An easy place to start with a reading challenge is Goodreads.com, an online community of readers where you can get recommendations, share what you’re reading, leave reviews, and more. You can even join a reading challenge. It’s simple! Just choose the number of books you want to read during the year, and enter it. It’s completely up to you. It can be four books, or 40, or 400. Then, as you finish a book, you log it on the website.
If that doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, a quick internet search will turn up more. You can find them for the entire year, or mini-challenges each month. Some sites offer a log that you can print to keep up with your reading.
The site bookstacksngoldenmoms.com offers its fourth annual A to Z Reading Challenge this year. This is a simple challenge. Read a book that has a specific letter of the alphabet in the title until you have covered each letter: “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery; “The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michelle Richardson; “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens ... you get the idea. These titles can be fiction or non-fiction, current or classic, it’s up to you. Or switch it up, and choose the authors alphabetically, like Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” or Zadie Smith’s “Intimations.” This site also has great monthly mini-challenges, for example, in January you can read a book you purchased in 2020 but didn’t read, or April, the assignment is a book with an autistic main character (April is Autism Awareness month).
No matter what type of challenge you choose, enjoy it. You may not like every book, and that’s okay. Try to finish it. I have found some of my favorite books through reading challenges, and I have found some books that made me wonder about the author who came up with it, and about the publisher who thought it sounded like a good idea. That’s why it’s called a challenge. Happy reading in 2021!
DIY READING CHALLENGE
If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in a reading challenge, make your own. Just be sure that it is actually a challenge. Some possible categories:
- A book by an author of a gender or ethnicity other than yours
- A book by an author of a genderAND ethnicity other than yours
- A book published in your birth year
- A self-published book
- A book published locally
- A book set in a country you would like to visit
- A book set in a country you have visited
- A book you read in school
- A book you should have read in school – but didn’t
- A book you gave up on
- A book that intimidates you
- A book that has been banned
- A book that has been adapted to a movie
- A book translated from another language
- A book recommended by a friend, family member, or colleague (you can even make that three separate
- A book you choose based solely on the cover
by Nancy Carstens