Reading Challenges Make New Year Resolutions Fun!

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAt the start of every new year, many people set new year resolutions. Resolutions related to reading are often popular, whether it is to read a certain number of books, or to expand one’s reading horizons. Reading challenges can be a fun and interesting way to complete these resolutions. Regardless of what an individual’s specific reading related resolution might be, there are engaging and exciting reading challenges available.

One of the most popular reading challenges is the Read Harder challenge, led by the book website Book Riot since 2015. The Read Harder challenge has twenty-four different categories, averaging out to two books per month.  The aim of the challenge is to push the reading boundaries of the reader, and encourage them to read genres or formats they might not normally read. Books can count for multiple categories, so each participant can customize the number of books they want to read, if they find several books that fit multiple challenges. The 2018 list includes challenges like a book of true crime, a children’s classic published before 1980, a celebrity memoir, a book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa), or a one-sitting book.  Readers who complete the challenge by December 31st, 2018, can email their list in to Book Riot for 30% in the Book Riot online store, which contains fun book related items.

For those looking for a different sort of challenge, the POPSUGAR 2018 Reading Challenge offers forty main challenges, with an additional list of ten advanced challenges for the more ambitious reader. There is some overlap between the Book Riot and POPSUGAR prompts, but there are other fun challenges like read a book with a heist or a book with your favorite color in the title. The POPSUGAR list does not have any sort of reward for completion like the Read Harder challenge does, but it too has prompts that would likely cause readers to read outside of what they normally read, or simply encourage them to read more frequently.

One book that could work for both challenges, as it takes place on a different planet and is also a classic of genre fiction, is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This sci-fi tale of earth’s destruction and Arthur Dent’s travels through space is a classic because of its great sense of humor and engaging characters. What better way to start the new year than with a laugh!

Both challenges have groups on Goodreads, an online reading community. These groups provide a space for readers to get book recommendations from others completing the challenges, discuss what they are reading, and offer encouragement and a sense of community to their fellow readers. These are only two of the many reading challenges that can be found online. No matter what a reader’s reading resolution might be for 2018, reading challenges offer a fun way to complete them.

Elizabeth Weislak is the Youth Services Coordinator for Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at eweislak@alamancelibraries.org