Summer is, for me, a time full of reading challenges. I’ve got more time to read in the summer, and library summer reading programs challenge you to read more books than that one retired couple who always claim the biggest prizes at the end of the summer award ceremony. Curse you, pensioners with all your free time! Some reading challenges, though, last longer than just the summer and can be found online too. I myself am nearly finished with POPSUGAR’s reading challenge, which I started at the beginning of the year.
Trying to tick off all the boxes in POPSUGAR’s reading challenge has been a really enlightening adventure. It showed me what I do and do not read, not just my obvious likes and dislikes I mean, but what books I could pick up in the first place. For example, I had to work really hard to find a book by or about a person with a disability, but found yet another WWII era mystery/adventure and checked off that “set during wartime” box pretty easily. I learned partially about my own reading habits, yes, but even more about what books are or are not readily available to me and other readers.
To encourage this kind of exploration, I’ve decided to invent my own reading challenge right now, something to round out the rest of my summer and widen the scope of books I keep an eye out for. Hopefully you might join my too. With this list, I tried to make sure the books could still be fun, enjoyable reads while also showing how difficult, and therefore arguably more important it can be to find books created by and for voices outside your specific circle.
So, without further ado, I present:
The My Life Our Books Reading Challenge Book List:
- A book of poetry by someone from a different country than you
- A book someone has been recommending to you for ages that you just haven’t gotten around to yet, shame on you!
- A non-superhero comic book or graphic novel
- A dog book where the dog does not die in the end. (Good luck even finding that one.)
- A book with a woman of color as the protagonist.
- A book you found at your local library.
- A book featuring a healthy and well-developed same-sex relationship. (no burying of any gays!)
- A book exploring political views different from your own.
- A bestselling poetry book by a poet you’ve never read before.
- A book set during a war other than WWII (That cuts out like, over half the war books ever written, I’m pretty sure.)
- A book about and/or set in a time and place you know little about
- Your mom or dad’s favorite book. (or whoever raised you.)
- A book set in Central and/or South America.
- A book by a “famous” person whom you’ve never heard of. (I’m looking at you, guy from the cast of Glee who apparently writes children’s books now.)
- A book that made you cry as a kid, or at least made you notably sad, if you were too stone cold for tears as a young’un.
- A book translated from another language.
- A book about or set in a place you want to visit one day.
- A book either featuring a religion different from your own. (Let’s say atheism and agnosticism count as religions.)
- A bestselling children’s picture book
- Your old favorite. See, I can end on an easy one.
I hope this list gave you some ideas about books you should try, even if you don’t feel like taking a reading challenge. Challenging yourself to read even a few books you never would’ve thought to try before is, to me, the most valuable thing you can take away from a reading challenge.
If your interest is piqued, here’s a great article with a list of even more reading challenges to try. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried anything like this before, or want to.