It’s a new year and a time of renewal. A time of hope for the new year and a new you.
I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I like the idea of goals and personal growth, so my personal go-to is starting a new reading challenge for the year. Or in my case, several. There are some amazing reading challenges available for free online as well as your local library.
Denver Public Library has a Winter of Reading for Adults program (in English and Spanish) with reading and activity challenges such as talking to a friendly librarian, and work together to expand your reading of diverse voices. Best of all, there is a prize for completing only five activities including reading. The program does require the participant to go in person to a Denver Public Library at least twice but think of it as getting out of the house. We all need to work on that especially in winter. Winter of Reading is only until the end of February. It’s a good way to kick your New Year of reading.
I also recently joined a monthly themed book club at my local library within the Anythink Library district. Instead of reading a specific book and then discussing it each month, there is a general theme. January’s theme was read an Adult book published in 2018. February is read a book written by an African-American. (It is after all African-American History Month/ Black History Month.) Fiction or Nonfiction on any topic published whenever. That’s it. Meet with the group and talk about it.
There are both structured and unstructured reading challenges. The idea is to push your reading and yourself outside of your normal comfort zone.
My go-to unstructured reading challenge is on Goodreads.com. Set up an account and answer one question: How many books do you want to challenge yourself to read? All books count. Children’s picture books, board books, e-books, audiobooks, comics, and graphic novels. Reading to children or with children I think should count as double but that just me. Instilling a love of reading in every generation is my jam.
For structured reading challenges, some of my personal favorites are Popsugar, Book Riots’ Read Harder, Bookish. I noticed some similar reading suggestions within these challenges. Read a book written in the year you where born, a book being adapted to a new media (i.e., book to tv series, book to movie, book to play, book to graphic novel). Another theme is diverse authors and points of view. I think the We Need Diverse Books movement has and is having a wonderful effect on all readers. The #OwnVoices recognizes that the lived experience of being in a marginalized group brings authenticity to the voices of characters that share that identity, rather than relying on stereotypes. Reading is scientifically proven to cause more empathy in readers. So, challenge yourself this year to read more diversely.