This year, my writers’ group posted a book challenge.
Here it is, in all its glory!
I came across this a week or two ago, and I’ve been marking off books I read since New Year’s, and given I’ve got no school and am still job searching, it’s a little embarrassing how far I’ve made it through the list. It’s entirely designed to encourage reading books you wouldn’t necessarily pick up and read, but might enjoy if you did.
In a perfect world, I’d add a couple more categories (maybe splitting up ‘Asia’ from one monolithic thing into some constituent areas because cultural diversity, add self-published as well as indie published, and of course because it’s me, adding more spec fic categories), but I do like that it has categories for gender/sexuality diversity, cultural diversity, genre diversity and different publishing venues/categories. It’s not concentrating on one area of adding diversity to reading, and that means I’m more likely to find more cool stuff. Heck, I’m actually putting stuff on my to-read list because of other stuff I found looking for books to fill categories on the list that I may not normally have found, because I’m essentially using different search terms.
Given that my first thought after I finished my uni year last year was “AWESOME FANTASY BOOKS!! *dives into pile of spec fic*”, I think this is a really good idea for me – to keep me from getting not-studying-induced tunnel vision on books (Not studying is going to drive me a bit insane, but that’s a discussion for another time).
Plus, I’ve had a few conversations with friends about reading material before, to suggest fantasy books because they’d like to read more but only seem to pick up mediocre fantasy. I like the spec fic section, always have. So I know how to navigate it. I can read a blurb and a first page and generally tell what kind of book it will be, and whether I’ll like it. I’m more often right than wrong, these days.
Put me in the fiction section? “Well, that sure is a great picture of that person’s immaculate jawline. Hm, this writing is good, but it doesn’t tell me anything about the story. And this blurb is frankly confusing”. I might have an idea of whether I’ll like it or not, but I’ll not trust my judgement enough to actually spend money on it unless I have a recommendation from someone I trust.
So something like this, where I’m forced to take a chance on a specific type of thing? Maybe it’ll give me some practice figuring out how to read vague lit fic blurbs. Maybe it’ll mean I can decide on books I’ll like based on “Well, it reads similar to this other thing I really liked.” I’d like to be able to trust my abilities to pick up more than just fantasy.
To facilitate this, I’ve also added to my rules that I can’t reread books for it. Every book has to be something I haven’t read before.
So if this sounds like something that will make your year’s reading a bit more interesting, well, have a link! Otherwise, ignore the crazy person. It’s the Internet, I’m sure it won’t be the last time. If you found a new book because of it, recommend it in the comments! Or if you’ve got suggestions for books for certain categories. Everyone loves book recommendations!