Beth and I have done a lot of talking about the kinds of things that reading can do for a person. It really is a magical thing. It can transport you to different worlds. It can imagine new history. It can see potential futures. Studies have even shown that reading literary fiction can help you relate better to other people. So, with this in mind, we’ve put together our first reading challenge. Inspired by #weneedmorediversebooks, we’ve come up with a challenge to make us think about who we are reading and what we are reading about. Our challenge has three sub-challenges: one related to characters, one related to authors, and one related to books themselves. Each sub-challenge is only ten books long, so you can do any of the sub-challenges without changing how you read for the whole year. As a reader, you can tackle the whole challenge or one or more of the sub-challenges.
I will be maintaining a page here on this blog full of possible books to fulfill the challenge that I find in my reading travels. Of course, any suggestions will be helpfully added to the list. Part of what makes diversifying your reading difficult is that you don’t always know something is diverse going in. We are going to endeavor to make that easy by keeping a separate page of suggestions.
Since this challenge is only 30 books, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of diversity in literature and in life, but we hope that this list and the books that are read because of it will create interesting and thoughtful discussions. We hope that you will consider taking the challenge and reading along with us in 2016!
On the Canadian radio news show As it Happens last night I heard about something that is really cool. A gentleman in California has started a blog where he writes short stories that are made up entirely of example sentences from dictionaries. My favorite dictionary is the OED (and, thankfully, I have online access to it through my university) so I hadn’t noticed how crazy example sentences are. The OED’s jam is to put a word in its historical context so all of the example sentences come from texts in which the word was used. The sentences can be very dramatic but they can also be very funny as a word’s meaning may change over time. But, some dictionaries include sentences that have been made up to illustrate the definition of the word. These are the sentences that Jez Burrows is using to make his stories. The stories Burrows have come up with are clever and short. They make for a fun read. This one made me laugh this morning:
The League of Ordinary Gentlemen
A retired teacher. A topiary gardener. An army officer of fairly high rank. A brilliant young mathematician. A highly esteemed scholar. President Kennedy. One of the great stars in the American golfing firmament. Detective Sergeant Fox. The Honorable Richard Morris Esquire, chief justice of the supreme court of our state. When you put these men together, you’re bound to get fireworks. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to interview every applicant.