Well here we are. 2019. It's a new year, and another opportunity to challenge yourself to try something new!
I work in a library, so I like to have a book challenge to work towards - reading a certain number of books, reading books from different countries, or reading books I've been meaning to read for the past couple of years. Sometimes I succeed, and get to feel good about myself... and sometimes I don't. And I'm okay with that too. The main thing is that I have a full twelve months ahead of me to discover different authors, learn something new, and to live vicariously through the stories I choose to read.
Look up 'reading challenges' on the internet, and you'll find heaps of different options to try. Seriously, there's something for everyone. Want to read every book that Rory read or talked about on Gilmore Girls, or books that will be made into movies this year? Keen to share more stories with the kids and tweens in your whānau? Ready to finally tick off those classic titles you've not gotten around to yet? Guess what? There's a challenge for that! All you need to do is think about an area of reading you'd like to focus on over the current months, and somewhere there will be a reading challenge that will help you motivate and push yourself.
This year, I've decided to go with Book Riot's 2019 Read Harder Challenge, because it means I'm going to need to try some genres and authors I wouldn't normally read. I'd usually steer clear of romances, so it will be just the push I need to try something new. It will also give me the opportunity to re-discover some books I loved as a child (Watership Down, I'm talking to you), and to think more closely about some of the social issues that authors talk about in their books. I already read a lot of queer*/LGBTQIA* authors, so this year I'll be trying to focus on #ownvoices stories from different countries that I haven't spent much time with yet.
I've had a think about what books I might read to complete some of the categories, but with a whole year ahead there will be new titles published that will fit too, so I'm looking forward to seeing which I end up actually using. I've already read two books for this challenge: the humorous Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, and The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle as an #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America. Now some might say that Cuba isn't technically in Central America, but what I love about reading challenges is how adaptable they are - you really can make them work for you and your own interests. This was a book about a period of history I didn't know anything about, by an author I hadn't read before, and because I've read this book as part of this challenge, I've already learnt something, and found an author I'd like to learn more about. ... Which is exactly why I'm doing it!
Two books down... let's see what the next 22 books have in store for me!