2016: The Reading Challenges


My favorite New Year’s was 2011, when my husband told me he wanted us to be married before the year was out.

I am in support of any time people want to make changes for the better.

But, rolling into the New Year, I have been thinking more about goals and how I want to spend my time, rather than resolving to be better or do better.  I am always grateful at the New Year that I already work out on a regular basis so I don’t have to plan for how to get that into my life or how I will make it tolerable (tolerable: audiobooks sometimes when I don’t need a high energy music mix. I like iTunes radio workout station too if I can get over how old the Febreeze ads on it make me feel).

I have been trolling the reading challenges.  I like ones that force me to read more widely and wrestle abandoned/intimidating books, but I also like ones that just have more frivolous categories.  Sometimes I just want to read something just because. I might be burned out from whatever I just tackled.  You know, first world problems and the like.

I have four I wanted to mention today.  I have been diligently saving the ones I find onto my Pinterest and I like seeing what books others are pinning to consider.  Also, Goodreads is indispensable in generating lists of possible category fillers.  Because other really great readers out there make lists and this helps me tremendously.


  1. 2016 Reading Challenge pinned from Bluestocking Bookworm’s tumbr page.

I went to Bluestocking Bookworm’s actual page, which is really fun, but I did not find the link on there.  Jealous that she tackled NaNoWriMo this year.  So I can’t tell if this is hers or just on her tumblr.

This one does not top my list because some of the categories would be difficult to anticipate, like a surprising love element or a book that makes me want to be a hero or a villain. I am a therapist, I make a living over wanting to change the world (note: wanting.  Whether or not I do…up for debate).  And a book that makes me a mess. I anticipate Angela’s Ashes will make me a mess, but I don’t know if I want to really be a mess. I mean, I will read for challenges and then what happens to fall into those categories…score.  I will check into this list as my year goes on but it will not be my primary go to.

2. The Bookriot Read Harder Challenge 2016

This list is really about expanding reading horizons, hence the name. Read freakin harder. Of course I am going to discuss Popsugar’s list later on in the post, and they want me to read harder too, but in a different way than BookRiot. They want you to read about politics, religion, science, different cultures, and authors of color.  People with mental illness and who identify as transgender (the transgender one was already on my list as the second in a series published by indie author Dr. Samantha Marks).  I believe this list is suited for those who want reading to help change them in the New Year.  People who want to do fewer burpees but might want more understanding of the larger world.   Some of these will be easy to meet and others not as much.

3. Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge

The only category from her 2015 challenge that I did not meet was “A book that ‘everyone’ has read but you.”  I have Eat Pray Love, and The Book Thief, and A Million Little Pieces,  but no. I almost made it to The Book Thief.

Her challenge this year seems to be about the book that challenges the reader personally, more than in a general read wider sense like BookRiot. I already know that my local librarian recommends Outlander and I already  read that last year, so let’s see what else she comes up with.  I did an abandoned book and a book I should have read in school last year, but there are always more abandoned books.  Like, for last year’s challenge I gave up on The Last of the Mohicans  (chosen because it takes place very close to where I live) because  the writing style was difficult for me to follow and get involved with and I was reading Cliff’s Notes after every chapter to be sure I knew what was going on. I also gave up on Les Miserables a few years ago about halfway through so there are more I can tackle.  And Atlas Shrugged  has always been intimidating because I have heard it’s boring and only people who want to look smart read Ayn Rand.  Maybe I could put The Book Thief as a book I have been meaning to read.  Anyway, this list seems to be about tackling personal reading challenges than wider ones.

4. Popsugar’s 2016 Reading Challenge

Popsugar continues to be my favorite blend of challenge vs fun, with enough books on it to keep me hopping, but there are a lot of books by famous non-writers on here and I really do not care about celebrity memoirs. I mean, I think it’s time I read I Am Malala, because it is important,  but I don’t give a crap about most political memoirs either, not by old white guys who really just want to make money and protect the incomes of their inner circle.  A young woman defending education is another thing altogether. Maybe some old time celebrity memoir might be appealing, but a lot of the books on here to do not appeal to me. But then others really do, like a book about a road trip or a book set in Europe, and of course, historical fiction, books written a long time ago, and YA.

Most of these lists champion a long book and an abandoned/personally intimidating book.  All of them champion reads that are intended to expand horizons and your reading world.

Whatever resolutions are for the New Year, it is always helpful to think about how the time we have will be most satisfactorily spent. I have other goals for myself unrelated to reading and writing, like with learning new crafting skills and increasing the amount of activities that I can do with my son, like baking, helping him start to ride a bike with training wheels, and starting him in soccer.

What are your reading goals for the New Year? Do any of these challenges look more or less appealing than the others?  Leave a comment below!





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