I started the first week of 2018 with Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend’. The book rescued me from a deep pit of darkness that I was beginning to fall into. The next one in her Neapolitan series, The Story Of A New Year, dragged me out a bit more and by the time I finished reading all seven of her available books and a ton of her articles, I was back to the normalcy that I was craving for.
This experience restored my faith in the healing power of good stories, thoughtful literature, and powerful words that I had lost over time or probably never really felt a need to experience close enough. ‘Books are best friends’ may be a cliche, but it works well for me and for others who need more than just people to feel alive.
So, the last year was all about indulging into stories and I cannot wait to repeat the same this year and notch things up a level. Even though I find peace in reading a category of fiction, I am ready to explore new genres, participate in exciting reading challenges, and connect with a small group of like-minded people who may be able to help each other pick the right reads and stay on track through the year.
I created a challenge for myself and would love for you to join in if you find the challenge fun and exciting enough.
- Below is a list of 24 prompts to guide all or some of our reads for the year 2019.
- You can choose all 24 if you think that’s an achievable and practical target for your schedule.
- I recommend choosing a minimum of 12 prompts (a book/month) to keep the challenge dynamic enough.
- We can get as creative with the prompts as we would like to and pick vintage to brand new books that we may not pick otherwise.
My challenge: I am setting myself to read 48 good/great books out of which I will pick 24 guided by the prompts.
The purpose of the challenge is quite intrinsic. I wished someone sent this email to my inbox last year when I needed a push and meaningful connections. So, here’s my attempt to do the same in return in the hope that besides myself it gets others to get back on track as well.
READING CHALLENGE 2019
- A book set in and written by an author from a country you don’t know much about.
- A book originally written in an Indian language, later translated in English OR A book written in a language other than English.
- A book that is currently banned or was banned once.
- A book that you haven’t read reviews of or ever heard about, physically picked from a bookstore.
- A horror written by a female author.
- A children’s book written more than a 100 years ago.
- A fiction or non-fiction book that supports an opinion you generally disagree with, preferably recommended by someone whose opinions you disagree with on the respective topic.
- A book meant for young adults.
- A ‘classic’ that you have always wanted to read.
- A science fiction/non-fiction written by an Asian author.
- An autobiography of a woman who is no longer alive.
- A book that your parent/guardian/elder read when they were your (approximate) age.
- A book that you feel will absolutely break your heart or make you cry.
- A book which is written from the first-person perspective of a child.
- A sports-fiction.
- A fiction that is written in a different style than conventional prose.
- A fiction/non-fiction book about a food or a beverage.
- An award-winning erotic novel.
- A book about war or conflict that took place in the 20th century.
- Ask someone you love to gift you a book that they would like for you to read.
- A book that an author you love lists as one of their favourites.
- A non-fiction book on a social topic you need to learn more about.
- A book by an author from the Central Asian region.
- A book by an author making a debut in 2019.
If you are joining me on the reading challenge, please do let me know via comments or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I am very eager to find peers to join on this journey.
Below is the image you can keep handy for use.
UPDATE: We have now formed a closed Facebook group to discuss ideas on new books to read, opinions, reviews and more. If you are interested in the Reading Challange or to engage in meaningful virtual interactions about books, please feel free to join the group here.