The Literary Counsellor’s 2015 Reading Challenge

As a bookseller, I am often asked for recommendations on what to read by friends and family. While I like to think of myself as a fairly well-rounded reader, I do have favourite genres that make up the majority of my reading material. Over the past few years I’ve read far more books for children and young adults than those which are considered “adult” titles, and I rarely read more than 1 or 2 non-fiction titles per year. So, in response to the many different reading challenges that have been posted online in the last week, I have decided to make my own, which will hopefully broaden my literary world (and maybe yours too).

NOTE: If the book you are reading qualifies for more than one of these categories, that’s okay. Bonus points if you can get more than 3 goals out of one book! 🙂

Giller Prize Nominee (2010)

Books that People Talk About 

  1. A Giller Prize Winner or Nominee
  2. A Man Booker Prize winner or nominee
  3. A book by a Nobel prize winning author
  4. Something from the banned book list

Exploring Genres

  1. A book about business
  2. A romance novel
  3. A collection of poetry
  4. A graphic novel
  5. A self improvement book
  6. A mystery (can be a gruesome murder or something funny, your choice)
  7. A ghost or horror story (can be a short story or a book)
  8. A novella
  9. A collection of short stories
  10. A book about science
  11. A book about religion
  12. A humourous book
  13. A high fantasy book (wizards, dragons, and magic without all the paranormal stuff)
  14. A steampunk book
  15. A microhistory
  16. A book written for children or young adults
Originally published in 1981

A Time and Place for Everything

  1. A book set in Asia
  2. A book set in your home country
  3. A book published more than a hundred years ago (before 1915)
  4. A book with time travel in it
  5. A book published in the year you were born
  6. A book set in South America
  7. A book set in Africa
  8. A book set in Antarctica
  9. A book set in Australia
  10. A book set in Europe (nothing against England, but let’s try to steer clear of anything British because I know most people have read Harry Potter by now and this is all about challenging ourselves)
Written about a First Nations reserve, by a first time author (2 goals in one!)

Different People, Different Lives

  1. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture
  2. A book about someone with a disability or mental illness
  3. A book written by an author you have never read before
  4. A book by a first time author
  5. A book originally written in another language
  6. A book with a gay or lesbian main character
  7. A book about someone from a different culture than your own
  8. A memoir about an actor or actress
  9. A memoir about someone in the music industry
  10. A memoir about an athlete or sports figure
  11. A memoir about a political figure
  12. A book about a trans-gendered person
  13. A book with a main/key character who is old enough to be considered a senior
I can guarantee every bookseller and librarian feels like a superhero when they manage to figure out what book you were looking for with this request.

Just For Fun

  1. A book with a blue cover (AKA the bookseller’s nightmare request)
  2. A book where an animal plays a key role (may or may not be the main character)
  3. A book that someone else has recommended to you
  4. A book you want to read just because you love the cover
  5. A book you originally read more than 10 years ago
  6. A book you own but have never read (must be more than a year since you got it)
  7. A book by an author with your same initials
  8. A novel generally read in highschool that you never got to read

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