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Reading Bingo Challenge

August 15, 2013

A little while ago I came across the Retreat book club Reading Bingo 2013 Challenge by way of a new, small, fun blog called “binge.” At the outset of 2013 Retreat (part of Random House Canada) created a printable bingo card with 24 reading challenges, encouraging people to challenge themselves to read more and read more widely. I probably don’t need to read more nor read more widely, but it’s still fun to put up the card, see how I’m doing thus far purely by chance, and maybe try to fill in the card over the rest of 2013.

With the assistance of my good friend goodreads, I was able to reconstruct my recent literary history. I think I’ve covered at least 16 of the 24 spaces thus far (links below are to LitMonkey reviews where available), as follows:

  1. Book I chose because of the cover:  Probably “Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life” and “Dads Are the Original Hipsters” (available at an Urban Outfitters store near you!)
  2. Book from the library: Too many to list! Most recently, “Hallucinations
  3. Book that’s been on my shelf for more than 5 years: “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  4. Book with more than 400 pages: “Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991
  5. Book recommended by a celebrity: I had to do a little research for this one, because I can’t think of a book I read because of  a celebrity recommendation. Fortunately, Childish Gambino (better known as Community‘s Donald Glover) recommended The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, which I happened to read this month.
  6. Book I saw someone reading: “Game of My Life New York Yankees: Memorable Stories of Yankees Baseball
  7. Book that is out of my comfort zone: Strangely, I don’t think I have anything for this category. I like to read within the general range of things I’m familiar with, which is a pretty broad range. I suppose I have my first challenge.
  8. Book someone recommends to you: “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper.
  9. Book of poetry: Well, if I could check this off I could have used it for “book that is out of my comfort zone.” So now I have 2 challenges.
  10. Book by a Canadian author: Gotta love Retreat slipping this one in here. Let’s see … England, Wales, Australia … not sure I have any Canadians on my list. No worries though. I’ll be reading this later this year.
  11. Book that will help with my career: Nope. Nothing this year. Not yet.
  12. An award-winning book: Probably not.
  13. Book I heard about on the radio: I’m going to expand the definition of radio to include podcasts, since they don’t give many book recommendations on SiriusXMU or AltNation! With that caveat, I can check this box off with “The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever.”
  14. Book I (should have) read in high school: “Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age” OK, so it hadn’t been written yet when I was in high school, but I should have read it or something like it then, so that I’d be playing guitar now. I assume that’s what is meant by this category, since there’s no reason to go back and read something I actually should have read in high school, like “The Scarlet Letter.
  15. Book I saw on TV: Do people see books on TV? What TV shows are they watching? This is going to be a tough square to fill.
  16. Book recommended by my local bookseller: Conveniently, the very last book I read was entirely based on a recommendation given by one of the nice booksellers at Book Court in Cobble Hill (Brooklyn).
  17. Book with a great first line: Not an easy thing to remember after the fact, but I had a vague recollection that I really liked the first line of “Poseur: A Memoir of Downtown New York City in the ’90s” by Marc Spitz. In this rare case my memory didn’t fail me; Poseur opens with a verse from one of my favorite They Might Be Giants songs, “Don’t Lets Start.”
  18. Book with pictures: There are a few, but I’m compelled to go with “Marilyn & Me: A Photographer’s Memories” for obvious reasons.
  19. Book I would have picked up as a teenager: “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk.
  20. Book with an animal on the cover: At first I wanted to use this, but seems I read it back in 2012. That’s too bad. Fortunately I read “Don’t Let the Republican Drive the Bus!: A Parody for Voters” on Jan 3. (PS: If you’d asked me which box I thought I hit first in 2013, I never would have guessed “book with an animal on the cover.”)
  21. A young adult novel: “Twelve” by Nick McDonell.
  22. Book written by a celebrity: “The Dude and the Zen Master” by actor Jeff Bridges (and Bernie Glassman).
  23. Book recommended by my barista: Whoever made this bingo card may not have intended it for use in New York City, where the goal is to get into and out of your coffee shop as quickly as possible in order to keep the line moving. You’re now discouraged to use actual paper money (egads! making change … the horror!!), and they want me to ask for a book recommendation?! At the Starbucks closest to me, they don’t even hand you a cup of coffee – they hand you an empty cup and you have to serve the coffee to yourself from a large coffee urn! I give them cash and they give me an empty cup! So you’ll forgive me if I never fill this square. Frankly, I’m thrilled if they just get my beverage order correct. (Can you tell that I’m annoyed by the idea of a self-serve Starbucks?) Anyway, there is apparently a Starbucks barista named Jocelyn up north recommending that we all read “Brave New Worldby Aldous Huxley. She may not be my barista, but maybe I’ll read the Huxley classic and check the box after all.
  24. Book “everyone” but me has read: I can’t say that I feel this way about anything I’ve read this year.

Two-thirds of the way through 2013 and it so happens that I’m two-thirds of the way towards filling out my bingo card. My goal is to complete it, though filling out a traditional bingo line should be considered a success as well. (I’m well aware that I read an awful lot and I don’t believe there’s any “right” amount. Reading happens to be something from which I get immense enjoyment and satisfaction. My opinion is that a minimum target should be a book a month and anything above that is completely discretionary.) The hard part starts now though. Each square is more elusive than the next.

I’m curious to hear how others are doing. Let me know in the comments. Feel free to drop your thoughts or suggestions about particular books. Bingo!

6 Comments
  1. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the challenge! I’m finding some squares difficult, too and I had a hand in creating the thing! We wish you luck in filling in your lines or even the whole square!
    ~Ainsley

    • What a great idea, thanks for creating it! Are you the one who came up with getting a recommendation from your barista? 🙂

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