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 Reader‘s 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?