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Reading Challenge Roundup

I know many of you guys have strong feelings on reading challenges (love or hate) so if you hate them, I’d love to know your reasons why. I’m in the mixed feelings camp; I love the concept of them and the fact that they encourage me to read books I probably wouldn’t but I hate how overwhelmed I get at picking books and I feel the pressure to not only complete the challenge in a competitive environment (I don’t believe reading should be a competitive sport) but to finish books I don’t like simply to check off a box. But I also do like the fact that they help me narrow down my selections from my ever growing TBR so it’s a whole big mess for me. reading challenge

Reading challenges are also great for those who say they want to read more or get back into reading but they don’t know where to start so if that’s you, then I say pick a challenge, doesn’t have to be a big one, and have at it (and if my husband can set a Goodreads goal, anyone can do a challenge if they want)

To help you guys out, I’ve amassed a list of the reading challenges I could find. If you know of another one, please feel free to add it in the comments and I’ll update the list:

Erin’s Winter Reading Challenge–this post has the list of all the bloggers participating, their lists, and some fun facts. 

Aussie Author Challenge–h/t to Erin for this one since she participates and talks about it

Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge–provides a handy list for you to print and links to Goodreads groups to engage with other participants

Goodreads–so many challenges. The yearly reading goal, seasonal reading challenges, and dozens more I know I’m missing

Bustle’s Reading Challenge–this one focuses on women and minority writers. A nice, refreshing change of focus. *I might actually incorporate some of these into my requests from the library

PopSugar’s Reading Challenge–a broader selection of categories than I expected to see from this site

Germ Magazine’s Reading Challenge–fun fact: if you read All the Bright Places, this name should sound familiar and the author of the book brought the book’s magazine to life. If I pick a non-blogger challenge, this is the one I’ll do.

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge–she has some giveaways going on with this one. My favorite categories are “a book that intimidates you” and “a book that was banned at some point”.

Audiobooks Challenge–for my friends who prefer audiobooks

There are some other ones that I know about that are in progress like the Semi-Charmed Kind of Life Winter Book Challenge. There are also ones that happen throughout the year like celebrating banned books and the Literary Ladies, should they do their summer challenge again. Then there’s my personal reading challenge and one that Alyssa and I had planned to launch but didn’t because #forgetful. But that one involved reading very long books. Six of them, all over 500 pages. I’m going to do it this year and the books on my list for that are (and they add up to roughly 4000 pages. So there’s that):

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (sorry, Erin. I know I picked it for yours but I’m counting it twice)
  2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara. I got about halfway through it last year and had to stop. But I’m going to read through the whole book this year.
  3. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  4. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (at 900+ pages, I feel this should count twice)
  5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I’ve tried this before and it didn’t take. I quit on page 4, maybe 5. I figure I can also include this in my “modern classics” category for my personal reading challenge. 
  6. TBD. Not sure what other books might strike my fancy and I like having a wildcard option

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Are you doing a reading challenge? Which one? 


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  1. Linda Sheridan

    I am definitely reading 11-22-63. I am fascinated and almost obsessed with the Kennedy’s, especially Jackie. I follow Instagram accounts and looking at the pictures of that day in Dallas, I say to myself- I wish we could go back and stop the events of that day. I vividly remember at age 7 all of it.
    I received Clint Hill’s book for Christmas, Mrs. Kennedy and Me. He threw his body on her as she attempted to grab part of her husband’s head after he was shot. He was her Secret Service man. Thanks for the heads up on that book!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  2. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Hate them – I feel like they box me in because I’m focused on what I’m “supposed” to be reading for the challenge. Even though in the one challenge I did, I picked books I *wanted* to read, reading them felt a little like going to work or school – there was an edge of “have to” to it that I don’t like to enter into my reading realm.

    The things I love most about reading are the ability to pick anything up on a whim, to stop a book I am not enjoying regardless of where I am in it, and to read the hell out of a book until I’m finished with it even if it means staying up late on a school night. Can I do the first two when involved in a reading challenge? Yes. But the Type A in me wants to follow the rules and read the challenge books as I’ve laid them out.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Thursday Thoughts: Mine are not together yet, but carry on.My Profile

  3. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I know how you feel about being pressured to finish the challenges from all the competitiveness, but that’s what I’m thinking that I’ll love about Erin’s challenge, the no pressure atmosphere! I had no idea that Goodreads had seasonal challenges, I’m going to have to check those out!
    Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders recently posted…An Afternoon At The Country Music Hall of FameMy Profile

  4. Nadine

    I have a hard time with reading challenges. I tried to do the one Kristen and Kay had going last summer but I hate being told what to read. I like feeling out my books with my mood.
    Nadine recently posted…2016My Profile

  5. Heather @ I do what I want.

    I always do the Goodreads challenge and compete with myself to read more books than the year before. I’m doing Erin’s challenge, and it’s my first real reading challenge. I’m excited because I feel like it made me map out a plan of what I’m going to be reading the next few months.

    I really liked A Prayer for Owen Meaney, though it did take me about 100 pages to get into it.
    Heather @ I do what I want. recently posted…Looking ForwardMy Profile

  6. alyssa

    I agree, my TBR is out of control and I suck at prioritizing titles, so reading challenges help me get around to the books I’ve been dying to read forever and just keep pushing back. I’m a slow reader so it’s never competitive for me, but I agree that it shouldn’t be a competition.

