Reading Challenges (InspyRomance Blog)

This month, I’m blogging about creating your own reading challenge. Check it out and download the mostly-blank PDF template for you to fill out.

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Do you like reading challenges? I was thinking about books to read, other than my own, and I thought that it might be fun to categorize them into various little interesting groups. Have you done that, and if you have, what were the results? Was it entertaining or was it a disaster?

Just assuming it would be fun, I thought of several types of books, not in the same categories we see on Amazon or other bookstores, but in ways that are outside the box. How about some of these ideas?

Colors: Read a book that shows your favorite color prominently on the cover. Or read a book with bright covers. Or dark covers.

Wouldn’t that be something? Of course, you can choose your own genres, but what if you read three books with certain colors on the covers? I wonder what that will do to your reading time? In my Savannah Sweethearts series, pink is on every cover in the entire collection.

Locations: Read a book set in Europe or Antartica or somewhere you have never been to before. Or how about a novel set in the place of your birth?

If you’d like to read a book set in the Bahamas, my summertime Smile for Me (Vacation Sweethearts Book 1) novel talks about the ocean, trees, and flowers that are found in the Bahamas and Caribbean islands. Or if you’re interested in Alaska, I put a broken family on a cruise ship in Wait for Me (Vacation Sweethearts Book 3).

Things: Read a book featuring bicycles. Or maybe jewel boxes or musical instruments. Or helicopters. Or cowboy hats. Or umbrellas in the rain.

Some of these items might be more prominent in other genres, but they can also be in romance novels. In His Wake-Up Call (Seaside Chapel Book 2), my Emmeline rides a bicycle to work after her van breaks down and she has no money to buy a new vehicle. Yes, there is one scene in which Emmeline walks in the rain under and umbrella. In the same novel, I mentioned a particular necklace several times. In His Longing Heart (Seaside Chapel Book 1), Brinley is looking for an old Stradivarius violin that was stolen from her family. In some of my romantic suspense novels, helicopters play a role.

Pets: Read a book with a dog or cat in it. Or a tortoise!

For the longest time since we lost my black lab, Henry, I could not read a book with a dog in it nor could I watch sad movies with dogs in them nor could I write a novel with a dog in it. The Lord heals, and after a while, I was able to write Tell You Soon (Savannah Sweethearts Book 2) in which a golden retriever makes a cameo appearance. In Cherish You So, Nadine volunteers to feed her friend’s cat. I don’t think I have a tortoise in my published books at this writing, but one never knows what the future holds.

Characters: Read a book that has a centenarian great-grandfather in it. Or multiple generations in a family saga. Or a character with an unusual profession.

This challenge would begin by looking for books that have those characters in the first place. They might not be so easily found. In Kiss You Now (Savannah Sweethearts Book 7), I somehow ended up writing about a 104-year-old preacher who lives a life so faithful to the Lord that he sets a godly example to his huge family. In the same novel, Priyanka Patel has an unusual job. She is a people walker. Have you heard of such a profession?

The list is endless if you let your imagination fly.

To save you a bit of time, I created a blank Reading Challenge that you can fill in with five items each to check off. I put random headers in the first three categories, but you can cross them out and replace them with your own. The bottom three are blank for your own headers. You can download the Reading Challenge by clicking on the PDF link below and then saving the file to your computer.

Print this PDF file as many times as you want: IR-JT-ReadingChallenge-2022

For example, under LOCATIONS, I could list the places I want to read about in my to-be-read books, for example:

  • Edinburgh
  • Country south of the equator
  • Cold, snowy place
  • Campground by a river
  • Road trip

Under INTERESTING THINGS, I could list items such as these, and look for books that contain them:

  • Container gardening
  • Necklace
  • Lost violin
  • Vintage clothes
  • A book that is at least 500 pages long

I try to keep my own reading challenges manageable so that I can achieve them in my busy schedule. For example, my own current challenge is to read at least three non-fiction books this year, with one of them at least 1000 pages long. I don’t know if I will accomplish this, but I’m working on it, Lord willing.

How about you? How many reading challenges have you done over the years? Do you usually complete them with flying colors, or do you abandon them halfway?

If you’re looking for free ebooks to kick off your reading challenge, here are two potential candidates from my own book library, if you haven’t already read these Contemporary Christian Romance set on the Georgia coast:

Happy reading, everyone, and I hope you’ll have fun creating your own reading challenge!

In Christ,
Jan Thompson

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