Reading Challenge

After a really good reading year in 2020, I’m inspired to take part in a reading challenge this year. I attempted only once before and gave up because I found myself skipping books that were high on my TBR list when I couldn’t squeeze them into one of the categories. But one of my goals for this year (well, forever) is to be ultra conscious of all the content I consume. Last year I did an audit of my consumption and purchase patterns to see if they matched the makeup of the country. Did I only eat at restaurants owned by men? Were the casts of the movies I watched racially and ethnically diverse? And finally, how many POC and/or queer authors lined my bookshelves? Thankfully, I was happy with the results. But I wondered how much of that was luck. For example, I live in Harlem so when I eat out of convenience, almost all restaurants I patronize are Black- or Hispanic-owned. That wouldn’t be the case if I lived in a different neighborhood. Elsewhere, I’d have to make much more of an effort to support minority-owned businesses.

I was happy to see that the authors lining my shelves were diverse…but I didn’t plan it; it just worked out that way. But I can’t just assume my subconscious will always be cool like that. I need to make a habit of checking myself throughout the year and a great way to do that is a reading challenge. I really like the Reads-olutions offered up by The Strand, BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge looks good, and PopSugar’s challenges are always on point. At the end of the day, though, I decided to create my own reading challenge.

I started by establishing my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I set a goal of 44 books, which is one book above my 2020 goal. [Note: in 2020 I exceeded my goal and read 45 books.] Next, I created a list of all the things I wanted to make sure I included in my reading this year, taking bits from other challenges and adding some of my own flair. I have a bunch of random goals for individual books, but since there are only 13 of those when I plan to read 44 books this year, I also set percentage goals:

  • 50% non-white authors
  • 25% non-fiction
  • 60% female authors
  • A debut novel
  • A classic that you’ve never read (I’m thinking Emma for this one…)
  • A book set in 2 different time periods
  • A translated book
  • A book with a queer narrator
  • A very new book (read during the month of publication)
  • A celebrity memoir
  • A book that’s becoming a movie
  • A retelling
  • Historical fiction not set during WWII
  • A book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author
  • Read a book in a single day
  • A book that centers around your neighborhood

Can’t wait to let you know how successful I am at the end of the year! Follow along with me on Goodreads throughout the year, but I’ll be sharing a final tally/report as 2021 comes to a close.

PS – I created the BEST Google spreadsheet to track my progress and am inordinately proud. Holler if you want the link.