Want to Make This Year’s Reading a Little More Interesting? Try Some Bookstagram Reading Challenges

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about being part of the Bookstagram community on Instagram is the variety of Book Challenges created by members. If you’d like some inspiration to read more diversely or to focus on a particular genre, these challenges can help guide your reading and give you a sense of accomplishment.

The most successful challenges last year were #20BooksByBlackWomen (sponsored by @melanatedreader), #20BooksByAsianWomen (sponsored by @ktlee.writes), and #10Books10Decades (sponsored by @reggiereads).

Instagrammers enjoy planning their reading list and sharing them on their page. Their posts provide book suggestions for other readers.

Two challenges that seem to have caught on for 2023 are #12BooksChallenge and #23in23. The former requires members to post a request for recommendations and then choose 12 books suggested by 12 different friends which they will read over 12 months. Most people then post a graphic showing their monthly reading plan and tagging the recommender. The latter is a personal challenge, in which you choose 23 books you are determined to read this year (typically, books you didn’t get around to reading last year).

You could also try the 2023 Book Tour, in which you are challenged to read three books by authors from each of the six continents (sponsored by @StLeosCollegeLibrary).

Other challenges I’ve seen in the last couple weeks include those posted by independent bookstores like The Bookshop Nashville, Bookshop Santa Cruz, and Magic City Books in Tulsa. Barnes & Noble has even gotten in on the act. These challenges entail reading a different type of book each month (e.g., a debut novel, an award winner, a translated book, a banned book, the first of a series, a book by an Indigenous author).

Another popular activity is group reading projects based on various literature awards longlists. For example, when the Booker Prize longlist was announced, thousands of readers decided to read each of the 13 books before the shortlist was announced or at least before the winner was announced. It led to a lot of thought-provoking discussions for the next few months. The same thing took place when the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the National Book Awards longlists were announced, and to a lesser extent, with the ScotiaBank Giller Prize for Canadian literature. The consensus was that this led people to read many books they either had not heard of or wouldn’t have read.

This year, I’m going to try to complete the #20BooksByBlackWomen, #20BooksByAsianWomen, and #10Books10Decades challenges. Even if I fail to complete them, I will still end up reading more books by diverse voices and more books that I’ve missed over the years than I would otherwise. I’m certain it will enrich my reading experience in 2023.


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