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This post will be, regrettably, far shorter than I had planned as I let the entire day slip by from me without giving further thought. I have spent the past week successfully writing and editing, getting nearly 1200 words into a new short story and editing the first 4 pages of another. I hope to continue that momentum this next week.

Last week I shared the 2016 reading challenge and spent some time considering how I would fill in some of those blanks for a person who doesn’t read as much, or is perhaps hesitant to take on some of those long, challenging classics out there. As a Sci-Fi and Fantasy reader all my life, there are some classics in those genres that I consider worthy of selection alongside some older classic works.

So if you want to jump in on the 2016 Reading Challenge (as there is still time!) and want some help with a few selections, here are my recommendations:

1. Book Published This Year
2. Book You Can Finish in a Day – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury because it is about a man whose profession is to burn a dangerous, outlawed resource: books. A short read that will end long before you want it to be over.
3. Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read
4. Book Recommended by a Local Librarian or Bookseller
5. Book You Should Have Read in School – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley because the book is a far better story than any movie has portrayed – the monster in this book is interesting, articulate, and existentially-troubled and nothing like the zombie-ish version we’ve come to know.
6. Book Chosen for Your By Your Spouse, etc.
7. Book Published Before You Were Born – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien because this is easily one of the best books I have ever read and it is a great entry point to the world of Middle-Earth and to the fantasy genre since it inspired so many of the modern books out there today. Plus it was written as a children’s story, so it is a much faster and easier read than Lord of the Rings will be.
8. Book That Was Banned at Some Point – 1984 by George Orwell because it is a frightening picture of how the world could have (and arguably still could) turn out with increased Government surveillance and control.
9. Book You Previously Abandoned
10. Book You Own But Have Never Read
11. Book That Intimidates You – Hamlet by Shakespeare because the Bard still intimidates so many people and Hamlet is the crown jewel of the collection. Also worthy of reading are King Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midnight Summer’s Dream, Merchant in Venice, and MacBeth. Do not start with Romeo and Juliet, as there are so many better plays as an introduction to Shakespeare.
12. Book That You Have Read at Least Once

So there you are, five excellent books to get you going on a list of twelve. Three of them are short enough to read in one sitting, and the other two are not to be missed. Let me know in the comments if you are planning to do a reading challenge and what books you are reading.