Challenge accepted! An interview with reading challenge participants

This month, library user Tanya visited the Reference Desk to ask for help finding books for a reading challenge she and a friend were doing this year. Their challenge includes all kinds of books: a book that came out the year you were born, a book your mother loves, a book that takes place in your hometown, and many more. But how to find books to choose from for some of these quirky categories? Why, ask a librarian, of course.

Tanya and her friend Pennie kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog about the reading challenge they’re embarking on this year. We wish them good luck!

How did you find/choose a challenge?

Tanya S.: One of the many reading/book Facebook pages I follow posted this challenge in late December or early January. I shared it on my timeline. One of my friends saw it and expressed interest in doing it.

Pennie B.: Tanya had found a challenge on line and posted it on Facebook.  We discussed how much fun it would be to do the challenge.  In the past I have been a member of a number of book clubs but currently only have one club which meets quarterly. Tanya had mentioned that it would be fun to be in a book club together, but because we live in different cities, that wasn’t really possible.  (I live in Minneapolis, MN.)

What appeals to you about the challenge you chose?

Tanya S.: I like the variety of categories that this challenge offers…it is going to force me to read books and genres that I might not otherwise consider and I think that could be a good thing.

Pennie B.: There is quite a variety of types of books on the challenge we chose.  I expect that it will lead me to try a book or two outside of my regular choices.

Did you tweak the challenge guidelines at all?

Tanya S.: No guidelines were really posted with the challenge. My friend suggested we only cover one category with one book which makes it even more challenging.

Pennie B.: Our only rule is that you can use a book for only one category.

What are you most looking forward to reading this year?

Tanya S.: I’m looking forward to reading a wide variety of books…including a trilogy, which I haven’t done in a while, as well as a book that takes place in my hometown…Mankato, MN. It will be fun to see how many books I can read and I intend to enjoy every minute of it!

Pennie B.: There is nothing in particular.  I just love reading.

How are you finding the books to meet the challenge criteria?

Tanya S.: Well, I have been doing some searching online as well as looking through my own book stash…I have a lot of books that I purchased but haven’t read yet. I have also consulted with Jenny at Robbins Library to get some guidance on how to do a search…like the best way to find a book published in the year I was born. So, I feel like I have quite a few resources to help me in this quest.

Pennie B.: I own a lot of books already and it’s pretty easy to find a category within which one of my unread books will fit.  There will be a couple that I will have to research online to find a list or specific selection.  Goodreads has may lists of books that meet the different categories.


Readers, are you interested in taking on a reading challenge in 2015? You can join Tanya and Pennie in their challenge, or choose one from the list that librarian Linda posted in late December. If you’re doing a challenge, or thinking about doing one, or need some help finding a book to fulfill a particular criterion, leave a comment here or ask us! And don’t forget to check out our Book Recommendations page on this blog – it’s got lots of resources to offer, from links to lists of prize winners, to genre sites, to social reading sites and book search engines.

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