Early this year I joined a Facebook group for the Dymocks Reading Challenge for 2020. I had no expectations of actually finishing the challenge as I’ve never managed to complete a reading challenge before, but I decided to join the group and cheer people on. Over this past weekend I made an effort and finished the last book. There are 26 categories and Dymocks make a number of suggestions for each category, but ultimately it’s up to the reader to make the decision of which book to read for which category. I decided not to cheat and use one book for multiple categories, instead I read one book per category. I feel I have cheated a little in that I occasionally read a book I’d read before, although one category called for that. I’ve managed to complete this challenge with only buying two books; while half of them came from my To Be Read Pile.
For me, the group was key to me finishing. We were encouraged to put up a photo and tell the group the title and author of the book we’d just finished. Watching other people take action in this manner made me want to do the same. Some categories gave me trouble, but with help from the group and from family I found books to fit.
Here are the categories and the books I read:
- A book by an Australian author – Schmattes by Lesley Sharon Rosenthal
- A book by an Indigenous author – Maybe Tomorrow by Boori (Monty) Pryor with Meme McDonald
- A book from our top 101 – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- A book from our Kids’ Top 51 – Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- A Dymocks ‘Book of the month’ – Left-handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
- Re-read your favourite book of all time – My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
- Ask a friend for a recommendation – The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
- A book featuring your favourite country – In Mine Own Heart by Alan Marshall
- A book from your TBR pile – Maigret Loses His Temper by Georges Simenon
- An award-winning book – The Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
- A Mystery/Thriller – Killer’s Choice by Ed McBain
- A Memoir – Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- A book outside your usual genre – Nightworld by L.J. Smith
- A book of short stories – Murder on the Menu edited by Peter Haining
- A Self-Help/Motivation – 28 Lessons in Self Mastery by Sharon Tal
- A Fairytale/Fable adaptation – Pied Piper of Hamelin by Russell Brand
- Book 1 in a Fantasy series – Empire of Salt: Darien by CF Iggulden
- A book that teaches you something new – Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons
- A book adapted in to a film/series – M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker
- A book with a red cover – Requiem for a Wren Nevil Shute
- A book with a colour in the title – Colours of Death by Robert New
- A book you can read in a day – Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett
- A book about books – The Story of the Book by Agnes Allen
- A book that makes you laugh – We Need to talk about Mum & Dad by Jean Kittson
- A book published this year – The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner
- A book you said you’ve read but haven’t – A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Other things I wish to make note of
I started reading the first book of Nightworld by L.J. Smith as the first book in a fantasy series. When I was a few pages in I realised this would be for the category ‘outside my usual genre’. There was no way I was going to intentionally read a romance book, but having started I plowed on through although I felt no compunction to read the other two books in the box set. Some lucky person has them now, I thank them for taking these books out of my house.
I have given affiliate links for some of these books. I’m currently trying to decide which reading challenges to sign up for during 2021. I feel really good having completed a big one and there are two I’m considering which are much smaller. These two challenges do call for a bigger commitment in putting my name down and actually blogging about each book. I’m also considering the advisability of starting and promoting my own reading challenge, I have some ideas of general themes in mind, but I wonder if there are enough challenges around.
Three books were on loan to me, two of these books I sourced through my local community Facebook group. Two books were given to me by the publisher or the author. One book had been on my TBR pile for about 20 years. Essentially, this reading challenge has been excellent for giving me impetus to read more books, and for getting me to reduce my TBR pile. I thank Dymocks for creating the challenge and the admin for running the Facebook group.