As a new year starts, most of us think about how we’d like our lives to be different. One improvement I'm hoping to make this year is in my reading life. Rather than just pick up whatever book looks good to me at the moment, I’ve decided to split my reading between planned reading and spontaneous reading.
Planned reading requires ideas of what to read. January is the perfect time to start with dozens of 2019 reading challenges popping up all over the Internet. I’m going to highlight three that should appeal to most people, but you may want to scroll through all of the options to find the challenge that fits your reading style.
The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge is one of my favorites. Anne Bogel, who owns the site, will send you a “kit” with a list of suggestions. She includes worksheets to help you choose and a fun reading snapshot worksheet. With only 12 titles on her list, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenge is for anyone who wants to read a book a month throughout the year. Some ideas for her categories include:
- A book suggested by someone you trust: One of our My Librarians would be happy to help you with this category. Find the My Librarian who reads books that sound interesting to you, and ask for a suggestion.
- A book in translation: Beartown, by Fredrik Backman; The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery; and 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, would all be good choices for this category.
- A book published before you were born: You can find the best-selling books for each decade in the 20th century at The Books of the Century.
One of the best-known reading challenges in the bookish community is Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. The Read Harder challenge has 24 categories, which include:
- An epistolary novel or collection of letters: Meet Me at the Museum, by Anne Youngson, or The Adams-Jefferson Letters would work for this category.
- An alternate history novel: Guns of the South, by Harry Turtledove, is a fun twist on the Civil War, while Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt is a more serious look at what might have happened if the Black Plague had wiped out 90% of Europe's population.
- A humor book: Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, or The Last Black Unicorn, by Tiffany Haddish, would be fun choices.
Finally, a challenge that makes librarians happy is the 2019 Library Love Challenge, in which you read 12 books from the library over the year. You can interact on social media and give reviews or just read at least 12 books. There are no suggested categories; the only requirement is that you’ve borrowed the titles from the library. Check out our Staff Picks for some great titles to read for this challenge.
If you choose to participate in one of these reading challenges, feel free to contact a librarian for ideas to fill your categories. Also, if you combine your challenge with the Adult Winter Reading Challenge, you can count your reading in both and earn a mug. May your 2019 reading year be your best ever.