Literally challenged: the sequel

Bookshelves still awaiting sorting
Bookshelves still awaiting sorting … and reading

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.

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9 thoughts on “Literally challenged: the sequel

  1. When I saw your original post I thought it looked a fun idea but i wasn’t sure whether i could carry on my support for indie authors and do the challenge at the same time. I clearly wasn’t thinking laterally enough. Ticking off more than one challenge per book has re-sparked my interest, so I’m going to take part too (and it will fit in with my Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books this year). Thanks for the prompt!

    1. Yes, Dylan, I thought it’d much more manageable (one of those SMART goals of business-speak) if you don’t limit yourself to just one cue per book, so I’m glad you’re judging the ‘challenge’ helpful and are plannng to use it too! And thanks for the (hateful phrase but it’s vivid) shout out on your blog.

  2. Good for you–inspiring post. Three books read and three reviews written, and not even three weeks into the new year! I think my personal challenge will have to be much more modest– finishing some of the books I’ve started and writing at least one review. Ideally, though, I’d like to be writing reviews of every book I finish that I would recommend to others. Thanks!

    1. I always feel that you can only do what you can do, Josna, and that it’s not worth setting specific goals that aren’t manageable, attainable, time-constrained and all the rest unless you thrive on undue stress — and I don’t! So maybe if you finish just one book and get to review it this year that’s a plus, and if you manage any more that’s a bonus!

  3. Pingback: Reading Challenge | Suffolk Scribblings

  4. I am amazed by how many cross categories one book can cover. I think my first pick, “Cell” covered two or three. I am not reading as fast as you are, but I am confident I will meet this challenge by year end.
    Happy reading!

    1. It’d be nice to have a challenge that I/you/one can take in your stride and feel you had a chance to painlessly complete! I’d wish you luck, Sari, but I don’t think it would be needed!

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