I’ve been a bookworm since I learned to read. I’ve always got a book on the go, no matter what. I’ve read everything from classics to sci-fi, historical fiction to non-fiction. Books influence my view on the world, let me escape to other places and are a comfort when things get tough.
Although I read fairly widely anyway, I’ve decided to challenge myself in 2021, by trying to complete the Popsugar Reading Challenge. This challenge has been running since 2015, and includes a list of 40 prompts, plus an additional 10 prompts if you want an extra challenge.
I did the 2019 challenge and really enjoyed reading books I would never have come across on my own.
I know it might seem weird to some people to want to read 40 books in a year, but I just read normally from my bookshelves this year and managed to finish 43 books, so it’s achievable without rushing through them. As a writer, it’s vital to read to learn how authors build character, construct plot and structure their story or narrative. Of course, it’s always eye opening to read bad books too. It’s good to pick out what it was that you didn’t like – was it an annoying expression used over and over, cringe-worthy dialogue or a lack of speech marks.
Last time I did the challenge, I planned out all the books in advance, which was exciting, but then meant it was somewhat uninspiring when I got near the end. It was disappointing finishing with Frank Kafka’s The Trial, which was a trial in self to finish. This year, I’m going to try and use as many books as I can that I already own and are on my to read pile (which has grown quite a bit after Christmas and my recent birthday). I’ll just plan a few books in advance, to keep it interesting. I just need to make sure I try and end on a good one.
I’m going to write reviews of the books I read throughout the year, so any readers out there can feel inspired, or know which ones to avoid! There’s a few prompts that have already got me scratching my head: an Afrofuturist book, a book by an indigenous author and a book I have seen on someone’s bookshelf. To me though, that’s the fun and the challenge of it. I hadn’t even heard of the term Afrofuturist, let alone chosen to read a book in this genre.
Let me know if you’re thinking of doing the challenge, and what you will be reading. If you don’t read much, why not pick a few prompts to challenge yourself to read away from your usual genres.