Saturday, January 09, 2021

2021 Reading Challenges

It's that time of year again! I always enjoy participating in reading challenges. For 2021, I've mostly decided to again sign up for the same challenges I did in 2020 because they really fit my reading goals: to read from my own shelves, to squeeze some nonfiction into my mostly-fiction reading life, to track where my books take me, to read a few classics, and to have fun! But I couldn't resist just adding one more to the list.

My 2021 Reading Challenges:

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2021 hosted by My Reader's Block

I am once again setting my goal at Mt. Ararat, at 48 books from my TBR shelves (which I just barely missed last year with 44). Note that the challenge allows e-books and audios to count, but my main goal is to get through some of the physical books I own (my TBR bookcase now has double rows), so I only count physical books. This challenge has monthly review link-ups.

2021 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge hosted by Girlxoxo.

I enjoy this challenge every year! I only missed one monthly motif last year, so I will try to hit them all in 2021! This also has monthly review link-ups.

JANUARY-  Once Upon A Time. Read a book from the Fantasy, Fairytale, Mythology, or Folklore Sub Genres.

FEBRUARY- Laughter and Love. Read a relationship story, romance, comedy, or feel good contemporary.

MARCH- Countries and Cultures. Read a book set in a country, or about a culture, that’s different than your own and that you’d like to learn more about.

APRIL- Books on the Menu. Read a book that features food, restaurants, cafes, cooking, or baking, on the cover or in the story. 

MAY- Magnificent Middle Grade. Read a Middle Grade book – a book that is marketed toward ages 8-14.

 JUNE- The Great Outdoors. Read a book featuring a garden, nature, country, or harvest setting or plot.

JULY- Short But Fabulous. Read a novella, comic, graphic novel, manga, or short book of poetry. 

AUGUST- Bag of Tricks. Read a book featuring any kind of magic, illusion, super powers, or enchantments.

SEPTEMBER- Back to School. Read a book with a school setting, featuring a student or educator OR read a book to educate yourself on a topic you’re interested in learning more about.

OCTOBER- Lurking in the Shadows. Read a book that has a gray, black, and/or white cover OR a book that shows a shadow on the cover. 

NOVEMBER- In the Library with the Candlestick. Read a mystery- cozy, detective, spies, true crime, whodunnit, or the like.

DECEMBER- That’s History. Read a historical fiction book or a book about a true historical event.


Back to the Classics Challenge 2021 hosted by Books and Chocolate.

Another challenge I return to each year. I usually set my goal at 6 classics (in 6 categories), and that works well for me - I did it last year! Here are the categories for 2021:

1. A 19th century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899

2. A 20th century classic: any book first published from 1900 to 1971. All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; the only exceptions are books which were written by 1971 and posthumously published.

3. A classic by a woman author.

4. A classic in translation, meaning any book first published in a language that is not your primary language. You may read it in translation or in its original language, if you prefer. 

5. A classic by BIPOC author; that is, a non-white author.

6. A classic by a new-to-you author, i.e., an author whose work you have never read.

7. New-to-you classic by a favorite author -- a new book by an author whose works you have already read. 

8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. The animal can be real or metaphorical. (i.e., To Kill a Mockingbird).

9. A children's classic. 

10. A humorous or satirical classic.

11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction). It can be a travelogue or a classic in which the main character travels or has an adventure. 

12. A classic play. Plays will only count in this category.


2021 AtoZ Reading Challenge hosted by Bookstacks and Golden Moms

This is a new challenge for me, but it's described as a laid-back challenge, so that sounds right up my alley! You just track the books you read, trying to cover all letters of the alphabet (first letter of the title, not counting articles). There are also monthly mini challenges, which convinced me to to add this one.

