If you haven't signed up for the continuing Eastern European/Russian Reading Challenge for 2012 here, or the amazingly ignored 2012 Mediterranean Review Challenge (also here), shame on you! Get with it! You know you need that push to read more!
Russia is big this year: Book Expo America made it the theme. The Mediterranean region is also full of topical events. Jump in! See the tabs up above for links to enter...
Now, if you'd prefer less committment, Kim at Reading Matters is hosting an Australian Literature Month Reading Challenge for January. Just one month to read one or twenty titles from Australian authors or set in AU. Sign up here: http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/australian-literature-month-2012.html
Best of all, she has these cute little badges to show participation (you can select one or all of them):
Murray Bail, Eucalyptus. A quiet, peaceful book about a botanist determined to keep suitors away from his lovely daughter. The games he plays rebuff most men, but she manages to keep amused in her own way. Sweet, lovely, beautiful. Textual Xanax.
Tim Winton (any and all). Cloudstreet is probably his most famous, and appropriately so. Some scenes of pure joy and utter heartbreak, mixed with complicated times and intertwining families. Dirt Music and The Riders are both my favorites too. Breath was so-so. Blueback was preachy. The Turning is an excellent collection of short stories, as is In the Winter Dark and Minimum of Two. (Reviews of these are on the tab above for fiction, if you want more details)
The True Story of the Kelly Gang is a classic, you can't miss with it.
So, get out that new calendar and try to fit in more literature. Your brain will get a break from ugly reality, you'll explore new places, learn some Aussie slang (just don't EVER EVER suggest putting a shrimp on the barbie---Aussies are not amused by Crocodile Dundee impersonators).
Tuck a paperback in your tote, or buy a Kindle and fill it up. Just having it with you increases your reading all the more. Even audiobooks count, so fill up a long commute with an audio book!