I have my bibliophile (ok, bibliomaniac) friend Melisa to thank for keeping me on my literary toes.  She recently started an online book discussion group covering the classics of world literature, and belongs to several other online book groups.  She makes me feel like I should be reading much more, or at least broadening my horizons more.

After finding out we both just read Anna Karenina, Melisa persuaded me to get involved in the Russian Reading Challenge 2008.  According to the blog that’s been set up by Sharon from Ex Libris, this is a “12 month reading challenge of all things Russian – novels, short stories, biographies, history, poetry – by Russian authors or by authors about Russia.” So suddenly I find myself compelled to actually read War and Peace

While not every reader will be interested in this particular challenge, I do like the idea from the perspective of promoting literacy. It’s the perfect opportunity to form a local group of readers and get together to talk about the books as well as get the opinions of an online community. When I’m answerable to a discussion group, I’m more likely to stay on task. I suppose that’s the idea behind such things as the One Book, One City programs and other such public library initiatives. Whatever creative new approaches can be found to increase literacy, I’m all for it.