Every year, this annual date-turned-directive makes me think about Chris, a Wichita woman I met more than a decade ago who considers March 4 her personal holiday and uses it to encourage everyone she meets.
It’s the only day of the year that literally compels you to action, I remember her explaining: March forth!
I thought March 4th (March Forth!) sounded like the perfect time to revisit and reissue a challenge we issued back on New Year’s Eve: a 12-month, 12-book reading challenge for 2017.
The challenge urged local bibliophiles to expand their horizons by reading books from a dozen different categories – everything from “a book you should have read in school” to “a book with a blue cover” – before the end of this calendar year.
We posted a PDF of the challenge that folks could print and hang onto to check their progress, and we created a Facebook group (search “Wichita Eagle Reading Challenge”) where participants can compare book lists, chat about books, recommend good reads or just encourage one another.
We’ve had at least one reader in the Facebook group already complete the 12-book challenge (you’re a reading ninja, Abby Arthur), and several have completed about half of it.
I’m seven books into the challenge, and some of my favorites have been “A Gentleman in Moscow” (a book recommended by a bookstore employee), “The Underground Railroad” (a book that has won a major award), “The Phantom Tollbooth” (a favorite book from childhood) and “Hillbilly Elegy” (a memoir).
In honor of March Forth, I was thinking an extra-credit challenge might be in order. No pressure, no rules. Just 12 more categories you can choose from or add to the original dozen. Here you go:
13. A book with pictures
14. The first book in a series you haven’t read
15. A book published this year
16. A book you can read in a day
17. A book in translation
18. A book written by a celebrity
19. A biography or autobiography
20. A book with a one-word title
21. A book with a subtitle
22. A young-adult or middle-grade novel
23. A book published before you were born
24. A book you choose primarily for its cover
I shopped early at the Friends of the Wichita Public Library’s used book sale this week and snagged a bag full of books that I can’t wait to start reading. Turns out I wasn’t the only one shopping: The sale drew about 1,100 on its first full day and sold out earlier than expected.
If you still want a bargain, the used bookstore at the downtown branch, 223 S. Main, will offer half-price books through 5 p.m. Saturday.
Have fun. Keep reading. Join our Facebook group. And March Forth.