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?