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Books

New year, new books: Here are the categories for the 2022 #ReadICT Challenge

suz 2022 books.jpg
Suzanne Perez
/
KMUW
Suzanne Perez created the #ReadICT Challenge in hopes of inspiring Wichita-area readers to explore new books, authors and genres.

For our sixth annual reading challenge, we kept the concept the same: Read 12 books from 12 different categories in 12 months.

Want to broaden your reading in the coming year?

Now’s the time to set that goal in motion, and the 2022 #ReadICT Challenge can help.

For our sixth annual reading challenge, we kept the concept the same: Read 12 books from 12 different categories in 12 months.

And we’re once again partnering with the Wichita Public Library, where you can check out books, e-books or audiobooks to complete the challenge, as well as track your progress online at wichitalibrary.org/readict.

Ready to see the 2022 categories? Let’s get to it:

1. A book by a debut author

2. A book with a cover you like

3. A book that intimidates you

4. A book about a culture or topic you’re unfamiliar with

5. A middle-grade or teen book

6. A book based on mythology or folktales

7. Reread a favorite book

8. A book set at sea or on the beach

9. An immigration story

10. A genre-blending book

11. A book that deals with mental illness

12. A book by an author visiting Wichita or hosted remotely by a Wichita organization

As always, we developed this year’s categories with help from local librarians, and we made them flexible to meet your personal reading preferences or goals.

A book by a debut author (Category No. 1) could be a recently published work by a newcomer or the first book by a well-known author you love. Some of my favorite reads of this year were debuts, including “Nightbitch” by Rachel Yoder, “Mrs. March” by Virginia Feito and “My Monticello” by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.

A book with a cover you like (Category No. 2) is your excuse to grab something cool looking from your shelves or the local library.

And Category No. 3 — a book that intimidates you — may be the nudge you need to finally pick up that doorstop of a book or a classic you’ve avoided. (Mine happens to be both: “The Count of Monte Cristo,” a 1,200-page tome by Alexandre Dumas.)

A book based on mythology or folktales (Category 6) covers a wide swath of great reads. Some of the many on my personal TBR (to-be-read) list are “Things in Jars” by Jess Kidd, “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey and “Olympus, Texas” by Stacey Swann.

Category 10 — a genre-blending book — means something that doesn’t fit neatly into a traditional category. Think Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” (part myth, part fantasy, part Americana), Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners” (fantasy, horror, fairy tale, you name it), Brian Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” (a gorgeously illustrated novel that won the Caldecott Medal) or Colson Whitehead’s “Zone One” (a literary zombie novel).

I’m especially excited about two categories this year — an immigration story (Category 9) and a book that deals with mental illness (Category 11). Reading builds empathy by helping us discover what it’s like to be someone else, facing challenges that might not be part of our daily lives. Possible selections here include “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Everything Here is Beautiful” by Mira T. Lee, “Hidden Valley Road” by Robert Kolker or “Gorilla and the Bird” by Wichita native Zack McDermott.

The #ReadICT challenge isn’t just a list of categories. The #ReadICT group on Facebook has grown and flourished over the years and is now more than 2,400 members strong. It’s a great place to meet other readers, share recommendations and chat about bookish things.

In coming days, the Wichita library will distribute handy bookmarks listing the 2022 #ReadICT categories, and you’ll see displays at local libraries and bookstores of books that fit one or more of the categories.

Use the Beanstack app (available through your app store or online at wichitalibrary.beanstack.org) to log your books every month, and you’ll be eligible for cool prizes throughout the year.

Remember: This challenge is meant to be fun and flexible. If you think a book qualifies for a particular category, don’t stress. Just count it! (Some Wichita librarians say that last sentence seems to be my personal mantra when it comes to this challenge, and they’re right.)

Whether this is your first time participating in the annual challenge or you’ve been with us from the start, we hope the 2022 #ReadICT Challenge inspires you to explore new books, authors and genres.

If you’re looking for more bookish content, check out KMUW’s “Books & Whatnot,” a monthly podcast featuring Beth Golay and me. Beth also chats with authors every week as part of her “Marginalia” podcast, and I review books every other Monday on KMUW.

And Literary Feast is the station’s monthly book club, which meets virtually for now. In January we’ll be reading “Address Unknown” by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor. Reserve your free spot at KMUW.org, and we’ll email you the Zoom link.

Happy new year, and keep turning those pages.

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.