Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the bingo. I printed out the grid, I had little star stickers to put on it, I wrote down all the prompts in my journal with what book I read for it… I also noticed that as the year went on, I read more books by the same authors that fit different prompts and I wanted to shuffle things around and it was a bit messy.
I also read what I’m in the mood for and rarely stick to a specific TBR for a specific month so it was kind of hard to finish it… and I’m struggling to read paper books let alone ebooks at the moment, which puts limits on what I can do.
I said last year I’d be doing the r/fantasy bingo, which runs from April to the end of March. I’ve completed it, mostly, except for the SFF-related nonfiction square. I know you can replace one square with any from a previous year but if I’m being honest, I don’t really have the energy to go look for previous ones, and I’d rather just admit I’ve not done the one square. 24 out of 25 prompts feels pretty good if I’m being honest!
I also lost track of which ones I managed in regular or hard mode, and sometimes I have the regular+hero (review) mode. I had a tracker in my planner, with little star stickers, but I switched reading journals and planners with the beginning of 2022 so it’s weird to go back…
It ended up being mostly reading whatever I wanted and then matching it to the prompts. I think if I do it again this year, I’ll try to assign books from my TBR to the card first, then tick them off, it feels more in the spirit of the game.
The bingo has 3 difficulty levels, normal mode, hard mode (which has a secondary prompt) and hero mode, in which you’re supposed to review all the books you read. I’m giving myself little stars ⭐for each level. I bought a reward star booklet specifically for this, so I’ve three colours.
You’re not supposed to use the same book twice, and ideally not the same author either. I’ve been penciling in titles so far, in the hopes of finding a title for each prompt that fills in all 3… but I’ve decided to start writing them in properly. Which of course, being an airhead, I could not do cleanly without mistakes… (yes I KNEW I wanted Lunis Aquaria for the self-pub one, I had it in pencil. But that’s another page, right? so I did not see it before I’d written it down for short stories…)
Then there’s prompts like “Backlist” (hard mode: published before 2000) where I’ve one book that fills the normal prompt and has a review, and one mode that fills the hard prompt but no review (and I don’t intend to review it)… So I’m still not sure how to deal with those. I went with normal+hard in my little star rating on the bingo card!
I still hope to find a Hard Mode title for some of the prompts so I’ve left them in pencil, and didn’t put in any stars on my card
I also have a smaller “spare card” as a backup because I do think maybe I’ll get extra lines with second books for certain prompts, but that’s really ambitious. So right now I’ve put the extra backlist star on it, as well as a normal mode star for Tram Car 015, on the Genre Mashup tile.
Really what this made me realise is 1) these 3 modes make it a lot more confusing than I thought 2) I am not so good at planning and being organized as I sometimes think I am.
The fact that you can’t repeat is also tricky. My new-to-me author is also a 2021 publication, I’ve got novels that fit for the 2021 AND debut prompt but I want them to fill some other tile first… So I don’t have a bingo yet, but I think with a bit of effort I’ll soon get the 4th column, as I’ve got a few cat squashers lined up, and I just need to pick a debut author to read.
But yeah, I’m finding the whole exercise a bit confusing and frustrating. I think I’ll keep penciling things in as I read them, and write them in proper when they do hit both hard mode and hero (review) mode. Then come December/January I’ll have a look at what I still need to read and become more serious about ticking them off purposefully.
Hi, I’m Aurélie. I spend most of my time reading books and talking about it on the internet, or procrastinating. When I’m not with my head in a book, I can be found working a sales job to feed my two cats, or studying psychology. I’m based in Ireland, and I love travelling (when it’s safe to do so). I also offer proofreading services, check my Services page to learn more!