Tag Archives: 2016

Reading Resolutions for 2016

You may not have noticed, but we sure like to read around here! We also love a good challenge, so here are some of Team Eleventh Stack’s reading resolutions for 2016.

My reading resolutions are to read at least 25 books, to read more nonfiction books, starting with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, and to start to read short stories.

Happy New Year!



snicketAfter totally nailing last year’s reading resolution I’m going to try to read everything written by one author for 2016 (probably either Michael Crichton or Chuck Palahniuk–or both!). Fiction, nonfiction, books under a pen name–everything! To add some variety, I’m also going to try to read A Series of Unfortunate Events in its entirety. I missed the hype-train when the books first came out and with a show on Netflix coming soon, I suppose now is a good time to catch up.


beautifuluglyI’m going to try my hand at a dedicated book challenge this year. Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge has caught my eye – it has a nice variety of topics without being too crazy. I already have some titles in mind for a few of the categories…

Don’t be surprised if many of my posts this year are challenge-related!

– Jess

Alas, I didn’t do very well with my 2015 reading resolution, which was to read more broadly from the Library’s historical fiction and world fiction shelves. I mean, I read at least one book in each of those genres (the most notable ones being The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton and Like Family by Paolo Giordano) but for the most part, I didn’t stray too far from my literary comfort zone. I’d like to give this effort another try in 2016.

Regardless of the genre or format, I’m hoping to read more books in 2016.  As of this writing, this year was my lowest total (52) since 2002, when new motherhood and caring for infant twins impacted my ability to read anything more than board books and nursery rhymes. (Not like there’s anything wrong with those.)

Here’s to new beginnings, do-overs and clean slates, and an adventurous  trip around the sun. To quote Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

~ Melissa F.

lightheadLike Jess, I’m going to attempt the Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder Challenge. It consists of 24 challenge tasks, which is about two books per month. I have been trying to add variety and diversity to my reading materials, and I think this is a good place to start. I also found a 12-task reading challenge at the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. There’s some overlap between the two, but enough difference to make it worth doing both.

I did pretty will with last year’s Read Harder Challenge, considering I only found out about in December. I managed to hit 22 of the 24 tasks (well, 23 if you count the fact that I gave up on Wuthering Heights for the second time—that book is just not my cup of tea). I am planning to tackle the final item on that challenge this month, which is to read a book that won a major book award. I picked out Lighthead by local poet Terrance Hayes.)

A few of my picks for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge are:

In addition to my two reading challenges, I plan to make a concentrated effort to read more books by people of color, especially women of color, with a loose goal of one title per month.


I pretty much tanked all of last year’s reading resolutions, and yet somehow managed to complete 205 books in 2015. The problem is that I’ve never met a book I won’t try, and they’re all competing for my attention at once. I get distracted by the shiny title that randomly catches my eye as opposed to the ones I’m “supposed” to be reading. I finish a lot of great books, but I never get around to what I’d planned.

So I’ve adopted a different strategy for 2016:

  1. No more formal challenges! Just pure pleasure and serendipity.
  2. Reading one book at a time instead of fifteen all at once.

massivepissedloveRight now I’m happily snuggled up with Richard Hell’s Massive Pissed Love, a collection of film criticism, art reviews and other cultural commentary, including a number of thoughts on what “punk” actually is/was. It’s the sort of book that leads you to countless other books, films, and albums, so I’m taking lots of notes as I go (The Lady From Shanghai is definitely in my future).

Here’s hoping my new approach will help me hit my goal of 215 books completed by the end of the year. Wish me luck!

-Leigh Anne



What are your reading resolutions? Let us know in the comments!

-Team Eleventh Stack




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Election Season Reading Challenge

When it comes to politics, there is one thing that most people agree on: making an informed decision about your vote matters. Of course there are myriad ways to stay informed and educated, and it’s great to consult multiple sources of information. So, gearing up for the grind of election season, I decided to give myself a small reading challenge. There are only three prompts, so feel free to join me!

Go Vote

Image by Chris Piascik. Click through for the artist’s website.

1. Read a Book About an Election Issue You Care About – Hot topics in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election include immigration, gun controlhealthcare, and more, but I urge you to define what matters most to you and go from there. In terms of “issues” books, I recently read Not Funny Ha-Ha, a graphic novel that straightforwardly describes two different women who choose to have abortions, and The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, which I can’t stop talking about. I have plenty more on my “to read” list, including Burning Down the House: the End of Juvenile Prison and Between the World and Me.
2. Read a Book About Media or Politics – To me, the political process is sometimes as interesting and relevant as the outcomes. Insight about behind-the-scene antics help us understand how arguments and messages are being constructed, and interpreted (or misinterpreted).  Right now, I’m in the midst of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class and The Influencing Machine, and loving them both.
3. Read a book about or by a candidate  – There are so many choices, I’m not even sure where to start. Choose your own adventure:
How will you be keeping up-to-date this election season?


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