Monday, December 28, 2015

A New Year, A New Reading Challenge

 Guest post by Jaylee James

The end of the year is a great time for reflecting on what you’ve accomplished in the past year, and where you want to go in the next – what things you wish you had done differently. My planner has a section at the front suggesting I make a list of what I did well in 2016 – what major things happened over the last year – in order to celebrate. It also suggests I take time to think about where my 2016 resolutions went off track so I can better prepare for 2017.

But let’s talk about the most important aspect of the New Year.

It’s time to make our 2016 Reading Challenges on Goodreads.

I’m aiming for 100 books this year. Last year I aimed for 50, then later upped it to 100 because I finished my challenge in June and that’s just no fun at all. No. A reading challenge is no fun unless you are scrambling to finish off your Currently Reading shelf the week after Christmas to a chorus of “Who cares?” and “What does it matter?” and “It’s just a reading challenge,” from your non-reading friends and family.

As I write this, I will need to read … a book every three days in order to finish. Not bad. I’ve definitely done worse. Thank goodness for holidays off from work so I can spend time with family read for hours on end.

Reading should be fun, and personally I think challenges make it more so.

There have been a lot of reading blog challenges floating around the internet this month, such as only reading female authors, or reading two diverse books for every book by a boring ol’ white dude. I saw one on twitter the other day that suggested reading in an alphabet pattern. Your first book begins with A, next must begin with B, etc. (My hearty well-wishes to them for finding books beginning with Q, X, and Z.)

In 2014 I challenged myself to try out new genres, and found that I actually adore mystery novels, and romance novels are not nearly as terrible as I thought they were (in fact, I wound up loving romance so much that I’m now attempting to write it!).

No matter what your reading challenge for 2016, may I suggest that you push yourself to try something you’ve never tried before? Read a genre you’ve never attempted, or make an effort to try out books you previously scorned because of their hideous covers. Maybe pick up a book set in another country, or on a hard topic you generally shy away from.

Surprise yourself next year. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.

What about you… What are your challenges for 2016? Did anything awesome come out of your 2015 challenges?
Jaylee James is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, romance, and variations thereof. She is most well known as the Senior Editor of the LGBT lit mag Vitality Magazine. Her work has appeared in Wings of Renewal, a solarpunk dragon anthology, and her time-travel romance short, Choosing You, was released in November. Visit her at to learn more about her upcoming projects.

Wings of Renewal:
Choosing You:

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