At the Library: 'Tis the season for the Winter Reading Challenge

library - book list

Images from the Yakima Valley Libraries' "Alternate Histories" book list.

Whose New Year’s resolutions or goals include reading? Maybe you simply want to read more. Or there’s a particular book or author you’ve been meaning to get to. You might want to spend less time online or learn more about a particular subject. Perhaps you just got a new stack of exciting books as gifts, and you can’t wait to dive in.

Personally, this is going to be the year I finally read N.K. Jemisin, who has been on my “to read” list for far, far too long. With that in mind, I put a hold on “The Fifth Season,” first in her triple-Hugo-winning “Broken Earth” trilogy, at the end of 2019. I cracked it open last weekend and fell into a brilliant, unflinching dystopian fantasy that starts with the world ending “for the last time.”

And once I finish this trilogy, I might take a deep breath and look for something funny to read.

Whatever your reading goals may be, Yakima Valley Libraries is here to support you.

Obviously, we offer books in print, audio and digital form, and staff members stand ready to suggest titles when you’re looking for reading ideas. Plus, three of our community libraries have monthly book groups and our Book Club Set collection is a handy resource for all community book groups.

If you want even more suggestions, check out NoveList and Dear Reader on our Online Reader Services page (

And if you’re in the market for fun reading incentives, you’re in luck: YVL’s annual Winter Reading Challenge for adults is back, and you are cordially invited to participate.

If you’ve taken part in previous years, you probably remember how it works. But for any first-timers or those needing a refresher, here’s the deal:

Now through March 31, book bingo cards are available at all 17 community library locations, and available to print from our website.

Each card has 25 bingo squares that feature a different type or genre of book, such as “Award Winner,” “Takes Place in the 1920s,” “Gives You the Warm Fuzzies,” or “Set in the Southern Hemisphere.” (Ooh, doesn’t that sound warm and sunny right now?)

When you read or listen to a book that fits a category, write the title and author in that square. Once you have a bingo — five squares in a row, vertical, horizontal or diagonal — you’ve earned an entry into a raffle for a few different prizes, generously sponsored by the Yakima Valley Libraries Foundation. As an added incentive: If you fill every square on your card, you have a blackout and get five raffle entries. How easy and fun is that?

Next steps: Read and repeat until March 31.

Whether you’re a Winter Reading Challenge veteran, or you’re tempted to take the plunge for the first time this year, we hope the reading challenge will help convey that reading has the ability to be fun and eye-opening and challenging and informative and heart-breaking and inspirational and awesome.

You can travel around the world and through time and space without having to pack a suitcase or leave that cozy blanket nest.

And, as noted above, with the Winter Reading Challenge you also have the opportunity to win prizes. These include various gift cards and special library experiences. All entries also go into a drawing for four grand prizes.

For all the details and a full list of prizes, visit

Again, special thanks to the Yakima Valley Libraries Foundation for its sponsorship, and Inklings Bookshop for its support.

• Julie Graham is assistant collection development librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. Library staffers write this column weekly for Thursday’s SCENE section. Learn more at

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