OtherSpeak: 2020 Reading Challenge

Guest posts, Literature / Monday, January 20th, 2020

This post was submitted by my friend Cristina Loewen of Charlevoix, Michigan.

“I like the idea of reading challenges, but the ones that I’ve seen just don’t quite fit for me.  I don’t have a lot of time to read, so I want the reading I do to be intentional and applicable to my stage of life.  So I made up my own reading challenge.  Some of the categories were borrowed from other challenges and some are fitted to my needs and interests…

You seem like the type of person who might enjoy this sort of thing as much as I do.”

– Cristina Loewen

2020 Reading Challenge

  1. A book about parenting ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
  2. A Christian classic ­
  3. A book from a time period that I’ve never read about
  4. A book about marriage
  5. A book written by an author I’ve never read ­
  6. A book in translation
  7. A memoir
  8. A book about food or cooking
  9. A book of poetry
  10. A book about Anabaptist history or theology
  11. A biography of a missionary
  12. A book from the backlist of a favorite author
  13. A book published before I was born
  14. A book about time management
  15. A book by an author I personally know
  16. A book that has won an award
  17. A book written at least 100 years ago
  18. A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than mine
  19. A classic I’ve been meaning to read
  20. A book about a topic that interests me

What strikes your fancy the most? Which would be hardest to complete?

Open Cris’s printable version here.

24 Replies to “OtherSpeak: 2020 Reading Challenge”

  1. The hardest to complete? Maybe #10? The easiest? #17. 🙂 I’m wondering if there is an accompanying title list to go with this. Of course it would be different for everyone, but I’d like to see suggestions for #6, 7, 10, 11, 16, and 18. I would love to try this, and I want to choose well.

    1. I don’t have an accompanying title list because I am looking to stretch my own reading experience and I’m on the lookout for new/good books too! For the memoir I’ll be reading the book my sister gave me for Christmas–Educated by Tara Westover. My sister said it was amazing. And for Anabaptist history/theology, I’ve been wading through the Mennonite Experience in America series [Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4], so I’m planning to finish that. And I do mean wading…while I find the history fascinating, they are not a light, easy read. At least not for me. Other than that I don’t have any books planned. Does anyone else have suggestions? I would like to hear them too!

  2. Perhaps this shows my ignorance, or that I don’t love to read as much as some. But as a mom of 4 children, how in the world do other women, presumably in a similar life stage, read 20 books? Do you actually go to the library? 🤯 Do you buy all of them? 🤑 I am currently trying to find time to organize closets and repaint my living room and keep the weeds out of my flowerbeds. Reading seems like a far off dream. So maybe I’m just jealous 😂

    1. I love to read, but I have the same question how mom’s in our stage of life read so many books. I can only come up with 3 that I read in 2019. Maybe some people don’t mind reading in bits and pieces. It frustrates me to drag it out over days or weeks…

    2. It’s not a silly question at all – though “Do you actually go to the library?” makes me grin, in the same way that I once asked my friend how she washes her kids’ sheets so often. Like, actually take them off the beds…?!? Or just spot-wash, or what?? I love the brain exploding emoji; it’s where I live.

      If you are currently trying to keep the weeds out of your flowerbeds, then I admit to a little jealousy of my own, for the balmy region you hail from! You are blessed.

      I think we find time for the things we love – but we find it imperfectly and piecemeal, as Melissa said. I have so much to say about this, and so many ideas for making it happen – or accepting when it can’t – that I think I will write an entire and impromptu follow up post. 🙂 That okay?

    3. I agree with what Shari says, that you prioritize what you love. I also think it makes a huge difference in how fast and efficiently you can read. I’ve always been a fast reader and can retain what I’ve read. My daily reading time averages at most fifteen minutes (other than occasionally on long car rides or on the treadmill) but I read 52 books last year, and I credit most of that to being able to speed read.

  3. Amen to Katrina’s comment! I always feel wistful to read over someone’s book list, how do they do it? It feels like they have gotten the better gift of prioritizing reading. In my life I am pg with #4 and every pregnancy I think that if THIS time I am put on bed rest, I will read ALL the books!! But 39 weeks seems to find me madly sewing or painting something… I am thankful for health but I am still in search of more time to do DIY and reading more than magazines.

  4. I’m on both sides of this discussion, because I love books but have read almost none in the last 2 years. One of my goals for the year is to read with intentionality, but 20 books does look like a challenge. How about an award winning memoir in translation published before I was born by an author I’ve never read? Would that count for 5?😂

  5. The one that strikes my fancy is #3. I’m wondering what that elusive time period is, the time period that I haven’t even read about yet. The one that would be hardest to complete is a book about cooking, but I did enjoy The I Hate to Cook Book recently. As for actually going to the library, here’s my procedure. I put the books on hold online. Then I pause in a No Parking zone outside the front door while my ten yr. old runs inside with my library card to check out the books that are on hold at the front desk. I circle the block and come around to pick him up again. Thus, it takes only ten minutes extra to pick up my books, and the sleeping toddler doesn’t even have to get pulled out of his carseat. Before I had a child who could run inside for me, it was more painful. Same procedure except that I had to actually park and lug myself and all my kids inside to get the books that were on hold.

  6. I think for me 10, 11,15 would be fun. Probably the hardest would be #19 because I will need to carve out time to read after completing 10, 11 and 15.

  7. Thanks for sharing this book challenge. I’ve done numerous book challenges and find it is a way for me to be more deliberate about choosing books instead of my usual randomness.

    Looking forward to your follow-up posts, Shari, on finding/making time to read since I’m asked this question all the time.

    It makes me feel slightly guilty for reading so much, when other moms don’t. I’m rather certain that I sometimes don’t prioritize the right things. Such as washing my children’s sheet regularly. But library visits, Amazon orders, and audio books are a regular part of everyday life at our house.

    Well, we don’t quite go to the library every day…

  8. How can I not read?! It would be like asking me to quit breathing. I’m a mom of six and reading saves my sanity – helping me to slip away into someone else’s world and problems even if it’s reading only for five minutes while I use…well I’ll spare the details. 🙂 I can almost panic if I know I do not have any fresh reading material. But I don’t panic if my closets aren’t organized and my flower beds spotless. For me, reading is a great destresser which hopefully helps me to be a happier, relaxed mom. But I have siblings who don’t enjoy reading and for them, it’s work to read. We are all created different!

    1. This is me. I hate to even think about living my life without reading. But I can put up with disorganized closets for a long time. I envy the women whose houses are spotless and whose gardens and flower beds are weed free, but I don’t envy them enough to read significantly less.
      Someone mentioned reading speeds. I read fast and work slow. There are times when I’d love to be able to fling the work out of the way (by doing it, not ignoring it) as quickly as some of my friends. And maybe they occasionally wish they could read as much as I do, but probably not. 🙂
      I’m enjoying this post and this conversation, even though I’m late as usual.

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