A –
B –
C –
D –
E –
F –
G –
H –
I –
J –
K –
L –
M –
N –
O –
P –
Q –
R –
S –
T –
U –
V –
W –
X –
Y –
Z –

Mini Challenges:

JANUARY – A book you purchased in 2020 but didn’t read
FEBRUARY – A book with non-romantic love (siblings, parent-child, friendships)
MARCH – A book written by a person of a different race than you
APRIL – A book with an Autistic main character (April is Autism Awareness)
MAY – A book about a nurse (Nat. Nurses Week 2021 is May 6-12)
JUNE – A co-written book (2 authors)
JULY – A Christmas book (Christmas in July!)
AUGUST – A book by an Indie author (self-published or independent)
SEPTEMBER – A memoir/biography
OCTOBER – A book written by a new-to-you author
NOVEMBER – A book outside your normal genre
DECEMBER – A backlist title (published BEFORE Jan 1, 2021)


I was looking for a pure fun reading challenge last year and saw this one at Helen's Book Blog, and it sounded like just what I was looking for! There are no sign-ups or link-ups, just a printable checklist of a wide range of 50 different categories and lots of ways to connect via social media. So, I'm in!

Rather than retyping all 50 categories here, I will just list the ones I check off each month.


2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Book'd Out.

I always sign up for a nonfiction challenge, and I enjoyed this one last year! I read 15 nonfiction books in 2020, so I will sign up for the Nonfiction Know-It-all category and shoot for reading at least 12.

As an extra challenge, there are different categories:

1. Biography

2. Travel

3. Self-help

4. Essay Collection

5. Disease

6. Oceanography

7. Hobbies

8. Indigenous Cultures

9. Food

10. Wartime Experiences 

11. Inventions

12. Published in 2021

Diversity Reading Challenge 2021 hosted by Celebrity Readers.

This is also a familiar challenge for me that I enjoyed last year. Since I read 38 diverse books last year, I will shoot for 40 this year! 


This challenge includes optional monthly themes. Last year, I hit the monthly themes 6 months (out of 12), so I will sign up for Da Bomb Level for the Mini Challenges (reading on-top 5-8 months):

JANUARY – diverse folktales/culture/mythology; or diverse retelling; or non-western setting
FEBRUARYpoc: Black/African American
MARCH#ownvoices; or gender: female authors in male-dominated genres/non-fiction
APRIL – poc: Middle Eastern/South Asian
MAYpoc: East Asian/Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander
JUNELGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identity
JULY – LGBT+ pride summer: sexuality and gender identity
AUGUSTmental health/addiction
SEPTEMBERpoc: hispanic/latinx
OCTOBERphysical/sensory/cognitive/intellectual/developmental disabilities
NOVEMBERpoc: Native American
DECEMBERreligious minorities


Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge hosted by Mom's Small Victories 

I signed up for this one back in 2014, so this is a continuation (it's a perpetual challenge) - I can't wait to see what places I visit in books in 2021! In 2020, my books took me to 33 places outside the U.S., covering 18 different countries.

2021 Literary Escapes Challenge hosted by Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

I love tracking where I read domestically, as well. In 2020, I read books set in 24 different states. I'm looking forward to reading in even more states this year!









District of Columbia





















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia






Bookish Bingo hosted by Chapter Break - not really a challenge per se, but a fun game that I play most months! Stop by to print out this month's Bingo card and play along!


Big Book Summer Challenge hosted by Book By Book (me!)

My own annual challenge that I host each summer, beginning Memorial Day weekend (end of May) and running until Labor Day (first Monday of September). Hope you'll join me for the laid-back fun this summer!



  1. I love doing reading challenges as well. We are doing some the same. You can join the Popsugar thru Goodreads and on Facebook - lots of info in both places. Happy reading!

  2. We have so many overlapping challenges this year, which is fun. I can get suggestions for them from your blog!

    1. That's because I get a lot of my challenge ideas from you! :) I had your challenge post open while I was choosing mine!

  3. You’ve taken on a lot of challenges, good luck with them

    1. I know - probably too many of them - I can't resist!

  4. What a neat bunch of challenges—I had no idea there were so many to choose from! It's great that this set of challenges was manageable for you last year, and the new A-to-Z challenge looks neat as well! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh, this is just a drop in the bucket! There are hundreds of reading challenges available to join! Check out the list at one of my favorite blogs - they compile a list each year:

  5. I Love love love that you are still doing my Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge! I am too! You've inpsired me to read more and i might sign up for some of these too! I have a lot of common goals!

    1. Of course, Tanya! It's one of my favorites every year :) I love to travel to new and different places in my books, especially now that we can't travel IRL at the moment!