Monday, May 12, 2014

The Book Challenge

I am avid reader. Both of my parents are avid readers. I spent hours on end at the library growing up. My mom was getting her degree and I was fostering a love of reading and learning.

 Lately I realized that I don't read as much as I use to. It is mostly because of grad school and life things. So during my season of unemployment I decided I would cheer myself up by going to the library and reading. I almost forgot how fun reading is. I almost forgot how it can be an escape from reality. Reading reminds me of how much I enjoy stories and how I can get absorbed and invested in good storytelling. Reading makes me a better writer. 

I decided I would challenge myself to read 50 books this year. I've never challenged myself to read a certain amount of books before and thought it would be fun. I have been on getting suggestions, monitoring and reviewing the books that I read and want to read. I'm obsessed with this app/website. I wish more of my friends would participate. 

There are many types of book challenges. My favorite suggestions are the ABC challenge (you read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet), African-American authors challenge, and Classics challenge. There are a ridiculous amount of different challenges. I decided that in addition to my typical mysteries and erotica stories, I would read stories I've always wanted to read but never got around to doing it. Some of these books are newer, some are more culturally skewed, some are what my students are reading, and some I'm just interested in. This list is not my full list and I'm continuously adding to it. I am happy to take suggestions. I'm already 32 books into my challenge. 

The List: 

* 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup (Currently Reading)

* For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide /When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange (Currently Reading)

* Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class by Lawrence Otis Graham

* The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

* The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

* A Song of Fire and Ice [Game of Thrones] by George R.R. Martin

* The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

* The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (finished in April)

* Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou (finished in April)

* The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander Smith (finished in April)

* Divergent By Veronica Roth (finished in May) 

Also, another favorite app of mine is my library app. I can check out books via my Ipad! I'm happy libraries are embracing new technology. I love that I can check out books anytime and start reading them immediately. Don't get me wrong, I love having the actual book in my hands; nothing beats that.  However, I do like reading on my Ipad when I'm reading books that I'd rather not have the cover show. I read somewhere that people were offended by women reading Fifty Shades of Grey on the metro (the cover is not offensive. I think they were offended by what they think the novel is about).  If the person knew the stuff I was reading (when I took metro) s/he would seriously be offended. 

The Ipad comes in handy when I'm staying up late reading and my husband is sleeping. It reminds me of the days of hiding a flashlight under the covers. Yup I was that kind of child. The best thing about reading on a ereader is being able to click on words and automatically getting the definition. Sometimes when I am reading a traditional book, I forget that I can't click on words. I've had to stop myself from pressing on the pages a couple of times. 

I hope you all challenge yourself to read one more book than you did last year. I could go on and on about how our children (my students) are horrible readers and how they suffer for it academically and personally (for life) but I won't. Please instill a love for reading and learning in your children. It pays off. 

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