Announcing the Unread Book Challenge of 2012!

If you’re like me – that is, you love books, you read tons of books, you check out too many books from the library, and most of all, you buy too many books – there are books sitting around your house, apartment, room, or other domicile that have been waiting to be read for years. 2012 is going to be their year.

The challenge is simple: read those books. The ones you bought on a whim while you were Christmas shopping for your uncle. The ones you saw reviewed somewhere and just had to have. The ones bought at the used bookstore because you read it once when you were twelve and couldn’t look up because you couldn’t remember the author or the title, but it just showed up one day on the shelf, tattered and worn and begging to be taken home.

(If you’re one of those people with an unbelievable amount of self-restraint, who never buys books you don’t have time to read, take an alternate version of the challenge and read the books you’ve been meaning to get around to forever. You’ve got a list, don’t you? Of course you do. Use that instead.)

To sign up, leave a comment on this post. If you have a blog, grab the button. Make a challenge post and link to it in the comments. If you don’t have a blog, no worries! Comment anyway. I’ll post checkins throughout the year where we can chat about our (hopefully) shrinking piles of books.

The Hopeful Librarian
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Count every book you finish in 2012 that you own but haven’t read yet. (If you have a small TBR stack, you may want to include books you own and have been meaning to reread, but just haven’t gotten to, due to library books, review copies, giveaways, and other new books. If I did that, though, it’d be a five-year challenge, so this part is purely optional.) Here’s the catch, though – books you add to the stack throughout 2012 count as part of your total of unread books.¬†Yes, that means it’s entirely possible to read nothing but books you already own and never make it past 10% read. But remember, we’re trying to decrease the size of the stack, not let it metastasize all over your bookshelves like some kind of fascinating but ultimately dangerous literary cancer.

Why join? For the joy and satisfaction of getting that stack down, of course. And throughout the year I’ll be giving away prizes for the most books read total, the most progress made, and one big end-of-year giveaway (I’m thinking bookshelves – a new home for all those happily read books). Plus you get to watch everyone else discover the joy of books they’ve been meaning to get to for ages.

Signups are open through the end of January, so spread the word, and start counting.

86 thoughts on “Announcing the Unread Book Challenge of 2012!

  1. Hi

    I’d love to join as I have lots TBR books lying about but a few questions first. Is this worldwide and are crossovers with other challenges allowed?

    1. Yes, and yes! I will absolutely find a way to make non-US giveaways work. As for challenge crossovers, I see no reason why a book can’t count for more than one challenge at a time.

  2. I own more unread books than read ones, but there’s definitely a reasonable number of ones that have been sitting around for years.
    But yep, definitely want to join.

  3. I needed a challenge that wouldn’t make me go out of my way to read things not in my pile, so this one is perfect. Roughly, I have one bookshelf and about 4′ of piles on the floor, and a little over 200 unread on the Kindle, and 500+ on the Library Thing to-read list. So my percentage won’t be very good, but I’ll try to make some progress.

    1. Welcome! I’ve been telling all my IRL friends – I don’t expect anyone to “win” this, it’s the process that counts. :D And for what it’s worth, I’m not counting books on my to-read list – just ones that are physically taking up space. Well, and ebooks.

  4. Yes, this is exactly what I wanted to do this next year! I think I’ve read only read one or two books I actually own this year due to my slight *coughs* library addiction so I had decided I needed to read from my own shelves before I let myself back in the library. Finding this challenge is giving me the push I need to return any book I haven’t started back to the library to start the year off fresh, ao to speak. After Borders closing (and thus amazing prices) I have a lot of books to read (though not as many as most as I don’t tend to buy many books because of the price).

    Is it okay to use only physical books for the challenge? Reading on my laptop or phone means I don’t read my ebooks that often because it strains my eyes.

    1. Oh yes, those Borders sales… My roommate was working for them right up until they turned off the lights. I have quite a stack to remember them by, too.

      If limiting the challenge to physical books is what works for you, by all means do so.

  5. Ooooh…. scary, considering I have about a billion books in the house that I haven’t read yet! But count me in! I’ve had that thought for years but never got around to it :) It’ll be fun! But still scary :P I’ll update on my LJ :)

  6. I’m in as well! I really need to start reading some of the books I own…too many rows of patiently waiting books…the last couple of years I have been trying to read more of my own (hard when you work in a library!) but this year I’m REALLY trying so this is the perfect challenge. I’m also trying to choose only my own books for all my other challenge titles too, so we’ll see how this goes! My sign up post is finally up!

    1. I know what you mean about working in a library! I used to stop myself checking out too many library books by just not going, but now…

    1. Okay, yes, that would also be awesome. Unfortunately, they cost an arm and a leg. (My library just bought two for forty bucks apiece and celebrated our bargain all day.)

  7. I’m in! Perhaps by the end of 2012, I will no longer need to stack books 2 layers deep on my bookshelves…

  8. I’m adding this to my reading challenges for the year. I’m looking forward to digging up some of those often overlooked books that I just had to read, yet are becoming scenery.

  9. Hopefully that the stack of books on my floor (because they won’t fit on the book shelves anymore) will be read this year! Thanks for the challenge!

  10. This challenge is exactly what I need. I have stacks and stacks, bookcases and shelves full of books I have not read, but just had to have. I couldn’t help myself. You understand. I have found a lot of gems at the library’s used book sales, garage sales, and friends who are always giving books away. What can I say? I am a book worm, a book hound, and besides that I just plain love books (and to read them, of course). I still read the good old fashioned way…..turning the paper pages. Happy reading!

    1. Oh, I hear you. Library book sales are the most dangerous for me – a whole bag of books for a dollar sometimes. Won’t they think of my poor shelves?

  11. My daughter will be two in three days, so I have about two years of book purchases to catch up on! Thank you fot this challenge. I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I’m excited to try!

  12. I recently collected all the books I own, read and unread, scattered all over the house, in one empty room to sort through, and they are in piles 2 ft high all over the floor! So this challenge is tailor-made for me. Chipping in!

    1. Official signups closed at the end of January, but all that really impacts is stuff like the giveaways that I’m going to start doing soon I swear. Please feel free to follow along!

    1. Congrats! I achieved…100% of nothing in this challenge, I’m pretty sure I have more books than I started out with. But some of them are different books!

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