Each year I set myself a reading challenge. Sometimes I complete it, and sometimes I don't, but I like to start the new year off with a written list of the books I intend to read that year. It gets me thinking about books ... how much I love them, how much they've given me over the years, how much I've learned, laughed, and cried turning the pages. I reflect on the hundreds upon hundreds of books I've read and how they've shaped me.
While I try to read a little bit of everything, more often than not I pick up a book that is historical fiction, mystery, or thriller. Sometimes I follow a suggested reading challenge - 2019 was GoodReads "Books You Can Read in a Day" challenge - and sometimes I just make up my own - 2018 was "Books I've Bought But Haven't Read Yet." This year, I've decided to go with my county library challenge, "Pick a Genre, Any Genre." The suggestion is that you pick 12 books (one per month) from 12 different genres.
I'm drawn to this challenge mostly because it will get me reading books in genres I wouldn't normally read. For instance, I've never read an autobiography or memoir in my life. It's not my thing, or so I think. Maybe this challenge will change my mind. In fact, I really can't think of more than a handful of non-fiction books that I've ever read as an adult. Also, there are several books that I probably should have read at some point and never did, like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (not a big fan of dystopian novels) and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (I would never ever have been in the informational non-fiction section without this challenge).
Now that I had my challenge, how did I decide which books to read? First, since this is a library challenge, I decided to only read books that are available in my local branch. I spent an entire day walking the stacks of the various genres, read countless book jackets and wrote down the titles of books that peaked my interest. I ended up with a list of over 50 books! Next, I went home to narrow down my selection. I logged into www.goodreads.com and typed in the title of each book on my list. Once I read the extended descriptions and a few reviews, I narrowed my list down to 24.
My intention is to read at least one book a month, but there were so many I wanted to read that I added a second book of each (sub)genre. If my schedule allows, I'll read both, if not, one per month will still be a great challenge.
As I read each book, I'll post a short review to the GHG facebook page and add a few lines here on the blog. Here is my list for the GHG 2020 Reading Challenge:
Memoir - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
Self-Help - Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russel Simmons, and Journey Into Mindfulness: Gentle Ways to Let Go of Stress and Live in the Moment by Dr. Patrizia Collard
Bonus books if I have time ... The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (can you believe I've never read this!!), The Gentleman by Forrest Leo, and Circe by Madeline Miller