2017 is shaping up to be a doozy.
Trump’s in office. Liberalism is dying. No one is left. I’m turning 33, the same age Jesus was when he died. They’re remaking Baywatch.
Things are bad.
Yet, I remain optimistic. Why? The literary landscape looks bright in 2017, despite its lack of an obvious blockbuster. With upcoming titles like Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho, Tad Williams’ The Heart of What Was Lost, Joyce Carol Oates’ A Book of American Martyrs, Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, Jeff Lemire’s Roughneck, and Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply, my TBR list is already well stocked this year.
But why stop there? There’s also Human Acts by Han Kang, The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti, Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin, The Idiot by Elif Batuman, Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth About Men and Women in the 21st Century by Stephen Marche, Fevre Dream by Samanta Schweblin, and The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead by Channelle Benz.
I’ll be kicking off the year with a bang, thanks to Bout of Books 18 (which runs Jan 2-8). I’m also looking forward to an in-depth reading of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Brona’s Books, which starts in February and goes through the summer. There’s potential for a dead white guy readalong with Reading in Bed. And, recently, I stumbled upon something called Book Bingo, which should keep me busy, and excited, for the rest of the year.
Sure, 2016 sucked. 2017 might be even worse. But look on the bright side: no matter what’s going on in the world, we have books; and they allow us to create our own reality every day. I plan on creating a fun, interesting, nerve-wracking, magic blasting, stimulating reality in 2017.
It’s going to be awesome.
2017 Book Bingo
If I’ve learned anything in my five years of book blogging, it’s this: I’m the worst. I haven’t been able to sustain a blog for longer than 18 months (due to delusions of grandeur, mostly), but here I am again, giving it another go.
Why? Because I’m choosing optimism in 2017.
Cynicism is boring. It’s too easy. It’s even easier this time of year, with everyone jumping headlong into resolutions despite the fact that only 8% of them will succeed. But succeeding isn’t always the point. There’s something to be said about erring on the side of optimism and putting hope out into the universe. It’s in such short supply these days.
Reading goals are so much more achievable when you have a fun way to go about the process. For me, this year, that way is Book Bingo.
An annual project at the (now defunct) Books on the Nightstand podcast, Book Bingo gives each reader a unique bingo card full of one-book reading challenges (aka the best kind). When you read a book that qualifies for one of the squares, you cross that square out. If you fill out your whole card in the allotted time (for me it’ll be the whole year, but usually it’s just for the summer months) then you win!
What do you win? Well, I guess that’s up to you. Self-respect?
Or perhaps something less boring.
Here’s my card for 2017, which was generated for me at random here.
Help Me Pick Some Bingo Books
I’m really happy with my card. It should make for a really fun year. Some early favorites:
- A book set on a ship
- A literary magazine or journal
- A book I’ve pretended to have read
- A random book from a shelf
- A book from the Harvard Classics Five Foot Shelf
I didn’t even know what the Harvard Classics Five Foot Shelf was before Book Bingo. As it turns out, it’s “a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature, compiled and edited by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and first published in 1909.” (Wikipedia) I think I already know the book I’m going to read to cross this one off (*cough*TheOdyssey*cough*), but how fun is this?!
If you have some suggestions for books I can read to fill out my bingo card, I’m all ears. And since Joseph Boyden might be out for my last square (insert awkward side-looking emoji eyes here), suggestions are more than welcome for that one.
Onward and Upward
Chin up, folks! 2017 is going to be better than you think it is, because the stuff you read is going to blow your mind. It always does. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite book of all time. If not, just re-read your old one.
If cynicism bores you, rail against it. Like Charlie Chaplain said, “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”
Unless, of course, you’re looking down at a book.
If you build your own Book Bingo card, be sure to send me a link in the comments!