mini Challenge: Are your overflowing bookshelves so stacked that you couldn’t possibly read all the unread titles within the next 10 years? If so, the Hoarding Ban Mini Challenge might be the one for you!

How it works: You must get rid of 2 books from your personal collection for every 1 you bring home. (2 for 1 is an example ratio, so feel free to adapt it for your needs). The tracker should be annoyingly redundant to list at this point:

Niki’s Book Hoarding Challenge [1]:
Purchased:
Let Go:
1.
2.

The Book-End Mini Challenge: Is your bookshelf brimming with first-in-series, which would require you to purchase/borrow even more books to get through your collection? If so, the Book-End Mini Challenge might be for you!

How it works: Line your books up approximately from longest owned to newest (or sort your online bookshelf by date added. Focus your reading on the books you bring home immediately (the front of the bookend) and the books you’ve been hanging onto the longest (the back of the bookend). This will help you think about the books you bring home: “will I want to read this immediately?” This is also an opportunity to look critically at the books you’ve been hanging onto the longest to see if you still even want to read them. This challenge pairs well with the Book-Hoarding Challenge. Possible log entries:

Niki’s Bookend Challenge:
Newest:
1. Apex
2. The Stone Sky [Read] <-Moved to a completed section and replace with a new title.
3. The Shadow of What Was Lost

Oldest:
1. Aurian
2. Shatter Me [Got rid of] <-then moved to the “Let Go” pile and replaced with a “new” old title
3. Ghost King

Bill’s FBR Challenge Masher Challenge: Do you love challenges? Do you also like killing two birds with one stone? If so, Bill’s FBR Challenge Masher Challenge might be for you! [Nik’s Notes – Bill is an FBR member who we’ve teased for joining all of the challenges. I think the initial idea for this one was initiated by him, so thanks, Bill!]

How it works: Choose any of the other challenges offered by our group and try to completed as much of them as you can only using books you own.

Current FBR Challenges:

The A-Z Topics Challenge
The Bingo Challenge
The Book Cover Challenge
The Incomplete Series Challenge

You may not own enough titles to complete the challenges entirely (the Incomplete Series Challenge would be difficult), so the goal is to get as many of them as possible with your current collection.

The Book Pledge Challenge: Do you like challenges but don’t have the time or energy to get really complicated with them? The Book Pledge Challenge might be the one for you!

How it works: Decide how many books you’d like to read from your personal collection within a given timeframe. Then track your progress towards your goal:

Niki’s Book Pledge Challenge [Goal: 5 by 12/2017]:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Total: 0/5

Overall, the Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge is designed to be as relaxed or intense as you choose, based on what types of goals you’d like to achieve. There’s a lot of info in this post, so please let me know if you have any questions. :-)


That’s a lot of options, right? I’ve bounced between several of them, but am currently using the Book Pledge Challenge and the 3 for 1 Challenge (adapted to 5 for 1 because I have issues). My next post will be more details on how these Mini Challenges have been helping me so far and what goals I’m hoping to achieve! :)

How are you with bookish challenges? Do you stick with them?

by Niki Hawkes

9 comments on “The Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge: How it Works.

  1. These are great! I’ve found I’m kind of terrible sticking to bookish challenges–the only one that seems to be sticking is the series-finishing challenge, which is going well. I love the Bookend mini-challenge, though. That would work so well for my problems. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Overflowing Bookshelf Challenge: Niki’s Mini Challenges Strategy | The Obsessive Bookseller

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