Filling the Well of Words

One of the small markers I’ve been watching as a sign of my life getting better over the past few years is the re-establishment of my reading habits. The advent of my Goodreads use overlaps with this improvement curve to tell a pretty dramatic tale: in 2015, I read 7 books; in 2016, I read 23. The floodgates opened in 2017 for a total of 83, and then in 2018, I hit the round number of reading 100 books.

Penguin-Bookworm

I’m guessing the time I’m going to be allocating each day to generating words might very well cut into this year’s consumption of text. As such, I’ve set myself a relatively non-ambitious goal of reading 75 books in 2019. The slightly more ambitious piece of that is how I’m using the structure of reading challenges to continue diversifying what and who I read.

The reading challenge thing is something I’ve also been doing for the past few years–since 2016, to be precise. I’ve used different challenges and different approaches to those challenges each year. This year, I’ve decided to use the categories from the Goodreads Around the Year in 52 Books challenge as my core challenge. I’m also “leveling up” in my aspiration to read the categories in sequence, checking off one each week.

And, the categories, with my choices and goal “read by” date, are:

  1. Nominated or won an award in a genre I enjoy: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (January 7)
  2. One of the 5 W’s in the title: Who Thought this was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco (January 14)
  3. Author’s name contains A, T, and Y: Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott (January 21)
  4. With a criminal character: Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi (January 28)
  5. By Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (February 4)
  6. With a dual timeline: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (February 11)
  7. Two related to same topic, genre, theme: #1: Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer (February 18)
  8. Two related to same topic, genre, theme: #2: Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer (February 25)
  9. From one of the top 5 money-making genres: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (March 4)
  10. Featuring an historical figure: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows (March 11)
  11. Related to one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (March 18)
  12. About reading, books, or an author/writer: Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man by Joseph Heller (March 25)
  13. Included on a NY Library Staff Picks list: Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper (April 1)
  14. Title, subtitle, or cover relating to an astronomical term: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (April 8)
  15. By an author from or set in a Mediterranean country: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (April 15)
  16. Told from multiple perspectives: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (April 22)
  17. Speculative fiction: 11/22/63 by Stephen King (April 29)
  18. Related to one of the elements in the periodic table: Radium Girls by Kate Moore (May 6)
  19. By an author with more than one book on my TBR: Ms. Marvel, vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson (May 13)
  20. Featuring indigenous people of a country: The Swan Book by Alexis Wright (May 20)
  21. From one of the polarizing/close cal votes: Obsidian Blues by Herman Beavers (May 27)
  22. With a number in the title or on the cover: Barefoot Gen, vol. 1 by Keiji Nakazawa (June 3)
  23. Inspired by the wedding rhyme, #1, Something Old: Less by Andrew Sean Greer (June 10)
  24. Inspired by the wedding rhyme, #2, Something New: Becoming by Michelle Obama (June 17)
  25. Inspired by the wedding rhyme, #3, Something Borrowed: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard (June 24)
  26. Inspired by the wedding rhyme, #4, Something Blue: Mo Meta Blues by Questlove (July 1)
  27. On the “1,001 books to read before you die” list: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (July 8)
  28. Related to cold (theme, author, title, cover, etc.): Winter by Marissa Meyer (July 15)
  29. Published before 1950: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (July 22)
  30. Featuring an elderly character: As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds (July 29)
  31. Children’s classic I’ve never read: Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (August 5)
  32. More than 500 pages: Ulysses by James Joyce (August 12)
  33. Owned for at least a year but haven’t read: Watchmen by Alan Moore (August 19)
  34. With a person’s name in the title: Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (August 26)
  35. Psychological thriller: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (September 2)
  36. On NPR’s best books of the year list: Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (September 9)
  37. Set in a school or university: Secret History by Donna Tartt (September 16)
  38. Not written in traditional novel format (e.g., epistolary, graphic novel, etc.): This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki (September 23)
  39. Strong sense of place: Let’s Play Dead by Sheila Connolly (September 30)
  40. Stumbled upon: Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (October 7)
  41. From the 2018 Goodreads Choice awards: Circe by Madeline Miller (October 14)
  42. With a monster or “monstrous” character: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (October 21)
  43. Related to STEM: The Martian by Andy Weir (October 28)
  44. Related in some way to a TV show or movie I enjoyed: Watership Down by Richard Adams (November 4)
  45. Multi-generational saga: House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (November 11)
  46. (Mostly) black cover: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (November 18)
  47. Related to food: Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman (November 25)
  48. Nat’l Book Award finalist or winner: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (December 2)
  49. By Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country: Wild Swans by Jung Chang (December 9)
  50. Includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual): Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (December 16)
  51. Published in 2019: TBD (December 23)
  52. Weird or intriguing title: Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (December 30)

Full disclosure: I already know that there will be some hiccups in the timeline that’s outlined above. For example, do you see the book I named for Category #1? That biography is more than 900 pages long, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess it’s taking me more than a week to read it all. Luckily, there are also some shorter titles on the schedule that will help even things out for me.

Now, because I am truly #NerdCore, one set of challenge categories isn’t enough for me.

I’ll share my other two lists tomorrow.

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Image credit: Max Pixel, distributed via a a Creative Commons Zero – CC0 license.

17 thoughts on “Filling the Well of Words

  1. Pingback: 3 is Better than 1 | Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  2. Pingback: Off to a Slow Start | Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  3. Pingback: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart | Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  4. Pingback: Who Thought this Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  5. Pingback: Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  6. Pingback: Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  7. Pingback: January Recap – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  8. Pingback: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  9. Pingback: Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  10. Pingback: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  11. Pingback: Spell or High Water by Scott Meyer – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  12. Pingback: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  13. Pingback: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  14. Pingback: February Recap and Looking Ahead – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  15. Pingback: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  16. Pingback: Midstream Report – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

  17. Pingback: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – Self-Love: It's Just Another Lifestyle Change

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