Since it is the New Year, it only seems appropriate to reflect on what I’ve read in the past year and make resolutions for the coming one. Last December I took on Book Riot’s first Read Harder challenge. I love the idea of diversifying reading choices and found their list to be a thorough guide to creating new reading experiences. Although I only completed 15 out of the 24 categories, I really enjoyed myself and found books from genres and authors I would not have read otherwise which is the whole point of the exercise really. Besides what is a New Year’s resolution without falling shy of completion in the end?
Which is why I am all in for the Read Harder Challenge 2016 list. My goal is to also backtrack and try to cover those 9 missing categories for 2015 if possible, but the most important thing is to think deeply about how and what I read and explore voices new to me.
I think the greatest takeaway from my Read Harder experience is the depth of the effect marketing by book publishers and bookstores have on my reading choices. Looking for books that match a list of pre-selected categories rather than following what books are on the New York Times Bestsellers list or being recommended to me revealed beautiful pieces of writing I would never have heard of otherwise. New books during the year are obviously promoted the most but what is put on tables and lists more often appear in my to-read pile than in previous years when I would peruse shelves from end to end in the library.
I suppose this is a side problem of the general attitude that “there is no time to read” since if there is hardly any time to read it seems highly unlikely to have time to go through shelves of books. The Read Harder challenge woke me up to this problematic habit of reading mostly what I’ve been told to read and missing out on fantastic perspectives much different to my own because of it. It’s a little disturbing to know how many writers’ voices I’ve been missing out on. So, here’s to another year of reading harder (or trying to at the very least)!
Read Harder 2015 Results
- A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.): The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
- A YA novel: Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington/Nugi Garimara