The Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge

Yes, it is very narcissistic to name a reading challenge after myself, but frankly all the good names were taken and I’m not one to plagiarize.  So what’s my challenge for myself and for anyone who wants to participate?  Well, here it is:

The Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge is to read and review (either on Goodreads, Amazon or your own blog) 104 books in one year starting January 1, 2013 and ending December 31, 2013.

Yes, this is an insane amount of books and I know that not many people may be able to achieve it.  That’s why there are different levels you can strive for:

1.  Mad Reviewer: 104 books in one year. (2 books a week all year.)

2.  Crazy Reviewer: 52 books in one year. (1 book a week all year.)

3.  Slightly Sane Reviewer: 26 books in one year. (1 book every fortnight all year.)

4.  Sane Reviewer: 12 books in one year.  (1 book every month all year.)

Got that?  So, of course, there are some rules to go along with it:

1.  Self-published, independently published and traditionally published books are all completely acceptable.  You can even read them on an e-reader.

2.  No audiobooks.  The point is to read books, not have someone reading to you.

3.  I don’t have a sign-up form like many reading challenges, but if you have a blog you can copy and paste the code below into a text widget:

Goal:  104 books read and reviewed<br>
Current:  0<br>
<div style=”height:15px;background:#A9D0F5;border:solid;”>
<div style=”background:#3366FF;color:white;width:0;”><b>0</b>

(A huge thanks goes to Stacking Pennies for the initial format of the progress bar.)

This is the one I used, but you can of course modify it to fit your goal.  Don’t have a blog?  Don’t worry.  Just keep track of all the books you read somewhere and comment on my year-end post on December 31.  I’m trusting you guys to stay honest, but if I need to I’ll check out whether you actually posted reviews.

4.  Everyone who achieves their goal will be entered into a draw for a grand prize, provided by me.  What that prize is I’m not sure yet, but it will obviously be book related.  If you have any suggestions for a possible prize, please let me know!

5.  You can review your books on any site.  Your own blog, Goodreads, someone else’s blog, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.  The point is just to review the books you read!

So who wants to sign up?  Just post your intentions in the comments below and what level you want to aim for.  Personally, I’m going to go for ‘Mad Reviewer’ because I really should earn my name.

It would also be great if you could publicize this in any way possible because I want as many people in my draw as possible.  Obviously being Freshly Pressed would be too much to hope for, but I can still dream, can’t I?


  1. Michael Allan Leonard

    Just a comment on the snub of audiobooks. If it’s an unabridged audiobook, it’s the exact same text as the print edition. You’re just using your ears to absorb the story rather than your eyes, and frankly, if there’s a good actor or actress behind the microphone, there’s an additional level of art in the performance layered on top of the story being presented. There’s something particularly special, as well, in hearing an author read their own work — it’s like tapping directly into their thoughts, how they ‘heard’ the story in their head while writing it.

    I spend a great deal of time commuting for both work and personal reasons, so audiobooks give me a chance to enjoy more books than I otherwise would get to. I’m not too ‘lazy’ to read, circumstances don’t let me sit down with a book. No offense, but it’s a little disappointing to see someone who seems to love books dismiss audiobooks — the format shouldn’t matter, the fact that you’re enjoying an author’s ideas and thoughts is the most important detail.

    • Carrie Slager

      You do make some good points and audiobooks are great if you’re insanely busy, but there still is a difference between listening to someone else read a book and reading it yourself. I find that you get so much more out of a book when you read it yourself because you have to pay more attention to it in order to understand it. As someone who listens to podcasts, I know there are times I get distracted and miss parts of it. Maybe that’s just me, but I think reading, when done properly, forces you think more about the book.

      In addition to that, I personally don’t listen to audiobooks. And this is my own challenge based off how I read as a reviewer. Some challenges accept audiobooks, some don’t. Not including audiobooks does not necessarily mean I’m dismissing them. I just feel they don’t fit the spirit of the challenge.

      • Michael Allan Leonard

        That’s fine, this is your show and all, but the way I’m taking “The point is to read books, not have someone reading to you” is “Stop being lazy and actually, you know, read.” Comes off as a little terse and off-handedly dismissive, along the way that “No eBooks, the point is to read things printed on paper, not pixels on a screen” would. Thanks for the response, though, and good luck with your challenge!

      • James Kennedy

        Audiobooks are perfect for commuting. Reading while standing on a subway train or a crowded bus isn’t comfortable, but listening to the book is. Audiobooks aren’t interrupted when you walk between platforms, walk home from the station, etc. Audiobooks change your commute from time “wasted” to time “well spent”.

  2. Thomas

    I’ll aim for the Crazy Reviewer level and perhaps make the Mad Reviewer level if I push myself. I review every book I read anyway, so this looks like a lot of fun!

  3. Devina a Lemon flavoured Jellybean

    Count me in, Carrie! I want to begin with the Crazy Reviewer level too and hopefully I’ll hit the Mad Reviewer level later. I’ve let myself go where reviewing is concerned so this is a carpe diem kind of thing for me, heavens know I need a good challenge 🙂 Oh, and do just a few re-reads count?

  4. clawsomemanno

    This sounds like a really interesting challenge and it should push me to update my blog more often. I’ll be aiming for Crazy Reviewer as I want to stay realistic and not overwhelm myself.

    Good luck achieving your own goal!

  5. theairtwit

    My schedule became so bogged down these past few months that I’ve hardly reviewed any books lately. This is the perfect challenge to get back in a ‘reviewing groove,’ though! I’d like aim for the crazy or slightly sane level, but I’ll keep realistic and challenge myself at the sane level.

    This’ll give the extra nudge I need, now — thanks! And good luck on your 104 reviews!

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  8. Caleb Flanagan

    I shall be chasing the “Mad Reviewer” level of crazy in 2013. It’s about 30 more than I pulled off this year, so within reach, but still going to be a significant challenge.

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  13. Devina a Lemon flavoured Jellybean

    I just realized that my code isn’t working properly, or at least like yours is. When you added in the number of books read your bar fills up with the red mine doesn’t. Picky, I know but it’s a bit annoying for me but I don’t to come of as whiny which I think I probably am. Oh, and yes I am crazy, not everyone realizes it yet 😉

    • Carrie Slager

      What you have to do is on the second line of text, where it says ‘width’ is type in what percentage you have read. For example, I would type in 1.9%. Beside the width is a b tag and between those you should type in your percentage as well so you can see it. If your background is white you might want to change the font colour to black like I have done. You can do that in the second line by changing ‘Color: white” to ‘Color: black.’
      Let me know if that works!

    • Carrie Slager

      If you’re having any problems with the widget, just let me know. I’ve tweaked it a little bit since I put the code up, but most people’s seem to be working fine.

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  15. theairtwit

    I have a question about reviewing a book that contains multiple books or stories. I’m reading through a collection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, and I intend to review each story rather than over-viewing all of the stories in one review. How should I count these reviews toward the challenge, if at all?

    • Carrie Slager

      Honestly, it’s up to you. I tend to only count books for myself if they’re over 100 pages, so maybe you should stick with that. But there are no hard-and-fast rules for this year’s challenge, so you can do whatever you think is best.

  16. Scatty

    Is it too late to join? This sounds like a really fun challenge and I’d aim for the Crazy Reviewer which happens to be 2 more books than my original aim for this year 😀

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