Read a book outside of your genre comfort zone (If you’re a classics fan like me, try out romance or fantasy).
There have been a plethora of posts from my page regarding the literary challenges in writing, but don’t you worry, I have not forgotten about my reading challenges! I could never abandon such a thrilling and ambitious experiences that never ceases to make me laugh and cry all in one chapter.
Before locking away the social networks that plague my psyche, instagram had updated its servers to include “reels” in which I could view thirty-second videos of interest. As you would imagine, most of my interested videos were adapted from a popular feed stemmed from TikTok called “BookTok.” In my experience, I’ve seen BookTok users market their favorite reads, create memes about various types of bookworms, and promote their own work. However, most of these books were an extension of the same genres: fantasy and romance novels.
As a classics and realistic fiction reader, I couldn’t quite relate to these videos and struggled to see the appeal in such stories. During my time in middle school, however, the fantastical and romantic genres were about the only books I could tolerate. Whether that was a result of a barren social life or relationship status, these genres were the only books I would read for the sole purpose of pleasure. As I began high school, my anxiety and neuroticism made quite the spike and I forgot about the miraculous adventures I’d faced on in these pages. As a result, I would read stories just as chaotic as my mind was which, interestingly, I found in classical and realistic fiction.
All that goes to mention that I’d forgotten how invigorating and freeing it felt to fight dragons, fall in love with forbidden guards, and lift curses and spells. When I was little, I couldn’t live out the impossible in reality, so I found a space in my mind to do it. I wanted to relive that feeling again. As a result, I am currently reading “From Blood and Ash” by Jennifer L. Armentrout, a juicy story about a young girl – The Chosen One – preparing for her ground-breaking Ascension. Only, she is indifferent toward this honor, for it restricts her from carrying out the duty she not only wants, but needs to avenge her family.
I am about a quarter of the way through and profoundly engaged with this world Armentrout has built for her audience. It is unique, hierarchical, beautiful, and devastating all at once – exactly what impactful literature is all about.
To conclude, I’d like to publicly give thanks to BookTok for reuniting me with my first true love: my fantastical imagination.
Read an article from The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, etc. about an issue/topic unrelated to the current political upheaval.
Politics brings out an analytic yet emotional side of humanity that impacts a duality of consequences. On one hand, it keeps the governed alert and aware to keep watch on the potential for corruption. On the other, it enforces such corruption.
All the more reason to participate in this challenge – give not just your psyche a break from this trauma, but your imagination. Politics festers in our bodies – it starts in our heads but makes it all the way to our hearts where it gives up our souls and will to take action. All too often, what is the first headline an audience observes in their daily subscription?
“President ________ fires __________, what will this mean for the American People?”
“_________ and ________ go head to head in an international _________ battle.”
For that reason, I encouraged you to research headlines of more positive and eye-opening stories. To show you how impactful this activity is, I’ll briefly share my experience.
My family and I read the politics section of the New York Times each morning, but this time, I listened to my advice and went straight to the science section (okay, I read the political headlines for two minutes but I shifted my focus right after, I promise).
There were a number of headlines that I could have chosen to read, but there was one that caught me off guard, for obvious reasons: “Why Are Pandas Covering Themselves With Horse Manure?”
You see, that sounded like something straight out of one of my SAT reading practice tests. I would never want to relive those traumatizing days, but this article actually sounded like it would further my knowledge in… well, something.
As it turns out, there was a study conducted at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that seemed to suggest that some mammals do this for “tolerating of low temperatures.” Many scientists reacted to this with considerable interest; some challenged it, and some expanded on it. Either way, it was an absorbing and fascinating read about something that I never would’ve questioned in my lifetime. I guess that’s another beauty about literature: discovering the ideas that could quite possibly spark a personal passion.
I encourage everyone to take ten minutes of their day and scroll through the arts and sciences sections of their newspapers and/or magazines, I guarantee that you will find something worth your time and benefit potential conversations in the near or far future.
Let me know where you’re at in this process! I’ve only done a few challenges so far, but my mind already feels healthier and ready to take on more. It’s amazing how a few days away from social media can rejuvenate your mind and soul.