The Rewards of Accepting a Challenge

flowers-coverAs a frequent user of our local library, I enjoy taking part in many of the programs offered. So I was delighted to see a new one crop up. The Adult Reading Challenge encourages people to read in a genre or field they wouldn’t normally choose. The first month, September, was dedicated to Science Fiction or Fantasy. I never, ever read SF. It was a genuine challenge from my point of view, and I was eager to get started. But, what to read? Should I just pick something from the New Book shelf? Or try one of the traditional giants, like Heinlein or Herbert? Or what about our home-grown star, Octavia Butler, whose papers now reside at The Huntington Library? Then, at a bookstore, I noticed the classic Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and saw that it had won both a Nebula and a Hugo, both awards given for Science Fiction. It was also the basis for the movie Charly, I checked the library catalog and they had a copy.

Put aside the fact that I sobbed for an hour after I read the last lines. This book is now in my top ten list of best novels ever written. And I never would have picked it up without the Adult Reading Challenge. Sure, there are prizes and incentives. But the value for me was being semi-forced to read a book that I never would have gotten around to otherwise and that has enriched my life. So, thanks to whomever came up with this idea. It worked for me.

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About Lida Bushloper

writer and poet
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6 Responses to The Rewards of Accepting a Challenge

  1. Stephanie Vitale says:

    Lovely!  Well done!S.P.S. A curious mind wants to know why you chose the mama/baby animal pic that appears at the top of your blog page.

    Like

  2. Carolyn Swadron says:

    And the best part is, if you were watching Jeopardy last night, you’d know that the answer to the clue was “Flowers For Algernon”!

    What a timely discovery!

    ________________________________

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  3. Lida, I rarely read fantasy or science fiction, but your reaction to this book has me thinking I should read it! BTW, I finally got an update about you from Goodreads in my email this morning.

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    • Hi, Jan, I also rarely read SF or Fantasy, which is why the challenge was perfect for me. Part of the problem is how to categorize some fiction. I understand Margaret Atwood has in the past preferred “speculative fiction”, but has recently begun to accept SF. Most libraries and bookstores don’t have a separate “speculative fiction” area, so Atwood ends up in “Fiction”, which is where I found my library’s copy of Flowers For Algernon.
      I have no plans, however, to read more SF.

      Like

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