The 4 Rs Challenge


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?
Everybody! You don’t have to have a blog, or a LibraryThing account to join in – you just have to love giving and getting recommendations for new books!

You said it’s based off of SantaThing – do I have to pay to join?
Nope! Other participants give you the recommendations, but you have to find the book yourself. You can buy it, bookmooch it, borrow it from a friend or the library, read it while standing next to the shelf in a bookstore, etc. We’ve tried to space things so that people will have enough time to both acquire and read a book before the end of each round.

Speaking of, what’s the timing of each of the steps in the challenge?
Approximately two weeks to sign up, two weeks to make recommendations, and then two months to acquire, read, and review your selected book. These aren’t hard-and-fast rules – if you want to sign up and immediately start making recommendations, or if you want to start your own reading early, go ahead! Just remember to come back and check occasionally for new participants!

What should my sign-up post look like?
There are two main pieces of information to include in the first post of your sign-up thread. First, let other participants know about you and your reading tastes. If you have a blog or LibraryThing (Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.) account, give us a link so that we can see what you like, dislike, already own, etc. If you don’t have any of those things, simply describe what kinds of books you’re interested in.

Second, tell us what kind of recommendations you want! This can range from “books you think I’d like” (which will get you a pretty broad range), through “I’m in the mood for a new-to-me mystery author” (which will get a narrower range of recommendations), down to “I want recommendations for a young-adult fantasy novel that deals with gender issues and was published between 1995 and 1998” (which will probably be too narrow to generate many useful recommendations.) The point is to broaden your literary horizons, and pick up some new books and authors that you might have missed otherwise, so be prepared to be adventerous!

How do I go about making recommendations?
Go to other participants’ threads, see what they like, take a gander at their blog/library, and recommend books that you think they’d enjoy! This is the most important part of the whole process – it’s more fun for everyone if they have lots of good recommendations to choose from – so please don’t make blanket recommendations without considering each person’s reading tastes, etc.

Do I have to recommend something for every participant?
No, but you’ll be a super-star if you do! To officially complete the challenge, you have to make recommendations for at least five other participants, but more are always welcome. In particular, we hope that you’ll come back to the forums occasionally and make recommendations for folks that have just signed up.

There are so many great recommendations! Can I read more than one book for each round?
Of course!

I missed the sign-up period – can I still participate?
Sure! You might not get as many recommendations to choose from if people are busy reading, but there’s a thread in the forums for late sign-ups where you can alert other participants to your situation.

Alternatively, you can wait out the current round and get in on the ground floor when we start over. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed for the blog to stay up-to-date!

This is awesome! I love you guys; can I send you money?
Aww, we love you too! If you’d be interested in donating a prize for the challenge-completed giveaway, we’d certainly appreciate it! Also appreciated would be smooched Bookmooch points to help other participants get their books (especially internationally).

Other questions? Leave a comment below!

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