The start of a new year is always exciting to me. Fresh starts, new ideas, and plenty of great reading on the horizon. I always look forward to my favorite authors writing wonderful new books, discovering new authors whose words wrap themselves around my reading soul, and finding books that transport me to places I've never been. Chick with books is coming back Sundays with The Sunday Salon, where I'll be highlighting some great books wrapped around a theme, or covering bookish happenings from around the world. I'll be reviewing some great new books, but also some books that we might have missed when they were first published, a.k.a."oldies but goodies". If you enjoyed my coverage of memoirs, Memoir Mondays will pop up monthly, covering memoirs and maybe some great nonfiction thrown in too. I haven't forgotten about the new way we read either... eReaders! There are some great reading bargains to be had, but also plenty of new ways to get those new ebooks and we'll talk about what's new in the electronic world of the printed page (and I'm so tempted by a certain HD reader we'll be talking about that too!) Author interviews, bookish news, and some great giveaways are all on the Chick with Books reading horizon!
Talk is cheap, so what's a reader to do in 2013 besides chatting about books? How about joining a reading challenge?! Join a group of people virtually and challenge yourself to get reading! What kind of books do you like to read? Classics, fantasy, or historical fiction? Dystopian, romance, or YA? How about Banned Books? There's a challenge for you! And not only does a reading challenge encourage you to read books you like, it also can challenge you to read books in a genre you would never normally crack the spine on... here are some of my challenges....
Japanese Literature! One genre I started to read and absolute love is Japanese literature. There are many authors, Haruki Murakami being one of the more popular, but they all share the same beautiful and yet simple writing. Every year, Dolce Bellezza hosts The Japanese Literature Challenge, with great reading suggestions I enjoy joining in on this one. The 2012 will be wrapping up the end of January, and I'll be looking forward to joining in on the next (7th Year!) challenge. Generally the challenge starts in the summer, but that doesn't mean I can't start reading sooner than that!
Dystopian fiction! In 2009 I joined the Books on The Nightstand Dystopian YA challenge (or DystopYA challenge) I had never really read Dystopian fiction, or "fiction about a world that is attempting to be perfect but contains a fatal flaw. It's the opposite of a utopia. This can take the form of a fascist government, a failing environment, corporate rule - anything. In it, life is miserable and people have to strive to rise above.", but once I did, I was hooked. I still can't recommend The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist enough! (click on the title to read my review) There are plenty of other books in this genre that are captivating, challenging and well worth your time! (The Hunger Games falls in this category too!) More details to follow about where to sign up for this challenge.
Graphic Novels! This was a reading challenge that was really out of the box for me when I first started participating. Graphic novels are often overlooked by readers who have never read one. Sometimes I hear, "Oh, you mean comic books". No, graphic novels have grown up. Now I admit, I don't like all graphic novels. I look for certain things... beautiful artwork... a good story. Basically what I'd look for in a good literary book with the addition of visuals. I might also mention that a graphic novel actual won a Pulitzer Prize! (Maus by Art Spiegelman in 1992). I'll be challenging myself to find some more great Graphic Novels and joining in on The Graphic Novel Challenge hosted by Nicola of Back to Books hosts . BTW, I just finished a great graphic novel called Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel, look for my review coming soon, and my official post about this reading challenge!
I'll be reading plenty of other genre's of books through out the year, but these challenges kind of nudge me to make sure I take time to read from books I don't normally find myself reading. I might be nudging my book club to take up a few of these challenges too!
Are you challenging yourself to read outside your comfort zone? Or joining a reading challenge to get some of those books gathering dust on your shelf to be cleaned off? (Off the Shelf reading challenge). How about just planning some great reading for 2013? Share your reading plans for 2013! Maybe it will inspire someone to open a book!
Happy New Year! and Happy Reading.... Suzanne