I was perusing the wonderful annals of Book Riot today, and I stumbled onto a great way of amping up my reading ambitions for the fall. Playing catch in the park with my good friend Michael yesterday, I was gripped with a desire to undertake the sacred ritual of book list assemblage. But where were my new titles going to come from? The cosy hole of french novels and baseball literature that had filled my summer was a lovely place to relax during the warmer weather, but with storms and snows approaching, I needed a deeper set of tomes to keep me going, page by entrancing page.
Well, I’m very lucky to have found the Goodreads Seasonal Reading Challenge. It pits readers such as myself against a slew of wonderful little book-related tasks, in the hope of bettering our reading palette and clearing our shelves of some untouched, longstanding desirables. Off the top of my head, I’ve got a novel in blank verse and some can lit by Jack Hodgins that could do with some challenging.
The tasks are simply fantastic, ranging from simpler, ten point challenges like “read a book by an author whose abbreviated name matches an element from the periodic table,” to more sophisticated challenges that require the completion of multiple, heavy books. It’s just what the doctor ordered. And while there are certain restrictions — books have to be at least 100 pages to count, and only one graphic novel/ sequential art book can be used per season (I’m saving Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new book, Seconds for that throwaway) — there is such a creative field of play to engage with as you pick the right book for the challenge of choice.
I’ve read a lot about how Goodreads has fallen after its purchase by Amazon — it’s often framed like the descent of Satan in the cold metal chains of Milton’s hell — but, like all technology, the website seems as good or bad as the people that use it. The folks contributing to the Seasonal challenge have a great, passionate well of good will to tap into, and the boards so far as utterly stimulating. I can’t wait to keep it up.
If you’re interested in giving it a go, don’t feel discouraged that things are already underway: any book you’ve started in December counts towards your total come November’s end.