If you made a resolution to, or even just vaguely thought about, reading more or reading differently this year, you’re not alone. The sheer number of amazing books coming out every Tuesday plus all the great books you might have missed last year or the year before can make it intimidating to start. Not to mention making the reading never end (though, honestly, who wants the reading to end?). So to organize yourself and to push yourself in your reading life with something concrete that you can accomplish, consider taking up a reading challenge.
Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge is designed not necessarily to make you read more but to push you outside your comfort zone and to introduce you to genres and voices to which you might otherwise not be exposed. They, as many of the other book challenges here, encourage readers to head to their challenge’s group on Goodreads for suggestions, support, and accountability. And to make choosing your books easier, the New York Public Library has a list of suggestions tailored to this challenge.
Of course, you can always go directly to Goodreads and set your own challenge – put in the number of books you want to read and then shelf them when done. The numbers don’t have to be high: the average is currently 46, with some people planning to read 10 books and others pushing themselves to read more than 100.
Modern Mrs. Darcy suggests prompts as well as offers advice on how to make sure that you stick to your goals and keep your reading going. Included in her challenge: actually keep track of what you read – something I’ve always struggled with. Pamela Paul’s (editor of the New York Times Book Review) wonderfully titled My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues has something to say about that, and even meets Mrs. Darcy’s prompt to read a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction.
For a mainstream approach, you can try POPSUGAR’s reading challenge. But never fear: they include an additional 10 prompts to make the 40-book challenge more difficult. Or there’s Bookish, whose 52 suggested categories are intended to cut down on you TBR (to be read) pile but will probably add to it instead! That doesn’t exactly help with what this article on LitHub has to say about how many books you’ll read before you die, so you could always pair a challenge list with a Goodreads count.
For a few years in a row, statistics indicated that around 25% of Americans hadn’t read a single book in the past year and that the median reader reads four books per year. Let’s skew those statistics, shall we?