Reading Outside My Box


Reading has been one of my favorite ways to cope with the stressors of 2020. Oh and memes. Can't forget about the memes.  

I like to think I read a wide variety of books. But is this true? My thinking was challenged this past summer when my friend Heather invited me to participate in a reading challenge being offered by Books and Mortar, a local bookstore in Grand Rapids, Mich. I've attached the PDF of the challenge below in case you'd like to check it out. 

If completed, the participant could earn a $10 gift card to the bookstore. And that was enough of a carrot for me to check it out. 

I'd read dozens of books already so I figured I'd have a decent start on the challenge. And I was in fact able to quickly fill in some categories.

I wrote Michelle Obama’s Becoming in the space for a biography, memoir, or work of creative nonfiction. And Lisa Wingate’s The Book of Lost Friends worked as a book published in 2019 or 2020.

A book about a social justice issue you care about? I had recently read Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy and rarely has a book impacted me like this one. 

After a couple of other quick additions, I found myself being challenged. Challenged to pick-up some books I otherwise wouldn’t have. 

The first was Dear Evan Hansen, a book I picked up in the teen section of my local library. The book transported me to the clique-filled and often lonely hallways of high school, a place I had not thought about or visited in a long time. 

The second was The Alchemist, a book I likely would not have picked up. But I found it worked as a book in translation since it was originally written in Portuguese. I ended up loving this exotic tale of a shepherd boy who left his flock in search of a treasure buried near the pyramids of Egypt. 

I have yet to complete the challenge. But already it has opened my eyes and ears to new perspectives and voices. And for that I am thankful!

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I didn't sign up for the challenge, but really appreciate the book recommendation of "The Alchemist". I was intrigued and just finished reading it last night. A really inspiring book about pursing your individual dreams! I'll have to check out some of the other suggestions. Thanks Staci!