It’s a bright shiny new year (several days in, even) and definitely time to talk about plans for the year to come–specifically, reading challenges. I was a little burned out on the subject this time last year, and had a very laid-back time, rereading old favorites and, frankly, ignoring my “match-categories” challenge until the last quarter of the year. Result–I’m ready to dive back into some more proper reading challenges in 2016!
What I like about challenges is that they focus me, and help me read the books I actually want to read, but don’t always think of. Since I read a lot of books, challenge books make up a pretty small percentage, leaving me plenty of reading freedom but still helping me get some special types of books in.
So…what kind of books do I want to read in 2016?
This is probably a direct result of spending Christmas talking to my cousins who are watching all the Academy Award Best Picture nominees (ever). I’m not doing that, but I like the idea of working through a prestigious list. The Pulitzer Prize is decidedly out, so I thought–why not Newbery Medal? And when I looked at the list and realized I’d only read a third of them, that sealed it. There are 94 total, I have read 32, and my goal is to read 15 Newbery Medal Winners, to bring myself up to half.
I’m joining the Smiling Shelves Newbery Challenge; there’s a (slightly) complicated point system, and it looks like I’m aiming for the third or AVI level. This may inspire me to read a few more and achieve the Lowry level…I always liked her. 🙂
If you were following along in November, you know that I wrote a NaNo Novel involving traveling into parallel universes. The whole concept fascinates me, plus I have that novel to revise next year…so I want to find more novels that explore those ideas (GoodReads is so helpful for this kind of thing, by the way!) I haven’t been able to find any officially-organized challenge around this topic (it’s slightly niche, I admit) so I’m just doing this one myself, with a goal of 12 books, or one per month.
I read a lot of British and American authors, and I’m pretty much okay with that…but I’m less okay with the predominantly white protagonists I’m reading about. Racism, representation, and the role of media in shaping cultures’ unconscious (or conscious) views on certain groups is a MUCH bigger topic than I want to tackle right here…but suffice to say, I believe in beginning at home and so I want to read more diverse protagonists, particularly ethnically-diverse.
I’m setting a goal of 18 books with non-white protagonists, hoping that will be a low bar and suspecting I will find out it’s not…but we’ll see. I feel sure there must be an official challenge around this topic, but I haven’t been able to find it. If you know of one, let me know!
Edit: And thank you to MerviH, who pointed me to “Diversity on the Shelf” which I’ve now joined! A goal of 18 books puts me on the Third Shelf level of the challenge.
A conversation on New Year’s Eve made me realize I have not been much in touch with Mr. Shakespeare in recent years, and that’s no good at all. So I decided to throw the Bard into my reading challenge mix, and then went looking for a challenge–and found the Bardathon. There are many, many ways to participate–in a perfect world I’d like to do Tragic Shakespearean (read 5 tragedies), Comedic Shakespearean (read 5 comedies) and Cinematic Shakespearean (watch 5 plays), but realistically that’s overreaching…so I’m only officially going for Mix-and-Match, to engage with 5 plays in any of the above-mentioned ways.
More Seasonal “Challenges”
…by which I mean Carl’s seasonal reading experiences, over at Stainless Steel Droppings. I completely fell off the wagon on these in the second half of 2015, and am not going to get back on in time for the currently-running Sci Fi one…but starting with my favorite, Once Upon a Time in the spring, I want to get back engaged with these. They’re the best for blogging community, and are just always so much fun.
So there you are! Not too strenuous but a bit more focused and as of right now at least, I’m excited to explore where these will take me. Happy reading in 2016!