A Book Challenge for the New Year

Josie Leavitt -- January 4th, 2016

As the new year starts, it occurred to me that maybe this year I would set a reading challenge or two for myself. I have not normally done this, but a friend shared a challenge on her Facebook wall that got me thinking about the nature of a reading challenge. Why a challenge? Well, as a bookseller, surprisingly there are many things I don’t read. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m reading for the store. Two staffers regularly read heaps of adult mysteries, so I tend to skip all but my favorites in this genre. I avoid adult nonfiction because I’ve convinced I don’t care for it (which is silly because so often I adore memoir, I just don’t like history books). I read young adult and middle grade novels because they are the ones I enjoy the most and the sections of the store where people often need more help. But this year, I’m going to do a challenge.

The reading challenge comes from the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and was reposted by WeAreTeachersReading on Facebook. I like this challenge because it’s utterly doable. The readingchallengecategories are wide-ranging and it works just as well for kids or adults. There are simple criteria for 12 months of reading. You can pick and choose which order to approach the challenge. I like the categories too. Especially the fourth one: “A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller.”  This is designed to get folks to use the free resources in their town.

The other one I also like is the “Book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF.” Yes! This gets people talking about books together. Recommending a book to someone is a very intimate act and one that requires a combination of thought and knowledge about the recommendee.

The other categories are good, too. Always a fan of banned books, I’m likely starting with that one first. I’m always curious what books get banned and why. I’m not limiting myself to kids’ books. I will read a mix of adult books as well. This challenge is so much less daunting than other challenges I’ve heard folks doing: reading only award winners, reading only classics, etc. The very nature of these challenges can set up folks for failure. I think there needs to be a healthy mix of books or people will lose their focus.

I will update my challenge progress periodically, but readers, as we enter 2016, I’m curious: what reading challenges have you set for yourselves?


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