Reading challenges seem to be all the rage these days. The annual PopSugar Reading Challenge is especially popular, which prompts you to read an impressive 40 books in a year. The list ranges widely, from ‘a book from a nonhuman perspective’ to ‘a book involving travel’.
In theory, I love the idea of a reading challenge; it encourages you to branch out, expanding your literary horizons.
But I’ve never done one. Nor do I ever want to do one. Because the last thing I want to do is turn reading into a chore, yet another task I have to tick off a list.
Truth be told, reading is one of the only good-for-me habit I don’t have to force myself to do. Since childhood, I’ve been a bookworm and still read about 25-30 books a year. Unlike flossing or strength-training, reading is a good habit that I do purely out of enjoyment.
I could be wrong, but I’d like to think I already read a wide variety of books. Here are some of the books I’ve read this year and loved:
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neopolitan Novels, Book Three by Elena Ferrante (2014) (the third Neopolitan Novel)
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance (2016)
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adiche (2007)
Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates (2015)
The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino (2016)
The Underground Railroad by Coleson Whitehead (2016)
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016)
The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovani (2016)
East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity” by Philippe Sands (2016)
How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky (2016)
97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman (2011)
The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy (2017)
Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden (2013)
I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron (2011)
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sara Botton (2013)
Ask Polly’s Guide to Your Next Crisis by Heather Havrilesky (2017)
I’d love to know your perspective on this – do you enjoy reading challenges? Do you find they don’t turn reading into a chore? Which ones have you done?
Oh and what books have you read recently that you’d recommend? I am going to need a lot of reading material on the camino!
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.)