A Year of Literature – by Najiyah Maxfield

Every January 1st the Facebook group Anse & Co.’s 50 Book Challenge resets. For bibliophiles, it’s like the beginning of a new school year – all fresh notebooks and sharpened pencils, full of possibility and potential. The entire year laid out before you like an empty landscape to decorate with the books that will entertain you, enlighten you and form you into the person you’ll be going into 2019.


Of course not everyone on the group reads 50 books. The vast majority don’t. But having that opportunity to start your literary challenge over each January, to fill a new blank slate with great reads, is a useful annual renewal. If you’re looking for a way to participate but feel like 50 books is a bit of a heavy lift, try these ideas that will get you reading and expand your inner world:


  1. Try an audiobook app like Hoopla or OverDrive. These allow you to check out audiobooks from your local library by downloading them to your device. They stay three weeks and then disappear, so there isn’t any worry about overdue fines, and you can control the speed of the narrator according to your mood or the ambient noise. Audiobooks allow you to read while doing the dishes, washing the car or mowing the lawn.
  2. Choose 12 classics and read one a month! This gives you the space to choose whatever books appeal to you from the enormous canon of classic books, and enough time to read them that you don’t feel rushed or pressured. Choose a couple of backups in case there are any ones that you give your best shot but you just can’t get through. That way you have an alternative to turn to that you may love.
  3. Take recommendations from the other readers on Anse & Co’s group. As people finish their books, they leave reviews and opinions for the rest of the group. Use these, as they are your guideposts for choosing your own books.
  4. Join a book club. This is another way to get in a book a month, and it also involves friendship and good conversation. And, if you’re lucky, food!
  5. Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram about what you’re reading as your’re reading it. This sort of live tweeting can spark a trend on social media platforms and serve as one more way to socialize your reading.
  6. Read graphic novels or even books of cartoons. These are quick reads and the social commentary and satire of cartoons is far more intellectual than they’re usually given credit for.


Whatever methods you choose, step into the wide-open new year with literature on your mind and let it touch your heart.

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