I Can Read 8 Books Overnight. . . How about a Real Challenge? by Laura Raphael

When I was working at the Memphis Public Library a decade ago, I envied the Tulsa City-County Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program. Why didn’t we have something similar, to support adults in their reading goals?

The program is still eminently enviable. Where else can you get rewarded for doing something good for your mind and your soul? (In case you don’t know the details, here they are: Read 8 books between January 29 and March 29, register online, and get a free library bag for your efforts. From among all of the registrants, one will be chosen at random to receive a Kindle Fire. The link is here:

But if you’re a true “reading addict” like me, you might be interested in something more, to really kick up your reading during these winter months.

Why not try the latest thing for readers online: a “reading challenge”? These are blogs where you sign up and promise to, for example, read a different Nobel Prize-winning author every month, or read as many novels as you can by William Faulkner. There are as many different reading challenges as there are reading tastes, and most of them are listed here, at the A Novel Challenge blog.

You’ll find links to a wide variety of reading challenges, some which started in January (and really it’s not too late for those), but many without deadlines. There’s the Gothic Reading Challenge, the Vintage Children’s Literature Challenge, the Books About Books Reading Challenge, the Southern Literature Reading Challenge, and for those of you who don’t have the time or attention or yen for novels, the Sunday Story Society Challenge, which focuses on short stories.

Me, I think I might try the “Embarrassment of Riches To Be Read (TBR) Reading Challenge of 2013” . I can’t tell you how many piles of books I have at home that have just been patiently waiting for YEARS for me to read, and I like that there are 5 levels of accomplishment, from Copper (6 “TBR” books in a year) to Platinum (50 TBR books). I think I might settle with Silver, and knock out 24 TBRs this year.

Bel Canto, here I come!