Yep, 100 books! That’s what I read in 2020 and I hope to duplicate in 2021. I have a few secrets and methods I’ll share. One of the best helps I can suggest if you want to give it a try, is to join a Reading Challenge on Facebook. There are many out there, and I’ve joined three for this year. They keep you inspired, and they help you with choices.
The 52 Book Club (formerly, The 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge)
I found this one last year in February, and had fun reading in the 52 prompts that founder Liz Mannegren listed, and then posting the titles (and covers, if you wish) on the Facebook page . For instance, which books would YOU read in such categories as; #3 – By an Indigenous Author? or #6 – Written in the 1970’s? or #40 – Used on the Mensa reading list for grades 9-12? or #48 – A Character who wears glasses?
For those prompts, I chose Whitefly, by Abdelilah Hamdouchi, Kindred, by Octavia Butler (recently deceased), Nine Taylors by Dorothy Sayers, and Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower, respectively. All excellent books, the first two I wouldn’t have read if not for the challenge. So glad I did.
Two very difficult ones for me to find and read were: #50 An Author You Previously Disliked, and #51 A Genre You don’t care for. I chose a 30-page children’s book by James Patterson (the shortest I could find), and a sports book that turned out to be excellent, The Boys in A Boat by Daniel James Brown. (Think Chariots of Fire.)
Among this year’s 52 prompts are: #3 – A dual timeline, #17 – A character on the run, #19 – Book with a Deckled edge (Huh??), #24 – A book you think they should read in schools, #27 – First chapter ends on an “odd” page (harder to find than you think!), #35 – Set in a Country that starts with the Letter “S,” and #48 – A cover with a woman facing away.
Fun, huh? I bet you thought of books YOU would choose just like that!
A few difficult prompts for me to settle on this year are; #14 – Written by an author over 65 when first published (I hope to get the guy I chose as a WinR Guest later in the year!), #15 – A book mentioned in another book, #18 – An author with a 9-letter last name, #31 – Shares a similar title to another book, and #49 – A flavor in the title. (I chose Naomi Hirahara’s Strawberry Yellow.) By the way, I chose another of Naomi’s books, Clark and Davidson (to be released in August) for the #26 prompt – An author of color.
One more prompt that everyone on the Facebook group found difficult was #8 – A book in the 900’s of the Dewey Decimal System. Yikes! After several librarians commented about geography, history, and biography, I eventually chose the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Liz Mannegren announced this year’s new prompts (categories) on November 30, 2020, and wow, did the group go crazy! Suggestions and questions flew back and forth. By mid-December, most everyone had settled on the books they wanted to read. BUT… now was the hard part. Reading was not supposed to commence until January 1st.
Liz solved the “terrible itch to read” problem with giving the group a Mini-Challenge just for December. Three books with the Prompts: books about or with these words in the title – Light, Holiday, and Snow. Pretty easy to find. I used a couple short stories (Jacqueline Vick’s The Christmas-s-s Party for one, and two beautiful Children’s books, which I then gave as Christmas presents.)
The Mini-Challenge prompts for February (she does this every other month for speed readers) are: A book with a red spine, a book related to the word “magical” and a book with a great platonic relationship (can be with a favorite pet). I’ve gotten three books picked out, whether I’ll get to reading them this month, I’m not sure. (They can be extra reading, or books in the current 52-book challenge.)
Okay, I’ve hinted at a “method” or “secret” I use to read 100 books. I simply read some of the prompts in Children’s or Middle-grade books (which I enjoy anyway, and which usually end up as gifts or put into my Little Free Library). They are usually shorter and take less time to read. Also, in this “secret” is that I occasionally read short stories. (Confession: the challenge likes the books to be 100+ pages, but I don’t always do that. See bottom of next paragraph.)
Here’s something else I did. I found a book for last year’s #18 prompt – A book written by Stephen King (not going to read!) by Googling other authors by that name and finding a delightful Children’s book by “Stephen Michael King.” Cheating? Nope. Over and over, you hear “It’s YOUR challenge, so YOUR choice” when people ask if they can use a certain book for a category.
And… another cool thing that’s done is that parents and children are doing the challenge as well. Older kids read in their age books while a parent reads in theirs. Or, busy moms of little ones do the challenge by reading children’s books in each prompt ALOUD to their kids.
One note: The 52 Book Club is a private group (to keep out spammers and such) but anyone can join at any time. Here’s the link to join. You can find the list of prompts, and even suggestions for each one.
- The 2021 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge.
This one is easy, and you can use books you read in other Challenges. Simply read a book with the first main word of the BOOK TITLE (OR do it with the Author’s LAST NAME) for every letter in the alphabet. They discount the prefixes “A” or The” etc. The letters “Q X and Z can be found anywhere in the title (or name). It’s a public group, anyone can join at any time. There are three moderators who keep a lookout for off color posts.
Founder, Lori Boness Casswell also suggests a one-book Mini-Challenge each month. For January it was, a book about or in the title: COLD. In February it is: LOVE.
- The Literary Escapes Reading Challenge.
Another easy one founded by Lori Casswell. You read books that are set in each of the 50 states. You can also do countries as well. And again, they can overlap with other challenges.
So you see, by reading in these challenges (with my secrets & methods, and, okay, “cheats”), plus the ARCs I get for review, AND my books for pleasure, it is easy to read ONE HUNDRED books. Don’t worry about “the time” just pick up a book and read. And, if you review the books on Goodreads or Amazon, the authors will love you.
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