2023 Reading Challenges for Bookworms 📚❤️

Forget the number of books, join the treasure hunt

Artwork by author (Agnes)

Let me start by saying that I did upload my new reading challenge on Goodreads today. I am aiming for the same number as last year, even though I fell short by about 10 books. According to Goodreads, we all tend to fall a little short anyway.

As I was uploading my goal, I noticed the app includes some general stats:

  • 91353939 total books pledged
  • 1995409 participants
  • 385 completed challenges
  • 45 is the average reading goal

Out of almost 2 million participants, only 385 readers complete the challenge. That’s about 0.02% Yikes!

But it’s good for our goals to be ambitious, right? At my last job, when we set our Objective Key Results (OKRs) they told us goals should be achievable, but ambitious. If you got close to it, you were doing well. Achieving all your OKRs likely meant they were too easy.

Back when I downloaded the app in 2020, I set 63 books as the goal and met it. I was briefly a member of the 0.02% club and didn’t even know it. In the last couple of years, I set higher goals but closed both years with 52 books each. It seems like an average of a book a week is kind of my sweet spot. Even knowing that, I still wrote 63 on this year’s challenge; I feel like I owe it to my TBR pile to be a little more ambitious 😅.

Reading challenges can be a frame of reference, a source of inspiration, and a great way of staying motivated for your goals. Still, depending on what you want to achieve as a reader you may find some challenges more inspiring than others.

Here are 3 different 2023 reading challenges for Bookworms

If you want to read more or keep better track of how many books you’re reading, the Goodreads challenge is great. You set your reading goal and it tells you how many books you need to read per week to meet it. It also has a little progress bar that shows you how far along you are on your reading challenge.

I use their app and they make it super easy to set the goal and update it. That said, at the end of the day it only tracks the number of books.

The Goodreads challenge is useful if you are trying to read more, but if you struggle finding what to read or wish to diversify your library there are some more interesting challenges, focused on what rather than how many.

If you want to create a more creative reading challenge for this year, here are some ideas of what you can include in your checklist:

  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A book published this year
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with antonyms/ a number/ a color/ a person’s name in the title
  • A book with non-human characters
  • A popular author’s first book
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book based on a true story
  • A banned book
  • A book that was originally written in another language
  • A book set in another country/ A book set somewhere you always wanted to visit
  • A banned book
  • A Pulitzer-Prize/ GoodReads Awards/ Booker Prize winner
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book from a genre you don’t usually read
  • A book of poetry
  • A book of short stories
  • A book with an ugly/ gorgeous cover
  • A book with flowers on the cove

If what you struggle with is tackling all the books you keep meaning to read and still haven’t, then maybe Beat the Backlist is the challenge for you. Do you struggle to get to those backlist books with all the new releases each year?

This challenge started around 2017 and consists simply of reading books that have been published the year before or earlier.

While Goodreads is probably the most convenient way of keeping track of your reads, there are some fun templates for these other challenges. I encourage you to look for “reading challenge” or “book bingo” on Pinterest, there’s a world of options.

Images from Austin Decker

There’s a lot more where those came from, but I think they help to give a general idea. I like these challenges because they help you to read widely and I find that this helps me be more creative and improves my writing. So, if you want to try something different this year, craft your book treasure hunt!

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Short book reviews, lists of bests, and other book-related musings.

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Agnes

Slow runner, fast walker. I have dreamed in different languages. I read a lot. Yes, my curls are real.