Note: it helps to imagine the title of this post read by Dave Chappelle as Rick James.
For the last three years, I’ve challenged myself to finish a long, intimidating book before New Years. In 2011, I read The Magic Mountain, in 2012 I read Infinite Jest, and this year I’m reading Middlemarch. All the while, a group of Edmontonians have been reading ambitiously for the past three Decembers too and they call it a Bookstravaganza! They took a different, and I gotta say, more fun approach and made it competitive and charitable. It’s like a readathon and Movember combined without the creepy mustaches. I love the idea, and you can expect to see me in on this next year! In the meantime, follow the Bookstravaganza blog, and check out my quick primer:
- The concept is pretty simple: read as many books as you can during the month of December. Participants post short reviews to the blog as they go and the most books read wins.
There’s no criteria for choosing books, but the choices are seriously great. Most of the participants posted a stack of books at the outset and in each one there are SO MANY books that I am jealous of and want to be reading RIGHT NOW (no offense Middlemarch!) My favourite stacks: This one including Slaughterhouse-Five, She’s Come Undone, Ficciones, and JPod and this one including Into the Wild, Outlander, Lullabies for Little Criminals, and The Sisters Brothers and this one (pictured) because of The Girls, The God of Small Things, and Naked Lunch.
- Charitable donations are encouraged, on a one-time or per-book basis, to the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, which puts books in underfunded school libraries. I’ve sponsored founding member Matthew Stepaniac at a modest per book rate. He is on fire right now, reading at a book-a-day pace, so I’m a little nervous!
- The ten readers have some pretty impressive stats. One of them read 31 books last December. That’s insane!
- The reviews are great because they’re quick reads and there are multiple updates each day. Here’s a great little review of Todd Babiak’s Come Barbarians which simultaneously made me want to read it immediately and lock it up somewhere because I know I will be traumatized!