2020 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: First Impressions

The r/Fantasy Bingo is a yearly challenge run by Lisa (Way Too Fantasy) that takes place on the r/fantasy subreddit from April to April. It’s pretty much the only reading challenge I regularly participate in, and I’ve been doing it since the very beginning. And I honestly love the 2020 card. It’s much easier than the 2019 one, while still having plenty of squares that’ll take me out of my comfort zone.

This year was the first when I experienced the one advantage of being a moderator: the ability to plan your card a little in advance. So this is technically my second draft. Like in 2019, I’ll again be doing only one non-themed card, and I tried to give priority to books I either already own or can borrow, to the point there are only two books on it that don’t belong in this category.

But as they say, no plan survives contact with the enemy, so it will be interesting to see how will the completed card compare to this list a year from now.

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2019 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts

So. The end of March also means the conclusion of my favourite reading challenge, my sixth in a row. Unlike in 2018, I decided to try for only one card. The reason for that was twofold: first, doing a double two years in a row burned me out. I wanted to have the freedom to read random shit again, and not worry about how every book I read could fit on the damn cards. But also, the new card was difficult. Cyberpunk? LitRPG? Tie-In? Afrofuturism? Local author?! I doubted whether I could cobble together one card, much less two.

In the end, I finished on March 12th, with more than enough time to spare 😄

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2019 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: First Impressions (1/2)

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.

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2018 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts

bingo 2018.pngThe 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.

Some statistics

(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.

Continue reading “2018 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts”