Take the 52 Book Challenge in 2016

tripitaka-koreana-library-horizontal-large-gallery1Avid readers are curve-busters.

I’m sure you’ve seen the anxiety laden news articles bemoaning the decline of American reading.  Some pundits wail that “the average American reads only one book per year!” The data from the Pew Research center reveals a more complex picture and sets the average at about 12 per year.

Yet, no matter how you slice it, the avid reader blows these stats away.

Avid readers use books in all their decorating.

Avid readers have multiple books going at one time.

Avid readers talk books, have different books for different moods, and they have opinions. Boy, do avid readers have opinions!

Most of all, avid readers love to share what they read with other readers.  And that led me to last year’s 52 book challenge.

My 2015 52 book challenge was simple:  read, on average, a book a week.  I did have a few guidelines:

  • I had to complete the book in 2015 (though it could have been a book started in 2014)
  • I could count any genre of text based book (graphic novels, alas, did not count in my rubric, though bedtime reading for my daughter did)
  • I would take a photo of each book and post on social media as a form of accountability (by the way, I only completed 45 books.  2016, however, is a new start!)

I was surprised at the conversation this project generated on Facebook.  In many ways, the books we read bring us together, even when we disagree about them.  To be a reader is to be a part of a conversation that transcends geography and chronology; it is to be initiated into a community of the mind and a conversation of the heart.  I saw this truth played out, albeit in a small way, in the sharing on Facebook.

I was especially blessed when two of my friends on Facebook said that they were so interested in the project, that they are going to do it themselves.

That got me thinking.  What would help us share in this larger community together?

Simple – a common hashtag for posting our reading accomplishments.  #52books2016

So here’s the goal: 52 books in the 52 weeks of 2016.  You can set whatever boundaries on genre you like.  When you complete a book, post a photo online with the hashtag #52books2016.  Give us a mini-review in a few sentences.  When you see other people’s posts, cheer them on.

Let’s be the curve busters.   Let’s be the community that bumps the nation’s average up a few notches.

Let’s get reading.

Excelsior,

Russell

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