Earlier this year, I signed up for Jae’s 2021 Sapphic Reading Challenge.
In order to earn badges and bragging rights, you have to read 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 books that fit into 50 different categories. There’s a bonus Unicorn round that you have to read 10 out of 12 categories.
The categories are a catch-all of tropes and frequent plots – some being more elusive than others and some that I thought I’d have trouble finding seem to be popping up all over the place. I don’t know if I wasn’t paying attention in the past, but I’ve come across a ton of books that include neurodiverse characters (e.g. autism), chronic illness, mental or physical disabilities and non-binary characters.
In some cases, the categories are rather vague and very much up to the reader’s interpretation – I’m struggling with the “character who is not “Hollywood beautiful”” and “body positive” categories, partially because most lesfics have smoking hot leads and partially because I’m not usually paying attention to what the character looks like.
I have to admit that the category “Recommended by a Friend” is giving me some heart palpitations. I’ll likely ask Cheri for a recommendation, and I suspect she will recommend something on par with “The Book Which Must Not Be Named” and will laugh maniacally as I curse and struggle to make my way through it. She is evil.
One of the challenges is when you read a book that hits multiple categories and deciding which one to slot it into for the challenge. I’ve been shifting and moving books around like a madwoman as lesfic does like its tropes.
I’ve been enjoying the challenge – it’s been making me stretch a bit looking for books and authors that I may not have picked up in the past and it’s also making me reach deep into the TBR pile and finally get around to reading some books I’ve been too distracted to read. I tend to read so much, documenting the books and slotting them into the challenge categories has forced me to slow down a bit and focus my reading as well as appreciate just how many books I go through in a year. I can’t guarantee I’ll post something for every book I read for the challenge, but it’s giving me the impetus to write more reviews.
Based on the volume of books I tend to go through, my goal is the Book Dragon (Level 2) and Unicorn.
Once I complete Dragon Level 1, I’ll post the list of books I’ve read for the challenge and do the same when I finish Level 2 and the Unicorn categories. At the rate I’m going, I may go for a bonus round with a Dragon Level 3 and a Unicorn 2 (not officially part of the challenge) by the end of the year.
For bragging rights – and because they are so damned cute – on the way to Dragon Level 1, I’ve collected the following badges:
Book Penguin (10 categories)
Book Squirrel (20 Books)
Book Bear (30 Books)