In thinking about the different ways I want to challenge myself to read this year, I’ve decided to create my own challenge. I love short stories. LOVE THEM. But I am lazy and not great about seeking out stories beyond some well-known magazines, journals and collections. This year I am challenging myself to read a short story collection each month. Each collection should be by an author I’ve not read previously, or with whom I am very nominally familiar. I am not going to hold it against myself if I have come across an author in a Best American Stories collection, but have read no other stories by that author, ever.
Another option (which I also liked) would be to read one short story a week, from an unknown author or source. I tend to read stories published in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Tin House and in the Best American Short Stories collections. But there are tons and tons of other journals out there publishing short stories by new and not-so-new authors. It could be fun to seek out those less well-known sources. Most publish at least some things online, so this could be a very affordable challenge as well. Maybe I’ll do this next year! I’m still listing it just because even if I don’t read from 52 different sources, I would like to keep track of where I’m reading as well as what I’m reading.
- Read 12 short story collections by 12 different (unknown to me) authors.
Goal #2 (alternate)
- Read 52 stories from 52 different sources, online or in print.
This year I want to push myself to read a bit more variety. I tend to read a lot no matter what, but I also tend to find an interest and exhaust it thoroughly before moving on to something else. Not a bad thing, just a form of tunnel vision that I’d like to…not eliminate but maybe expand the number of tunnels? Anyway, these challenges look interesting to me:
I’m interested in the first four challenges specifically because they will push me to move out of whatever my current comfort zone may be. And I want to use the Mount TBR Challenge to push me very specifically to read the books that have accumulated in my Kindle account. I tend to purchase titles when they go on sale but then am bad about reading them. This year I want to get to at least one of them per month.
Five challenges might be a lot, but I’m giving myself the leeway to overlap books if they qualify for multiple lists. However, I do want to read separate books for each category on individual lists. Make sense? For example, the Book Riot challenge includes a book that is under 100 pages and the MMD list includes a book that you can read in a day. I could use the same book for both of those lists. But the MMD challenge also includes a category for a book you’ve been meaning to read. And even if I’ve been meaning to read the same book that is less than a hundred pages and can be read in one day–because it’s on the same list as the read in one day category, I need to choose a different title. I think this will keep things manageable without becoming overwhelming.
I also have an ongoing goal to complete the Goodreads Around the World in 80 Books challenge, although I have been bad about keeping track of these books. So. This one is always in the background. Maybe I’ll make progress, maybe not.
Are you participating in any reading challenges this year?