The challenge developed organically from the Facebook Group: Read Along With Emilie Richards. While we didn’t keep score or names of participants, and we didn’t give prizes or ask for sign ups, we did something much more exceptional. We had fun!
How does this work?
As individuals we chose books from the same category for each month, and the categories were randomly selected from a proposed list. Each participating reader chose a book she wanted to read that fit that month’s category, and off we went. We read books about food, books about nature, books with winter depicted in the title, books by an author from Canada or Mexico, books from the generation each of us was born in. Plus many, many more.
Sometimes choices were easy to make.
We chose fiction or non-fiction depending on what sounded best to us. Sometimes we checked with each other for suggestions, or looked at lists on Google or Goodreads. Sometimes we started one book, abandoned it, started another, abandoned it and finally found our selection. Sometimes we just skipped a month or two because we were busy, or those categories held no appeal.
The discussion afterwards wasn’t formal. As the month progressed readers told us what they’d chosen for their selection and why. Sometimes I asked questions, and sometimes I didn’t. In between we heard about lots of other books people had enjoyed. This group is positive and upbeat, so mostly we share about books we loved reading. There are so many wonderful books to read, why dwell on (or finish) a book that is not?
In December we discussed whether to do another reading challenge in 2020, and the decision was unanimous. Yes, let’s do it.
So we are doing the challenge again.
This time we took the categories that random.org did not choose last year and added plenty more. Then we let random.org choose 12 of that expanded list of categories for this year. Today I published all of them in our group files. This is a bit different from last year. Participants asked to have the entire list this time so they can plan ahead. Some didn’t want to know ahead of time, so I’ll still post that month’s category on the first day of the month. But both ways are great because…
We’re reading! Together. And sharing suggestions of more books to read.
Want a sneak peek?
January’s category? A book by an author from a different ethnic group than your own.
And February? A book with a season or month in the title.
For my January book I read A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. I regret to say this novel had been lingering on my Kindle for three years. But once I began it, I realized the story was buried treasure. Would I have read it without the challenge? Most likely not.
I’ve just ordered my February book, November Road by Lou Berney. I read a book by Berney several years ago and remember that not only did I like it, I wanted to read more, particularly this one. So again, I have the perfect reason to do so.
The rest of the challenge categories are published in our Facebook reader’s Group. It’s a “private” group which only means that in addition to having your own Facebook profile, you must ask to join us and answer a few simple questions (to weed out loathsome spammers). Then you’ll be invited to come on board.
If you do join with us, you don’t have to participate in the Challenge. In fact no one will know one way or the other. As I said, we’re informal and relaxed. Some people read Challenge books occasionally, some always, some never. It doesn’t matter. We like finding new books and new authors. That’s all we’re about.
So if you have a hankering to read further afield, a hankering to talk about your favorite books or new authors, a hankering to just be part of a casual, upbeat book centered on reading? We’ll be delighted to have you.
I’m an Amazon Associate, so if you click on an Amazon link on this post, I get a small reimbursement. Guess how I use the money? Uh huh, buying more books at Amazon. Do we wonder why they’re so successful?