Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sally's 2011 Reading Challenge

Are you one for reading challenges? I've never done one myself; my only challenge each year is to try to whittle down my to-be-read piles, a logistically impossible task since I add to them much more frequently than I take from them.

But lately I've been intrigued by the notion of a book challenge, especially one that might motivate me to read some books outside of my comfort zone. I tend to read narrative nonfiction and literary fiction predominantly, with an occasional mystery tossed in to "cleanse my palate" between those -- a sort of "literary sherbet," if you will. Perhaps a reading challenge might be just the thing to get me to delve into, say, a science fiction or fantasy title, or a book by an Irish writer (that bugaboo is too long to go into in this blog), or a graphic novel (it's been a while) this year.

Are there genres that you avoid? Would a reading challenge motivate you to try something new? Here are some suggestions of challenges compiled by Laura Miller at I particularly like the Chunkster Challenge -- might be just the thing to get me reading The Instructions, by Adam Levin, which covers only four days but clocks in at more than a thousand pages! I tend to shy away from books of such girth, because I have so many other books that I want to read and, sadly, my reading speed seems to have slowed substantially with age. I also rarely read (or reread, as the case may be) classics any more, because I feel the need to keep up with all of the new books being published. I would definitely like to revisit some of those.

For many people, book clubs can function to help them avoid reading ruts, but I am not a book clubber (my stubborn nature won't allow me to be told what to read), so I have to try other techniques. Given my tendency to set grandiose New Year's resolutions that I toss by the roadside by February, I think I'll start small and attainable: Sally's Reading Challenge in 2011: Read three books in the next year that I wouldn't typically put on my reading list. There. That sounds doable. And even a little exciting. Now I just have to figure out specifically what those three books will be. How about you? Want to tackle a reading challenge this year? Tell me what you're going to read.

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