Cross-posted on BostonWriters
Last year, Reading in Winter got me hooked on reading challenges. Theirs was pleasantly complicated and arranged in a BINGO! format that kept me reading until I had READ ALL THE BOOKS.
This year, Reading in Winter has abandoned their Book Bingo Reading Challenge in favor of a Read Local challenge. Read Local for them means Read Canadian. I like Canadians, I really do, and I have no doubt that Canadian literature is an underappreciated art form. The problem was I didn’t much want to dedicate my entire reading year to it.
Still, I wanted to do something to focus my reading this year. So I spent some time surveying the reading challenges available to me.
There are tons of reading challenges out there. The Goodreads reading challenge is the most basic. Tell them how many books you’re going to read this year, then go do it. I wanted something a little more intentional than that.
There are challenges to get you to read more library books, read more Victorian literature, clear out your to-be-read pile, read more African American/Asian/Latino/women/new-to-you writers. There’s even a reading challenge to see how many different reading challenges you can enter and complete in 2015.
In the end, I made my decision the old-fashioned way. I made a list.
This year I want to:
- Support my local library
- Give new-to-me authors a try
- Support diversity in publishing
- Read great writers in the hopes of picking up a good trick or two
- Plow through more of my To-Be-Read pile
- Have fun
I borrowed Reading in Winter’s Book Bingo Scorecard idea and crafted one of my own that reflected these goals. Every month, I would work toward these goals by reading:
- One book from my local library
- One book from a writer I’d not read before
- One book from a writer of color
- One book from a Nobel Prize winner
- One book from my To-Be-Read pile
- And just for fun, I’m playing Authors A-Z, a game in which you try to read at least one book from a writer with last name that starts A-Z (the goal being to collect at least one author for every letter of the alphabet)
This means reading six books a month. Most months, that’s not a problem. But in months I can only log four of the good-for-me books (like *cough* January), I let myself use one book from that month in two categories. Toni Morrison, for example, is both a Nobel Prize winner and an author of color, so in January, I used her book A Mercy in both places.
I’d rather read six books a month. But then again, stressing myself out over whether I’ll be able to finish that sixth book in a given month kind of undercuts the whole “Have fun” plan.
The Seven-Year-Old liked the idea of collecting authors by their last names so much that she wants to do it too.
I made a scorecards for both of us, because of course I did. Here are mine.
The Good for Me Books
Looks like someone forgot to visit their local library in January. Tsk. Tsk. (Scorecard: Mommyo)
The Have Fun! Books
This one is nice because it lets me record the other books I read that don’t fit nicely into the “Make Mommyo a better person” categories. (Scorecard: Shala Howell)
Hmm… My reading may be weighted a little heavily toward having fun.
If The Seven-Year-Old ever lets me see her scorecard again, I’ll share it with you too. Through unofficial channels (read: by tucking her in at night) I’ve learned that she’s reading The Little House on the Prairie series at the moment.