Heat turned up a real winner

Stripes earned: Prize winner Anne Keown, centre, completed every challenge including writing a book review, in her case on a 900-page novel. She was presented with a tablet by competition organisers and library staff Vivian Taylor, left, and Veronica Hogan.

Turn up the Heat, the first winter reading challenge for adults run by Hastings District Libraries, has been a resounding success.

More than 120 keen readers joined the challenge with hundreds of report-ins received over the eight weeks.

Turn up the Heat encouraged adult readers to try something new over the winter months. Challenges included ‘read a banned or challenged book’ and ‘read a book based in a country you would like to visit’.

"Our libraries have found a way to get adult readers to step outside their usual reading 'norm' and have fun doing it," said Hastings District councillor Malcolm Dixon.

A draw for a small prize each week was an incentive to continue and led up to a main prize draw of a Samsung tablet at the end of the challenge, perfect for accessing the library's large collection of e-books, Mr Dixon said.

To be eligible for the main prize draw participants had to have completed at least four of the reading challenges.

Anne Keown was rapt to be the winner of the first Turn up the Heat. She said the programme really pushed her to read books she wouldn't normally read.

"I completed all 12 challenges, finishing the last one just a day before the challenge finished." 

One of the more difficult challenges Anne completed was to write a book review. It wasn't the writing that proved challenging but getting the book finished as she had chosen Paul Auster's 4 3 2 1 – all 900 pages, from the Man Booker Prize 2017 long list.

"Reading for relaxation and fun is an important part of many people's lives," said Mr Dixon. "It's important that the library offers recreational opportunities for all ages and this programme certainly contributes to that. Congratulations to all who took part."

In the wake of the challenge’s popularity, Turn up the Heat will return again next year.