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My 2015 Reading Challenge

As someone with a lot of time to read, I tend to start the new year with a vague theme in mind to focus my reading for the next 12 months. For 2014, my goal was to broaden my reading in genre fiction, and I don’t think I did too badly. I made the virtual acquaintance of Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, Fritz Leiber, Nalo Hopkinson and Anne McCaffrey; I read Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina, Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, and tried my hand at Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. And on my shelf, waiting to be scooped up, are Zelazny and Gene Wolfe and Raymond E. Feist; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and The Mists of Avalon. I promise I’ll get to them all, sooner or later, just like I’m fully intending to spend a year reading “the classics,” another reading popular books from outside my own genre (romances and westerns and mysteries, anyone?), and two more reading only books translated from other languages and those written only by authors of color.

In short, I like having reading goals. Even if I know I’ll inevitably end up reading a lot of stuff that isn’t on That Year’s List; having a goal gives me somewhere to set my gaze when I walk into the library, instead of frolicking through the shelves like a butterfly (which doesn’t mean I never do that). So this year, with all the above vaguely-defined goals in mind, I have decided I’m going to focus myself with the 50 entries of the PopSugar Reading Challenge. I chose this one not because of any particular loyalty to the site but because I thought the list looked interesting and fun, like a literary scavenger hunt. A sampling of the things it’s asking for would include a book more than 100 years old, a book set during Christmastime, a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, and a book your mom likes.

I expect I’ll be attempting to cram some of my other specifications into this challenge as well, particularly the goal of reading more diversely: as Aarti at Booklust points out every year during the runup to her Diversiverse challenge, authors from all backgrounds write all kinds of books. And I’ll even declare that I will post reviews for the 50 different books I read for the challenge here, so stay tuned.

What about you, Loyal Readers? Are you doing a reading challenge this year? What’s on your list?

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11 Comments

  1. Neato. I am doing a bunch of challenges. I like to have a vague direction as well, and I like the game of most challenges. I’m doing a bunch of them, but my favorite at the moment is the ABC challenge (umm, I think it is officially called Alphabet Soup) where you read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet. I’m doing that with authors’ last names and book titles. Totally random, but as my larger goal is just to read and have fun, I’m finding it to be a wonderfully random way to pick the next book off of the shelf. Keeps me from just reading the obvious next thing. Good times. Good luck with this one.

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    • Ooh, that sounds like fun! and it has the benefit of being only 26 books long (unless you mean that you’re doing it once with last names and once with titles). Maybe I’ll try that one for 2016… πŸ˜‰

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  2. I’m trying to read more diverse books – at least one non-white author a month, plus more books with non-white or LGBT protagonists. My reading will likely stay around seventy percent fantasy.

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    • I read a lot of fantasy too — the argument that if you write in a genre you should avoid reading in that genre has never made much sense to me. I feel as though fantasy is still my “fun” reading, where literary work and work from other genres is more “work” — still enjoyable, but looked at with more of an analytical eye as I try to figure out what makes it different from the books I’m more familiar with.

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      • I think you need to read in the genre you write in – how else are you supposed to know what’s already been done and what to avoid doing?

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      • I agree 100%, but I think there are some authors who worry that by reading in their genre they will somehow “contaminate” themselves or their ideas, that by avoiding other stories like the ones they’re trying to write they will somehow avoid being influenced by pop culture. Which I don’t think is really possible unless you live in a cabin in the woods and have never watched TV… I operate with the assumption that it’s better to be aware of the tropes and complications in your field so that you can incorporate them or set them aside in your own work as you see fit.

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  3. Great Review! I’m also participating in this challenge and I agree it’s like a scavenger hunt each week πŸ˜€ If you are interested, please check out my blog under the category Saturday Scrolls to see what I am reading as well as how I am doing the challenge. Looking forward to seeing what you are reading!

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  1. Reading goals for 2015 β€” Ben Crowder

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