The queries started rolling out six weeks ago, maybe more: When will you publish this year’s reading challenge?
Friends, I’m glad you’re excited. I love that you turn to us to plan your reading year. But let me tell you: you do not need another challenge. Not in your life, and certainly not in your reading life.
Listen to me to the end.
This year – these Years– were challenging enough. We all know the ordinary suspects, the ones who have made life today arduous for so many of us: family conflicts and political conflicts, supply chain problems and a messy job market, juggling at work or studying from home (or suddenly work) and Studies from home), health concerns everywhere.
The stresses of life seep into yours reading Haim. You are tired, you are overwhelmed, and the thing that should be releasing your stress makes you anxious. Maybe for the first time ever.
I know this because you have told me over and over again. We have heard from so many of you (in comments on the blog and Instagram, in our readers’ surveys, from our book club members, what I should read next and potential guests) that your reading life is stressing you out.
Some of you completed three reading challenges last year, and instead of feeling that sense of accomplishment, feel worn out. Some of you feel that you are in a hurry to finish another library book before it arrives. Some of you have ARCs that you need to read and review, and instead of feeling like a privilege, it feels like an unwanted job. Some of you are in too many book clubs, constantly reading out of duty and never on a whim. Some of you – we hear this so often – feel compelled to read the book that “everyone” is talking about on #Bookstagram, before the moment passes.
I never want to make your reading life feel like a burden, which is why we are not doing a reading challenge for 2022. Right now, you do not need another challenge.
Inspiration, encouragement, a fun book project? Yes. But a challenge? Not this year.
This is a departure for us. We offer readers a reading challenge from a modern Mrs. Darcy since 2015. (Believe it or not, such challenges were rare then!) Early on I included some silly guidelines like “Read a book with blue color”, but as I learned more about how to help readers build a reading life Vibrant, it has evolved into a truly fun and useful tool, one that has given direction to your reading life and expanded you beyond your familiar genres.
In 2022, I want to help you find out (and maybe re-Discover) joy and ease in your reading life, to reveal this sense of abundance and not overwhelm.
I hope it frees you up – that you can read what and when you want, that you do not put so much pressure on yourself. This, this year, you read again because you enjoy it.
So read from the back list, mark some titles in your To Be Read list, embrace literary serenity.
Read that you like it. (Or, if you’m really tired, to read-In order to Remember Why do you like it.)
I have said this before; I’ll say it again: we love to read, but do not believe it’s a competitive sport. We care about quality far more than we care about quantity: reading Well Does not necessarily mean reading More. And we care about good reading, because we believe when you spend more than you do reading In life, you produce more than life.
It is worth doing, and it is worth doing well.
Now: I imagine some of you are panicking, Anna thinks, what have you done to me, I can not survive without a challenge.
I promise you, we will not leave you hanging. In the coming months you will notice this consistent pose of joy and ease on the blog, in the book club and in What should I read next. We will provide you with great things to read. We will share ideas for attractive literary projects. We will offer guidance for your reading life, just as we have always done.
We will also continue to make our green (life) reading challenge available, which includes worksheets, checklists and all the guidelines you need to build your own challenge if you insist this is what you need for 2022.
I’m glad you’re here, friends. It’s so good to be among the people reading, and I look forward to reading with you next year.