Fun Reading Challenges for 2023

As a new year starts, most of us think about what we’d like to be different in our lives. One improvement I make each year is in my reading life. Rather than just pick up whatever books look good to me at the moment, I am attempting to split my time between planned reading and spontaneous reading. 

Planned reading requires preparation or you end up picking up whatever is at hand. January is the perfect time to start with dozens of 2023 reading challenges, opens a new window popping up all over the internet, which will give you loads of ideas for planned reading. I’m going to discuss a few that should appeal to most people, but you may want to scroll through all of the options to find the challenge that fits your reading life.

One of the best known reading challenges in the bookish community is Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, opens a new window. The Read Harder challenge has 24 categories. Some of them are: 

-  Read an author local to you. With dozens of local authors who write for multiple ages and in many different genres, you are bound to find a good choice for this category. One of our My Librarians, opens a new window would be happy to suggest a title, or you can skim through our list of local author titles , opens a new windowto see what looks good to you.

-  Read a YA (young adult) book by an Indigenous author. Firekeeper's Daughter,, opens a new window by Angeline Boulley; Hunting by Stars,, opens a new window by Cherie Dimaline; and  A Snake Falls to Earth,, opens a new window by Darcie Little Badger, would all be great choices for this category.

-  Read a book of short stories. Fiona and Jane,, opens a new window by Jean Chen Ho; Out There,, opens a new window by Kate Folk; Seasonal Work,, opens a new window by Laura Lippman; and Stories From the Tenants Downstairs,, opens a new window by Sidik Fofana, are well-written story collections published in the past year for you to try. 

Another well-known challenge is the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, opens a new window. With dozens of prompts, this challenge has something for everyone. A few of the categories include: 

-  A book about a vacation. In the Company of My Sistahs,, opens a new window by Angie Daniels; Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six,, opens a new window by Lisa Unger; and The Summer of Broken Rules,, opens a new window by K. L. Walther, would all fall into this category. 

-  A celebrity memoir. Some great choices published in 2022 are The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man,, opens a new window by Paul Newman; Finding Me,, opens a new window by Viola Davis; and I'm Glad My Mom Died,, opens a new window by Jennette McCurdy. 

-  A modern retelling of a classic. Try Clytemnestra,, opens a new window by Costanza Casati; Meg & Jo,, opens a new window by Virginia Kantra; or Pride,, opens a new window by Ibi Zoboi.

 The Read Around the World Challenge, opens a new window has a prompt each month and suggestions of books that are in that category. One book per month may be a more attainable number for people who are overwhelmed by the dozens of books on the larger lists. Here are some additional suggestions for a few of the categories:  

-  A book set in Antarctica: The Impossible First,, opens a new window by Colin O’Brady, or South Pole Station,, opens a new window by Ashley Shelby

-  A book set in Africa: Olive the Lionheart,, opens a new window by Brad Ricca, or Afterlives,, opens a new window by Abdulrazak Gurnah

-  A travel memoir: The Catch Me If You Can,, opens a new window by Jessica Nabongo, and A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor 

The TBR Pile Challenge, opens a new window is for those of us who have a bad habit of collecting books we want to read without actually reading them. You read one book each month and hopefully reduce your to-be-read list to zero by the end of 2023. 

If you choose to participate in one of these reading challenges, feel free to contact a librarian for ideas to fill your categories. Also, if you combine your challenge with the Adult Winter Reading Challenge, you can count your reading in both challenges and earn a cozy blanket. Have fun, and may your 2023 reading year be a satisfying one.