To be honest, I have not participated in many reading challenges over the years. Usually, I set a goal for a certain number of books to read for the year. Then I only revisit it to adjust it up or down. Yes, I am exciting like that. Seriously, though, I see this as fun and motivating. It is not an iron-clad commitment I have to follow regardless of how my year is going.
However, I thought I might change that a little in the new year. This year, I decided to do a roundup of some of the bigger year-long reading challenges to see what there is to choose from in 2022. That way I can see what I might like to add to my reading year besides my usual numeric goal.
For example, I recently enjoyed reading Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson. One of the main characters was reading Kei Miller, mentioning The Same Earth specifically. Since I had never heard of Miller, I went searching for information, which then sent me down an interesting internet rabbit hole. This eventually led me to discover Cindy Allman’s Read Caribbean month and Karen Wright-Brown and Peta-Gay Allen’s #CaribAThon, both of which I missed last June. Since it’s almost 2022, I thought I’d put it on my calendar for next year. And that got me thinking about what else to put on that calendar for reading challenges in 2022. Below is some of what I have found.
Let’s start with one you probably already know about: Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. This coming year will be the eighth version. The challenge has 24 tasks to expand your reading horizons with, including lists of books to help you fulfill any prompts you find particularly challenging. Start here if you want to look at some of the 2021 challenge prompts and titles. There was also a helpful suggested titles list for 2021 on the New York Public Library blog that you can take look at for inspiration. And new for 2022, Rioters will be writing a newsletter to motivate and inspire you as you follow the challenge.
To read and play along, use the #ReadHarder hashtag on your social media of choice. There is also a Goodreads group to join, and you can sign up for Book Riot Insiders membership for the exclusive Read Harder Podcast (among other cool benefits of course).
For a reading challenge that tackles more titles, you can check out Liz Mannegren’s 52 books challenge for 2022. Of course this works out to one book a week, and for some that will be an exciting prospect. The 52 book challenge has a large and active Facebook group to participate in if you feel like it and provides Goodreads lists of books to fulfill the challenges. Some of the challenges that appeal to me are reading a book that has fewer than 2,022 ratings on Goodreads and one with a bilingual character.
If you like reading a book a week, you could also try Rachael’s 2022 challenge on her blog The Booklist Queen. If you prefer to read around the world, you may like Ash at Taleaway’s world reading challenge. Last year was her fourth year so I hope it will return in 2022. In the meantime, check out her helpful book lists by location if you’re looking for a read set in a particular country or region. And if you feel like a book a month is more your speed, you could try the Uncorked Librarian Christine’s 2022 Reading Challenge.
I have also heard some readers like POPSUGAR’s annual reading challenge, which will also be in its eighth year. You can take a look at the list of POPSUGAR’s 2021 prompts. There are 40 standard prompts and 10 extra challenge prompts for people who want to read for all 50. However, if you tackle 40 then this works out to about 3–4 books a month, so not exactly a slow rate of reading by any means. POPSUGAR also has an active Facebook group for their virtual book club (you don’t have to follow the challenge to join) or use #PopSugarReadingChallenge on other social media.
Read More Women Writers
The Reading Women Podcast hosts a reading challenge with 24 prompts to help you read more writing by cats. Just kidding, this helps you read more writing by women. Definitely by human women. Although you can of course read one book per prompt, the Reading Women Podcast team encourages you to use a book to fulfill more than one prompt if you like. They also encourage you to read female writers, trans writers, and anyone else who feels comfortable being included under a female designation. The hosts have a Goodreads group and of course the podcast episodes have useful recommendations if you’re searching for titles to match a given prompt. Share your reading with them on social media using #ReadingWomenChallenge.
The Free Black Women’s Library, created by Olaronke Akinmowo, also ran a reading challenge in 2021 that I hope will return in some form in 2022. In 2021, there were 25 prompts to help you read more Black female and Black nonbinary writers. There was also a large variety of prompts including reading a book by a Caribbean author, a book on body politics, trauma, autonomy or acceptance, and a book that centers relationships between women. Below the prompts, there is a list of titles that match the challenge prompts and a sign-up for their 2021 book reading group. If you decide to read along, share your reading on social media using #TFBWL, #TFBWLREADS, or #TFBWLReadingChallenge.
Read More Canadian and Diverse Writers
The FOLD Reading Challenge of 2021 encouraged readers to ask a simple question of their book lists: “Who is missing?” It has 12 prompts, so you can read a book a month if you would like. If you’re not familiar with them, the FOLD Foundation runs the Festival of Literary Diversity. Established in 2016, it is Canada’s first literary festival for diverse authors held in Brampton, Ontario and has now expanded to include a kids’ festival and free online webinars.
Based in the U.S., the American Indian Library Association launched its first reading challenge called Read Native in 2021 with a list for adults and one for kids. While waiting for another year’s worth of challenges, you can look for titles to try from the AILA’s American Indian Youth Literature awardees.
That’s my list for year-long reading challenges and I hope you find something helpful here. If you want to look at some of the other challenges out there you might try The StoryGraph’s challenge list. And if you’re not already familiar with it, this review of The StoryGraph might be useful to you. And of course, I hope some of this sparks some good reading and discussion for you in 2022 and beyond!