This past year I participated in a reading challenge at Better World Books Now it’s your turn for a challenge.
In 2017 Better World Books, an online bookstore that works to support literacy, created twenty-five reading categories. Those of us who accepted the challenge had a year to find books that fit and read them all by year’s end.
What’s the real point of a reading challenge?
Reading challenges are designed to broaden our reading horizons. This year I read so many books I never would have found an excuse to pick up. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. Miss Marple Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie. I read twenty-one books altogether, not including two I started and for different reasons decided not to finish. I just didn’t or couldn’t get to the other categories.
I loved this challenge. I loved choosing my own titles, sometimes books like Prince of Los Cucoyos, which I’d never have picked up. That category was “A Book About Immigrants.” Richard Blanco, the author, is a poet, and I liked his memoir so well that for “A Book of Poetry” I read his collection Looking for the Gulf Motel.
While I was working my way down their list, I began thinking of more categories that might be fun, and, of course, the next thought was, why not do a reading challenge here?
Welcome to Read Along With Emilie 2018.
I took the idea to my Krewe of Review, who are great at giving feedback. We came up with eighteen categories, in honor of 2018. While I considered doing a giveaway for participants, I realized that keeping lists of who read what would take as much time as writing another book. And I’d rather entertain you than spend hours keeping score.
Besides. Truthfully? Participating in a reading challenge should be a big prize in itself. It was for me. Instead of a giveaway, at year’s end let’s see how people did, and to honor them, I’ll list participants who read twelve or more books here. Those last six are something of a bonus for my hardcore readers.
So today, the categories and a question. First one, then the other.
The categories will be:
- A book set on the water.
- A novel that features a character with a disability.
- A classic you always promised yourself you would read.
- A novel with a person’s name in the title.
- A travelogue.
- A novel featuring a woman over sixty as a major character.
- A novel set in a different century and in a country not your own.
- A family saga.
- A novel from a genre (romance, sci-fi, etc.) that you rarely or never read.
- A novel by Emilie Richards.
- A non-fiction “how-to” book.
- A young adult (YA) book.
- A book you choose just because.
- A time travel novel.
- A novel that’s been made into a movie.
- A book that’s been in your to-be-read pile for more than a year.
- A memoir.
- A book by a local author.
By the way, the Krewe made me include one of my books. Aren’t they great?
We’ll take stock here monthly to see how you’re doing–and I’ll be reading through the list with you.
For in-depth discussions of what we’re reading for each category we already have Read Along With Emilie Richards, a Facebook group, and it will be the perfect venue. If you haven’t joined, click on that link and I’ll buzz you in–it’s a private group so we won’t have spammers in our midst.
Now the question. Does this sound like fun? Is it worth exploring? There are no rules, no restrictions, no reasons you must read in every category–remember, I didn’t. The list is fluid. If you aren’t sure whether a book is a memoir or an autobiography, for instance? No one will care. The point is to help each of us broaden our reading horizons.
So let me know if you’d like to participate. I’ve created a printable pdf so you can download the categories to fill out as you go. Keep your list handy and note what you’ve read.
I can guarantee that by year’s end your list will be rumpled and scribbled and something of a disaster. You’ll note that mine was.
I still treasure it.