Welcome to the second Feed Your Mind Challenge! As a refresher, here’s what this is all about:
Each month, we’re creating five different prompts to follow; you can challenge yourself to complete one, all five, or any number of them in between. These prompts are designed to motivate you to read more, explore new content types, and help you find works that are outside of your usual go-to genres. The challenges will be a mix of timely prompts (i.e., read or listen to a podcast about Black history for Black History Month) and random, fun ideas (i.e., read a book in translation).
And this February, there are so many timely happenings to choose from, despite this being the shortest month (who planned this?). It’s the month where habits you tried to form for your New Year’s resolutions are tested, when long-term goals for the year struggle to stay on track. This month’s prompts are designed to help make sense of all of the things going on and prevent your TBR pile from getting too out of control.
If you’re up for the challenge, here are this month’s prompts:
1. Learn more about Black history for Black History Month
Plenty of people have compared the protests against police brutality in recent years to the protests during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Discussions about reparations for slavery, segregation, and other discriminatory processes have spiked in recent years. Many question why most schools only teach about a handful of Black leaders, like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. At the height of the protests last year, there was a huge spike in sales for books about race relations. But real change will only come if we keep the momentum going; otherwise, we’ll continue to have the same conversations about segregation and discrimination every generation. There’s no better time than now to learn something new about Black history.
2. Diversify your fiction by reading a Black novelist for Black History Month
Last year, the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe revealed a stark gap between what writers of color received in advances for their books and what white authors were paid. According to a PBS NewsHour article about it, bestselling Black authors like Jesmyn Ward and N.K. Jemisin received only $20,000 and $25,000 in advance for some of their award-winning novels, while debut white authors like Lydia Kiesling and Chip Cheek received $200,000 and $800,000, respectively. The article reports: “In a series of tweets, [Jemisin] likened the advances to an ‘indicator of “consumer confidence.”’ And racism can affect that confidence, she added.” This month, we want to definitely prove to the publishing industry that readers are hungry for stories by Black authors.
3. Get romantic for Valentine’s DaY
Wondering how to spark romance again in your life after a year in quarantine? Are you a curmudgeon who hates the commercialization of love? Have you been curious about getting into romance novels, but just have no idea where to start because all authors in that genre are just so prolific? Whether you’re into it or not, find a book or a podcast about fostering love (romantic or platonic!).
The Best Relationship Advice Books for Valentine’s Day
These Rom-Coms Make the Sweetest Valentines
Galentine’s Day with Your Favorite Gal Pals
Young Love: 11 Romantic Reads for Valentine’s Day
Black Romance Authors for Black History Month
4. Learn more about the Year of the Metal Ox
Celebrate the Lunar New Year by learning more about the tradition or reading books by Chinese authors. We don’t yet know what makes a metal ox different from a regular ox, but we’re super curious to find out.
Lunar New Year 2021: Things to Know
5. Clean up your 2020 leftovers
If you’re anything like us, you still have that one book that everyone hyped up in 2020 that you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. But now it’s 2021, and there are even more awesome books to read! Don’t worry: We’re giving you permission to go back and savor an amazing book from last year.
The Best Books of 2020, According to The New York Times
The Best Business Books of 2020, Per Financial Times
Best Memoirs of 2020, According to The Guardian
WaPo’s Best Books of 2020