I came to the Cannonball Read rather late in the game. When the initial challenge had started, I was still in Iraq, and I was tracking everything I was reading anyway (OPSEC and Army make for slightly limiting blog topics). As a result, I knew that 100 books in a year wouldn't really be an issue for me. I'd also just started a Buffy/Angel marathon to end the deployment on, so with 12 seasons of television to watch in a month and a half, I obviously didn't have much time to read.
I ended up signing up for it on 1 January after seeing a post that said it was the last chance to participate. I'd been back in Germany since the middle of October, and I was less than happy with the amount of reading and blogging I'd been doing in the previous few months. Being back in Germany, there were a lot of distractions, of course: friends to see, alcohol to drink, not to mention my television had a much larger screen than the laptop downrange. I figured the Cannonball Read might be a good way to get back into reading, and maybe inspire me to blog a little bit more.
I don't tend to get too competitive when it comes to sports. However, when it comes to things like Trivial Pursuit or Cranium, I am. My competitiveness did kick in slightly with this challenge (another officer recently made fun of me after he made the comment that a friend of ours had more books than I did, and I defensively said, "no, she doesn't"). I wanted to see how many people I'd be able to catch up with despite my late addition. As a result, I admit my reading may have been a little different than it normally would have been but not too much. Downrange, I had tried to incooperate nonfiction and classics every once in a while just so I could feel like I was still mentally challenging myself. However, these also tend to take me a little bit longer to read, so I read less from those genres than I might usually. There are also a few books on my shelf right now that are almost a thousand pages that I didn't read because I was afraid they would be dry. However, I'd also say that most of the books I read were between three hundred and five hundred pages, so it's not like I was going for the bare minimum.
I was very impressed by how well-thought out some of the other participants' reviews were - I may be able to read quickly, but those people could write. I know Sophia mentioned that she had originally hesitated about joining because of the reviews. I admit I was always excited when I'd written something that was interesting enough to get posted on Pajiba.
I would do it again, although since I was on a compressed timeline, I think I focused on reading a little bit more than I normally would have. The second season of The Tudors and the last part of Battlestar Galactica have been sitting on my DVD player for a few weeks now. However, other than that, I had my normal distractions - I still went out, I still went to the movies the two or three times the AAFES movie schedule showed something I wanted to see on days that were good for me, I still traveled to different countries every four day weekend, and I still had some long ass work days (not quite as long since I got moved up to battalion). Basically, I doubt I'd repeat the 100 books in 8 months next time, but 100 in a year? No problem.