Challenge yourself to read more in 2020 with a reading challenge

Laura Marlane OMAHA PUBLIC LIBRARY

As thecold winds sweep through and thoughts turn toward New Year's resolutions, consider taking up a reading challenge to keep your mind fresh and engaged during the long winter's nights.

I read a lot in 2019, but still didn't knock out 48 titles from my "To Be Read" (TBR) shelves to qualify for the Mount Ararat level in the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. Too many other wonderful books that I just couldn't wait to read keptme frommy goal, soMount Ararat is back onmy list for this year, and I have high hopes (pun intended)! If a metaphorical mountain reading challenge doesn't appeal to you, choose from a variety of other options, including Omaha Public Library's own 2020 Reading Challenge.

OPL's 2020 reading challenge incorporates 12 themes designed to help you stretch beyond your reading comfort zone. Pick up a reading challenge notebook at your local branch (while supplies last) that lists the challenge themes and suggested titles, and use it to help track your progress throughout the year. Explore a book in translation, read a classic that's new to you, try a graphic novel or listen to an audiobook. Library staff are always happy to provide additional suggestions for each theme or a customized reading list.

Another very straightforward reading challenge option is the annual Goodreads challenge.Thegoal is simple: Set a target number of books you'd like to read in the coming year, and then list them upon completion. Connect with other readers, post reviews and track your reading, all through Goodreads. Goodreads is also a helpful app for remembering what I've already read — something I can easily check from my phone before borrowing or buying anything new.

For those looking to go the extra mile, PopSugar's reading challenge offers 40 standard book prompts, along with 10 advanced prompts that are 2020-themed. Examples include "the first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed," and "a book with a pun in the title." The accompanying Facebook group allows readers to recommend titles for each of the listed challenges and offer suggestions to other members, along with discussions and reviews.

If you're really looking to venture into new reading territory, the Monthly Book Award Reading Challenge provides an interesting jumping-off point. Simply read a book that won an award in that month. For example, in Januaryyoucouldpickany title that won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Non-Fiction the previous year. In December, pick any award-winning book. All types of books and genres count: novellas, audiobooks, and even young adult titles — giving you the chance to read some of the best books out there.

Another flexible challenge is the 2020 Diversify Your Reading Challenge. This challenge of 12 months, 12 genres and 12 books is designed to introduce you to new book genres. Try historical fiction, true crime, fantasy, autobiographies or a slew of other genres to mix it up a little without committing to a large number of books over the course of the year.

Many of the challenges I've listed have additional resources to help you connect with other readers and find great books along the way, making a reading resolution one that will be easy to keep. OPL staff are eager to discuss what you're reading and ready to help you find your next favorite read. Visit omahalibrary.org or stop by your local branch for details about the 2020 Reading Challenge and to discover great reading recommendations.

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