Reading Challenges I’m Considering for 2019 #sol19

Eden, Janine and Jim from New York City [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve never met a reading challenge I didn’t want to commit to (well, except for the John Grisham Challenge I saw this morning. I don’t want to do that one). But I’m the first to admit I’m not very good at follow-through. And that’s ok. It’s fun to commit to challenges, research books, and make plans for my reading life, and it doesn’t hurt anyone if I don’t actually finish.

  • Aussie Author Challenge 2019. I have two very favorite places to visit through armchair travel: Antarctica and Australia. Since I love books about Australia so much, I’m wondering if an Aussie Author Challenge would be a good fit for me. This is a choose your level challenge, where you can commit to reading 3, 6, or 12 books by Australian writers. I don’t know very many contemporary Australian writers, so this challenge would also require me to do a bit of research, which I like.
  • 2019 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge. This is GirlXOXO’s monthly challenge with 12 themes to read from, one for each month. Many of the motifs are broad enough that it ought to be easy to find books to fit that I’m already reading or intending to read that month. (January, for instance, is “New to You Author,” which is self-explanatory, and February is “Cover Love,” where you’re encouraged to choose a book based on its cover.) Others might be a bit trickier. August, for example, is “Mode of Transportation,” where you read a book with a mode of transportation playing a key role.
  • Birth Year Reading Challenge 2019. It’s so interesting to look at a list of books published in your birth year (1972 was an amazing year for children’s literature, as it turns out!). For this challenge, you earn a virtual candle for every book you read published in your birth year with no maximum or minimum number of candles required.
  • Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. Probably the best known challenge on my list, the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is one I always think about doing but then never do. There are 24 categories, and diversity is a key element for most. I also appreciate that Book Riot has an active GoodReads group to share titles as well as regular posts on Book Riot to recommend books for some of the more challenging categories.
  • Creativity Reading Challenge. I’m teaching a capstone course on creativity once again this spring and will likely read several books on creativity, which means it would be easy to complete this challenge. Read as many books on creativity as you’d like, defined broadly as any book that “helps you live a more creative life.”
  • Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge. Given how completely obsessed I am with all things Modern Mrs Darcy, this is one challenge I really should commit to. There are just ten categories and most are quite manageable (a book you’ve been meaning to read, a book about a topic that fascinates you, etc.).
  • Reading Women Podcast Challenge. I occasionally listen to the Reading Women Podcast, and they’ve put together a terrific reading challenge with 24 categories, many of which focus on diverse and #ownvoices authors.
  • Australian Women Writers Challenge. I might prefer this version of an Australian authors challenge as I’d only be reading women writers, which is what I’m likely to do anyway. This is another choose your level challenge, with options to complete 4, 6, or 10 books. The challenge was created to address gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women.
  • Season Reading Challenges. Litsy’s Season Reading Challenge offers 24 quirky categories linked in some cases to the time of year. For instance, a fairy tale retelling to connect with the Grimm Brothers’ birthdays or a book about a musician to honor World Music Day. The prompts here are sometimes a little too specific for my taste (“food or beverage on a cover”), but there are many prompts that do seem interesting.
  • Unruly Reader’s Book Bingo 2019. Unruly Reader provides an actual bingo card with intriguing categories (Green, Palate Cleanser, Life Hack, Map) that offer lots of space for interpretation. Complete a column or a row or go for full card blackout.
  • Grand World of Books Book Bingo. Another book bingo card, but this one has more conventional categories (a diverse book, a re-read, an audiobook) and plays around with the year 2019 (a book published 19 years before you were born, a book with fewer than 219 pages, etc.).
  • Memoir Reading Challenge. This challenge offers 32 memoir categories and requires a minimum of five books read from five different categories. I certainly read enough graphic novel memoirs each year to complete this challenge.
  • Learn Something New Reading Challenge. I like a challenge that only requires you to read three books. The goal here is to compile a short reading list to learn something new.
  • Connect Five Reading Challenge. Another short challenge and an interesting one: curate a list of five books that connect in some way, read and blog about them.

I used to join a lot of reading challenges and then got burned out, so it’s been several years since I participated in anything beyond Carrie Gelson’s #MustRead challenge (learn more about #MustReadin2019). But I think this might be the year to try a few.

What kind of reading challenges do you join or create for yourself each year?






13 responses to “Reading Challenges I’m Considering for 2019 #sol19”

  1. carriegelson Avatar

    I am honoured that you continue to be part of the #MustRead community! So many other challenges to tempt readers. Thankfully, many can be done at the same time.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’ll definitely be looking for books to put on my #MustRead list that might fit some of these other challenges as well. Of course, my enthusiasm for all these challenges may last for a grand total of a week! But it will be a glorious week of planning for reading!

  2. arjeha Avatar

    I never knew that there were so many different kinds of reading challenges. When we were in Australia Kathy found an author that she really likes – Liz Byrski ( She is a fiction writer who writes people stories – according to Kathy. Would love to read about your progress throughout the year. Happy New Year to yo and your family.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And these were just the challenges that I found interesting–there were dozens more on a couple of the websites I looked at dedicated to collecting all these challenges. Truly something for everyone. I am sure I will be reading a lot throughout the year, even if I don’t end up joining any challenges! I will look for this author too– Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Until this year (and, frankly, you), I’d never even heard of these challenges. I’m astonished by the variety of challenges you’ve listed here. Now I have to go think about these and decide if one gets me excited. Truth be told, I’ll probably end up reading my regular mishmash – but I like the thought of an organized mishmash…

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      LOL, I almost always end up reading my usual mishmash too, and quite a lot of it, but I love to PLAN for NEW mishmash I might read! You might also really like Carrie Gelson’s #MustReadin2019 challenge. Lovely community and plenty of good YA and middle grade books to learn about through everyone’s reviews. I always balk at committing to even 24 books for a reading challenge, but given that I read 400 books this year, I really think I should be able to manage!

      1. Amanda Potts Avatar

        400!! I was proud of my 123! I’ll check out the Must Read in 2019 challenge.

      2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

        400 includes picture books, so it’s not as impressive as it sounds, LOL!

  4. wahooteacher Avatar

    I’m intrigued by the Birth Year Reading Challenge. I’ve never thought about investigating the books from my birth year and now I’m curious about what I might find! Thank you! Happy New Year!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s really fascinating! Goodreads has several lists that are useful–books published in a particular year, popular books in a particular year. It’s definitely worth a look to see what the big books were in your birth year.

  5. svalter Avatar

    I love this list of challenges! I’ve attempted to participate in the #MustRead challenge, too, and have discovered I’m great at the reading but awful at the follow-through. Thank you for the inspiration–I’m definitely bookmarking this!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Follow through is never going to be my thing with reading challenges, but I’ve just accepted that about myself and now give myself full permission to enjoy the planning process–even knowing that I’m unlikely to read all the books.

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