“‘The Doldrums, my young friend, are where nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes.’”Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
The gray days of the post-holiday winter can sometimes make me feel like I’ve slipped into the doldrums. And while the Lethargarians of The Phantom Tollbooth actively opposed thinking (or doing) anything new, I often find myself longing for something novel without knowing quite what. Of course, there are hundreds of great places to get reading recommendations, from friends, book clubs, and bestseller lists to websites like GoodReads or Fantastic Fiction (or a free copy of BookPage magazine from the library!), but even those lists of recommendations can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Enter the book challenge.
Taking the choice of what to read out of your own hands can be a fast track to finding something new – a fun new genre to explore, a fascinating new subject to learn about, a favorite new author to enjoy.
For the months of January and February, the O’Fallon Public Library is offering patrons a fun new book challenge of our own: The Winter Wonderland Book Bingo. There are 24 categories to encourage readers to try something different, including:
- A book from a library display
- A book with a one-word title
- A book set in your favorite city
- A comic book or graphic novel
- The first book in a series
If you find yourself getting stuck looking for a book to fulfill a certain category, you can always ask a librarian for ideas (there’s nothing we love like sharing book recommendations!). However, one of the categories also offers a great way to find picks to fill out your bingo card: “A book that won an award”.
When you think of awards for books to win, there are probably just a couple of highly prestigious options that come to mind: the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, or perhaps the Newbery or Caldecott awards for children’s lit. In reality, the awards landscape for books is vast, and covers a lot of lesser-known honors for books in specific genres or categories:
- The Edgar Award for mysteries
- The Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction and fantasy
- The American Academy of Religion or Christian Book Award
- The Coretta Scott King Award for African-American authors and illustrators
- The Stonewall Book Award for LGBTQIA+ books
- And hundreds more literary awards…
Just as with any game of Bingo, achieving five in a row can net you a small prize (and if you manage to fill the whole card, you’ll be entered into the Grand Prize drawing!). Library Bingo Cards are due back by 3/1/2023 to be eligible for prizes.
Of course, the real fun is in challenging yourself to find something new. There’s no telling just what 2023 will hold for any of us, but at least we can be sure there will be a good book in there somewhere.