2017 Reader Challenge

books rock tote bag

People are creatures of habit. Your challenge for the year ahead is to break out of your reading rut. How many of these categories can you sample this year? Choose at least a dozen!

dancing naked fuzzy red slippers

HUMOR: It’s a scientific fact that you can’t get ulcers while laughing. So choose humor for the good of your health.

 PRIZE-WINNERS: Pulitzer, American Book Award, Booker Prize, Hugo Award (sci-fi), Caldecott (children’s books), National Book Critics Circle Award, or any other you choose. You can’t go wrong!

indie next bestsellers

BESTSELLER: See what’s popular– for example, any NYT Bestseller category.

new bibles

READ FROM THE BIBLE: Any one or more books, any of the 450 translations into English. An all-time international bestseller. If you are into brevity here, choose the Book of Ruth.

uncle tom's cabin
[Source: Amazon]
henry fielding tom jones
[Source: Goodreads]
PUBLISHED MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO: There are hundreds of classics that fit this category. But consider Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was the most popular book (after the Bible) in 19th century America.

born run bruce springsteen

PUBLISHED IN 2016: For suggestions, see my blog post from December 27.

homegoing yaa gyasi
[Source: NPR]
HISTORICAL FICTION: Any fiction set before 1950.

ROMANCE: Can be mixed genre, as long as romance is a central theme.

battle wondla tony diterlizzi

YOUNG ADULT: Any genre. Explore what young people–and many adults–are reading. Think Harry Potter, or the recent vampire series.

new biography books

BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR: This can be current or historical, just find a life worth reading.

ABANDONED BOOK: Any book you started but didn’t finish. Why did you put it aside? Is it better the second time around?

gabriel garcia marquez

MAGICAL REALISM: Márquez inspired many writers–and readers–to explore this genre. If you aren’t a fan already, you might become one!

NEGLECTED BOOK: Any book you’ve had hanging around for awhile, intending to read eventually. What’s been stopping you?

la cuentista

A BOOK IN TRANSLATION: Any book that has been translated from another language. Think Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Proust, Marquez, or something more modern, like Ha Jin.

 HORROR: Just look for the shelf label in your local bookstore or library. Think early Steven King.

ACTION/ADVENTURE: Think Indiana Jones or James Bond.

wings fire stone fox

CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Can be another quick read, while standing in the aisle, even!

POETRY: Can be all one poet or a collection. Maybe try Shel Silverstein?

my venice donna leon
[Source: Amazon]
 NOT YOUR ETHNIC BACKGROUND: Easier than you might think. Most books in translation or set abroad would qualify, as well as subgroups within the U.S.

SCIENCE: It can be as technical or as popular, as focused or as general, as you like. Mary Roach is my favorite popular science writer.

HISTORY: Social, military, political, whatever, as long as it is nonfiction. I like Dean King.

gone with the wind margaret mitchell
[Source: Goodreads]
 BOOKS THAT SPAWNED MOVIES: I blogged about this for Christmas on December 20. But there are tons from which to choose. Try for a book for which you have seen the movie.

best american short stories john updike katrina kenison

SHORT STORY COLLECTION: It could be varied or within a genre; for example, the Virginia Is For Mysteries series.

MYSTERY: Classic or modern, cozy or police procedural, foreign or domestic. They’re everywhere!

naomi novik uprooted

FANTASY: It can be anything from an older book, like Alice in Wonderland, to a book that has just come out. It exercises you in willing suspension of disbelief.

So, in 2017 READ, READ, READ! Get thee to the bookshelves.

new fiction nonfiction paperback


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