Just before Christmas I reposted a Reading Challenge which had appeared in Goodwill Librarian’s Facebook feed. This listed ‘cues’ (as I called them) to help the reader focus on what to read for 2015. Though there were fifty-two of these cues I’d chosen not to interpret them as challenges for each week of the year but as a checklist to see, as I go through the year, if I could roam a little wider than the genres I tend to made a beeline for. We’re now halfway through the first month, so how have I done so far?
I’ve in fact got through three books, and reviewed them — not bad for a rather hectic time in my life. I’ve been surprised how many of the cues I’ve already covered.
Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia: the seven heavens in the imagination of C S Lewis actually covers three categories. First, it’s by an author I’d not read before. Next, as a study of a series of books of fiction it certainly counts as non-fiction. And thirdly it includes a number in the title (in this case, seven).
Chris Westwood’s Ministry of Pandemonium came next. This straddles even more categories: four (or five, if I count it as by an author I’ve not read before). This, I believe, counts as a scary book, though to be honest my heart rate barely went up, even though it featured some rather nasty non-human characters. I chose it based on the cover which intriguingly showed the young hero with a sketchbook in a graveyard, and indubitably it was concerned with magic and the supernatural.
Most recently I read Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea and, extraordinarily, this also encompassed four categories (or five, if I count this too as by an author I’d not read before). It’s by a female author (the first of many planned this year), it’s set in a foreign country as well as set somewhere I wanted to visit (when I was a kid, admittedly), and I had bought this book sometime in 2014 (even before it was recommended to me but which I’d forgotten I had) so it counts as a book owned but not read.
It seems then that almost any book I pick up to read is likely to involve several categories, and with any luck one of them will be a cue on the list yet to be ticked off. I suspect however that as the year progresses I’m going to have to seriously consider new titles as stubbornly elusive cues start to escape the net. But so far so good. If any of this helps other readers (such as Kathy Waller), raising their spirits for meeting this challenge, all well and good!
But of course, it’s not really a challenge, just a bit of fun.