“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Do you love to read?
In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, we’ve embarked on a new year of reading adventures.
This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.
Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:
It involves four simple steps:
- Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article 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. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article 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. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
- Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
- Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
- Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
- During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
- During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.
Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3
I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.
All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.
At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.
So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.
And now for July…
Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in June.
A friend loaned me her tattered and much-loved copy of ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ by Paul Torday. This satirical debut novel is told through a series of correspondence and is about the ludicrous plan for a scientist to bring salmon ( a cold water fish) to the Yemen (a hot arid desert on the Arabian Peninsular) because the well-monied sheik decides this is what he wants. It’s a tale of government debarcles, bureucracy, love, self-discovery, Al Quaeda and British politics, and I found it funny and engaging.
I also enjoyed ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focussed Success in a Distracted World’ by Cal Newport. Deep work is the ability to give your full focus to a cognitively challenging task without being distracted in any way. The author presents his ideas and examples in the first part of the book and then goes on to give actionable examples you can use to create your own deep work practices in daily life. I found this to be a very useful book, and it has already changed the way I approach my own work. In fact, I’m going to go back and reread this book to get even more from its pages!
I’ve been in Adelaide for part of this month and had the pleasure of taking my friend’s young daughters to a local bookstore to buy books for them as a thank-you for helping me with one of my events. Of course I couldn’t leave without also buying a book for myself! Now I’m onto my third book for the month, which I am already enjoying immensely. It’s called ‘The Courage To Be Disliked’ by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi. This Japanese book (which has recently been translated into English) is written in the classic Greek philosophy style of a discourse between a wise old philosopher and a young man. It examines the theories of the psychologist Alfred Adler, and reflects on what is needed for a person to become happy and live a meaningful life, free from the shackles of past experiences, self-doubt and the judgement of others. I’m finding this book thought-provoking and immensely reassuring. The wisdom within is accessible, sensible and profound. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too!
I’m really keen to hear what you’ve been reading or listening to as well!
Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.
Lots of love, Nicole ❤ xx