• The 6th edition of the Nuits de la lecture takes place from Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 January 2022, throughout France under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture. 

  • For the past few years, reading challenges have been organized online to help people start or get back to reading novels. 

  • Booktubers and bookstagrammers, organizers of this type of challenge, explain how they can motivate reading.

"Always love!"

Love again!

These words of Victor Hugo serve as the theme for the 6th edition of Les Nuits de la lecture.

Since 2017, this event organized by the Ministry of Culture has given rise to numerous events, throughout France, to "celebrate the pleasure of reading".

With this year love as the theme, to encourage the love of reading.

In the 2021 barometer "The French and reading" carried out by the Ipsos institute for the National Book Center (CNL), 30% of respondents say they feel they have read less in 2020. They are also asked what the first reading levers: “having more time” is in first position, cited by 69% of respondents, followed by “discussions with your loved ones” (53%) and “seeing or hearing a personality you like talk about their reading (40%).

Social networks are also perceived as a reading lever.

In recent years, reading challenges have often flourished there, organized by booktubers or bookstagrammers, videographers and influencers sharing their readings online.

The goal is often to “[find] finally take the time to read for [oneself] to have fun”.

Autumn and feminism

Booktube, bookstagram, and now booktok [the TikTok dedicated to books, Ed]: very active communities are organized around the love of reading on social networks. Like that of Guimause, who shares his readings on the YouTube channel

Le terrier de Guimause

, followed by 14,700 people, and on Instagram. In 2017, she launched the “Pumpkin Autumn Challenge”. “I had prepared a stack of books to read in the fall, which I had classified by “themes”. I proposed to my community a little challenge to make everyone want to read together. The “PAC” is now an expected meeting within the communities of readers. The dedicated hashtag has 26,922 posts on Instagram.

Like Guimause, Ninon, alias Opalyne, discusses her readings on YouTube, she is followed by 12,900 people, and on social networks.

In 2019, she organized a "FeminiBooks Challenge", derived from an initiative of the same name "aimed at highlighting feminism in literature" on YouTube.

“I wanted a participatory activity, where I would not be alone with my reading experience.

»

“What I like about challenges is sharing knowledge, ideas for reading – on a blog, in a video, in comments, within a private group, says Ninon.

This allows you to open up to books that you would not have chosen alone, whatever the theme of the challenge.

»

Menus and categories

It is with the idea of ​​pushing her community to "read more authors from marginalized communities" that Delphine Nguyen, director of the Young Novel collection at Akata editions, organized on her personal blog in 2020 then in 2021. the “Lunar New Year readathon”. “I wanted to encourage readers to read more novels written by Asian people,” she explains. For the first edition, I posted a list of recommendations, I showed that Asia is not limited to China, Korea or Japan. The idea is that people will continue to read Asian authors after the challenge is over. »

These reading challenges are often organized around “menus” with themes or categories to fill in.

Thus, for the Pumpkin Autumn Challenge, Guimause proposed in 2021 four “menus” with evocative names (“shuddering autumn”, “gentle autumn”, “enchanting autumn” and “mysterious autumn”), divided into sub-categories with names inspired by autumnal folklore.

In the case of the FeminiBooks Challenge, the goal was to read a book corresponding to a monthly category, such as “an author's first novel” in February or “the journey of a woman who made history” in September.

There were also 12 bonus categories.

"With the challenge, I'm looking for a book that fits the theme, which pushes me to take an interest in something other than the last book purchased," notes Ninon.

fun tool

Delphine Nguyen also organized her Lunar New Year readathon into categories, with challenges like “a book that has red and/or yellow/gold on the cover.” “For the second edition, I created a bingo grid with the challenges. When we validated one, we could add the cover in the grid and try to fill it. I find the fun aspect encouraging! »

The collective dimension helps to read more, promoting exchange.

Always with a risk, easily amplified on the Internet: that of comparison with others.

It's not uncommon to set a goal that's too ambitious and feel guilty for not sticking to it.

It is sometimes discouraging to see that while it takes two months to finish with the effort of reading a book of 150 pages, the other participants pile up the cobblestones of more than 500 pages one after the other.

On this point, the challenge organizers want to be reassuring. “I start from the principle that everyone has their own life, their obligations, their rhythm, as well as a whole range of passions in addition to that of reading. You have to be indulgent with yourself, ”reminds Guimause. For Ninon, “the challenges are above all a pretext. I participate in the 1000 weekend, which aims to read 1,000 pages in one weekend. Often I miss the challenge, but what interests me is that I took the time to read. “As for Delphine Nguyen, she believes that” the reading challenge is a tool more than a competition “, she says.

Participants who feel disappointment, or even stress, mounting that they will not be able to meet their goal may choose to establish an open list of books rather than a specific number.

You can also organize your challenge into a “menu”, for which any book, even illustrated, can be used to validate the challenge.

Choose convenience

Knowing how to accept that comics,

comic books

and graphic novels are as valid reading material as a novel or an essay, is not always easy.

"We're going to tell someone who only reads manga that he's not a reader," Ninon is indignant.

But it's wrong !

But the a priori remains well established.

According to the barometer “The French and reading”, 81% of people questioned spontaneously believe that they are readers.

This figure rises to 87% when we specify the literary genres included in the study – including comics, children's books or practical books.

According to this same barometer, one of the “reading levers” identified by respondents is “easier reading”.

To get back to reading, “there was a time when I forced myself, but it's not great, warns Delphine Nguyen.

Today, I keep wanting to read with other formats, far from those on which I work [des romans, NDLR], like webcomics or manga.

To “relaunch a dynamic”, Ninon turns to a “cuddly reading”, either a horror story or a thriller.

"I think we have to leave time vacant for other activities," replies Guimause.

There's nothing wrong with leafing through several books, starting some of them, then putting them aside until you find the one that will keep you going.

»

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