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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Highlighting Books is an Easy Way to Participate in the A ot Z Challenge

When I began participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, blogging about books was a no brainer.  I figured I had a large collection of books, I knew alot about books, and I loved books, so why not?

Except that after I started in on the challenge I realized my choice was going to prove more difficult than I expected.

Why is that?

Because you can't just choose books randomly from the alphabet.  There are choices to be made:

  1. Horror, romance, mystery, picture books, etc?
  2. Blues, pinks, golds covers
  3. Adults, Young Adult, picture books
  4. Books you've read or books you want to read
  5. Books you have at home or books you want to own
  6. Male writers or female authors
  7. etc, 
See? The choices drove me batty. 

Not really.  I was already batty. 

Anyway, my first year I thought I knew what I was doing! I chose books that I'd had at home and had read all or part of. I thought I was being authentic by only highlighting books I knew something about. 

Imagine my frustration when I got to the letter Q. Fortunately I found a copy of Alex Haley's Queen. I hadn't read it but I kept that secret to myself. Take a look at what I dork I was!

Fortunately, I had my braces removed and I'm back to looking somewhat less like an overgrown 8th grader.  Anywho...

My list of books continued up through XYZ. Of course I cheated with the letter X but what are ya gonna do? 

What I learned from my first year is that while it was cool to highlight books from A to Z I needed a tighter definition because my type A self wasn't satisfied until I'd put a chokehold on my choices. The next year I chose to highlight kids books.  I can't remember if it was Young Adult, Middle Grade, or Picture books but you get where I'm going with this, right?

Give yourself more specific directions because "one man's attention to detail is another man's glut of information"  which I interpret to mean, you'll have an easier go of it if you pay attention to the details.  Choose Young Adult books then you'll be more focused and the stars will align for you.  Or at least you'll have focus.  

As it turns out, in the years since I started participating in the A to Z Challenge, I learned that I was so interested in reading kids' books, that I narrowed the focus of my book review blog, An Unconventional Librarian, to only kids' (middle grade, young adult, picture) books which makes my life focused and pretty happy. 

And I'm probably the only person on the planet who knows all of the book titles that start with XYZ. Which might only come in handy on Jeopardy.   

How do you choose your topic for the A to Z Challenge?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pam - I imagine your choices will have inspired many to read your suggestions. Also narrowing down your focus for your writing must help enormously.

My topic came in the first year I did the challenge and I kept the same sort of principle for each subsequent year and will do the same next year: Aspects of British C..... Countryside, Castles, Cookery, Coasts ... next year - ah-ha!

Cheers - everyone has great ideas ... and I imagine your XYZ titles will hold you in good stead .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

I usually choose musical themes, Last year I did about the various places I have visited.
Enjoyed your post.
Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

When I participated a couple of years ago, I highlighted books that my son liked when he was younger. Books I had read to him or books we had read together. Guess the piles of books at the time helped make my decision for the topic.

Anonymous said...

I like your ideas. esp if they include photographs!

Anonymous said...

what kind of musical themes? I love music.

Anonymous said...

I think that's where my piles of books came from too. Books I had for my children. Thanks for your comments!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Even with a specific topic, it always helps to narrow the focus.
I've never featured books, but I have featured bloggers, movies, games, and events. (And this year, all at the same time!)

Heather M. Gardner said...

I don't get to choose my theme any more.
It's all about the gnome.


Great post!


Stephanie Faris said...

I think before I participate this year, I'm going to write out A to Z and make sure I have something for each letter! Some of those letters were true stumpers. You look adorable in the picture. Love the glasses!

G. B. Miller said...

've spent the past 6 years of my blogging life writing about my trials and tribulations on this writing journey of mine, so it was basically a no-brainer to write about that.

Father Nature's Corner

Jemima Pett said...

Really enjoyed this post, thanks!