Last year, Melissa Klug and Kalen Landow resolved to read 10 books in each of ten categories by 10-10-10. Their intent was to stretch their reading beyond their comfort zone, which for Melissa at least, included thrillers and literary fiction. Although the thought of 100 books chosen not for themselves but because they'd be good for me sounds daunting, I think I'll commit to something similar this year.
So here's my resolution: I'll read at least 100 books, though I'll give myself a whole twelve months to finish them. I'll read widely, and challenge myself to read in categories I wouldn't normally choose, as listed below. And finally, most of all, I'll consciously and specifically try to learn something about writing from each book I read. An old writing teacher of mine used to stress that we can learn even from genres we disdain, and the lessons can be positive as well as negative. To the extent I can, I'll try to share in this blog what this exercise teaches me about the art and craft of writing.
Because I write for middle grade children and young adults, I'll read at least fifty books in those categories, which should be easy. But I'll try to mix it up a bit, including some mystery, adventure, science fiction, dystopian novels, fantasy, chick lit, humor, realistic fiction, lots of award winners, poetry, and even (ugh!) vampires or paranormal. I'll also read some non-fiction for kids.
Beyond that, here are some categories I commit to (I can't narrow it down to ten):
- Nobel prize winners I've skipped
- Books from six continents
- Books in two foreign languages, Spanish and French
- Short stories, which I generally avoid
- Mysteries and thrillers
- Books about money, business, or the economy
- Science fiction
- Literary criticism
Gulp. It sounds like a lot. I'll let you know how it goes. Let me know if you're taking up a reading challenge of your own.