Reading Challenge for 2018

I know it’s crazy to even write the year 2018, but it will soon be upon us! Are you looking for your next reading challenge? Here are some suggestions that might help you get started!

Read a book recommended to you by a librarian. (This is easy because we LOVE to recommend books to you here at the Aurora Public Library District! Or you can always check the blog to see what books we’ve been writing and raving about.)

Read a book that’s been in your “To Be Read” pile for way too long. Or read a book that you own but you haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

Listen to an audiobook. (This is easy for people who love audiobooks, but for those who have a hard time letting go of the words on the page, it can be a real challenge! You can do it!)

Read a book where the main character or the author is different than you; this could be ethnicity, religion, culture, ability, etc. Try to see the world through someone else’s eyes. You could also read a book from a nonhuman perspective.

Read a book written by multiple authors. (See if you can pick out the different writing styles of each author as you go along.)

Read a book written by someone you admire.

Read a classic. Or you could read a book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t. (I won’t tell.) You could even read a children’s book you never got to read when you were small.

Read a book by an author who uses a pseudonym.

Read a bestseller from a genre you wouldn’t usually read.

Read the first book in a series you’ve never read before.

Read a book that was published in 2018 or that is becoming a movie that year.

Read a book that was published the year you were born.

Read a book set in more than one time period.

Read a book based on a true story.

Read a book you love so much, it always makes you smile. This could even be a beloved children’s book.

Read a book that someone close to you loves more than any other book that you’ve never read before.

Read a book set somewhere drastic, like during a war, in the wilderness, or the characters are trying to survive, etc. Read something to get your heart pumping.

Read a book solely based on the cover; literally judge a book by its cover without reading the summary of what it’s about.

Read a book that will make you smarter.

Read a book that everyone but you has read. This could be that book everyone was raving about last year that was made into a movie.

Read a book with an unreliable narrator.

Read a book with pictures! (How fun would this be?!)

Read a book that’s a story within a story.

Red a book that’s won a prestigious award.

I know that our lives are busy and that it can be hard to even find time to sit down, let alone read a book. But even if you cross just a few of these off the list, you’ll come out of the challenge as a better, more well-rounded person than you were last year. But who am I to dictate what you should and shouldn’t read? Create your own reading challenge for 2018 and let us know how you do! I’d love to be inspired by you!

Happy Reading!

Long-Running Adult Fiction Series

The longer a series, the better! There is nothing quite like getting to know and love a character book after book in a long-running series, where the characters actually become part of you. There are plenty of authors who publish ongoing or long-running series with beloved and recurring characters across all fiction genres. Some of these series are ongoing, with books still being written with new plots and the same protagonist. Other series are spinoffs from the original series, where authors will take a minor character and turn him or her into a major character in a different series. Here are some long or ongoing series that the Aurora Public Library District has for you to check out today!

Crime/Mystery fiction is a great nook for a writer who wants to create an ongoing or long-standing series with one main character. The protagonist is typically some kind of detective or private investigator who can solve a different crime or multiple crimes in each installment. For example, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is a favorite among our patrons at the Aurora Public Library District. The series follows the hilarious antics of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum through twenty-three novels (so far). The books are considered mysteries, but without all of the heavy drama that is usually involved in Thriller or Suspense fiction. Other notable authors with ongoing Crime/Mystery series include Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series, C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, Robert B. Parker’s various series (Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, Jesse Stone, and Spenser), and Faye Kellerman’s Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series.

Of course, a sub-genre of Crime/Mystery fiction would be Cozy Mysteries. Once again, the protagonist will typically solve crime, but as an amateur. Violence, sexual content, and language will be absent or subdued. Popular Cozy Mystery authors include Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Rita Mae Brown’s Miss Murphy series, M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series, Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series, Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series, and Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden and Sookie Stackhouse series. Other “Gentle” reads include Debbie Macomber’s various series (Rose Harbor, Virgin River, Cedar Cove, Blossom Street, and Angelic Intervention) and Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series.

