Try 12 To Try: APL’s Newest Reading Challenge!

Try 12 To Try: APL’s Newest Reading Challenge!

By Cathy Cooney

I love browsing and scooping up a few new favorites in my go-to genres: romance, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy. I think everyone gravitates toward books we already know we’ll enjoy. But the library contains many different and amazing choices! This year, join the 12 To Try Reading Challenge for Adults to push the boundaries of your literary comfort zone.

Unlike our winter and summer reading programs, this challenge features 12 unique prompts to focus your year of reading. September’s challenge is to read fiction featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. You could choose a graphic novel, a traditional book, an ebook, or an audiobook, giving you the flexibility to read however you like. You can complete multiple prompts each month, or space them throughout the year. You will earn a small prize after completing 6 and a larger prize for completing 12. (Please note the prizes are not yet available.)

Some other prompts throughout the challenge include fiction with a main character over 40 years old, a work translated from its original language, a memoir written by someone with neurodiversity or ability diversity, and the first book written by a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color) author. If this sounds a little intimidating and you’re not sure where to start, Ames Public Library has you covered!

You’ll find a page about the challenge on our website (, a list of books for this month’s prompt in our catalog, a display on the second floor featuring these books, recommendations on our social media, and more! If you’d like customized guidance, you can fill out our Personalized Picks form ( When you click submit, the form goes straight to our staff, who will curate a list of recommended books based on your preferences (and on the challenge prompt if you’re using it to find your next 12 To Try read).

If all of that sounds like too much work, let me recommend a couple of books for you right now. Looking for a cute graphic novel with romance and food? “Chef’s Kiss” by Jarrett Melendez. 1950s murder mystery about a queer family in an old house? “Lavender House” by Lev A.C. Rosen. Retelling of Achilles where Achilles is a trans woman? “Wrath Goddess Sing” by Maya Deane. Murder mystery in arcanepunk Egypt? “A Master of Djinn” by P. Djeli Clark. Happy reading!