Reading Challenges in 2016

I’ve been thinking about reading challenges. Each year I see other bloggers setting out their reading challenges and I get keen to join a lot of them.

But what is a ‘challenge’? Dictionary definitions include –

a difficult or demanding task, esp. one seen as a test of one’s abilities or character.

or – an invitation or summons to a trial or contest of any kind; a defiance.

So, I don’t need reading challenges –  reading books is not a difficult or demanding task, and I don’t want to treat my reading as a contest either with others or with myself, by reading either more books or different types of books. I already read as many books as my time allows and I love variety in my reading.

So why do I join reading challenges? It’s because I love reading and I also love making lists and ticking off the books I’ve read. I love looking through my books and seeing which ones will qualify for each challenge. I also like seeing what others are reading, books I may not have heard about. I like the camaraderie, of finding others who love the same type of books as me, of exchanging comments or recommendations.

But each year I find it can become a bind, reading to a set list and I want to branch out and read something different, books not on the lists, books that suddenly seem more enticing.

The ‘challenge’ I enjoyed the most last year was Reading Bingo 2015, that I did at the end of November. It involved looking back at the books I read during the year and fitting them into the relevant squares on the card. In other words read what you want first and then see if they meet the categories on the card.

This is why I’m cutting down on the number of challenges I join.

These are the challenges I’ll be taking part in, by reading and then slotting the books into the various categories:

  • Mount TBR hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block –  this helps me remember to read books that I already own, which for this challenge are books I’ve owned before 1 January 2016.
  • Read Scotland hosted by Peggy Ann at Peggy Ann’s Post – I’ve taken part in this for the last two years and have found that without trying I naturally read books by Scottish authors/books set in Scotland. So for this challenge I’ll see at the end of the year how many I’ve read.
  • What’s In a Name? hosted by Charlie at The Worm Hole – I’ve done this challenge ever since it started and it would be a shame to stop now. It only involves reading 6 books and I’m going to treat it in the same way as Read Scotland by seeing at the end of the year if the books I’ve read slot into the categories.

I’ll also be taking part in Heavenali’s Virginia Woolf read-a-long, reading what I can when I can.

And because I do like making lists I’ll be doing various projects of my own reading and listing books in a variety of genres, such as historical fiction and non-fiction, as my mood and interests lead me, but not linking up to any challenges.


  1. You make a very pertinent point about reading not actually being challenging for the likes of us, Margaret. I’ve thought before that the only ‘real’ way that reading would be challenge for me is if I was forced to read outside my comfort zone. Even that might be hard for me as I read from a lot of genres, plus non-fiction. Perhaps westerns, or really hard-boiled crime… or celebrity autobiographies. 😉 And like you, I ‘know’ it’s the choosing and lists I like. I tend to feed my love of lists by creating new shelves on Goodreads and that helps. LOL! I see you’ve chosen just three challenges to do for 2016. I must say that limiting myself to three has really helped me. Unfortunately I chose badly last year and two of them soon turned out to be of not enough interest. Hopefully I’ve chosen a bit more wisely this year. *Fingers crossed* Very interesting post.


    • I agree Cath – but I have no intention of reading far out of my comfort zone. Like you I read from a lot of genres – I can’t stomach much hard-boiled crime and definitely not horror! I enjoyed one western last year and could read more. And I’m not interested in celebrity autobiographies, although I have read some in the past. There are so many other books I want to read!! I hope you get on better with your challenges this year.


  2. I tend to like challenges for the listing/checking off aspect myself! Although I do like to “challenge” myself to broaden my horizons and read a bit outside of my comfort zone and learn more about the world.

    I like the idea of fitting one’s reading past (over the year) into a challenge in the Nov timeframe. That way you read what you want and then get to organize it in fun ways.

    Happy reading in 2016.


  3. It’s a good idea. With What’s In A Name I’ll read whatever for several months, see which books match up, and then later in the year work on the last ones deliberately. I think one challenge book every two months would be okay, too, but certainlyboth reading deliberately and not are equally fair options.

    I wonder if challenges become easier, so to speak, the more books you read. Someone who reads 100, for example, will likely have a better experience with balancing challenges and other books than someone who reads 50, supposing they both take on the same number of challenges.


  4. It is so easy to sign up to all these lovely challenges and then become bogged down in them. Which is why I set my own and go from there. I like the idea if just reading books as your whim takes you then seeing at certain points whether they fit into the challenges.


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