    Sigh, I would love to get our reading challenge off the ground… but maybe not right now, as it looks like we’re pretty booked 😉

    The only ones I’m actually working on right now are a few self-imposed challenges on my 101 in 1001 list, Erin’s book challenge, and the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge…with limitations. There are like 339 titles on there and I don’t even want to read some of them, so it’s a challenge with an asterisk that I only have to read the ones I actually give a damn about 🙂
    alyssa recently posted…Running Down a New YearMy Profile

  7. Amber

    I don’t like reading challenges because I just like to read what I like to read when I like to read. I make a point to at least read a chapter a day. I’d LOVE to do more, but sometimes life and kids get in the way. Some days I read half a book though. Reading helps keep me sane.
    Amber recently posted…Things That Annoy Me Thursday: Family Not Getting Excited About Sales At TargetMy Profile

  8. Kristen

    Prior to last year’s Literary Ladies reading challenge, I’d never participated in one. I’ve learned that I do love them, even though, as you said, they can occasionally put an unnecessary amount of pressure on you. (I’m feeling the pressure this month since I still need to read a pretty large stack of books if I hope to finish the Semi-Charmed challenge!)

    But, the good outweighs the bad for me.

    I love that blogger reading challenges are interactive and allow for even more nerdy book talk with fellow bookworms.

    I love setting goals and making lists, and I get an absurd amount of enjoyment out of compiling a reading challenge list.

    I love that reading challenges actually do challenge me: I push myself to read more and to pick up books I normally wouldn’t.

    I also love that, as you said, these challenges help narrow down which books from my ever growing “To Read” list I should read next.

    Like I said earlier, right now I’m trying to finish the Semi-Charmed challenge. I’m also participating in Erin’s challenge, and hope to cross one book off that list this month. My personal challenge is just a generic “read 60 books this year” goal. I was considering the PopSugar challenge, but I haven’t decided if I want to take it on yet. I do like that it’s an ongoing challenge throughout the year, so I don’t have to decide right this second. I’m going to check out the other links you provided, though, to see if anything else looks fun. I don’t want to take on too much and get overwhelmed, but I’m willing to take on a couple of challenges if I think they seem like fun and like I have a reasonable amount of time to complete them.
    Kristen recently posted…Tasty Tuesday: The Top 15 Divulge and Indulge Favorites From 2015My Profile

  9. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    Great list of challenges. Glad to have you as part of the Audiobook Challenge. Here’e to a great 2016 and good luck with all your challenges.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…In the Company of Wolves Audiobook by Paige Tyler (REVIEW)My Profile

  10. Erin @ TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    You knew I’d chime in. So. Here I am.
    1st – Thanks for the shouts-outs.
    2nd – Kristen does a fantastic job of listing some of the enjoyments I get out of reading challenges too. I could echo pretty much every reason she gave.
    3rd – I think someone’s personality totally plays into the enjoyment factor. I do not feel pressured to finish. I “challenge” myself to finish, but I don’t feel pressured. If it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that. I know there are some personalities that would not be okay.
    4th – I’m a BIG believer that reading should be a positive experience. If someone is feeling too pressured or feels like they are forced to read something they don’t want to…then reading challenges aren’t for them.
    5th – I *try* not to crossover books too often from challenge to challenge, and I do not care that you’ve done that with Owen Meany. Go for it.
    6th – This post (and the comments) were good for me to see pros & cons. It helps with reinforcing some of my goals for the challenge I host. I want it to be pleasurable. I don’t want to put anyone under stress. I want everyone to feel encouraged, never discouraged. And everyone to feel welcome, regardless of pace.
    7th – For my challenge, I specifically host it 4 months on/2 months off…so that no one feels like they are under rules of a challenge all year.
    8th – As much as I love book challenges, I don’t want to juggle too many. I like juggling a little, but I’ve learned what I enjoy juggling, and what I feel is too much.
    Is that a long enough reply?
    Erin @ TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…Memorable performances from televised singing contestsMy Profile

  11. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    owen meany is one of my fav books of all time. i read that book twice, it was so good.
    i totally shit the bed with reading over the holidays…actually, since november because work sucks balls. however, my SVP gave me a book to read called Saturn Run and so far so good…he said it reminded me of The Martian so obvs, i’m all over it.

  12. Christina

    City on Fire is on my list this year too. I LOVED A Little Life. It’s a tough, emotional book, but so good. I really liked 11/22/63 too. Read it before the miniseries next month! I’m on my way to check out that audiobook challenge!
    Christina recently posted…Happy HolidaysMy Profile

  13. Kerry

    I really liked the Literary Ladies challenge because I could pick all the books from my TBR pile. Categories that make me choose books I would never read get me on the stabby side and I get annoyed trying to finish, but I hate leaving a list unchecked.
    Kerry recently posted…DIY Photo Project and Seamus UpdateMy Profile

  14. kristen

    i really want to read gone with the wind this year, we’ll see.
    i like challenges, but i don’t always finish them. i love challenges because you get to take from your TBR pile and you might read books out of your comfort zone. that being said, i almost never read non fiction, so if there is a non fiction category, i might put a book next to it and then i’ll never get round to it. one of the first challenges i participated in, i got all competitive with myself and made myself read all of the books and hated almost every single one. so now i let myself off the hook if i don’t actually want to read it. i did not know goodreads did seasonal challenges! i hope we can do our summer challenge again, it was so fun.
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

  15. Teh Megan

    I tried doing 2 reading challenges at the same time last fall and didn’t finish either in time. I don’t read them to finish first, but mostly to have some direction in my reading. Otherwise, my TBR list would keep growing and I’d never want to read those “difficult” books that I kinda want to read but am scared to. My options for Erin’s book challenge were almost out of control. I picked at least 2 books per topic to fulfill the topic, mostly because I got quite frustrated last time when a book would be a fail and I didn’t have a backup. Not that I’m reading to win, butttttt OCD rules this brain. Also, I plan on reading all the books on my list, so I’ve already obtained most of the books, which definitely simplifies my options when the questions of “what will I read next” comes up.
    Teh Megan recently posted…What I read in December…My Profile


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