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New Year's reading resolution: Here are the categories for our 2023 #ReadICT Challenge

suz bookstore photo.JPEG
Andy Tade
Suzanne Perez created the #ReadICT Challenge to encourage readers to expand their reading horizons and explore new authors, genres and topics.

Our annual #ReadICT Challenge isn't a competition. It's just a nifty way to broaden your reading horizons and explore some books you might not otherwise check out.

Want to get more out of your reading life in 2023?

The #ReadICT Challenge can help.

KMUW, The Wichita Eagle and the Wichita Public Library are teaming up for another year of the #ReadICT Challenge — a 12-month, 12-book challenge aimed at encouraging you to stretch your reading and explore new authors, genres and topics.

As always, we developed this year’s challenge with help from local librarians. And once again, we tried to make the categories flexible, so you can adapt them to meet your personal reading preferences.

Fiction, non-fiction, young adult, children’s literature — they could all find a place in this year’s challenge.

Ready to see the 2023 categories? Here we go:

1. A book with a non-human narrator

2. A book with a long title

3. A book about friendship

4. A guilty-pleasure read

5. A book told from a villain’s point of view

6. A book about time

7. A book with a color in the title

8. A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ protagonist

9. A book about death or grief

10. A book set in the Great Plains

11. A book about a secret or closed society

12. A book by an author visiting Wichita (in person or remotely)

A book with a non-human narrator (Category No. 1) could be a fantasy classic, like J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” or a kid-lit masterpiece like E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web.” Two books I recommend are “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is narrated by a solar-powered robot, and “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, which is narrated by Death.

A guilty pleasure read (Category No. 4) is an excuse to pick up any book you like, whether or not it has what some would call literary value. I happen to think any book is a good book if it scratches your reading itch.

A book with a color in the title (Category No. 7) covers a potential rainbow of great reads, including “The Red Tent,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “The Mystery of the Blue Train,” “Purple Hibiscus,” “Black Beauty” or “The Devil in the White City.”

Category No. 9 — a book about death or grief — is a nod to next year’s Wichita Big Read: “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. In it, the New Yorker cartoonist chronicles her parents’ final years through cartoons, family photos, found documents and narrative prose.

This year I’m especially excited about Category No. 11 — a book about a secret or closed society. Three books on the topic that I’ve been meaning to read are “The Secret History” by Donna Tart, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan, and “Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith” by Jon Krakauer.

This year, for the first time, we’re kicking off the challenge with a live podcast recording at the Advanced Learning Library. Sara Dixon and Daniel Pewewardy, hosts of the library’s “Read, Return, Repeat” podcast, will join “Books & Whatnot” hosts Beth Golay and me for a conversation about the new categories and what we plan to read. So mark your calendars for 6 p.m. Jan. 5 at the downtown library, 711 W. Second St.

And the #ReadICT Challenge is more than just a list of categories. The #ReadICT Challenge group on Facebook is more than 2,700 members strong, and it’s a great place to meet other readers and get book recommendations.

If you’re participating in the challenge, be sure to visit the Wichita Public Library’s website, where you can track your progress and online at wichitalibrary.org/readict. Log your reads every month, and you’ll even be eligible for fabulous prizes.

The #ReadICT Challenge is meant to be fun. It’s not a competition, just a nifty way to broaden your reading horizons and maybe explore some books you might not otherwise check out. We encourage you to join the fun.

Happy new year, and happy reading.

Suzanne Perez writes about education and books for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. She created the #ReadICT Challenge in 2017 while a staff member at The Wichita Eagle.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.