I received a text from my sister yesterday morning saying, “I reckon you could do this easily” and was immediately intrigued. First of all, think of all the things you could do easily. I came up with: taking a shower, walking without falling over – most of the time – and painting my nails. Let’s face it, easily is a loaded word. However, this was not a list of silly things, but a great list. Better than a list, it is a challenge. The Reading Challenge of 2016, to be specific.
As it happens, I am a self-confessed sucker for New Year and resolutions. I know, I know (and I’ve written before), there is nothing special about new year that means resolutions will work. It is always the right time to make a change, but there is something about January that makes me want to try something new. For example, this time last year, I first shared my Blog with my friends for the first time and that has been a huge positive. In that January 2015 post, I wrote about improving my German (not a point of great success, but it has got better, if only passively and thanks to my nosiness – I learn most of my German by listing in to other people’s conversations.) I also hinted at running a marathon and I did manage two half-marathons, so I am counting that as a success. I said I’d give Novel Writing month another crack and made it to the magical 50,000 words. Thus, 2015 kicked off with some goal setting and ended fairly successfully.
That said, I hadn’t given resolutions much thought this year, but, and seeing as my sister seems to have complete faith in my reading ability, I thought I’d give this list some serious consideration. There are 12 items on the list and I was confident on first glance that I could manage 11 of them in 2016. As I looked closer, all the evidence was there that I could do either all 12 or none. The first challenge, you see, is to read a book published in 2016. I read it incorrectly as simply (or not, as the case may be) publish a book in 2016. I figured that was optimistic even if writing professionally would be my dream job. So, accepting that I can read and just made a mistake, I figured I could try all 12. That’s a book a month. Not bad.
So, having decided I will probably read a book published in 2016, here’s my low down on the rest of the list.
2. Read a book you can finish in a day. There are so many candidates for this, and, given that the summer holidays provide me with so much time for reading, I’m sure it’ll be possible. I’m predicting a trashy summer novel or, as my sister suggests, Flat Stanley. That or the The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. I’ll spend a day re-living my childhood and I can’t wait.
3. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read. Easy, the new Harper Lee. I’m just scared it’ll ruin To Kill A Mockingbird forever.
4. Read a book recommended by your local librarian. I do this frequently. In fact, I have breakfast once a week with my librarian who is a book-recommending genius and friend. Excited about what she’ll suggest.
5. Read a book you should have read in school. This will be tricky because these are the kind of books I dislike – the ones you ‘should’ read. The ones society deems important and you end up ploughing through out of a duty to reading. Still, there are many, many books on this list and lots of them will be great, I’m sure. Therefore, I’ll just pick this one with care. Maybe some Edgar Allan Poe…
6. Read a book chosen by your spouse. This is exciting. Books is the area where my husband and I have the least in common, but it’ll either be a sci-fi, which I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while, or something political, which excites me. I really, really, really hope it’s not a big, long, complicated, non-fiction astronomy book.
7. Read a book published before you were born. Ohhh, goody! That’ll be something from the 1920s I am sure. Maybe I’ll finally find some love for Hemingway – currently I prefer my local bar with the same name…
8. Read a book that was banned at some point. I think this will be easier that in sounds. Loads of books were banned. Loads.
9. Read a book that you previously abandoned. Oh no. I almost never abandon books. I tried to read On The Road recently. It just went on and on. Perhaps I’ll try again. I’m less excited about this challenge. Still sometimes it’s the mood you’re in rather than the book’s fault so I’ll not write this one off just yet.
10. Read a book that you own but have never read. Catch 22, it’s time to dust you off and open those pages.
11. Read a book that intimidates you. It might have to be Tolstoy. But War and Peace is sooo long!
12. Read a book you’ve already read at least once. Having a kindle and being a cheap skate means I do this a lot anyway. It’ll likely be during a school holiday or a lazy Sunday. Either that or it’ll be a book for school that I need to re-read before I make the kids read it…
It’s another list, I know. But it was a fun one to make. Fun because I love a good book and a good challenge. And I like the idea that someone thinks I can do something, anything, easily.
I wonder how easy this will be.
I wonder what books I’ll discover.
I wonder what’ll you’ll chose.
I wonder if I’ll ever publish that book.