What is a Reading Challenge?
A reading challenge can be a number goal. The popular website Goodreads allows users to track their and their friends’ progress toward a pledged number of books to be read in a year. So far this year, 1,581,155 participants have pledged to read 75,124,994 books in the 2019 Reading Challenge.
A reading challenge can be a list of prompts that lead you to find books you might not have read otherwise. Last year I did a challenge hosted by my local library. One of the prompts was to read a book “that matches your occupation.” How else would I have found Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett (#1 in the “Deadly Edits” series)? In it, the main character, Mikki Lincoln, is a freelance editor who solves a murder.
A reading challenge can be personal. Variations on the “unread shelf” challenge are popular on Instagram, in which you only read books you already own.
A reading challenge can be calendar based, with 1 category assigned for each month. Everett Public Library in Washington has a fun Reading Challenge for 2019 (#EVERETTREADS). (If you want a recommendation for “a book by Sy Montgomery,” I loved The Good Good Pig.)
Why Do a Reading Challenge?
Participating in a reading challenge pushes you to get out of your reading comfort zone and
One of my favorites for stretching my reading is the Reading Women Challenge (#ReadingWomenChallenge) from the podcast of the same name. Some of this year’s prompts:
I also like Anne Bogel’s (of the What Should I Read Next podcast) Modern Mrs. Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge (#mmdchallenge). Some of the prompts that got me jotting down possible titles:
My Reading Challenge: #MededitReads2019
This year I decided that in addition to joining the #mmdchallenge and the #ReadingWomenChallenge, I would create my own challenge to get me reading more science and medicine, especially the books I already own but have not yet read. I’m calling it #MededitReads2019.
Last year I did a lot of work-related reading on writing, editing, and publishing. This year, I decided to focus my work-related reading on the “medical” part of medical editing. So rather than specific prompts like “read a myth retelling,” my reading challenge has an overall subject requirement: read a book with a topic of medicine or science.
I started collecting titles on a Goodreads shelf. Most are nonfiction, but I do have a few fiction reads planned, like Oxygen, by Carol Cassella, and The Waiting Room, by Leah Kaminsky. [Bonus: Some of my reads will count for more than one challenge.] I’ll be documenting my progress with my hashtag on Instagram throughout the year. I hope to read at least 12 of the books I’ve saved on my tbr (to-be-read) shelf.
Some of the titles I want to read:
I may not get to all the books I have saved on my Goodreads shelf. (Especially because I keep adding more.) But I know myself well enough to know that I won’t read even half of them without setting this as a challenge. (I’m too often tempted by the next pretty new fiction release.) And at the end of the year, I’ll have the satisfaction of learning more about some of the topics I edit every day.
Are you doing a reading challenge this year? Which prompt are you most excited about? Do you love a good medical read? What are your favorites?
Come talk books with me. I’m @JenMededit on Twitter and Instagram.