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Choose Your Own Reading Challenge

Thursday, January 5, 2017 4:47
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A photo posted by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:38am PDT

I love to read. I’m sure most of us here do. To me, there’s nothing more exciting than stepping into a library or bookstore. Deep down, I know I should be spending some of the time devoted to reading books to more of my writing, but then again, there’s also that argument that to be a good writer, you must read. So I do!

I’ve noticed people taking annual reading challenges on Goodreads, which look like they can be personalized by reader. You set a goal to read X number of books and mark the titles off on Goodreads as you complete them. While I’ve never done a reading challenge, I did see one floating around on Facebook that looked pretty interesting. It presented the challenge of reading at least 26 books in 2017. Some of the challenges included things like reading “a book that became a film,” or “a self-published book,” or “a book that you read in school.” But I noticed some of the comments on the thread pointed out that there were challenges that would be a little hard to meet. These included “a book with a character with your first name,” and “a book set in your hometown/region.” If you have an obscure name and live in a place that doesn’t make it’s way into books very often it could get tough.

I looked back over the past year and tried to think about whether or not I personally “challenged” myself with any of the titles I read.

  • Read a 400+ page book? The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
  • Read a book that could improve a specific area of your life? Journaling Power by Mari L. McCarthy.
  • Read a book published in the last year? In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch.
  • Read a book told in reverse? All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.
  • Read a book you can finish in a day? Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

I read a lot of books over the past year, but I didn’t really step outside of my comfort zone a whole lot. I read thrillers, women’s fiction, middle-grade and young adult fiction (which is what I write), and my usual favorite authors like Elin Hilderbrand. I didn’t branch out and read genres like science fiction or any cozy mysteries. I also realized I need to read more books by male authors. Go figure.  I’m working on putting together my own 26 Books in 2017 Challenge, and I’ll tailor it to include things I normally wouldn’t read.

How about you? Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? Did you read anything in 2016 that surprised you or helped you discover a new author or genre?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor and bookworm who reads everything from Jodi Picoult to Stephen King. 

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