The name of the book club is not really competitive book club, but it’s a bit of a “in joke” for the members. Last year, I created a PolyWogg Reading Challenge where I had a “bingo” card for some friends to have a low-pressure book club to read different categories of books and “fill” spots on the bingo card for different genres or themes. It was okay, but it wasn’t that compelling, and people just tended to do their own thing.
For 2020, people suggested some changes to the reading challenge, including:
- More monthly “categories” with a few specific ideas about themes (we added Indigenous for example);
- Some flexibility within the month with a bit of nudging; and,
- They want badges.
I kept wanting to say, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”, but as moderator of the small but mighty band of intrepid readers, that seemed discouraging. However, I wasn’t sure how to do them, what they would be for, or if anyone would care, even when they were asking for them (the desire for badges prompted the joke that we were turning it into competitive book club). Some months I have struggled to stay on top of the monthly totals and award the badges. A few months it was close to the middle of the month before I wrapped up the totals for the month. In short, there were times this year with the isolation where I just wasn’t feeling it.
It isn’t that I wasn’t spending time on my computer and couldn’t get to it; I just wasn’t enjoying it that much. Back in July, I had an idea and it turned out to be really terrible…for me. The way the monthly badges work is that I generally offer them four categories of books for the month:
A. A few specific books from the theme for the month (I pick them, but I take suggestions too);
B. A secondary category, generally open-ended as to what they might want to read in that genre;
C. A catch-all “Readers Choice” for anything else they read; and,
D. A challenge book for the month.
They can get 1 of 5 badges depending on how “hard” the choices are…1 book of their choice, 1 named book, 2 books of their choice, 2 named books, or 3+ books or the challenge book.
My idea for August and September was that you could double-count across the months. So, for instance, if you read a mystery in one month for the theme, you could also count it as a reader’s choice the next month. I wouldn’t double the totals but I would let books count against more than one badge across months. And then I compounded it by offering the same deal for October…books in any of the three months could be used to win badges in the other two months. It was a complicated nightmare to work out and track.
Today I choose to work on the competitive book club by totaling up all the results for the three months. 91 books read in total (without double-counting) by the group, all the badges awarded, everything caught up and reset for November. In addition, I have a plan for December that had me go back and make a list of all the books people have read for the year. I wish I had been keeping track from the beginning, would have been a lot easier. It took some time, but as I said, I’m all caught up.
What choices did you make today?