Reading Challenges for 2014

Tasha Brandstatter

Staff Writer

Tasha is the least practical person you will ever meet. She grew up reading historical romance novels, painting watercolors like a 19th century debutant, and wanting to be Indiana Jones--or at the very least Indiana Jones's girlfriend. All this led her to pursue a career in the field of art history. After spending ten years in academia without a single adventure in Mesoamerica, however, Tasha decided to change her career and be a freelance writer (although she's still waiting on that adventure). In addition to writing for Book Riot, she's a regular contributor to History Colorado, the Pueblo PULP, and Opposing Views. She also runs two book blogs: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books (title inspired by Moulin Rouge, best movie ever) and The Project Gutenberg Project, dedicated to finding forgotten classics. Tasha also likes to have a drink or two and blogs about cocktails at Liquid Persuasion, as well as small town restaurants on Nowhere Bites. Blog: Truth Beauty Freedom and Books and The Project Gutenberg Project Twitter: @heidenkind

It’s the start of a new year, and if you’re anything like some of us at Book Riot, you have some sort of idea or goal for what you’d like to read in 2014. Maybe you want to read more classics, try a few genres outside your comfort zone, get through a chunkster or two, or diversify your reading. Whatever you’re looking to read in 2014, there’s probably a reading challenge for it.

Why join reading challenges? They’re a great way to socialize with people who read the same types of books that you do—reading is more fun with friends—and they offer a support network for completing your goals. Think of them like book clubs, only with very reading specific goals in mind.

The selection of challenges below speak to some common reading resolutions I’ve seen from people I follow on Twitter, Facebook, and book blogs; but keep in mind this is a miniscule sampling of the reading challenges out there, most of which do NOT require you to be a blogger. Whatever you like to read, or want to read, there’s probably a challenge for that. A Novel Challenge is the one-stop site to find challenges that tickle your fancy, or you can look over this Reading Challenges board on Pinterest if you want to browse all the reading challenges on the interwebz.


Many start out the year looking to read more classics, and there are a TON of classics-related challenges. If you enjoy classics, I highly recommend joining The Classics Club, an online book group that hosts discussions, challenges, and even readathons. If you’re looking for a more specific challenge, there’s All Booked Up’s Pre-Printing Press Challenge, for books published before the advent of the Gutenberg Printing Press; Books and Chocolate’s Back to the Classics Challenge; Caffeinated Life’s Shakespeare Reading Challenge; and a Victorian Reading Challenge hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews, among many others.

Diversify Your Reading

I’ve also come across a lot of resolutions to read more diversely this year—i.e., books written by people of color, women, or non-European/American writers. Dusky Literati is hosting several awesome-sounding challenges: the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards Challenge (a national literary award specifically for writers of African descent); the PoC Speculative Fiction Challenge, and the Harlem Renaissance Reading Challenge (all of those posts have excellent reading lists you should check out even if you’re not planning on joining a challenge, incidentally). There’s also the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge hosted by My Little Pocketbooks, Love Bites and Silk’s Around the World in 80 Books Challenge, and a NK Jemisin (author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms) reading challenge at Violin in a Void.

If you want to diversify your reading along gender lines, Peek a Book is hosting a year-long Women Challenge, and there’s an Australian Women Writers Challenge. Inksugar is hosting a Queering Gender Challenge for “Any book by a trans*, genderqueer, butch, or femme author; any book about trans*, genderqueer, butch, or femme folks; any book featuring trans*, genderqueer, butch, or femme characters;” and Fighting Dreamer is hosting the LGBT Reading Challenge this year.

Read Specific Types of Books

If you want to focus on any type of genre in 2014, I encourage you to search for it on A Novel Challenge. Chances are good you’ll find one or several challenges, whether you’re looking at YA, literary fiction, picture books, romance, mystery, science fiction, or graphic novels. If you want to read a whole bunch of genres, take a look at Lovin’ los libros’ Jumble Your Genres Reading Challenge.

The Introverted Reader is another blogger hosting several cool-sounding challenges, including Books in Translation and Non-Fiction Reading. If you’re a fan of epistolary novels, check out The Indextrious Reader’s Postal Challenge. And, if your major goal is to get through at least one intimidatingly long book, Vasilly from 1330v is hosting 2014’s Chunkster Reading Challenge.

Finally, there are two reading challenges that focus not just on books but book adaptations (I’m a sucker for adaptations): the Book to Broadway Challenge at Debz Bookshelf and Doing Dewey’s Book to Movie Challenge.


Like I said, these are just a few of the challenges out there. Have you signed up for a reading challenge you’re super-excited about? Tell us about it in the comments!


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