Suzanne Tobias

Love to read? Take this 2017 reading challenge

One of the categories for our 2017 reading challenge: a book with a blue cover. And you shouldn’t have trouble finding one.
One of the categories for our 2017 reading challenge: a book with a blue cover. And you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. The Wichita Eagle

Resolutions are tricky things.

They’re so tempting to make while New Year’s Eve noisemakers buzz and confetti falls. It seems only right to set a few goals as we switch our calendars from one year to the next, pledging to drink more water or eat fewer French fries, to exercise more or spend less.

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But as days turn to weeks and weeks to months, your resolve starts to fray like threads on that Christmas sweater. New Year’s resolutions are easy to make, hard to meet..

For the past several years, my list of resolutions has included a reading goal of some kind – usually just a number of books I intend to read in the coming year.

My goal for 2016 was 35 books – five more than the previous year – and although I completed the task, I must admit I cheated a bit.

As the final weeks of December loomed, I bypassed serious literary fare in favor of lighter, young adult and middle-grade books and even a graphic novel trilogy – Rep. John Lewis’ “March” series about the civil rights movement – which turned out to be some of my favorite reads of the year.

This year, I’m cranking it up a notch, and I hope the devoted readers among you will join me.

Inspired by the plethora of annual reading challenges issued by websites such as PopSugar, Book Riot and Modern Mrs. Darcy, I have assembled a dozen categories to check off as we read this year. Put simply, it’s a 12-month, 12-book reading challenge.

If you’d like to participate, raise your primary page-turning hand and repeat after me: “I hereby resolve, sometime during 2017, to read the following”:

1. A book you’ve owned forever but have never read

2. A book recommended by a local librarian or bookstore employee

3. A book by a Kansas author or one set in Kansas

4. A best-seller from a genre you don’t normally read

5. A memoir

6. A book you should have read in school

7. A book by a person of color

8. A favorite book from childhood

9. A book that has won a major award (Nobel, Pulitzer, National Book Award, Newbery, Booker Prize, etc.)

10. A book with a blue cover

11. A book that is being made into a movie

12. A book by an author who is slated to visit Wichita in 2017

For help with that last category, check out the upcoming events at Watermark Books and Cafe. The Wichita bookstore at Douglas and Oliver will host several best-selling authors in the coming months, including Brit Bennett on Feb. 16 and Peter Heller on March 14.

My biggest challenge likely will be the book from a genre I don’t normally read. But this is all about expanding our horizons, right?

I am not keen on espionage thrillers, so maybe this will be the year I tackle Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale” or John le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

What are you itching to read first in the coming year? Whether it fits one of the aforementioned categories or not, whether you decide to participate in an organized challenge or just read what you want, when you want, I wish you a new year full of great books and happy reading.

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias