I was not what you would call a bookworm back in 2011 when I started blogging. “I don’t have time to read”, I’d say to myself, just as often as I’d say “I don’t have time to exercise” (trust me, I said both all. the. time). I never just read for pleasure. In hindsight, was it that I didn’t have time to read? Or had I just not found THE book or the right reading challenge to unleash my inner bookworm?
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The answer would come soon enough. In 2011, I found THE book that turned me into a bookworm, The Secret Daughter* by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Next, came my discovery of reading challenges in 2013. There are reading challenges to cover every imaginable topic and type of book. I was sucked in by challenge hosts who have a contagious love of reading and are eager to talk great books with participants. My to read list exploded, my bookshelves and Kindle overflowed and 3 years later I’m still addicted to books and reading challenges.
So before you tell me you don’t have time to read, let me share with you 25 Reading Challenges to Unleash Your Inner Bookworm. Go on, you know you want to…discover a challenge (or five) that motivates you. Your inner bookworm will thank you.
Just Read and Go!
1. Goodreads Challenge 2016
The Goodreads challenge is the simplest reading challenge around. Just enter in how many books you want to read in 2016. Easy, peasy, right?
My 2015 results: 41/50 books
My 2016 goal: 50 books
Explore the World
2. Travel the World in Books (Perpetual Challenge)
Love to travel but can’t afford the price tag? Expand your horizons and travel the world vicariously in books with the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge that I co-host with I’m Lost in Books, Savvy Working Gal, Fictional 100 and Guiltless Reading. Our challenge is no stress – you decide how many books you want to read and can link up your reviews on my blog and Pinterest board. Our Goodreads group is where we discuss the monthly group reads and have chats on Twitter using the #TraveltheWorldinBooks or #TTWIB hashtag. We give you many opportunities to share the world’s best books with us and you can participate as long as you want.
My 2014-2015 results: 23 books since I started the challenge 7/1/2014
My goal for 2016: 15 books
3. Diversity on My Shelf 2016
The Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge hosted this year by The Englishist goes well with #2, Travel the World in Books. While you are learning about other countries and cultures, you’re hopefully also reading books that promote diversity that are by or about a person of color (POC). If you need help this is the definition of a Person of Color from Wikipedia and an amazing list of resources to get you started.
My 2015 results: 9 books read
My 2016 goals: Trying for Level 2 again (7-12 books)
Clear off Your Bookshelves
4. Read My Own Damn Books 2016
The Title says it all, am I right? Read my own damn books is hosted by Estella’s Revenge. How many books are on your bookshelves and Kindle collecting dust? Neglected, unread…unloved? If I’m being honest, I have 169 books I have not read yet that I own. There are some amazing books in here, I know. Just looking at my bookshelf brings me to a happy place, all these stories waiting to be heard. What is wrong with me? Why haven’t I read them? No earthly clue. Every year I say I’m going to read from my bookshelf. 2016 will be more of what I WANT to read with this challenge.
My 2015 TBR Challenge results: 8/12 books
My 2016 goal: 12 books (some of these will count for other challenges too)
5. TBR Pile Challenge 2016
6. Shelf Love 2016
Shelf Love hosted by Chapter Break is another TBR challenge that encourages you to finish reading the books on your personal library. There are monthly discussion linkups and a $20 Amazon Gift Card at the end of the year.
Accomplish Your Goals
7. Blogging Better Reading Challenge 2016
Want to improve and grow your blog in 2016? Katie from Doing Dewey is hosting the Blogging Better Reading Challenge. Read books about blogging and put their ideas into action to grow your blog. I’ve been looking for a challenge like this, I have a slew of resources I’ve downloaded for free, won and bought and need to read them. They aren’t helping me if I haven’t read them!
My 2016 goal: 6 books – here are some I have or plan to purchase: Blog Design for Dummies*, the 5 books in the Blogger Babes Blog Series, Skyrocket Blog Pageviews With Google Analytics* and Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule so You Can Live Free*
8. New Year’s Resolutions 2016
The purpose of New Year’s Resolutions Reading Challenge hosted by Joy’s Book Blog is to read books that will help you accomplish your 2016 goals, whatever they may be. There will be readalongs and Joy has a great list of ideas of book suggestions. Since my goal is to grow my blog, this and Blogging Better go hand in hand for me.
My 2016 goal: 6 books – same as #8 above.
9. Bookish Resolutions 2016
The 2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge is hosted by Trips Down Imagination Road & Because Reading Is Better than Real Life. Share your monthly reading, blogging and personal goals in the linkups and discussion posts, quarterly chats using the #BookishResolutions hashtag on Twitter and a giveaway in July and December using a point system.
Since I blog about my monthly goals, I will be joining in this challenge too.
Re-Discover the Classics & Great Books
10. Classics Club Perpetual Challenge
Choose 50 classics you would like to read in 5 years, list them on your blog, email the moderators and you can join The Classics Club. Discuss what you’ve read on their site, monthly check-ins and use the hashtags to talk about classics and introduce yourselves to other members. A great challenge to fall in love with the classics all over again. Even better, there are lots of FREE classics you can download for the Kindle*. If you don’t have a dedicated Kindle device, you can still read for free on a smartphone or tablet using the Kindle app. It’s how I get my classics reading done.
My 2013-2015 results: 12/50 books
My 2016 goal: 10 books
11. The Re-Read Challenge 2016
Do you have books you read the first time and think “I didn’t get it.” Or books you love and want to read again? Join The Rereading Challenge hosted by Belle of the Literati. Monthly linkups and 2 giveaways. I think this one would go well for the classics I read in high school and didn’t really get or care for the first time around.
12. Banned Books Challenge
Wonder why these amazing books are banned? Take the Banned Books Challenge hosted by Buckling Bookshelves. There are lists of books that have been banned or challenged. Dive in and see what the fuss is about for these books. Do you think books should be banned?
Categories to Help You Pick Books to Read
13. Monthly Motif Reading Challenge 2016
The Monthly Motif Reading Challenge hosted by Tanya and Kim of GirlXOXO are hosting this challenge where they pick a theme every month and participants can linkup what they read for that theme. An example of themes include New Releases (February), Take A Trip (March), LOL (July), Steampunk (September) and Things that Go Bump in the Night (October).
14. Orthodox Mama Reading Challenge 2016
Like #13, Sarah from The Orthodox Mama has also chosen a theme each month to challenge her readers. Themes include a Memoir (April), Something You Should Have Read in School but Didn’t (August), a Newberry Award Winner (September) and a Book Set in Another Country (December). Readers do not have to read them in order but Sarah encourages discussion on her blog and Facebook page. A giveaway at the end.
15. Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge 2016
The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge has a fun checklist of categories to encourage your reading and a free printable checklist for all you list lovers out there.
16. Bookish Bingo 2016
The ladies at Chapter Break host Bookish Bingo. Each month readers download a bingo card and mark off the squares with the books they read each month and try to get bingo. The categories for each space on the bingo card change each month. For example, to get bingo in February, you could read books with a billionaire/millionaire, royalty, a cyborg and a book made into a movie. One book can occupy several spaces. If you read Cinder* by Marissa Meyer then since there are characters that are royalty and cyborgs, it would count for two spaces. Capiche? Good, because there’s a quarterly raffle up for grabs for challenge participants too.
17. French Bookish Bingo 2016
Along the same lines of #15 but the categories are all French themed, perfect for the Francophiles out there or anyone who loves to get lost in the romance and beauty of France. Hosted by Emma at Words and Peace, French Bookish Bingo. To get Bingo in this game, the reader might have to read in categories like Mystery/Thriller Set in France, With “Paris” in the Title, French Book Made into a Movie, Humorous Book about France and With French Food/Dish in the Title. You have all year to get Bingo and there are linkups for book reviews read for the challenge. You must complete one Bingo to be eligible for the giveaway at the end of the year.
Genre Based Challenges
18. Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016
The Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader encourages you to read more nonfiction. Choose a level for how many nonfiction books you’d like to read: Dilletante (1-5 books); Explorer (6-10 books); Seeker (10-15 books) and Master (16-20 books). A linkup for reviews or just leave your thoughts in the comments. A great way to sneak more nonfiction into your year. The Introverted Reader also hosts a Southern Lit Reading Challenge and Books in Translation Reading Challenge.
19. Foodies Read 2016
The Foodies Read 2016 Reading Challenge is hosted by Based on a True Story and if you know me, I love talking about food as much as I like talking about books. Reading Foodie Books? Genius! Fiction, nonfiction and cookbooks where food is a major part of the plot count for this challenge. Choose a level for how many foodie books you’d like to read: Short Order Cook (1-3 books); Pastry Chef (4-8 books); Sous-Chef (9-13 books); Chef de Cuisine (14-18 books); Cordon Bleu Chef (more than 19 books).
My 2016 Goal: Short Order Cook (1-3 books). I have Julie & Julia*, My Life in France* by Julia Child and The Hundred Foot Journey* by Richard Morais to read on my shelf already and that does not count my cookbook obsession!
20. Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2016
I’ve really enjoyed reading historical fiction in 2015 and glad to have found this Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Passages to the Past, an entire blog dedicated to historical fiction! Choose a level for how many historical fiction novels you’d like to read in 2016: 20th century Reader (2 books); Victorian Reader (5 books); Renaissance Reader (10 books); Medieval (15 books); Ancient History (25 books); and Prehistoric (50+ books).
My 2016 goal: 2 books
21. Read the Nobels Reading Challenge 2016
Read the Nobels Reading Challenge is hosted by my Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge co-host Guiltless Reading. Read books written by authors who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. With a century of great literature to choose from and authors from all over the world, this is a great challenge to break your usual reading rut. The first Nobel prize winner was Rudyard Kipling who wrote The Jungle Book* (free on the Kindle), which I want to read for my Classics Club and Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge for India. Score! Other Nobel winning authors on my TBR: Hermann Hesse, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
My 2016 goal: Nobel dabbler – 3 books
22. Newbery Reading Challenge 2016
Don’t have time to read for yourself but read a lot of kid’s books? The Newbery Reading Challenge 2016 hosted by Smiling Shelves encourages readers to read Newbery and Caldecott award winning children’s books. Since it’s my goal to read 1,000 books with my kids (we’ve read 343 so far), this is a perfect challenge to get me reading with and to them and their classmates. This challenge has a point system and readers choose how many points they want to rack up in 2016. Newbery Medal Winners are worth 3 points, Newbery Honor is worth 2 points and Caldecott Winners are worth 1 point.
Go Big or Go Home
23. Finishing The Series Reading Challenge
Hosted by Bea’s Book Nook, the Finishing the Series 2016 Reading Challenge is perfect for readers (like me!) who have started lots of series and not yet finished them. I am horrible about reading the first book and then not finishing the series, though my Classics Club challenge and my IRL book club did help me finish my first series ever…Harry Potter! Choose a level for how many series you want to complete: Novice (finish 1 series); Testing the Waters (2-4 series); Experienced (3-6 series); Expert (7 or more series).
24. Rory Gilmore Perpetual Challenge
If you’ve watched the popular TV series, The Gilmore Girls, you’ll know that main character Rory Gilmore is an Ivy-league bound girl with a book always in her hand. I did not watch the show when it first aired but now that I’m a complete book lover, I’ve been binge watching it on Netflix just so I can see the 369 books featured. Well, Becky’s Blogs started this version of the Rory Gilmore Perpetual reading challenge in 2012 with a complete book list. And because I totally love checklists, check out this adorable printable checklist/book from Calloloo Soup if you want to see how many you’ve read and track your progress.
My 2016 goal: Participating, started a dedicated Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge page with the complete list and checklist of one’s I’ve read so far.
25. 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die
We’ve all heard of the 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List. Do you have what it takes to tackle it? How many have you read? This one is the ultimate in book lists.
Monster List of Reading Challenges & Book Blogging Events
Some of these reading challenges were on my radar or I searched for them but some came from Guiltless Reading’s monster list of reading challenges, book blogging events and memes. If you’re a book lover or a book blogger, you’ll want to pin and bookmark this amazing resource. Thanks Guiltless Reader for sharing this with us!
Well, there you have it, my goals and the 25 best reading challenges I found. From kids books to award winners, there’s a reading challenge out there waiting for you to unleash your inner bookworm. Or if you’re like me and a book hoarder already, there are lots of fun challenges to get you talking with other book lovers and expand you’re reading horizons. Of course, we hope to see you at Travel the World in Books!
What did I miss? What reading challenges are you signing up for in 2016?