September 2023 Mini-Challenge
It’s been a while since we’ve had a new mini-challenge, so we’re kicking off September with some new prompts!
This month we’re heading “back to school” with a teacher appreciation themed challenge! Teachers have inspired and encouraged many of us in our love for reading, so it feels only right to dedicate this month’s challenge to educators everywhere.
What is a mini-challenge:
Mini-challenges are small, month-long reading challenges. They usually contain two or three prompts built around a specific theme. Match one book to each prompt, getting as creative as you like. If you think the book fits the prompt, it does! These mini-challenges are released sporadically and not every month will have one. (The surprise and anticipation are part of the fun!)
This month we’re heading “back-to-school” with these three new prompts:
September 2023 Mini-Challenge:
1. First word in the book is a proper noun
2. Includes foreshadowing
3. Character is a teacher
Match one book to each of the prompts (for a total of three books). Share your picks in our Facebook group, Goodreads group, or on Instagram using the hashtag #the52bookclub2023. You can also find these listed as bonus prompts on our StoryGraph challenge.
You can choose to read these books in addition to your regular 52 Book Club reads (this mini-challenge makes 64 prompts for the year so far, not counting our summer challenge), or you can combine them with prompts still left on your 2023 list. As always, get creative and have fun!
Need some help interpreting these prompts?
- First word in the book is a proper noun: What better way to start a “teacher appreciation” mini-challenge, than with a grammar-related prompt. A “proper noun” is a noun that is the name of a specific person, place, or thing. Proper nouns are always capitalized in English. They include personal names, place names, names of companies, book or film titles, etc.
This prompt is similar to the prompt on our 2024 challenge (book begins with the word “the”). Except for this prompt, we want the first word to be a proper noun. Most likely, the book you pick for this prompt will open with a character’s name. (For example, the opening from Just Another Missing Person is, “Julia is trying to work out if the man at the table next but one is somebody she has arrested before.”)
We would consider the first word of the first chapter (or prologue) to be the first word in the book. However, it’s up to you whether you count forewords, dedications, chapter or section headings, etc. as the “first word” or not.
As a creative interpretation, some members have also chosen to include the title page as the first word. (For example, for this prompt, they might choose “Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting” because the first word on the title page is the name “Iona,” even though the first word of the first paragraph is not a proper noun.) As always, you get to decide how to interpret each prompt.
Examples: Just Another Missing Person, Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead, The Unsinkable Greta James, Closed Casket
Goodreads List: First word in the book is a proper noun
- Includes Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing is a literary technique that gives a hint at what is to come. Foreshadowing can be directly stated or indirectly hinted at. It can be achieved through almost all aspects of the book from dialogue to setting, character descriptions, or even the book title. Foreshadowing is a way to build tension and suspense and can be found within all genres.
Examples: None of This is True, Romeo & Juliet, They Both Die at the End, Of Mice and Men, The Wife Between Us
Goodreads List: Includes Foreshadowing
- Character is a teacher: We love teachers! For this prompt, we’re looking for a book featuring a character who is a teacher. The character could be a main character or a secondary one. They could have any sort of teaching job, including University professor, high school or elementary teachers, nursery school etc, but they don’t have to work in the education system. They could be a music teacher, a coach, a driving instructor, a tutor, etc. Any character who is teaching another character something works toward this prompt. Teaching does not have to be a part of the main plot, nor does it have to be set in a school.
Examples: The Teachers, What Harms You, Cat Among the Pigeons, What You Wish For, Little Men
Goodreads List: Character is a teacher
Other Mini-Challenge Tips:
– Do I have to complete this challenge in September?
Nope! You can complete this mini-challenge whenever you like! If you don’t finish this mini-challenge in September, feel free to carry the prompts over into the coming months. Some members also prefer to complete their full 52 book challenge first and then go back to complete the mini-challenges after. Do whatever works for you!
– Is this a part of the main 52 books challenge?
Mini-challenges are related to our full 52 books in 52 weeks challenge but they’re also completely optional. You can choose to add it to your main challenge or not. If fifty-two books already feels like a stretch, feel free to skip the mini-challenges or double up the prompts. (Some members use one book to cross off a 52 prompt and a mini-challenge prompt. Your challenge, your rules!)
Are there any special teachers who stand out in your life? What books will you be picking this month?