So, here it is! The long awaited new Bingo card!
For those unaware, this is a yearly challenge run by Lisa (Way Too Fantasy) that takes place on the r/fantasy subreddit from April to April. Official announcement with rules and resources here, but in essence, the goal is to fill as many rows, columns, diagonals (most try for a full card, the more adventurous of us for two…or three…) without repeating authors. You can use one reread and substitute one square for a previous square, but the main aim is to read widely. I have been participating since the beginning and it remains my favourite challenge.
While I did two cards for the last two years, this year I will be cutting back to one – it’s a decision I made months ago when I was frustrated with how limiting a 50-book challenge felt, but the difficulty only cemented it.
And from a first look, this card is more difficult than the last – there are far more niche subgenre squares like slice of life or LitRPG, plus there’s an unusual number of them that are…very much not to my taste. I’m not a new reader anymore, I know what I like and why. My personal rule is not to force myself to read books just because they fit a square and try my best to find something I’ll like at least a little for each square. This year, it might be a bit more challenging. But then, it is a challenge.
Because the post turned out so long (nearing 4-5k words), I split it in two. Here is the first part, dedicated to squares 1-12.
The r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge has been my favourite reading challenge ever since its beginning in 2015. The squares are a nice mix of easy and challenging, designed to make you read more widely and explore the parts of the genre you may not have read before. With a new card coming out tomorrow and having to update my Bingo challenge page, I’ll be archiving the 2018 completed cards as a post.
This year, like the last one, I’ve been trying for two cards. One unrestricted, one focused on underrated books, with the additional criteria of at least 50% female authors over both cards. I have certainly succeeded as far as the second goal goes, but a card made entirely out of underrated books has been…difficult and I had to relax my criteria a lot.
Aside from that, my main rule is “don’t force yourself to read a book you know you won’t like just because it fits the square”. Over the years, I got a lot better at this – this time, there was only one such book.
(because who doesn’t love statistics?)
- 30.5 (61%) squares were filled with female authors, 19.5 (39%) with male authors. For comparison:
- in 2017 when I did a women-themed card the ratio was about 77.2% female to 22.8% male (38.6 and 11.4 squares)
- in 2016 it was 37.6% female, 54.4% male, 8% unknown (9.4, 13.6 and 2 squares)
- in 2015 it was 38% female and 58% male (9.5 and 14.5, short stories square unknown)
- 11 books (22%) were self-published
- 5 books and 2 short stories (10.8%) were written by authors of colour. This is one area where it could be better.
- 12 (24%) of the books were paper copies, the rest were ebooks. 5 of those ebooks were ARCs.
- 33 books and 2 short stories (66.8%) were by authors whose books I haven’t read before – as far as making you read new authors goes, I declare Bingo a success
- Only 12 (24%) squares stayed the same as they were on April 5th, in the earliest version of the plan I could find.
- 32 (64%) books were part of a series
- There were 8 times I had to find a replacement because I DNF’d the book I originally planned, probably a new record
Now onto the cards themselves. Whenever possible, I linked to my review of the book.