Math = Love: The #EmptyShelf Challenge

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The #EmptyShelf Challenge

I LOVE challenges.  I'm just a naturally competitive person.  No matter what I'm doing, I have a desire to be the best at it.

I also LOVE to read.  As a child, I can remember going to the library once a week during the summer.  I would leave with 7-8 chapter books which I would promptly devour.  My favorites included Nancy Drew, Little House On The Prairie, The Babysitters Club, The Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High, The Bobbsey Twins, the Anne of Green Gables series, and anything by Judy Blume.  In high school, I became obsessed with classic literature, and I amassed so many classics that my bookshelves look like they should belong to an English teacher.

Then came college.  Instead of reading for pleasure, I found myself reading for school.  My pile of books to read kept growing, and my time to read kept shrinking.  Since starting teaching, I've found myself with even less time to read.  I still love to read.  But, I have limited time.  In order to make time to read, I have to chose not to do certain other things.

This year, I've decided I want to read more.  My sister also loves to read.  So, I decided the best way to get myself to read more was to turn it into a competition.  My sister is super competitive and loves to read, too.  So, I think it's a good pairing.  Who can read the most books before the end of the year?

My Empty Shelf
On December 27th, we started The Empty Shelf Challenge.  I read about the #EmptyShelf challenge on the blog of Jon Acuff.  The premise is simple.  Empty off one of your shelves.  For every book you finish from then until December 31, 2014, place the book on the shelf.  Amaze yourself by just how many books you read in the next year.

We're over half-way through January, and I've already read more books than I probably read in the entirety of 2013.  Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.  But, I've definitely been reading a lot more.  I don't know how much to attribute to this challenge, but this challenge certainly isn't hurting me.

I'm thinking that I will post an update of books read at the end of each month here on my blog.  (And, for the record, I think I may be in the lead right now.  Of course, my sister didn't start counting the books she had read until the first of January.  It's not my fault she gave me a bit of an early start, though.)

I'm hoping to tackle some math books this year, too.  One of the first I want to revisit is Isaac Asimov's Realm of Algebra.  I read it a few years ago, and I was so impressed with his explanation of algebra in everyday language.  Now that I'm working on finishing my second year of teaching, I think I could learn a lot from revisiting it and comparing his explanations to my own.

Don't even get me started on all the teaching books I want to reread...  


  1. Sarah - that's a great challenge! I used to read all the time, and then I hit a slump. I'm going to join you ;) My empty shelf may be virtual since I read a lot on my Kindle ... but I have a page on my blog to record what I read ... I have done that for a while! I look forward to seeing what you are reading as well!

    1. Awesome! My sister reads a lot on her Kindle, too. So, she's keeping a virtual bookshelf of books read on Good Reads. You'll have to keep me accountable about posting what I've been reading! :)

  2. Awesome idea! I'm totally going to do this!

    1. Glad to have you join in! I just love the aspect of having a visual reminder of how much I have (or haven't) read this year.