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When I was a kid, I was a voracious reader. I read enormous amounts of books every week.
I would show up at the library on Monday to borrow 12 books and return the next Monday to exchange them for new books.
It didn’t matter how large the books were. I finished them all within a week. The library staff started thinking I was having them on.
I genuinely loved reading and I read everything. As an adult, with all of life’s ups and downs, my reading habit has fallen by the wayside.
However, my love of reading hasn’t changed. I’ve read a few books over the years but never anything close to the volumes I read when I was a kid.
Personal Reading Challenge 2020
I’ve decided to recommit to my love of reading in 2020. To be a better writer, you have to be a greater reader.
The challenge I’ve set for myself is 2 books a month with the aim of 25 books by year’s end. So far, I think I’m doing good.
It’s only February and I’m already on book 6. I’m a very fast reader. Uninterrupted, I can finish an average-sized book within a day, two if I’m taking breaks to do other stuff.
Longer if I’m going to work, cooking, grocery shopping, running errands and other life tasks.
For this challenge, I’m trying not to read only the big releases but also focus on and support smaller and independent writers.
What Genres Do I Read?
I love autobiographies, historical, mystery, suspense, thrillers and true crime novels.
I love love love a good whodunnit. I’m not a big fan of romance unless it’s tied in with comedy, mystery or a specific message.
I also plan to read more writing books in 2020. I will add those below as well as on the Essential Resources for Writers page if it’s really good.
My rule of thumb – if the book is good, I’ll read it irrespective of who published it or what method of publication was involved.
Reading List for 2020
I will be updating this list as I finish each book. Below are the books I’ve read in this challenge so far (Feb 2020).
When I have time, I will write individual reviews for each book. In the meantime, I have given preliminary ratings for each one:-
- Born A Crime by Trevor Noah – 4/5
- Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs – 3/5
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – 4/5 (really aggravated me though. Lol)
- Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver – 4/5
- The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – 3.5/5
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – 3/5
- The Last Affair by Margot Hunt – 3/5
- Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey – 3/5
- We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark – 3.5/5
- The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Tips for Getting the Best Out of a Reading Challenge
- Identify the genres you want to focus on but a range of genres is better,
- Put together a reading list.
- Decide how you’re going to procure the books – buy new, buy used, borrow from the library or book exchange with friends.
- Assign a reading time every day. For instance, my reading time is on my daily commute which is around 1.5 hours total without traffic. I also read before bed when I can.
- If you don’t think you can stick to a time, set a reminder on your phone to read every day.
- Do a group reading challenge with family or friends if you think it will help you stick to your personal challenge. Alternatively, you can join a book club.
Even if it’s only 1 page you read every day, it’s still 1 more page than you read the day before. Don’t stop and don’t get discouraged.
Reading is a great way to broaden your mind, imagination and perspective on life and humanity. It also increases your range of vocabulary and reduces stress by providing an escape.
Do you have any reading goals for 2020?