Saturday, October 24, 2015

#TBRChallenge 2016: Suggestions Welcome!

October is almost over, which means November is around the corner, ergo - Wendy needs to start thinking about the TBR Challenge for next year.  Even as busy as my Real Life seems to be these days, yes - I'll host a TBR Challenge in 2016.  It's the only way I know to force myself to dig around in my giant pile of books and I love reading everyone's commentary on their own TBR reads every month.

I'll once again do themes.  Some of you really seem to like them, and those of you who don't happily go "off-theme" and that's fine too.  Over the years of my hosting, I've kept a lot of the same themes year-to-year, but also changed up a few.  I've also tried to keep the themes fairly broad to give participants some wiggle room.

Thinking ahead to 2016 means I'm open for suggestions on potential themes.  Do you have one that you think would be a great idea?  A theme I used to do that I dropped that you really miss?  Themes you're less than wild about? (I suspect I'm the only who like the RITA theme - but hey, that one was a suggestion one year!).  Hit me up with your suggestion(s) either in the comments section, on Twitter, or hey - you can always e-mail me.


Keira Soleore said...

Ah, the comment form finally worked. I was having some difficulty. Anyway.

Given that I'm your rare off-themer, perhaps I shouldn't have any say in category selection, but I do have a suggestion. Is it possible to word the categories even broader? This is so that they fit a wider range of books, not just romance? So instead of the themes being more sub-genres of romance, they should be more thematic in terms of content? Or is that too restrictive? Or is the point of the #TBRChallenge only to read romance?

Anyways, I'm happy to be an off-themer if this proves too difficult.

azteclady said...

I really like Keira's suggestion, so consider it seconded.

(I've debated even commenting on this, as I've yet to manage more than a handful of months a year, but hey, you haven't kicked me off the challenge yet.)

Unknown said...


funny historical aka like julia quinn stuff

female doctors theme , medicals

library themes

disbaled themes

time travel theme

blue collor theme

sport theme

rag to riches theme


halloween - old timey
halloween- classic monster
halloween- horror

christmas theme

new year eve themes

willaful said...

Keira makes a good point, and probably most themes could be extended. For example, RITA winner or any other book award.

I don't want to make any specific suggestions because I like the very general themes -- makes it easier to find something in the pile.

Bona Caballero said...

I think the themes are all right, I haven't had any problem in finding books in my TBR about them - until this next month. I haven't still chosen one book for November because I think 'what's the hype' is more about books newer than the ones I find in my TBR pile.

So I wouldn't change it. I specially like categories as old skool or a RITA winner/nominee. And paranormal/contemporary/historical are broad enough so we all can find something in our TBR piles.

At the beginning of 2015 I was looking for a TBR Challenge, in several webpages, and in the end I decided yours was the most comfortable for me, because (a) it was about romance novels, (b) it was just once a month and (c) the categories were open enough to find something in my TBR pile. I wouldn't like that to change.

But you ask for suggestions and I'd like to be helpful. A couple of them:
- Unusual settings - a historical set in the Middle Ages, or a book set outside the British Isles or USA - This is, a book set in Asia, the European continent, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania or the Antarctic -is there any romance set in that cold place?-
- A sports romance novel.

Reading about other challenges I found suggestions as 'a book with blue on the cover', or 'a month in the title' ('or a number' or just 'one-word title'), or 'a book published the year you were born' (tricky this one, not everybody wants to confess her age). I found them silly, but perhaps someone with a better sense of humour than mine can find them helpful.

Jill Sorenson said...

I've never participated so I'm not sure what the categories were. I'd suggest LGBT, multicultural, unusual settings/time periods, unusual characters (like hillbillies!). I feel like the genre is getting a bit stale with the dukes and billionaire suits and all white football players. So anything fresh, basically.

Wendy said...

I love the idea of Unusual Settings, just now debating if that's not broad enough. Another one that came through Twitter - Favorite Trope! Which would be really, really broad and cover pretty much any and all favorite themes participants may have. That's one I think I'll definitely adopt.

Keep 'em coming!

Wendy said...

Jill: Now there's an idea - I could call it Something Different! It could cover everything from diversity to No-Billionaires-Or-Dukes to an unusual setting. Something to ponder.

