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Helmet-reading challenge 2018 | Beginning and setup

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It’s been years since I have read books, since I have to read a lot of research as part of my work, and I have sort of thought that is enough for me. After discovering bullet journaling I have started to work on some changes in my life – actually, I first started thinking about changing my life and then discovered bullet journaling to support that process – and have become more aware of the importance of reading books. I think my perceptions of reading books have also changed.

This would be a topic for a post on its own, but today I want to tell you about the Helmet 2018 Reading Challenge and show how I set my challenge pages in my bujo.

Helmet 2018 Reading Challenge

Helmet is the network of public libraries in the Helsinki capital area. In Finnish helmet means pearls, and finns sometimes call evergreens as “pearls” in Finnish, so that probably explains why librarians have considered it a great acronym for the libraries. Nothing to with helmets or any other types of hats either. Their english website can be found here: http://www.helmet.fi/en-US.

They have organized the reading challenge in the past years too, but this was the first time I heard about it. Someone in the Finnish Facebook group asked for plans to setup the challenge in their bujos, and I was immediately interested. I had already started reading in the beginning of December and managed to finish a short novel by xmas.

The English page for the Reading Challenge is here and they also provider a smaller challenge for children here. The challenge is associated with a Finnish speaking Facebook group too, but if you do not speak Finnish I recommend you join another reading club/group and take your challenge there with you. Others might get interested, or at least suggest books that fit in the themes.

There are 50 different themes in the challenge, but the approach is relaxed and readers are free to bend the rules, or interpret them, the way they like. Some readers aim at 50 different books, whereas others tick every theme in the that challenge that applies to the book they finished. Some only read but many also include audio books.

The 50 Helmet 2018 Challenge themes:

1. A book where someone moves to a new place
2. A book of poetry from your country
3. A book that starts a series
4. The book title has a place in it
5. The book takes place in the decade you were born in
6.  The book has been published in more than one format
7. The book takes place in a ficticious country or world
8. A book written by a Baltic author
9. The book cover has only one color
10. A book chosen for you by a friend or family member
11. A book that end well
12. A graphic novel
13. The book has just one or two characters
14. The book takes place in two or more countries
15. A book translated by an award winning translator
16. A book where someone reads book
17. A book about a social injustice
18. A book about making movies
19. A book about parenthood
20. A memoir or a biography of an artist
21. A book that takes you out of your comfort zone
22. The book has references to popular culture
23. The book includes a sea or an ocean
24. A sad book
25. A collection of short stories
26. A book about a place you have not been to
27. A book about a LGBT family or couple
28. The book title has words in alphabetical order
29. The book has a dragon in it
30. The book is connected to the time of World War I
31. Starting a book that slightly frightens you
32. Someone goes to school or studies in the book
33. A survival story
34. Something is born or created in the book
35. A book about a country that was part of the Eastern Bloc
36. The book has a poem as an important part
37. The author has the same name as a family member
38. The book cover has a vehicle on it
39. The book is written by an immigrant
40. The book has a pet in it
41. A book chosen at random
42. The book title has an adjective in it
43. A Finnish book that has been translated to another language
44. The book is connected to a game
45. An award winning non-fiction book
46. The book title is just one word
47. The book is told from the perspective of a child
48. A book in which I would like to be the protagonist
49. A book published in 2018
50. A book recommended by library personnel

I chose to tick all themes that apply to a book, since getting back to reading I suspect I will not be able to read 50 themes. My goal is to get a hit for every theme at least once. I read only one book last year, and zero books for the preceding 5 years, so I need to be realistic. I also include both ordinary books and the audio book format. The library provides links to tables files, but as a bullet journalist I definitely wanted to make my own customized tracker page.

The Helmet 2018 Reading Challenge in my bullet journal

Here is a picture of the whole spread, and a couple of books completed already. On the left page, themes marked green are tackled so far.

I first made a list of the main aspects in the challenge for the left page. With two columns  I was able to fit it in a single page.

A brief list of the challenge themes.

On the right page I created a table grid for the 50 themes. Since Leuchtturm does not have 50 squares on a page, I needed to be creative. By splitting the squares in half the table takes only 25 squares and fits nicely. Odd numbers are in the top row and even numbers below.

A large table fits in a page when the squares are split.

I wrote the numbers with black, made a mistake, covered them with black, and wrote new numbers using a white Sakura Gelly Roller. Books are listed in the right side column.

The list takes 26 books.

In the end I decided to add a column in the marginal to allow the date when I completed the book.

Some space for dates squeezed in the margin.

It has been a nice start with the challenge already. I feel it motivates me to read and helps me to finish the books that I start. I only allow myself to include a book that is finished. My tracker can take 26 books which would be awesome, but I would be happy even for finishing 10 books.

here is the whole table grid page. I rarely like to turn the page but for this one it was a good approach. However, the grid would fit vertically too.

Have you set up a reading challenge for 2018?

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