Our Reading Lives

30 Books in 30 Days Challenge

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Every September, I challenge myself to read 30 books in 30 Days. This year I invite you, Reader, to participate in this challenge with me. If you want to, I mean. No pressure.  You may be asking, “Why do you do this?”

This challenge started four years ago, when I was working two jobs that required a lot of time and physical presence, but not a lot of brain power. I wasn’t reading as much as I used to.  I wanted to read, but I was just tired and overwhelmed. So, being the stubborn sort of person that I am, I decided the best way to force myself back into reading as a habit and hobby was to read 30 books in a short amount of time. Why September? At the start of this annual challenge, one of my jobs had a light schedule in September. So September it stays.

2019 will hopefully be the fourth year that I complete this challenge. Usually I like to go book shopping in August to start stocking up on the books I want to try and read in September. However, this year, I am still in the throes of my no-buy year. Libraries, rereading my personal collection, and egalleys that I am fortunate to have access to will fill up this year’s challenge. Rather than a strict TBR, I wanted to provide a sort of guide as to what kind of books I like to read during my challenge, in case you want to join in. I’ve gotten it down to a science and I’ve found that it takes me roughly an hour to read 100 pages. Most of the books I choose are between 300 and 500 pages, but there are some specific categories I tend to save for September.

Celebrity Bios

I love a celebrity bio. They’re fascinating and usually quick reads. I read several last year, including Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody.

Graphic Novels

During the rest of the year, I rarely think to pick up a graphic novel so it’s fun to read a few for the project. I like to save graphic novels for days when I need to catch up on my numbers.

Middle Grade & YA

These days, I don’t read  much middle grade or YA, unless it’s something I’ve read before. As 30 Books in 30 Days is a Challenge, I do try to expand my horizons by reading some new and acclaimed middle grade and YA.


If I can find all the books in a series I’ve been wanting to read, I love being able to read them in succession. With 30 books, it gets confusing to read them between other books.

Beach Reads

I don’t believe in going to the beach or laying out by the pool. September is still too hot for that. However, I more likely to read chick lit, mystery, and general best sellers during my challenge.


Rereading one of my favorite books is one of my greatest joys! Since I’m already familiar with the story and the characters, I can breeze through rereads a bit faster. Last year, I reread V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic Trilogy.

Spooky Books

September starts spooky season,  so bring on the ghouls, goblins, and autumnal vibes. Josh Malerman’s Birdbox was one of my favorite picks from a few years ago.

General Nonfiction

Memoirs and self-help books are my favorites, but I’ll read something more science-y if my interest is piqued. As a general rule, I avoid cookbooks and how-to guides.

Cover BuysThe Astonishing Color Of After Emily X. R. Pan cover

Or, if you’re borrowing from the library, the books you grabbed just for the weird picture on the cover. No judgement. Last year, I picked up The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan, without reading the description.


I count audiobooks towards my challenge goal and my yearly reading goal. I listen in the car, while I’m doing chores, and when I’m out walking my dogs. Recent audiobook favorite: Pet Semetary by Stephen King, narrated by Michael C. Hall.

Books of Poetry/Short Stories

I rarely read poetry or short stories, even though I enjoy both. Sometimes, I can knock out several in a day and the books are small enough for me to toss in my bag when I’m out and about.

Unread Books

Don’t tell me you don’t have those books. I have books on my shelf that I bought at a warehouse clearance sale three years ago that I still haven’t read. I am reading them this September!

I’ll be using the hashtag #30booksin30days on Instagram—feel free to use it as well!