Every time the New Year rolls around my social media feeds are filled with people starting new challenges. Physical, mental, it doesn't matter. Folks love to challenge themselves, and I'm no different. Over the course of the past few years, I have undertaken some cool challenges that I picked up on after joining the old View Askew Message Board. Started up by my friend, Adam, folks were challenged to catalogue their TV seasons, movies, comics, and books into 52 in a year or 365 in a year.
I'll be honest, most of the time, I don't make it through all of those challenges. In the past few years, I've been able to make it through the TV season one, but any of the others seem to ended up stymied around half way through the calendar year. As I've devoted quite a bit of time to "picture stories" over the past few years, I want to go a different direction with my challenges in 2016, as in I'll be focusing more on reading books and working through my video game backlog. I'll end up watching TV seasons and miniseries anyways, but it just won't be my most dedicated challenge.
My To-Read and To-Play piles, both physical and electronic, grows weekly, if not daily. It's due time to stop being just a collector of books and video games, but to actually put the time in to get through them. So I've found some cool challenges as a way to track and keep motivated throughout 2016 in pursuing these goals.
In the video game realm, one of my local friends started a group on Facebook where we can post about what games we are currently playing of our backlog. Additionally, I found this site called Backloggery where you can track your games and push towards finishing your backlog. I'm still rather new to Backloggery and getting used to the site. It's rather barebones, but that's rather perfect for this kind of thing. I've, also, posted up a thread on one of the private forums, of which I am a member, and have seemed to motivate some of my friends there to get in on pushing through their video game backlogs.
My goal with video games is to complete twelve games within my backlog during the course of 2016. I'm sure, once I get in to some of the video game series that I want to complete, that this number might grow. At this point, though, I believe that twelve is a fair number. For January, the first game that I'm playing through is the Telltale Games saga, Tales from the Borderlands. Future games within my backlog, although I'm not sure when or if they'll be played in these coming months, include the Mass Effect series, Batman Arkham series, Telltale's The Walking Dead, and Transformers: War for Cybertron.
As for reading, there's a grand total of three challenges, in particular, where I am looking for success. The first is the general Goodreads "however many books in a year" challenge. I've been using Goodreads for a few years now, and I really dig the site. It helps me to keep track of what I've read, what I want to read, and even helps to connect readers with their favorite authors and book clubs.
Although I'm not as active a participant as I wish, I love keeping up with Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, which focuses on romance genre books with strong female lead characters, and The Sword and Laser, a book club formed by hosts of the podcast with the same name. There is a connection between the two with Veronica Belmont, as she is a co-host of both. The book choices typically land in the fantasy or paranormal romance genre when it comes to the Vaginal Fantasy side, and sometimes the choices cross over with The Sword and Laser, which focuses more on actual science fiction and fantasy with less of a leaning towards romance.
Within Goodreads proper, as you see above, it's more about than just getting through one book every month. I ended up doing 8 books last year with four of them being of the Outlander series. On top of that general 12-in-a-year challenge, I'm going to be aiming for this nifty Harry Potter Sorting Hat Challenge that I found while browsing on Goodreads a year or so ago, as well as the 2016 Reading Challenge via Modern Mrs Darcy (MMD). I had looked at a few other reading challenges, and most require 20+ books, which, as much as I would love to read 20, 50, or 100 in a year, it's a bit too lofty of a goal given that my general busyness bounces up an down quite a bit. These two require between 12 and 16, which will overlap a little, but I feel it is more realistic of a goal.
Starting with the Harry Potter Sorting Hat Challenge, you can decide to do the easy mode or the hard mode by picking a House and its Rival or just doing the whole thing. For the sake of this first year, I am just going to pick my favorite house (Ravenclaw) and, in turn, its rival (Hufflepuff).
I've completed one book for the year so far, Alan Cumming's memoir "Not My Father's Son," which already fulfills the part about a book taking place in Scotland. I've just recently started reading the sixth Outlander book entitled "A Breath of Snow and Ashes." This book fulfills the hardworking, patient, and loyal requirement under Hufflepuff, as well as a book that I've been meaning to read under the MMD challenge.
Once I can sit down and parse through both my electronic and physical collections, I'll be coming forth with another post about my gameplan of books and video games for the year. In the mean time, I'll leave you with my current updates.
Books Completed: "Not My Father's Son," by Alan Cumming
Book in Progress: "A Breath of Snow and Ashes," by Diana Galbadon
Video Game in Progress: Tales from the Borderlands