Reading Challenges: A Year of Reading, and more!

books-552572_1280How many of you have a stack of books you’re planning to read? Someday, right? And how many of you add to that list every year? I’m with you! I needed to know what happened in the Lunar Chronicles too!

books-1841116_1280That’s why I love the reading challenge created by Estella’s Revenge called #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. I joined up last year and read 38 out of 131 books. I think I started with double that amount on the shelves (and floor), but one of the books I read was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I sold/gave away 125 books.

I’ve created my current bookshelf list for 2017, should you wish to peruse my shelves.

(And it’s safe to say I’ll be doing this reading challenge for years to come, because let’s face it, I will keep buying books. But now, I do read more that I currently own versus buying QUITE so many.)


51j4xd2ntcl-_sx355_bo1204203200_I’m also using the book A Year of Reading to diversify what I read this year. This guidebook separates each month with a theme and gives six different book ideas for that theme. I love its diversity in authors and in genre.

It’s inclusive of authors of color, something I was looking to include more of this year in my reading, and the genre options include fiction and nonfiction, but also more marginalized categories like graphic novels, poetry, and short story anthologies.

The themes range from serious to fun, with a mix of genre styles within them. January was all about happiness, so very timely for that new year, new you vibe.

This month, I completed The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. 


Kalman’s book is different than most books I’ve read because it is also an art book. The pages are her colorful paintings and photography of people, places, and things that catch her eye – whether passing by on the street or musing over a historical figure.

This is a book you could read in a day. But I chose not to. I wanted to savor it.


On a surface level, it’s an easy book to read for reading’s sake. But I wanted to muse along with her. Sometimes I learned about a historical figure, or a family member of hers, or even the intricacy of a tassel on a chair. So what you really get out of Kalman’s book is that happiness is found in the little things. The day to day moments where we stop. And just look. Just listen.

What reading challenges are you doing this year, formal or otherwise?
What books have you read recently that made you think? 

7 responses

  1. I too have a plethora of waiting-to-be-read books. I am just so pleased to finally see them in a bookshelf rather than tipping over in my closet or off of my nightstand. After a 2016 that was mostly about writing and editing, I treated myself to a reading month in January. It was delicious! LOL (But now I’m behind in my writing!) I love “Year of Reading” idea — It’s good to feed your brain different things!

    1. My nightstand needed cleaning too! I still need to do an overhaul on my office. Planning to donate more books and save some in new condition for the holidays as I always donate books to kids through my library.

      I’m really looking forward to March when the theme is Justice. So many worthy books given what’s happening in our country now. I’m planning to read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

  2. I tried–you know, good intentions and all–to do this challenge last year. I think I read one or two books on my list. BUT I read other books that came along during the year, which did nothing to decrease my pile. AND I brought home a box full of new books from RWA Nationals. AND I bought a few new ones for research purposes–I even read two of them. Also, I kinda hated reading for the first part of the year. Nothing grabbed my attention. I have at least ten books that I started and abandoned, but not because they’re not good. I have a renewed faith in my reading abilities though. Again, Jess, you’ve inspired me to go through my books and prepare to read what I already have.

    I have a brand new book to read by one of my critique partners that I’m going to read first: Gerald O’Connor’s debut book, The Origins of Benjamin Hackett. Not that you need another book on your list. 😉

    1. I like the flexibility of these challenges because I still get choice. I use to do 12 Books in 12 Months, which I think I completed 2 out of 3 years. And my struggle always came from picking a title on my shelf that when the year rolled around, I wasn’t interested in reading/couldn’t get into. With each of these, I have a lot more choice with what the title will be. But like you, I’m also looking to up my game and have more confidence in my book picks so I like that there’s a healthy variety of authors and genre styles. (Though truth be told, girl, I just picked up like 5 audio books from the library and none of them are on these lists – LOL.) So again, flexibility is key. And I think ebb and flows are normal. At least I’m still reading. You got this! Get reading!

  3. […] next on my to read list? Part of my 2017 Reading Challenge is one book per month from A Year of Reading and March’s pick (the theme is justice) is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. “Bryan […]

  4. […] seems love is in the air, as the theme of February’s A Year of Reading book challenge was romance. I am not normally a reader of romance books, so I went with the […]

  5. […] What I liked about it: This book is a collection of the author’s art, sketches, and photography. It includes story snippets and random musings. It’s different than any other book I’ve read. For more info about this book, check out my previous post here. […]

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