My 2019 TBR and Reading Challenge

If you read yesterday’s Goodreads update, you’ll know that I read a grand total of 70 books this year. This includes 46 books written by women, 17 titles aimed at younger readers, eight self-help books, six classics and three comic books/graphic novels. Amongst those books are 18 which I would loosely label as diverse, which, for the sake of categorising these books, I’m using to describe books by and/or about people from another country, focusing on mental health, by and/or about the LGBTQ+ community, and by BAME writers (I’d label a further ten books as overtly ‘feminist’).

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I plan to challenge myself to read more diverse titles in 2019. The books which have had a lasting impact on me this year have told stories unlike my own and I’ve found that so beneficial as a reader and writer.

In the interest of making this semi-challenge a bit more official, I’ll be using the following tools and prompts to help me:

1. My Book Riot Reading Log, a reading journal which features the following challenge:

  • A book about books
  • A book you would normally consider a guilty pleasure
  • A book about a current social or political issue
  • A book that was originally published in another language
  • A book with an LGBTQ character main character, written by an LGBTQ author
  • Re-read a book you read in school
  • An award-winning young adult book
  • A book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative
  • A collection of short stories
  • A book about space
  • A book published by an independent press
  • A book by an author from another continent

I actually accidentally managed all but one of these this year (space), so it’ll be fun to do it on purpose.

Read Harder: A Reading Log by Book Riot - review

2. The Ninja Book Box 2019 Challenge

This fab book subscription service is on a break at the moment but they have challenged fans to read more independently published books. Books read for this challenge must be published by independent publishers or self-published. Books published by any of the ‘Big 5’ (HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Shuster, Macmillan, Hachette + imprints) don’t count. There’s also a bingo card!

Indie Challenge bingo card

Participants are encouraged to either choose a line or go the whole hog. I’d love to have a crack at the whole thing but for the time being I’m going to focus on the final vertical line (a Women’s Press, poetry, young adult, a book that defies genre, favourite). Another thing I’d like to do this year is read more poetry. I always thought I wasn’t much of a fan but I think I just need to try harder to find something I like. Do send your recommendations.

3. The Penguin Reading Challenge

I’m subscribed to Penguin’s mailing list and was really interested in a message which dropped into my inbox the other day. To support readers with their challenges, they’re sending tailored monthly updates, depending on whether you’re looking to ‘expand your mind, keep up with the big hits, discover the best contemporary writing or read the books you always meant to read’. I ticked ‘expand your mind’ and I’m definitely on the right track – the first list of suggestions included Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies, which I gleefully received for Christmas.

Christmas books 2018

4. My final Challenge is community focused and is hosted by Blogger’s Bookshelf.

They’re adapting their Book Club for 2019 to feature a prompt a month, with recommendations rather than a fixed title. As I love getting involved in discussions but tend to avoid being limited to a single title, this sounds perfect. The prompts are as follows:

  • Road trip
  • Under 200 pages
  • Animal/creature in the title
  • Non-fiction
  • Penguin Modern
  • Translated into your native language
  • Five-word title
  • Water on the cover
  • Also a movie/TV show
  • By an author with an alliterative name
  • Features a ghost
  • Judge a book by its cover

Blogger's Bookshelf 2019 challenge

I can’t wait for Vicky to bring back her #bookchat in the new year. I love the book blogger community.

I thought I’d also share my current TBR, i.e. the books that I’ve bought or been given gifted recently and haven’t had a chance to read yet. There are currently 30 unread books sitting on my bookshelves, including the following:

  • Rebecca
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Feminists Wear Pink
  • Reasons to Stay Alive
  • Becoming
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • Purple Hibiscus
  • Everything I Never Told You
  • Uncommon Type
  • Goodnight Mr Tom
  • The Chalk Man

Which one/s would you prioritise? Are you challenging yourself to switch up your reading habits in 2019?

9 thoughts on “My 2019 TBR and Reading Challenge”

  1. I LOVE Simon Vs – such an adorable book :D

    If you want a good Space book (well, trilogy) I can’t recommend The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff enough. I devoured all three in a rush because once I had started I had to finish and they’re not like anything I have read before.

    Good luck with your 70 books – I’ve gone for 52 this year. (My physical TBR ‘pile’ currently stands somewhere about 110 books… I have an entire TBR book case. Oops.)

  2. I’ll certainly take a look at a couple of the challenges – thanks for the links.
    Eleanor Oliphant was my favourite discovery this year, by turns hilarious and heart-breaking. I read Rebecca at school and it’s remained one of my favourites ever since.

  3. Well done on reading 70 books! That’s amazing! I think I only managed about 17 or 18. (Still better than last year’s 7, though, I guess!) I’m going to challenge myself to read lots more in 2019, though, so I may look in to some of these challenges- or at least use a few of the prompts to inspire my choices.
    Goodnight Mister Tom was one of my favourite childhood books (I was obsessed with it when I was about 10), and Anne of Green Gables is the loveliest read, so I’d recommend starting with either of those. I think you’ll love them!

  4. Thank you for the shout out 😀 I really want to do the Penguin reading challenge too: it’ll have to be a New Years resolution!

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