Tag Archives: Books

May Reading Challenge

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May Reading Challenge: Read a book that was adapted into a movie or TV series.

When I’ve just finished reading a really dramatic, or emotional, or action-packed novel, I often think to myself… but what would it look like on screen? And clearly I’m not the only one who has this instinct! There’s an entire Oscar category for Best Adapted Screenplay, which doesn’t always been adapted from a book… but often does. When you really love a book, there’s something magical about hearing your favourite quote being recited by a famous actor, or seeing a larger-than-life action scene projected onto the big screen.

This challenge will have us take a step back and read the book that was the inspiration and source material for a book or movie adaptation. They say the book is always better, and this is your chance to find out! Here is a list of recommended reads in this category – although, of course, there are hundreds of books that would meet this criteria and you are more than welcome to read something not on this list, too!

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) : Lee, Min Jin: Amazon.ca: Books
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January Reading Challenge

January Reading Challenge: Read a book about joy or that makes you laugh.

Many excellent books are about trauma, or grief, or serious and weighty topics. But we want to focus on things that make us happy – especially after yet another year of uncertainty, fear, and grief.

A book that brings you joy will be different for different people. Same as a book that makes you laugh. But if you need some inspiration on getting started with this challenge, here are a few books that are generally cheerful, heartwarming, or amusing – and a longer list of other books to choose from.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

I love reading romances. I love knowing what’s going to happen (there’s always going to be a happy ending), I love recognizing tropes, and seeing how the author will subvert them too. But even more than most, I thought this romance novel by Ali Hazelwood was an absolute delight. There was witty banter, heartfelt discussions, silly hi-jinx with low stakes, and of course, the aforementioned requisite happy ending. If romances are the sorts of thing that make you happy, also check out this list of recent romantic comedy novels available at VPL.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

This is a bit of a cheat – I don’t literally mean The Hobbit (although yes, this is an absolutely delightful, escapist fantasy read). But maybe a book that brings you joy is rereading a childhood favourite of yours – something that inspires that childlike joy and wonder that you experienced when you read it for the first time. For me, reading The Hobbit as a child inspired my love of fantasy – and I feel that sense of escapism when I read a new fantasy novel. Or reading about love, fantasy and whimsy in Anne of Green Gables. Whatever that novel is for you, rediscover those feelings you haven’t felt in years, and reread something you love!

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Comedians are literally paid to make us laugh. That’s the only reason why people know their names. So if you’re in need of a book that makes you laugh this month, why not turn to one by one of the experts in humour? My pick here is the most recent book of essays by Samantha Irby, which is hilariously self-deprecatory, emotionally honest, and goes into graphic details about the failings of our bodies. Other recently published books by comedians includes Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson (the Goodreads Choice Award winner for Best Humour), Yearbook by Seth Rogen, and Please Don’t Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes by Phoebe Robinson.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

Sometimes, to get to those moments of joy, we do need to endure some grief and hardship first. You’ll find that with this book, The Girl with the Louding Voice. This is a heartbreaking yet inspirational story about Adunni, a 14-year old Nigerian girl who learns that she will be entering an arranged marriage with a much older adult neighbour, instead of returning to her education like she longs to do. While Adunni’s story is filled with obstacles and adversity, she is determined to find her ‘Louding Voice’ and speak up for herself and other girls in her situation – and find joy and hope in the worst of situations.

For more books that will make you laugh or bring you joy, check out this list on Bibliocommons, or ask for recommendations in your library.

How to Read More in 2020

woman standing on bookstoreOne of the most popular New Years Resolutions we hear around the library is “I want to read more”. And yet, like any good New Years Resolution, many of us find it impossible to stick to by the third week of January. Adult life is hectic, and those small moments of peace in a day can become another source of stress when you feel the need to maximize your enjoyment of them. Say you’ve got a couple of hours to yourself one day. How should you spend it? Well, you could crack into that book that you keep renewing. Or you could catch up on your favourite show on Netflix, or watch that movie everyone’s been talking about. Or you could throw out entertainment altogether and run some personal errands, or maybe meal prep for the week. And now, no matter which option you pick, you’ll be missing out on something. See? Stressful!  

One of the ways people work around this battle for productivity is to set themselves a reading challenge. If you’ve never heard of one, they come in a few forms. The most well-known—and possibly the one that popularized the very concept—is the Goodreads Reading Challenge, which asks users to set themselves a target number of books they’d like to read. The 2020 challenge is currently sitting at an average pledge of 44 books read in a year, working out to about 3 and a half books a month. I think most busy adults would balk at this number, but keep in mind that this average is being thrown off by ambitious teens. A more sensible number like 20 books a year, or 12 books a year, or even 5 books a year is just as valid to Goodreads! The great thing about this challenge is that it is super easy to keep track of; Goodreads allows you to catalogue your “Read” and “Want to Read” shelves, as well as offering an endless number of personalized shelves. In short, it’s fun. It is, however, public.  

For the even more ambitious, the internet is full of reading challenges that present in the form of monthly guided lists or bingo cards, with challenges like “read a book by a woman of colour” and “read a book more than 100 years old”. These are more personal challenges, in that nobody is necessarily watching you work your way through them. They can be quite helpful if you’re stuck for something to read and need quick inspiration. But sticking to them religiously can be stifling.  

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