“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
~ Stephen King,
In January a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge.
I wanted our community to find a little time for themselves each month to devote to the simple pleasure of reading or being read to (audiobooks), and then to find a way to pass the gift of reading on to others.
Our Challenge had some very simple steps (and it’s not too late to join us for this last month of 2017):
- Read or otherwise consume a book each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when… Or it could be an e-book or an audiobook. It can be any kind of book at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. Or even a textbook.
- Post the name of the book you are currently reading here on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest another book that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of books that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
- Download the Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet. Each month write the name of the book you have read in the corresponding square. If you read two books in one month it’s fine to allocate one to another month. Or add the extra book to your existing month. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read. It could be as little as ten cents per book. Here’s the Bingo Sheet for you to download – just click on this link: Book Reading Challenge Bingo Sheet Then start filling it in when you’ve read your first book.
Our final, most important step is this:
4. In December I am going to ask you to use the money you have saved to buy and donate a book to a charity for a Christmas gift OR donate the money to a literacy project or similar. (Even if you only saved ten cents each month $1 will buy you a decent second-hand book just about anywhere.) It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings.
December is here, and I am now calling upon you to enact the charitable aspect of our Challenge.
This year, not including December which has only just arrived, I have read or listened to 28 books. My reading list does not include all of the blog and facebook posts I have read, the websites I have visited, or the newspapers I have enjoyed over breakfast out at cafes or weekends here on the veranda with a cup of coffee and a beautiful home-cooked breakfast or a pastry treat from the Farmers Markets.
It does not include all of the course material I have read, or the directions and signs I have followed, or the forms I have filled in. It does not include the ingredients lists on the back of packets, the recipes in cookbooks or the directions and warnings I have read on my various medications and treatments.
Truly, as I look back over my year of reading, I am reminded both of what a gift reading is, and what a necessity it is for functioning well in our world. How would I have navigated my life if I had not been able to read?
I’m assuming I’ll easily consume two more books in December so that brings my total to 30 books.
I’ve pledged $10 for each book I have read so that brings my total to $300.
I am donating $200 to the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation who do important and much needed work in bringing literacy to Australian Aboriginal communities. You can follow the link to find out more about them and their various programs.
I am also pledging $100 to the Saint Veronica Welfare Committee, through whom I already sponsor a number of children in India. I will have them use this money to allocate me another child, and I will then meet this cost every year until the child’s education is completed. It costs just $100 a year to sponsor a child and all money goes to directly to the care of that child. This money pays for their education and helps them to stay in school, which gives them many more opportunities in life. I have been involved with this program for well over a decade, and some of my sponsor children are now at university, studying teaching, engineering and medicine. The gift of literacy has changed their lives and the lives of their families.
What will you do with your donation?
I’d love to hear about it, if you’d like to share your ideas with us.
I also want you to know that this Reading Challenge is a gift to you. To find that time for yourself and indulge in the pleasure and comfort of a book is a very good thing.
If money is tight I have some suggestions for the charitable part of this Challenge:
- Donate a book to a Christmas Gift Collection Drive. This could be a book you buy (second hand stores often have awesome books at very cheap prices and bookstores and department stores usually have bargain shelves of books being sold at greatly discounted rates) or even one you already own that is in very good condition. Wrap it up in some pretty paper and remember to put a tag on it saying who the gift is suitable for, eg Boy 6-10 or Woman 20+
- Volunteer an hour of your time to read to someone at a hospital or aged care home, or to help struggling readers at your local school or within your local community such as refugees. Or maybe you know a friend or family member who is at home and unwell. You could read to them.
- Donate books to your local school or charity
- Gift books (they can be used) to the local women’s refuge, hospice or hospital
- Organisations such as the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation will accept a donation online starting at $2. Every little bit helps.
For those of you who have been participating in this challenge I offer you the biggest heartfelt Thank You.
I’ll be running this Challenge again in 2018 so stay tuned for a new post and a new Bingo Sheet in January.
Thank you for practicing kindness to yourself by reading.
Thank you for passing some of that kindness on to someone else.
So, that’s our Reading Challenge.
What books have you been reading or listening to this past month?
Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.
Happy Reading! Thank you SO much for being a part of this Challenge with me. I’m looking forward to doing it again with you next year.
Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx
Here’s my Completed Reading List for November:
- A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite. This book details the journey of a woman who falls in love with and marries a man who turns out to be nothing like the man he had portrayed himself as. Chilling, informative and fascinating.
- Get a Literary Agent: The Complete Guide to Securing Representation for Your Work by Chuck Sambuchino. Useful, if you’re in the market for an agent for your work…