Short Reading Challenges for Adults in 2022

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Summer Loomis


Summer Loomis has been writing for Book Riot since 2019. She obsessively curates her library holds and somehow still manages to borrow too many books at once. She appreciates a good deadline and likes knowing if 164 other people are waiting for the same title. It's good peer pressure! She doesn't have a podcast but if she did, she hopes it would sound like Buddhability. The world could always use more people creating value with their lives everyday.

I love the idea of reading challenges and enjoy reading about all the different ones I can find. These are usually year-long, and if you’re curious, you can read a 2022 roundup of some right here on Book Riot. However, it has been harder to commit to year-long plans these days, as I am sure many can understand. In a nod to reality (or at least my version of it), I have gathered shorter (meaning month-long or several weeks) challenges below. If you’re not ready to commit to a year-long challenge or if you feel like adding more detailed plans to your calendar for 2022, hopefully you will find something enticing below.

If you want a lot of challenges to skim at once, you can try Tanya Patrice and Kimberly Lynne’s 2022 master reading challenge list or the StoryGraph’s reading challenge list. However, I like to start small. I am easily overwhelmed by too much detail, so let’s start with a short challenge for January before moving on to longer ones you might find (or design for yourself) later.

Note that I did not try to cover the whole year. My suggestions are for the first half of 2022, leaving you plenty of opportunity to see what you want to explore further. Maybe you will realize that you cannot live without reading more of some authors’ backlists or that a particular theme really engrosses you. I certainly hope this will kickstart an amazing year of reading in whatever form that takes for you.

A Reading Challenge for January

For something short and doable, start with the San Diego Public Library system’s Read for a Better World challenge. It runs January 1–31, 2022 and the requirements are simple. Read five books or five hours, or do five suggested activities (like picking up litter or donating to a food bank) to complete the challenge. If you need ideas for books to pick, they have reading suggestions by age group. For activities, check their reading logs, which are on their website as downloadable pdfs (available in English or Spanish).

Short Challenge Ideas for February and March

For February, you have a lot of choices for your reading challenge needs. May I suggest a focus on love? It’s obvious I know, but there are lots of types of love to explore in your own short reading challenge. You can find ideas for reading about self-love, platonic love and more in this list of 30 books about love. If you prefer to read comics, you can try these comics for Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day.

Where I am based in the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature will be held in February. In addition, March has been chosen as the month of reading in the UAE. To make a short reading challenge from the authors who will participate in the Emirates festival, I would suggest the following.

You might like Alka Joshi’s best-selling debut novel, The Henna Artist, or Dubai-based Avni Doshi’s debut, Burnt Sugar, which was a recent Booker Prize finalist. The festival should also be welcoming Brit Bennett to talk about The Vanishing Half; C. Pam Zhang, writer of How Much of These Hills is Gold; and Deepak Unnikrishnan, author of Temporary People.

If you like children’s books, Ben Bailey Smith will be talking about his new one Something I Said; Nadiya Hussain will be there for Spreading My Wings and for food, too; so check her events if you’re in the area; and Erin Entrada Kelly will talk about We Dream of Space.

For YA fans, S.K. Ali will be talking about Misfit in Love and Elizabeth Acevedo will be talking about her verse novel Clap When You Land.

If you like horror, Stephen Graham Jones will be talking about fear. Jones’s books include The Only Good Indians and My Heart is a Chainsaw. If you prefer something lighter with a bit of science fiction, try Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold. And if none of that appeals to you, I really don’t know how to help you. Just kidding. You can always look at the many other festival authors to find a good fit!

In addition, March includes UNESCO’s World Poetry Day. To design your own poetry challenge, start with 5 Poetry Challenges and also 7 Poets like Amanda Gorman to watch.

April and May Short Challenges

Both April and May 2022 will bring several challenge opportunities in the Ramadan readathon, the Disability readathon, and the Asian readathon. All have been held in past years and I hope they continue in 2022! Either way, you can still plan to read along with any or all of them. The Ramadan readathon has been hosted by blogger Nadia and is aimed at reading and promoting Muslim authors. For ideas of authors to read, you can look at #RamadanReadathon on Instagram or try these memoirs by Muslim women.

The Disability readathon has been hosted by Erin Hawley and Anna Goldberg in past years. It has focused on bringing attention to stories by and about disabled writers and characters. If you want to start stacking your TBR for this, try 18 books to better understand disability and chronic illness. You can also check out these 8 audiobook recommendations or recommendations from Hawley and Goldberg from their site.

For the Asian readathon, the focus is on Asian authors and characters. Try one of these must-read titles for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month or an Asian Pacific American Award Winners. And if you need even more, try this list of 100 Books by Asian Authors.

June Short Challenge Ideas

For June, consider adding the #ReadCaribbean or #CaribAThon to your calendar.

I recently read Kei Miller’s Augustown, which led me to searching for more Caribbean literature and eventually to Cindy Allman‘s #ReadCaribbean and Karen Wright-Brown and Peta-Gay Allen‘s #CaribAThon. If you want book suggestions, you can start with Allen’s Caribbean books video from 2021 or Wright-Brown’s Caribathon Recap video. If those aren’t enough for you, Bocas Lit Fest has 100 Caribbean Books that Made Us.

Since June is also LGBTQ Pride month, you could add the Queer Lit readathon hosted by Rogan Shannon and Kathy Trithardt to your plans. Technically this short reading challenge will start March 27–28, and how do I know? Because Shannon and Trithardt are so organized they announced their dates for 2022 already! So mark down March 27–28, June 6–12, September 25–26, and December 5–11 in 2022. Hopefully that will make your organized little heart happy. The hosts also have made Queer Lit Bingo cards in the past. Keep an eye out for that on social media.

For title recommendations, start with Shannon’s December 2021 Queer Lit Readathon video. If you need more, dive into Trithardt’s A to Z Queer Lit playlist or check out even more suggestions from the Book Riot LGBTQ archives.

That’s it for my list of short reading challenges to add to your calendar for 2022. You can also check out’s monthly motif reading challenge if you want more ideas. And to add even more reading-related activities to your life, try these 52 weekly challenges to live your best bookish life. Here’s hoping you spend a lot of time reading in the coming new year!