2012 Topical Reading Challenges

With all of the great reading genres available, it’s easy to skip over some of them. Check out these great topical reading challenges for 2012. Perhaps you’ll join me for some.
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

When Melissa at Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf didn’t see any witchy reading challenges for 2012, she decided to make her own.  The 2012 Witches and Witchcraft Reading challenge is for all books witchy, whether fiction or non-fiction. Anyone can read just one book, and all particpants will be entered to win a $10 gift certificate to The Book Depository! I’m starting with one and will see if I don’t bump up a level.


Do you like mystery and suspense? Join in Book City Chick’s 2012 Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge. There are so many sub-genres in the larger mystery category that I don’t think I will have any difficulty reading 12 novels for this challenge.

Feeling romantic? Check oy the Harlequin Silhouette 2012 Reading Challenge hosted Islandgirl Reads Romance. This challenge requires that you read one Harlequin book in each of 6 categories. This will probably be my most difficult challenge.

With books you can travel through time. Join Library of Clean Reads with the 2012 Time Travel Reading Challenge. I’m keeping it simple with a Surprise Trip (minimum of 1-3 books) and will see what else I read from there.

Do you have any earth based leanings or just want to learn more about earth-centered celebrations or history? Check out the 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge hosted by The Domestic Pagan. Just by celebrating the scientifically-based changes in our world during the year, our family reads several pagan books every year. You don’t have to be pagan to read pagan books or appreciate a large part of our history.

Looking toward the future, you could join The Dystopia 2012 Challenge at Bookish Ardour. Admittedly, this hasn’t been my favorite genre, but I was pleasantly surpirsed by some of the dystopian novels I read last year, stretching myself just a bit.

Finally, for those of you who love cogs and clocks, head over to Oh, The Places You’ll Go! for the Cogs, Clocks, and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2012. Haven’t tried steampunk? Challenge yourself!

The Winter Solstice

Ellen Jackson has a series of children’s picture books regrading various Earth-based holidays. So, when I ordered a copy of The Winter Solstice years ago, I had great expectations. Instead, I found a book focused solely from a Judeo-Christian perspective, even stating empirically that we now celebrate the winter solstice with Christmas and Hannukah.

The Winter Solstice

Most families searching for books of this nature are looking for something that doesn’t revolve around Christmas. Jackson completely missed the mark on this book. I would even have been happy with a book which talked about how Christmas traditions are actually taken from Winter Solstice celebrations. Instead, it’s a book which discounts everything about the solstice and fails to acknowledge the light and goodness which has been shown around the holiday throughout the years.

I won’t refuse to read the book to my children, but I will make clarifications when reading it. I would not purchase this book again.

The Shortest Day

If you are looking for a children’s picture book about the Winter Solstice that doesn’t mention Christmas, Wendy Pfeffer’s The Shortest Day will meet your requirements. Of the few childen’s books available about the Solstice, almost all mention the Christian holiday. This fact alone makes the book worth purchasing for families who celebrate the Solstice.

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Jesse Reisch’s colorful illustrations are true to form for a picture book, engaging the youngest readers. Suggested activities, although nothing spectacular, and solstice facts at the back of the book garner extra points from me.

The book is based on factual information, which normally would have me overjoyed. However, the facts are a bit questionable. Most notably, the dates for how long various solstice traditions have occurred around the world are off. Perhaps it’s a smal detail, but one I find greatly annoying. Despite that, it’s a good starting point for families with young children who celebrate earth based holidays and one I would purchase again based on the great lack of books available for families such as ours.