Five Book Challenge

Leap outside of your comfy blanket and read something different ...

Here in the Popular team at the library, we love books, and we love reading.  Between us all, we probably cover just about every genre and type of book, from steampunk to short stories, from contemporary fiction to forensic crime.  Which is great, if we are all here at the same time in the same place!


What we are finding is that although together we know heaps, separately our knowledge can look a little patchy.  It’s easy to find and read stuff that you know and love, and very very difficult to get motivated to step outside your comfort zone.  Therefore, in the interests of stepping up to the mark and being brave, we are going to put our big-girl pants on and each nominate one genre or fiction area that we don’t know anything about, and boldly read five, yes five, new books in that genre over the next few months.

For me this will mean a foray into the mysterious world of contemporary fiction, where nothing weird happens but lots of people think deep thoughts about life.  For others, it will be a bold step into the future with science fiction, or a steamy session with a bodice-ripping saga, or even a walk on the wild (west) side with a cowboy western. 

To make sure we actually follow through on the promise, we will be checking in with each other at regular intervals, and we will also be asking people for lots of help in finding something good to read in our chosen area.  Obviously, we are also publicising our mission through the blog here, so it’s not only us Popular gals keeping tabs on each other.  You blog readers can also feel free to enquire/inspire/nag us to keep going.

And maybe some of you will want to join us.  Just a thought.  If you only ever read from one set of shelves, maybe you’d like to think about stepping outside your comfort zone too, and boldly go etc etc.  And if you’re feeling really brave, you could even reply to this post and go public too!  We’ll await your declarations …

21 thoughts on “Five Book Challenge

  1. Laraine 13 April 2010 / 7:39 am

    You are brave. The kind of fiction you are proposing to read sounds like what I call “literary” fiction. A writer friend calls it “kitchen sink”. The writing usually has something stilted about it (a favourite being the dogged use of present tense when the story doesn’t suit it) and nothing ever happens but “slice of life” stuff. Maybe I could be extra brave and choose to read best-selling fiction for adults? However, my one recent foray into that (Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, which I read only because somebody gave it to us for Christmas) convinced me that my original perception of these books being badly written was correct. It was torment and I’m not into masochism. 🙂

  2. Donna 13 April 2010 / 10:37 am

    I think I might read a Lee Child book since I’m going with my Dad to see him at the Press Literary Liaison on Thursday night.

    • mj 13 April 2010 / 1:50 pm

      I have decided to read a Lee Child book after I heard that he sat down and wrote his first book in long hand, in pencil. Any author who does that and gets published deserves to be supported!

      And I thought I should perhaps join the masses of Lee Child fans, given that “they” reckon one of his books sells every second somewhere around the world (or is that marketing hype?).

  3. mj 13 April 2010 / 1:48 pm

    What a great idea … and I look forward to hearing about the good, the bad and the ugly discoveries along the way.

    The very words ‘contemporary fiction’ always give me the shivers, and I always wondered if an author would be disappointed with this label, so maybe I too should attempt this genre … we’ll see …

  4. victoriaccl 14 April 2010 / 9:04 pm

    I would like to give it a go. Being a big fan of “Contemporary Fiction” and “Classic Fiction”, it’d be a real challenge to convert myself into a “Steampunk Fiction” lover, but you never know unless you try. Afterall, they say: “The proof of the pudding is in the… (yay you’re right) READING:)

  5. Robyn 15 April 2010 / 2:55 pm

    “Why can’t we read five books from five different genres” I whined. “I’ve read at least one book from every genre ever invented” I whinged. Bronwyn was firm but gentle in telling me to get over myself (in the nicest possible way). So I am reading five books in a genre I have never read before. But what genre? Horror? Christian fiction? Mills and Boon? (is that even a genre or just a pink miasma I may never emerge from?)

    • MichaelA 16 April 2010 / 2:40 pm

      Christian Ficton – you could do worse than digging in to some C.S. Lewis: Out of the Silent Planet; Voyage to Venus; That Hideous Strength or the more obvious Narnia books (kill two genres in one?)

      • keenan.j 16 April 2010 / 4:37 pm

        I’m all for cheating – you could try books by Bodie Thoene – Christian and Saga, Or Tim LaHaye – Christian and Thriller. Then there’s Nora Roberts, Crime and Romance. I’m sure the possibilities are endless.

  6. Helen 15 April 2010 / 7:42 pm

    I would have whined the same as you Robyn, although I’m not sure I’ve read a western, unless Lonesome Dove counts. But out of the three options you’ve listed, I’d go for the Horror.

    • valerienl 30 July 2010 / 9:12 pm

      Ive read one western in my entire life The Virginian by Oven Wister. It was pretty good. I am having no luck with my five book challenge. I haven’t managed to read a romance or a manga book. horror is too scary, hard-boiled crime is too yucky and I am a stickler for my rights as a reader.

  7. Joyce 19 April 2010 / 8:26 pm

    I’ve taken up the challenge, and have set myself the daunting task of reading lascivious vampire tales featuring forbidden inter-species love. Wish me well…

  8. onederccl 20 April 2010 / 1:18 pm

    I’m going to be brave and try science fiction. While I’ve read bits and pieces from most other genres, this is one that I usually try to avoid. I think I’ll start with the cyberpunk variety: William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and then stuff written by Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross and Jeff Noon. If anyone has tried these authors, which titles in particular would you recommend I read?

    • rachaelccl 21 April 2010 / 6:22 pm

      Oneder, give Cory Doctorow a go. I’m reading his short story collection, Overclocked, at the moment, it’s great fun.

  9. rachaelccl 21 April 2010 / 6:23 pm

    Wicked idea, Bronwyn! I’m going to get the Upper Riccarton team on board if I can. I think my road least travelled would be horror – I’m going to give myself nightmares!

  10. Chris Baxter 22 April 2010 / 11:12 am

    Here at Upper Riccarton Library we are joining this challenge too – we’ll keep you posted.

  11. Katie 17 June 2010 / 11:59 am

    If Popular and Upper Riccarton can do, so can South Library! The challenge was recieved overwhelming support and buy in which is good to see. So far we have some-one reading Swedish fiction, books written by celebrities, Christian fiction (that’s me and it was that or detective novels! I didn’t want to be kept awake at night, so Christian fiction won!), chick lit (which is proving tough work!), chick lit young adult books, and ‘how to’ non-fiction books. Good luck everyone at South

  12. Helen 18 June 2010 / 8:30 pm

    I would find chick lit hard work also. I can do maybe one or two per year(Kathy Lette or Sarah-Kate Lynch are the two I can recommend), but I just find most of it boring as anything and my time is precious. And that applies to chick flicks too, most of them are excruciating. I take my hat off to anyone who can read 5 chick lit books in a short time!

  13. joyciescotland 21 June 2010 / 11:51 am

    Melissa Bank’s The girl’s guide to hunting and fishing is top-notch chick lit, and I liked Ayelet Waldman’s Love and other impossible pursuits. Made me snivel!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s