Thursday, June 28, 2012

The 6th annual Canadian Book Challenge- What is it? How do I join? And other FAQs

1. What is the Canadian Book Challenge?

The Canadian Book Challenge is an online reading challenge in which participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: Canada Day to Canada Day. Reviews must be posted online and participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants. More on reviews below.

2. How do I join?

Send me an email (jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com) with the subject line "Sign Me Up!" and I'll add you to the list. Consider yourself a participant even if you don't get a response from me right away. Come July 1st you can get started right away. As soon as I get your first link (see below), I'll add your name to the participant list on the sidebar of this blog.

3. Oh no, it's past July 1st, can I still join?

Of course! In the past I've had people join in the very last month. My response to latecomers is always the same: If you think you can realistically read and review 13 books in the time remaining, then why not? To join, just follow the exact same instructions as above.

4. What constitutes a Canadian book?

Canadian books can include any genre or form (picture books, poetry, novels, non-fiction, plays, anthologies, graphic novels, cookbooks, etc), can be written by Canadian authors (by birth or immigration) or about Canadians. Ultimately, participants must decide for themselves whether or not something fits the description of Canadian.

4. Do I need to know ahead of time which books I'll be reading?

No. But by all means, if you want to plan ahead, do so. Some people find it's more of a challenge to do it this way, and others prefer to find their next book as it comes. If you do make a list and decide to alter it along the way, that's fine.

5. Do I need to have a theme?

No. I personally like to read at least one book from each province and territory (it's the whole reason 13 has become the goal number). Last edition some of the themes included deceased authors, books set North of 60, crime fiction, small press publishers, and rereads. In other years we've had people choose books solely by a particular author or province. The options are yours to decide.

Certainly a theme could make the challenge more difficult, but then again, it could also make it more fun. In any case, the majority of participants opt to have no theme at all, just pushing for 13 random Canadian books. They feel they can still read what they want, when they want and aren't too confined by restrictions. The choice is up to you.

6. What if I don't reach 13 books or if I do?

If you don't, but you've had fun, it's still good. Your reviews will still be read by other participants. And you'll have a chance again when the next edition comes around. Some people ask if it's okay to fill up the remainder with children's books since they're shorter. I personally think children's books (picture books) are just as valid and need to be read and discussed as much as novels. Others think that it's a challenge, and as such, shouldn't be easy. Again, this is a participant's decision to make.

If you do reach 13, you may stop, or keep going. Remember, it's 13 or more. I love to see how many I can squeeze in. There are no prizes for reading the most. I want to stress that this is not a competition against other people. However, for all those that do meet the requirement of 13 or more, your names will be put in for a random draw for a prize.

7. Can my books count towards other challenges?

Of course! That's half the fun! I read some this past year that counted in the Graphic Novels Challenge and the Canadian Book Challenge.

8. I don't live in Canada and am finding it difficult to get my hands on Canadian books. Any recommendations or solutions?

It'll probably be easier to find some of our "big names" at your library (Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields, for example). Of course, you can always order online. And if you ask nicely enough, Canadian participants have been known to ship books far and wide to help out.

9. What if I read a book and don't have time to review it?

Sorry, that's one point I'm sticky on. I don't count it until it's reviewed. By all means, feel free to read 13 Canadian books, but the reviewing part is an equal component of the challenge. I want the books talked about even if you didn't enjoy it. While I say "review" I don't mean anything necessarily lengthy and I don't mean necessarily a review as much as I mean your thoughts on the book, questions about why an author said something, memories it stirred up. Anything, just something.

10. I don't have a blog, how do I post a review online?

Most Canadian Book Challenge participants are bloggers, but not all. Book reviews can also be posted on other sites such as GoodReads, Bookcrossing, Chapters, Amazon, and more. However, I do have a few requirements:

i. Participants wishing to read your reviews should not need a membership or sign up to do so. For instance, anyone can read a review at Chapters, so it's fine. However, a review posted on Facebook would be out since not everyone has a Facebook account and would not be able to access it.

ii. When you share a link make sure it's directly to your review and participants do not have to go searching endlessly to find it. For instance, if you blog, link to your posts, not your entire blog. (For example: Review NOT Blog) If you link from Chapters, after you write and publish your review, you will be be able to click on your review title which will provide your link in the URL bar. (For example: Review NOT Book page)

Yet another option is simply writing your review in an email to me (jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com) and I'll happily post it on The Book Mine Set.

