Thinking Outside the Wheelhouse: How Do You Mix Up Your Reading?

June 14, 2015

If you follow me on Twitter (and you definitely should), you know I'm taking part in a summer bingo challenge hosted by Books on the Nightstand. Their generator randomly picks 25 squares for you out of 140 possibilities and constructs a card designed to get you reading out of your comfort zone. In theory, you could keep generating cards until you get one that most closely fits your reading taste, but where's the fun in that?

Here's my card and the books I'm counting so far:


How I'm counting the books, clockwise: N5, B2, O5, O3, N3, I1

I've knocked out a bunch of the more general squares with books I was planning to read anyway, but others are forcing me to think outside my wheelhouse. I just learned what qualifies as a verse novel last week, and I'm excited to check out Autobiography of Red, a modern retelling of the myth of Heracles's tenth labor. Confession time: I've never listened to an audiobook (gasp!), and I'm finally going to break out the earbuds to enjoy a re-read (re-listen?) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or The Hobbit, thanks to solid recommendations from you lovely folks. I'm also on the hunt for a book about Islam for my "religion with which you are unfamiliar" square, if anyone has recommendations in that vein!

The challenge is also making me think a lot more about how I categorize my reads. I originally thought Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric would count toward the "currently on the bestseller list" square. Upon finishing it this morning, I took a step back and realized just how much the book had challenged my understanding of the black experience in America. I know I'm going to be rereading this one for the nuance I missed the first time through, and so it ended up on my "about a subject that challenges you" square.

I'm enjoying the process of seeking out new books so much that I might just generate myself another card when I finish this one, seasonal challenge be damned.

How do you guys shake up your reading habits? Is anyone else playing book bingo? Talk to me!

You Might Also Like

33 comments

  1. Amanda @ The Zen LeafJune 14, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    I've got tons of ideas about books about Islam, having read many of them, both fiction and nonfiction over the years. Hit me up on Twitter!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amanda @ The Zen LeafJune 14, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Also, I love this idea, though I think I'll wait to make a bingo card until after I'm not moving across the country, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oooh, good picks! Maybe I should go print out a card too.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is cool! I'm going to print a card right now...but am I allowed to read books I already own but haven't read?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think so! There aren't any rules that I can see, besides reading books that fit your squares. :) I just mentioned finding new reads because some of my squares fall outside my normal reading habits.


    I'd love to see what kind of card you end up with!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, do! I need more bingo buddies. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Haha, totally understandable! I'm amazed you even have time to leave me a comment. ;)


    Will definitely take you up on that offer for books about Islam... I'll DM you on Twitter!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really love the Book Bingo idea! I'm SO so very bad at committing to a set list of books though or reading with any kind of reading restrictions, so I'm always hesitant to commit to similar things. I do an ok job of diversifying my reading on my own, but I know it could be much better. Maybe Book Bingo would be flexible enough for me, since I wouldn't be committing to a specific list of titles, but can still read at whim a bit. Also - it just looks like so much fun! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks like it's so much fun! Is it too late to join? I just finished Citizen too - it was a hard read.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I heard about this on the podcast and it sounds like fun! For your Islam book, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright (nonfiction) is fantastic. It's more about al qaeda and the lead-up to 9/11, but obviously delves deep into Islam as part of that. Which square is The Beautiful Bureaucrat filling?

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is great! I usually will use a random number generator to select my next non-review book. Since I have everything listed in a spreadsheet, I just marry the randomly generated number with that line item on my spreadsheet. It works well for me, but I can see Book Bingo being a lot of fun too!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love this idea right to bits. Anything that forces us outside of our little boxes is a good thing, right?


    Wasn't Citizen just...I don't even know. There's not a word to describe it. I'll be dipping into that one again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the bingo card! I kind of want my own! I'm about to try to read the Hitchhiker's Guide for the first time. I started it, but couldn't love it. I'm dying to read this one: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18669183-heretic about Islam.

    ReplyDelete
  14. While the Bingo card is a very cool idea, I have so much reading to do to catch-up on my "schedule," that I'll need to skip this one! However, to vary from those books I need to/must read, I will every once in awhile select one from the TBR piles in my house and just read it! It's kinda fun! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm too lazy for book bingo, but it seems like a great way to expand your horizons!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think that's why I like Book Bingo, too! I'm failing miserably at most of my challenges that require specific book lists (Classics Club, ahem), but I like that this bingo card offers me flexibility within a set of guidelines.

    ReplyDelete
  17. No way! Make yourself a card, lady. :)


    I agree. It's going to take time and re-reading for me to feel ready to form coherent thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the rec!


    Bureaucrat is covering sci-fi.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, the number generator is such a great idea! I might steal it. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Totally agreed! I try to seek out variety on my own, but of course I end up falling into the same old genres again and again. The card has forced me to think outside the box.


    And so agreed on Citizen.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ooh, drop me a line when the Classic Reading challenge begins! (Unless it's ongoing?) My poor Classics Club list has been neglected lately.


    Do you find that you just read too many books in one genre and then have to move on? Or do you get burned out permanently? That sounds terrible!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haha, at least you know yourself! ;) I've found that it has been.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh, that sounds great! I wish I had piles large and varied enough for random selection to work more than a few times.


    Good luck catching up!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Aww. If I recall correctly, I think it took me a few times to get into Hitchhiker's too.


    Thanks for the rec! I'll be sure to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love the idea of book bingo! One of these days I'll stop being such a chicken and take one on. I really need to win the lottery so that I can retire and do nothing but read, craft, and blog all day long.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so mad at you for having 5 squares filled already.You probably have more by now. UGH. I've wanted to read Autobiography of Red for a while now. Tell me if it's goooood.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is perfect for my AP Lit class!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh no, I never get burned out permanently! Once I read a few books from different genres, I'm ready to face back into the one that I was getting tired of.

    The Dust off Our Classics is an ongoing one. I'll add a link below but it's a very informal one and you can just join in and post whenever you want if you want to take part.

    http://www.betweenmylines.com/category/dust-off-your-classics/

    ReplyDelete
  29. This sounds really fun. I like to jump genres with every new book I read -- a contemporary YA, a classic from the 1800s, a high fantasy, a nonfiction -- to keep my brain working and avoid reading funks. My sister is a high school language arts teacher, I'm totally going to link her to this generator, it would be so much fun for her class!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just saw that you ended up making a card! So excited! And I'm with you on the retirement plan—just add in "cooking and baking."

    ReplyDelete
  31. I only have six now! Red was good, but also I'm sort of terrible at analyzing or having really thoughts about poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Yay! So glad you'll get some use out of it. I bet your students will love it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I completely agree that hopping around keeps things fresh! I hope that your sis gets use out of it and that you give bingo a whirl, too!

    ReplyDelete

SHAINA INSTAGRAMS (MOSTLY HER CAT)

Subscribe