Another genre that is great for ongoing series is Thriller/Suspense fiction, which can be similar to Crime/Mystery fiction, but manages to be different through that added layer of heart-pounding drama. James Patterson is notable for his Thriller/Suspense/Mystery series, such as Detective Luc Moncrief, Private, Detective Harriet Blue, Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Zoo, and NYPD Red. Other popular long Thriller/Suspense series include Tom Clancy’s series (Jack Ryan and John Clark, Jack Ryan, Jr., and Net Force), Stuart Woods’ various series (Stone Barrington, Holly Barker, Teddy Fay, Ed Eagle, Lee Family, and Rick Barron), and J.D. Robb’s Romantic Suspense In Death series.

Fantasy fiction is a broad term that can cover all sorts of sub-genres, but this is a great place for a long series because the author gets to make up all the rules to his or her fantasy worlds. My favorite epic Fantasy series is Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, which was completed after his passing by fellow notable fantasy writer, Brandon Sanderson. Some other popular epic Fantasy reads include George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series is considered to be both Fantasy and Mystery. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series is Fantasy with strong elements of Horror mixed in. The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton is considered to be Urban Fantasy. And Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is considered to be Historical Fantasy.

Of course, there are plenty of other authors who write ongoing series (Karen Kingsbury, Sophie Kinsella, Vince Flynn, Fern Michaels, Anne Perry, Wanda Brunstetter, etc) to choose from, too. Check out the Novelist website through the Online Resources tab on the Aurora Public Library District’s website for series’ book orders and author read-a-likes! Don’t forget about the Indiana Digital Download Center for even more series!

Happy Reading!


As you might or might not have noticed, I have been going through the different genres we have at the Aurora Public Library District and offering popular authors and titles as a sort of introduction to the genre itself, especially for those who are unfamiliar with or new to the genre. But the concept of books being separated by genre can be a little confusing, especially because, most of the time, many books do not fit one particular mold for only one genre.

A genre is a specific category that fiction books belong to based on the content of the novel. Many times authors will specialize in one particular genre and only write books that fit that mold. But authors can (and do!) cross over into many genres with various novels or with only one novel. This makes it harder for us to determine whether a book should be considered one genre over another, which then makes everything more complicated and confusing than it needs to be. A list of common fiction genres include:

Classic, Crime/Detective, Drama, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Magical Realism, Metafiction, Mystery, Mythopoeia, Realistic Fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Suspense/Thriller, and Western.

Many of these are self-explanatory, but I bet you can already see how some of these genres can blend into each other and create sub-genres, like Science Fiction and Fantasy. However, there might be a few terms that you have no idea what they mean (don’t worry, I didn’t know either!), so I’ll try to explain them as best as I can.


Magical Realism is basically incorporating fantastical elements into realistic fiction. So, it is a clash between Realistic and Fantasy Fiction. This genre, I’ve noticed, is especially popular with Young Adult and Juvenile Fiction, but there are several titles available in Adult Fiction, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman.


Metafiction is a newer genre of fiction that comes from the Post-Modernism literary movement. Metafiction draws attention to the novel as a work of art as one is reading; the author does not let the reader forget that he or she is reading a book. Metafiction can also deviate from the way in which the traditional novel is written or read. This genre also requires the reader to think, too, as the writing is sometimes not meant to be taken literally.  It is somewhat difficult to explain, but the reader will most likely know when they read it. Some examples include The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, and Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt.


Mythopoeia is more of a literary device than it is a fiction genre, but it definitely can be a genre on its own in some cases. Mythopoeia is the imitation, expanding, or inclusion of traditional myths into newer fiction. Mythopoeia also creates its own myths and legends, typically in Fantasy novels. Once again, I see the Mythopoeia genre most frequently in Young Adult and Juvenile Fiction (such as with Rick Riordan’s numerous series), but there are several classics that fall into this genre as well, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.

Genres can still be confusing to navigate, but hopefully they make a little more sense than they did. If you think a book belongs in one genre and I think it belongs in a different genre, chances are we’ll both be right. Let the Aurora Public Library District help you expand your love of reading across all genres!

Happy Reading!