Another year has come and (almost) gone, and in about two hours we’ll be celebrating the arrival of 2019. Whether you’re a fan of New Year’s Eve or not, the time for goals and resolutions is upon us. If you’ve followed along here for any length of time, you know that this is always the time of year for new reading goals and challenges to pop up. In fact, you can search “2019 Reading Challenge” on Google and find 249,000,000 results. There are a lot of options out there!
For the last two years I’ve created my own reading challenges to share with you guys. In 2017, it was a 12, 24, and 50-book list of topics. Last year it was twelve months of themes for your reading journey. This year I’ve got a different type of challenge for you.
Are you ready for it? Here we go:
In 2019, I challenge you to read.
Is that too simplistic? Maybe, but I think this simplified reading goal might be just what we all need in 2019. Take an hour each week and read something–read anything. Read a book you’ve always loved or a book you’ve always wanted to read. Listen to an audiobook, browse in a bookstore, flip through all those magazines that pile up every month.
Will you join me in this 2019 reading challenge? There are no printable lists, no monthly topics or discussion questions. Those things are great, but I think sometimes they can distract us from the beauty and importance of reading. I know that I’ve been distracted by these things over the last twelve months, and I want to return to the simplicity of reading for reading’s sake. Sometimes the nonsensical pressure of keeping up with blog posts and social media posts has made reading feel like a chore. And I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but it sometimes feels like the last two years of reading challenges had made me view reading as a competitive sport instead of a magical act.
After all, the magic of reading isn’t in checking boxes or keeping page counts, it’s in discovering what it truly means to be human. The beauty of reading is having Shakespeare on your shelves right next to Harry Potter; it’s having biographies and graphic novels in the same towering pile on the nightstand. It’s having the freedom to read and reread the books that made you the happiest–whether they’re fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose. It’s even the freedom to stop reading the books you aren’t enjoying, or the freedom to hate a book everyone around you is loving.
This year, I’m going to reclaim a little bit of my reading humanity. I’m not setting a GoodReads goal; I’m just going to read the way I did when I was little, taking books with me everywhere, letting them soak into my soul–not because I want to accomplish something, but because I want to learn something. At the end of 2019, whether I’ve read fifty books or five hundred, I hope that I will have learned something from every story I chose.
There will always be time for required reading, but in 2019 I’m choosing to celebrate the joyful, magical side of reading instead.
Who’s with me?
Happy New Year, and Keep Reading!