Last year, Beth and I started the Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Challenge. Our original challenge is made up of three mini challenges containing ten books each. There is an author challenge, a character challenge, and a medium challenge.
It turns out, if you can’t double count things, that this is not the easiest challenge to complete. I, at least, failed to complete it. This year, Beth and I decided to do something a little different. So, we’re going to have two challenges, one that Beth is going to lead and one that I am going to lead. They will be announced this week. We’re both very excited about it. We hope that you will be excited, too, and will join one or both of us on a reading adventure!
With only 32 days left I’ve pretty much conceded that I will not finish my Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Challenge. Sigh. I will obviously have to work harder next year but I am only 3 books away from my Goodreads Challenge of reading 65 books this year. I’ve actually read more then 65 books this year but since Goodreads only counts you are reading for the first time and not books you’ve read before. That’s kind of a bummer but whatever. It is what it is. I’ve been doing the Goodreads Challenge since 2011 and every year I’ve read a little less every year. In 2012 I read 94 books and last year only read 68. I’m a little sad that I don’t read as much as I used too. I don’t read at home as much as I have in the past. I mostly only read on the ride too and from work. I think that explains why my book totals have lowered in the last couple of years. That being said, reading an average of 77 books a year for the last 5 years is pretty good. And the whole point of the challenge is to set a goal and try to complete it and I am 3 books away from this year goal and only 32 days to finish it. So this a long ranting post and round about way to ask how close are you to any of your reading goals or challenges? Have you finished any of yours yet? Give us a shout at let us know.
So far I’ve read 13 out of 30. As I don’t like failing at things I set out for myself, I have thought about rearranging the things that I’ve read this year on the list so that I can use things that aren’t currently on the list so that I can satisfy categories I haven’t gotten yet. Like, if I moved Shonda Rhimes to “read a book by a woman of color” then I could put Caitlin Moran in at “read a book by a woman”. But, I read Shonda Rhimes book first, so it is staying where it is. The good news for me is that I have another six categories already picked out. The even better news is that I’m part way through two of those books. However, there’s still a lot of work that has to be done in 2016 and, I have to tell you, folks. I’m not feeling sanguine about meeting the challenge this year.
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!
Summer is upon us, Dearest Readers! Ah, summer, those halcyon days when school is out, the days are long, and you can read whatever you want all day long! Or, you could as a child but now you are adult and have them same constraints in the summer as you had in the winter. (Before someone points that I am, in fact, still in school let me preempt you stating that *because* school is out, this is prime data collection time for me, which means I have even more work to do now, all of it work I have to do someplace not where I live. Lucky me! (No, really, Lucky me!) Also, apologies about that crazy run-on sentence.)
But, we here at StackExLifeEx are planning a summer time reading challenge. We’re calling it the Pop Culture Homework Assignment. (Hat-tip to our friends, B and E, who have been giving each other pop culture homework assignments for years.) The assignments will be different for each of us: we will be assigning each other things outside of our comfort zones. We’ll post reading updates this summer and you’re more than welcome to join us. (Either by challenging yourself or by reading along with one of us.)
So, Dearest Readers, what makes you excited for summer? What summer reads do you have in your queue?