Friday, April 27, 2007

My First Challenge Should I Choose to Accept It...

The book blogosphere is bursting with reading challenges. Southern reading, Spring reading, Classics reading, Shakespeare reading, Out-of-the-Box reading... And they all really do sound fun and engaging. Yet - until recently at least - I've managed to keep my book nose out of them. Not because I have something against reading challenges but because well, it says it in my blog title: I'm a slow reader. I barely have time to get through the books already on my TBR list. And I don't like the feeling of being rushed (or rushing) through a novel to beat a deadline. It takes the pleasure out of reading for me. If it's a book I'm really enjoying, I like to take my time and stay a while; give it a chance to make the "long journey to my soul." So, while I applaud those people who can finish a book in a week (ha! I wish - no really, I do), I figured I'd be best served by admiring reading challenges from afar.

But, you know what? Forget what I just said because I've decided to take John Otter over at Grasping for the Wind up on his New Notions 5 Reading Challenge. He assured me speed isn't neccesary (you're nuts John, if you think I won't hold you to that). I'll will, however, be required to complete five books in five months and I'm pretty sure...yeah...yeah I'm pretty sure even I can do that. So, my challenge as I've so chosen to accept it is to read five books that challenge my preconcieved notions on any particular topic. This could be race, politics, religion, what have you. I like reading outside of my box. It's one of the things that makes the reading life worth living. So John, count me in.

I haven't decided exactly what my five books will be yet but I had a most interesting idea at work today. My five books will be chosen from genres that I very, very rarely - if ever - journey into for various reasons. This would include self-help books (because I tend to think they're useless), science fiction (because I get bored with the outrageous technology and talking aliens that look like pimples), most American history (because, for some reason, it bores me out of my mind - love European history though, can't get enough of it), anthing that comes out of the "spiritual" section (for the same reasons why I don't read self-help books), and comics (nothing against them, I just never venture into that section). I'm very, very sure I'm leaving off a long list of other genres. But you know what? I'm willing to accept that all of my preconcieved notions on all of those genres are likely wrong. So I'm going to give them a chance to prove themeselves (see how I transfered the reading challenge from myself to the books? - I'm tricksy, I am). Now all I have to do is actually pick five books. Perhaps this weekend I'll go to the bookstore, wander into unexplored territory, and see what I stumble out with.