S. said...

I'd love a favorite trope month.
Why not make one month about a title starting with our name's letter or something? I have lots of books in the pile that surely would suit and other might as well.
I second the "hype" theme not being my favorite. It's different so I try to follow it (I'm a theme follower, that's the fun in this) but it's not always easy because I don't have as many bestsellers or popular books in hand and the aim is to go through the pile we do have. Short stories can be handy but not always easy for me to find suitable ones in the pile unless I get them on purpose.
I'm curious to see the mix of themes again next year!
Have fun too, Wendy!

willaful said...

I like favorite trope too! And Jill's suggestions made me think of "outside your comfort zone." That might be a bit tricky for the TBR, but probably a lot of us have books we bought because of recs and then thought "uh oh, what am I doing with this?"

Anna Richland said...

I know this is a TBR theme, but what about a check a book out of the library month? They're filled with books people *intend* to read too! Or a used paperback theme? (everywhere has a Goodwill or a used bookstore or a friend to swap with). Those could be bundled together - I'm thinking a get-outside-the-TBR pile theme.

Miss Bates said...

Hey, I have one for the "Favourite Trope"'s Evil Twin: the "Shudder" Theme ... something you'd never read, but there it is sitting in your TBR in all its malevolence.

Another few suggestions are:

"Arts and Culture" Theme (dance, theatre, etc. setting): this one might be too narrow

"Spinster" Month - heroine is considered, or considers herself - heh heh, showing my hand here

"Rom-Hybrid" Month - for those "romantic elements" TBR titles

This was a fun idea!!

Bona Caballero said...

'Something different' is a broad enough category! I like it, because 'different' can mean a lot of things. A book can be different because of its unusual setting (time or place), or the characters (social class, ethnic group), books with romantic elements or even books that -for the reader- are different because they belong to a genre they don't usually read (the 'out of your comfort zone' idea).

I like the favourite trope, too, but I was asking myself if I could identify mine in a book that lies in my TBR pile.

Mrs Giggles said...

Random pull from the TBR pile.

Wendy said...

The romantic elements idea has a lot of potential - although I'm thinking now I'm going to roll it into the "something different" concept. Something to ponder.

Mrs. Giggles: I've almost done Random or Free Pick! in the past - but then discarded it for something else. This year I think I dumped it for the Impulse theme which was....ugh, kind of a disaster for me personally although DNF'ing four books means I ended up getting rid of 5 books out of my TBR that month - so maybe it was a success? Anyway, I think I'm going to do a Random theme this next year. It will give us a chance to blindly pick or follow our current reading mood....

azteclady said...

I prefer the more open themes--specifically, I much rather the general "award winner" instead of Rita winner. But then, I hold grudges :grin:

cleo reader said...

I've never actually participated but that won't stop me from commenting.

I like the out of your comfort zone idea - a lot of my tbr purchases are aspirational - books that I want to support or think would be good to broaden my reading, etc, but yeah, I don't always read them. The something different idea overlaps with it and is probably more appealing and broader.

willaful said...

Something I've being doing a lot for the 2015 challenge, so maybe it's redundant but: a book you previously started and didn't finish.

Caz said...

I like the favourite trope idea, definitely. I also like many of the existing themes, like the RITA/award one and the old-skool one. My Paperback Pile of Doom has lots of the latter, and that prompt is a great way for me to knock at least one off a year!

I'm happy sticking with romances overall, as I rarely read outside the genre these days and I have to be in the right mood to want to read a non-romance.

I don't mind the "stick a (metaphorical) pin in it" (the TBR pile) idea, either.

Bona Caballero said...

I don't know if this can help, but in this article "Writing Diversity In Romance: Falguni Kothari Gives Us Tips" they say
"Diverse novel" = a book with a non-Western setting or inspired by a non-Western culture; or with a main character who is non-white/non-Western, LGBTQ+, and/or disabled. Perhaps all our ideas of something different, unusual, out of comfort zones, etc could be defined that way for a diverse or unusual month.

Wendy said...

These are all great ideas - thanks everybody! (And keep 'em coming if you think of any more!) Now I just need to work on a post announcing the 2016 Challenge and what the themes will be.