Create your own reading festival

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Reading has been a huge part of my life, since, well, almost forever.  I loved being read to as a child and once I could read I enjoyed learning new things that came from understanding print.  Exploring different literary periods at university enhanced my insatiable need to consume the printed word.  A few years back I set myself a goal of reading fifty books in the year. I ended up reading many more than that.  It was a great experiment and afforded me the opportunity to explore different genres and forms of writing. Since then I have been reading anything that takes my fancy: I’ve read whole series, one-off books of interest, recommendations from friends, plays, novels, non-fiction etc.  At times I’ve struggled to select books and found myself hankering for a little guidance in my selections.

Now that the new year has begun and many of us are pondering the terrain ahead and how we can make it joyful, I’ve been inspired to consider focusing my reading choices and reading with purpose.

My son was the first point of inspiration.  He discovered a book reading challenge where you read a book every two weeks from a different category.  Categories include a book:

  • you read in school
  • from your childhood
  • published over 100 years ago
  • set in your hometown/region
  • with someone’s name in the title
  • with a number in the title
  • with a character with your first name
  • you can finish in a day
  • previously banned
  • with a one-word title
  • translated from another language
  • that’s a memoir or journal
  • set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year.

Sounds like fun. Check out this link for more ideas.

Then I read my friend Nicole Cody’s blog and she had an interesting take on a reading challenge and it sits very nicely with the idea of paying it forward and donating to charity.  Her idea is to read a book a month, put aside a small amount of money for each book read and then at then end of the year buy a book and donate it to charity for Christmas.  How neat is that?

Tim Ferriss, in his 5 bullet Friday, always has some interesting book recommendations – things I would not select myself.  He is a great source for reading inspiration, as is Pinterest, the weekend newspaper and Avid Reader bookshop.

Having been motivated by the two reading challenge ideas and having good sources for recommendations (although I do have enough unread books on my shelves and in my kindle that I probably don’t need to purchase a book this year) I am going to combine the two ideas and read at least a book a month from a different category, putting aside a few dollars for each book I read to purchase one for  someone in hospital, a nursing home or shelter at the end of the year.

Where will your reading take you this year?


12 thoughts on “Create your own reading festival

    • Yeah. I think it’ll help move me out of reading ruts. I’m so pumped by your idea that I’m making little gifts with decorated bottles and attaching simple instructions to invite others to participate. Thanks for the kick start Nicole.

  1. Like you Shannyn I have been an avid reader all my life , until lately , nothing seems to inspire me and lately I have become slow and bored with reading 😫What is happening to me ❓❓❓I need a literary doctor . Nicole ( above) suggested audio books , I have done that but it’s not the same as getting that book that is so good you savour the very last chapter just so you can really enjoy it , on your own , in a place of your choice . Save me Shannyn give me some advice 😁 Fifty books a year❓ at the present moment I’d be lucky ready four .

    • Cherry I went through a period like that. It’s awful. I’ve been getting some recommendations from a podcast I listen to. Richard Fidler in his Conversations he interviews interesting people many of whom have written books. I’ve found many gift ideas that way too.
      This year I’m keen on using the category list mentioned in my post . I’ve already identified several unread books on my shelves for some categories and I’m already champing at the bit to get into them.
      I hope that helps a little. I trust you find your reading mojo again. 💗💗💗

  2. These are such great ideas Shannyn. I do not read enough pure and simple. I love reading but it seems to get pushed to the end of the list . It’s something I really want ot work on this year.

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