11. How do I share links to my reviews?

Each month there will be a roundup post here at the Book Mine Set. This year I'll once again be using a link sharing tool from similar to the one they use at the Graphic Novels Challenge. Whenever you finish writing a review, just head to my blog and click on the "Share your link" icon. Add your name and in parentheses the title of the book you just reviewed, then provide the link. I'll also ask that in the comment section of that post that you bring us up to speed on your progress so far (ex. 6/13 read). I'll send an email reminder once a month.

12. Will there be prizes?

Possibly. In the past I've offered monthly prizes, but I've had to spend a lot of time soliciting publishers for donations.  Canadian publishing companies and authors have been very generous in their support. However, this year in an effort to keep down on my workload, I'm leaving the ball in their court. Should publishers or authors want to donate books as prizes, they can contact me at jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com to arrange the details. And if there are no prizes this time around, let's let finishing the challenge be its own reward. I'll see how this approach goes this year and if it it causes a lack of interest in the challenge, or if the challenge seems less fun, I'll revisit it for the 7th edition.

13. Who designed the logo?
Sarah at Pussreboots designed this logo as an homage to graphic novelist Jeff Lemire.

14. How can I help?

By joining, reading and reviewing, obviously. And sharing links to your reviews. I also need help with promotion. Please, even if you're opting not to participate this time around, help promote the challenge on your blog. Feel free to write a post that tells your readers that your joining and why, and if you've participated before, how much fun it is. Also, use the logo above, feel free to place it permanently in your sidebar.


Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

Thanks, John, for sharing the update at FHC! Didn't know it was up when I posted my intro to The Canadian Book Challenge today at FHC...
Either way, more people are finding out about this great reading challenge and I'm in again for the next year! Thanks for initiating and hosting...

Kim Aippersbach said...

This is a brilliant idea, and your site is an incredibly helpful resource. I will definitely be joining up.

One question: what's the pink thing the mountie is holding?

Kim Aippersbach said...

oh, duh! It's a donut! Awesome logo, eh?

Hutt-Write Voice said...

Looking forward to taking part in this challenge and just posted about it on my blog. This is a fabulous Canada Day event, because we get to celebrate Canadian authors year round!

Nan said...

I've just put up my joining post on the blog.

Cat said...

This will be my first time participating and looking forward to it. I posted about it on my blog.

Shonna said...

I'll be posting something on my blog in early July about the 6th challenge, and I also included you in an article about reading blogs I wrote for the Ontario Library Association journal, mentioning your challenge. I'll send you a copy when it is published.
Thanks for doing so much for Canadian books.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

promoted via twitter @_eHope w/ ending and beginning new Challenge as of July 1st ~ HapPy to promo!

Melwyk said...

Looking forward to another year of Canadian reading, John! We'll see how it goes -- I haven't decided on my theme yet....I still have about half an hour to ponder it......

Teena in Toronto said...

I've put a link on my blog ...

Luanne said...

Hi Everyone!

Thanks John for hosting this challenge again! I'm looking forward to another great year of Canadian reads. I've done a post up today and the logo is in my sidebar permanently. Happy Canada Day!

Melwyk said...

Alright, I'm in! Have my join up post finally up, having decided on a way to challenge myself again this year:

I've shared on twitter & will be making some bookmarks to put at the library again this year!

Melissa Wiebe said...

I am considering it.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I want to continue on and join your 6th Canadian Book Challenge.


Peggy Ann said...

I have officially joined in. Here is my post of intent on my blog!. thanks John

TracyK said...

I sent an email to join and have posted my joining post here:

Darlene said...

Please sign me up!

Here's my blog post:

Thanks again for hosting!! I love seeing what everyone else is reading, and I am adding more Canadian authors to my TBR list!

Jo said...

I'd like to join. I've added this to the bottom of my challenge page here:

Anonymous said...

I just posted about your challenge.
I'm glad I saw it. I'm really keen on reading more Canadina literature this year.

Brett said...

John, your Book Challenge is quite an interesting and fun idea. I've sent you by email a few links of some of my Canadian book reviews from past few months, all of which can also be found on my O'Canada blog ( I look forward to exploring your site further. Brett

Brett said...

John, your Book Challenge is quite an interesting and fun idea. I've sent you by email a few links of some of my Canadian book reviews from past few months, all of which can also be found on my O'Canada blog ( I look forward to exploring your site further. Brett

Brett said...

John, your Book Challenge is quite an interesting and fun idea. I've sent you by email a few links of some of my Canadian book reviews from past few months, all of which can also be found on my O'Canada blog ( I look forward to exploring your site further. Brett