2016 Reading Challenge

Happy New Year! Time to reflect and set new goals…

Recently, I finished Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild, which was incredibly inspiring and compelling. Miller’s insights prompted me to reflect on my own identity as a reader so that I could best guide my students’ in discovering their own identities as readers. In her book, Miller prompts readers to challenge themselves and to recognize their own “gaps” in exposure to certain types of literature. So, I set a goal on Goodreads to read 52 books this year (already 5 books deep-woop!). In addition, my principal has invited our school to participate in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge:


Here are my thoughts for this list:

a book published this year: this shouldn’t be hard as I generally love to get my hands on the newest books. I’m looking forward to the release of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, the second book in the Red Queen Series (Feb. 9); Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Feb. 2); or maybe I’ll really challenge myself to read some Sharon Draper–Stella by Starlight (Jan. 6).
a book you can finish in a day: I did this yesterday with April Henry’s The Body in the Woods
a book you’ve been meaning to read: all of them?! Maybe a professional development book…Choice Words by Peter Johnston or The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.
a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller: Luckily, I know that my librarian will suggest some historical fiction, which is an area I need to up my game!
a book you should’ve read in school: I was a perfect example of how the whole-class novel deterred me from reading–though I loved to read, I would not allow myself to read “for fun” until my assigned reading was done…and I hated being forced to read something when the timing wasn’t right for me, so I simply didn’t read. This may be a good time to read 1984 or Brave New World?
a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, or sibling: For Christmas, my sister picked out My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman for me to read. She called me from the bookstore: “Have you read anything by Frederik Backman? (No.) Well don’t look him up.”
a book published before you were born: 1991. I’d love to hear your suggestions! I do currently have a copy of Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me, originally published in 1980 (love True Crime..). I’m also interested in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, orginally published in 1985.
a book that was banned at some point: Since I’ve read a good majority of the most frequently challenged books of 2014, I’m anxiously awaiting the list for 2015.
a book you previously abandoned: This is going to be hard because I can never allow myself to abandon–too much pride! The only book I ever let myself abandon was Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin. There have been a few books I’ve had to return to the library before I could finish…I could look forward to finishing Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty.
a book you own but have never read: I’ve got stacks of ’em.
a book that intimidates you: Moby Dick? War and Peace?
a book you’ve already read at least once: Perhaps I’d like to re-read Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun? Or maybe I’ll track down that mystical yet obscure book from my childhood, Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle.

I love this list. I plan to complete the challenge and track my progress, reflecting along the way. I also plan to complete this challenge without killing two birds with one stone…meaning, I may not cross off more than one item on this list from a single book. In addition, I hope to challenge myself to read some of the younger-YA books that I’ve been neglecting but really should read (cough cough…Diary of a Wimpy Kid…), continue building a list of books with male protagonists, and experience genres I generally avoid (historical fiction, poetry).

What are your reading goals for 2016? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Happy Tales!


One thought on “2016 Reading Challenge

  1. Sharon Smith-Leiterman January 10, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Bonnie, this is so timely. I was thinking yesterday I need to get a good book to read. I spent over an hour at the library today and came home with 2 of Laura Hildebrands books. I enjoyed both Seabiscuit and Unbroken and now the Boys in the Boat is getting a lot of press. I always enjoy knowing what others are reading. Like you, I have a shelf full of books that I have purchased and have never gotten around to reading. Thank you.


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