I have a confession to make. I'm not always the most naturally-adventurous reader. As many of my recent reviews and Wednesday Words posts have discussed, I am working hard at changing that, but at times it can be overwhelming (especially when the temptation to re-read my old favorites can be so strong).
But there's hope for readers like us who want to step out of the proverbial box - book clubs is one way to do it (but unfortunately, I don't belong to one because I haven't heard of a good local one where I live).
The other way: reading programs that develop their own lists.
It's brilliant in that you let someone else do the hard part for you: the narrowing down of the huge spectrum. The program that the library I work at is particularly great if you're an enthusiast of YA literature but also want to branch out a bit. It's called Read for a Lifetime and it's sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. Every year they come out with a list of 25 books - fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, etc. All teens have to do is register at a participating library (public or school), and read four books from the list. If you do that, you get a nice certificate in the spring for your accomplishment.
The list has been continually strong, and I am especially excited about the selections made for the 2012-2013 year (which you can check out here). There are some of my favorite authors such as John Green and Maggie Stiefvater, authors I've met but unfortunately haven't read yet such as the hilarious Beth Revis, and titles I've been meaning to get around to and finally have a bigger excuse like in the case of Franny Billingsley's Chime. This list has contemporary, sci-fi, old books, new books, non-fiction, some YA and some more meant for adults. This list is going to become my friend for the next year, that's for sure.
So if you know you want to read something different, but aren't quite sure what, I highly recommend giving Read for a Lifetime, your local library's summer reading program, or similar initiatives a try. You never know what these lists compiled by others will help bring into your life.
Comments welcome and as always, happy reading.