Reading Challenges in 2020

I had to think this year about how many challenges to take on.  Too many and you make reading too stressful.  And yet there are so many I’d like to participate in.  My husband “challenged” me to limit myself to three, which I’m not going to do — but I have streamlined a bit.

As I did last year, I did a quick analysis of my favorite books of the year and why I read each one. I’ll spare you the numbers and the spreadsheet, but when I looked at my top 35 books (a very rough ranking), here are the main reasons I chose them:

  • Read Harder challenge
  • Nonfiction challenge
  • New release by a favorite author
  • Just for fun or recommended by other bloggers
  • Book about another country

So that’s where I’m going to focus my challenges this year.  I won’t take on a classics challenge this year, and I’m cutting out the Reading Women challenge since I already read far more women authors than men.


Challenge One: Read Harder 2020

I really pushed myself to finish Read Harder 2019, and I’m proud of myself for reading such a diverse range of books.  A particular challenge was reading a book written in prison.  I read Dawn, a book of short stories written by a political prisoner in Turkey, and it was beautifully written.  I also really enjoyed reading a book of poetry, which I really haven’t done in a long time.  So I’m going to continue with Read Harder 2020 and I encourage you to join me!


Challenge Two: Read Nonfiction

Last year I participated in Doing Dewey’s Nonfiction Challenge.  I only read 19 books, not 25 books as pledged.  But that’s still a pretty good amount of nonfiction, and many of those books numbered among my favorite reads last year (and the ones that didn’t were still quite good).  I set out to read more than just memoirs.  I read nonfiction about adoption, about border patrol, about cell research, about tidying up, about cooking, drug addiction, and feeding hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.  I read poetry, manga, comedy, and literary analysis. This year, I’ve decided to participate in the Nonfiction Reader Challenge by Book’d Out, where you try to read nonfiction in 12 different categories.


Challenge Three: Read Around the World

I’m going to continue tracking the books I read that are written primarily about other countries.  Howling Frog’s challenge asks that you only count books by authors that have lived in those countries. My current list has 30 countries read so far between 2017 and 2019, and my goal is 20 more countries in the next two years.

I’m planning to add to that list by participating in the Readers Room Read Around the World challenge, where they pick a specific country each month you need to read.  I’ve already read multiple books from four of the countries on that list: US, Ireland, Colombia, and Chile, so I may not worry about those months.  That gives me at least 8 new countries this year: Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Luxembourg, North Korea, Panama, and Qatar.  My Women of the World Book Club should add a number of other countries to my list (this month’s book is set in Germany). 


Challenge Four: Read What I Own

Sadly, the TBR Pile challenge isn’t being hosted this year by Roof Beam Reader, and I thought about offering to host it myself, but there are already good TBR-related challenges out there.  Since I have books sitting on my shelf and my Kindle, I’m going to sign up instead for My Reader’s Block’s Mount TBR Challenge.  There’s one for books you already own, and another for library books.  Since I really want to read more books I own, that’s the one I’m going with. I have a list of books I owned as of January 1, 2020.  My goal is 12 books (Pike’s Peak in the challenge).


So that’s four challenges, plus the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge.  I’ll be posting my progress throughout the year on my 2020 Challenge Page.  And in the meantime, I plan to read a bit more for fun this year.  Why not?  Right now I’m immersed in a rom-com, The Hating Game, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

What challenges will you be participating in this year?


  11 comments for “Reading Challenges in 2020

  1. January 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    These challenges all sound great but I’m wary of taking on too much. I want to read more nonfiction and more books from around the world but I’m not setting specific goals. I wish you all the best with all of these!

    • January 5, 2020 at 8:55 am

      I agree, and this is a bit lighter than what I had initially planned. I do think I’ll read more just for fun this year. Sometimes challenges really help me read better, and sometimes they just feel burdensome. Of course if that happens you can always drop them. My husband keeps reminding me I don’t HAVE to do any of these things.

  2. January 5, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Glad you’re joining us for the Discussion Challenge!! 🙂

  3. January 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    Delighted you’ve chosen to join the Nonfiction Reader Challenge, I look forward to seeing what you choose to read.

    • January 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks! I’ve got three to start with: The Brain That Changes Itself, Know My Name, and a book about charter schools.

  4. dreamingofhygge
    January 11, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Great challenges! I think I should join the Mount TBR challenge because I really want to buy less this year and read more of what I own. Good luck with them all!

  5. January 12, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Book Blogger Discussion challenge? Hm… Can they be, you know, literary musings that you hope other bloggers will comment on?

  6. January 31, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    I had to do some hard talking to myself this year too – but the end result was different. I decided not to embark on any challenges. I’ll do mini events like reading weeks or months but I just can’t face doing anything where I have to read a specific number of books or types of books. Good luck with your 4 though – some people do really well with challenges and if it works for you, then why not.

    I do like the sound of your read around the world challenge. I’m coming to the end of my version of this – like you i took the harder approach of reading an author from a country, not just a book set in the country. It’s hard to get anything from some countries though!

    • February 2, 2020 at 11:44 am

      I really get taking time off from challenges, and maybe I’ll feel that way next year. For now I tend to use them as a way to read different types of books and then share what I’m reading. I find Read Harder to be a lot of fun and it does lead to things I wouldn’t have read otherwise. I have decided though, that 2020 is going to be the year I Read What I Want. January turned out to be a nice mix, but I have to remind myself that reading should also be fun.

      • February 2, 2020 at 1:39 pm

        We do tend to forget the ‘Reading is fun ‘ message on occasions 🙂

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