An interesting reading challenge is making the rounds on social media, and the Pinal County Library District office is pretty excited about it! Some of the librarians are considering tackling the challenge as a New Year’s Resolution. Reading in and of itself is a good time, but finding books to match each of the challenge criteria is also a lot of fun, and can sometimes feel like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Some of the categories however, can be a bit daunting. Scroll down for some suggestions that may make finding the right book a little easier. As always, you can also contact your local librarian for book recommendations, or write us here.
If you’re interested in trying out the 2015 Reading Challenge, you can download a handy Word version here.
How to find:
“A Book set in a different country”
This is a great way to take a vacation without ever leaving home. Begin your search for that perfect getaway by perusing Ann Morgan’s blog, “A Year of Reading the World: 196 countries, countless stories”
For more suggestions, try GoodReads extensive list of books in different settings or Fantastic Fiction.
Fantastic Fiction’s homepage has links to Awards, Countries, Series and Years. Click on Countries, select a country, then click on any author. You may need to read the book’s summary to determine the setting.
“A Pulitzer Prize winning book” AND “a Play”
Visit the Pulitzer Prize website and knock out two categories at the same time. This may not be strictly “legal” but I won’t tell if you won’t. On the right side of the page you will see their “Letters, Drama, and Music” categories. Click on Drama to find a list of award winning plays.
“A Book more than 100 years old”
Project Gutenberg has thousands of free out-of-copyright books to choose from. Browse their catalog by category, or search by author or title. I recently discovered some mystery books written by Burton Egbert Stevenson that are quite good. Download these free books to your computer, tablet or smart phone, or create a list then borrow a copy from your local library.
“A Book with antonyms in the title”
This is an intriguing category but it’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a list of antonyms and then find books you might actually want to read. A good place to start is the Opposite Word website where you can browse or search for antonyms.
Create a list of antonyms, such as odd/even or before/after, then go to our catalog and do a keyword search using each pair of antonyms. Be sure to Search By Title to find your antonyms in the title of the book and not in the summary. If you’re not finding titles of interest in our catalog then you might want to try the same search at your favorite online bookstore.
“A Book that came out the year you were born”
To find the number one New York Times Best Sellers in fiction and non-fiction for the year you were born, go to Hawes Publications site.
If none of the number one titles appeal to you, the Hawes website also has a complete week-by-week list of fiction and non-fiction New York Times Best Sellers. To see these lists, type www.hawes.com followed by the year you were born in the address bar of your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.) Here are some examples:
Additionally, Krueger Books has list of Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten bestsellers.
“A Book with bad reviews”
Why would you want to read a book with a bad review? There are too many good books, and not enough time to read them, to waste time reading books with bad reviews. But after taking a look at BuzzFeed’s list of “11 Beloved Books with Shockingly Bad Reviews”, you may change your mind. You will be surprised at the reviews some of these well known books received at the time of publication.
You might also want to take a look at “15 Scathing Early Reviews of Classic Novels” from FlavorWire.
“A book that makes you cry”
This is a tricky category. What makes me cry might not affect you at all. And how do you know if a book will make you cry in advance? You could end up reading a lot of books before you find the one that makes you cry.
If the thought of searching for a book in this category makes you feel like crying, then take a look at LifeHack’s “20 Books that Are Guaranteed to Make You Cry” .
Or FlavorWire’s “10 Books guaranteed to Make You Cry”.
“A Book written by an author with your same initials”
While it’s easy to find books written by authors that share your same first or last name, it’s not so easy to ones that with your same initials. A good resource for finding books in this category is Fantastic Fiction.
There are two methods for finding authors with your initials:
1. Do an author search using your first name then scroll through the alphabetical list until you find authors whose last name starts with the same letter as yours.
2. Click on Top Authors, then click on the letter of your last name. Scroll through the results, looking for authors whose first name starts with the same letter as your own.
The American Library Association compiles lists of challenged/banned books in order to inform the public of censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. Visit ALA’s website for lists of books in this category but brace yourself, you may be surprised at some of the titles that have made the list.
Post by Shirley, Outreach Librarian for Pinal County Library District