A few years ago, my friend Dana (a writer and reading enthusiast) wrote a post about the book challenge she was then working on. Being the bookworm I am, I was immediately intrigued. “Ooh, book challenge?” I wondered. As I read on, I found out that this particular challenge was not to read a specific list of books. Instead, it consisted of 26 subject categories (a wide variety), the goal being to read one book from each category within one year. This kind of challenge appealed to me immensely, because it would broaden my horizons and launch me out of my reading comfort zone of sci-fi, Steven King, and classics.
My first attempt at conquering this type of book challenge failed horribly when I decided to read Les Misérables to fulfill the “Written Before 1900” category. Generally speaking, the timing of the one-year book challenge averages out to completing a book every two weeks. Les Mis took me four months to get through. For me, a typically speedy reader, reading that book was like running a marathon in quicksand. (Must. Keep. Reading.) But it was worth every minute. Some of the most beautiful collections of words and expressions of emotions that I have ever read live in that book, and I was equally captivated and exhausted at the finish line. When I realized it would not be possible to finish the overall challenge on time, instead of scrapping the whole thing, I picked up the next book and moved the challenge deadline out another year.
I am currently working on my second challenge (for 2016 – 2017) and though I’m a little behind on timing (again …), I think I’ll make it.
Here are the categories I designated for this challenge, and what I’ve read so far:
1 – BANNED – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
2 – HISTORY – The People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (in progress – this is so heavy and heartbreaking that I read one chapter of this in between other books.)
3 – PLAY – The Importance of Being Earnest and Four Other Plays, a collection by Oscar Wilde
4 – TRANSLATED FROM ANOTHER LANGUAGE –
5 – POETRY –
6 – THRILLER – The Winter People, Jennifer McMahon
7 – RELIGION –
8 – PRIZE WINNING –
9 – LGBTQ –
10 – SELF-IMPROVEMENT – It’s About Time, Harold C. Lloyd
11 – SHORT STORIES –
12 – AUTOBIOGRAPHY – #girlboss, Sophia Amoruso
13 – TRAVEL –
14 – HEALTH –
15 – ART – Damn Good Advice for People with Talent, George Lois
16 – SATIRE –
17 – POLITICS –
18 – MYTH/LEGEND –
19 – WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR FROM VIRGINIA –
20 – YOUTH/CHILDREN’S BOOK – Winnie the Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne (I wept when these stories were over. Such brilliance.)
21 – MYSTERY – W is for Wasted, Sue Grafton
22 – MILITARY –
23 – SCI-FI – Becoming Human, Eliza Green
24 – ROMANCE – The Sweetest Thing, Lilian Darcy
25 – FITNESS/DANCE – Life in Motion, Misty Copeland
26 – CLASSIC – Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
So I clearly have some reading to do; I will update this as I go and let you know which were my favorites.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde
Check out Dana’s blog here. What’s on your reading list this year?