6 Great Reading Challenges To Try In 2017

Have you been looking to change up your reading habits next year?

Maybe read some topics that will challenge your worldview, or investigate a genre you've not really tried before? Finally read some of the books that people have been going on about for ages? Or just have a more social reading experience?
Well, luckily for you (and me, because it's a great premise for a post) it's that time of year again - no, not Christmas. READING CHALLENGE SIGN UP TIME.

There's enough challenges floating around the Bloggersphere right now to last for a decade, let alone 2017, and that means that your perfect one has to be out there somewhere - but it can get a little confusing, especially if you're not sure exactly what you're looking for.

That's where I come in. You're welcome. *tips velvet top hat* I've tried to give each challenge a little description, but you're probably best clicking on the links to get a full picture of what it is.

The Goodreads Challenge
Picture from Goodreads
There's probably very little point me telling you about this one, to be honest. The Goodreads challenge is the holy grail of reading challenges, the one that everyone wants to beat. (Spoiler alert - this year, I didn't. Boo.) Maybe what makes it so brilliant is that it's so simple: pick how many books you want to read in a year, then ... read them.

It does get a bad rep, to be honest. People find that, because it has such a concrete goal and a nagging tendency (it's never a nice feeling to be told you're 20 books behind schedule, let's be honest), it can take the joy out of reading. I understand that, but it is incredibly useful simply for tracking what you've read - not to mention that it's a great feeling to see that little orange line creeping up, as well as knowing that every single book you've read - including that poetry collection and the textbook you read for school, as long as it's on Goodreads - counts.

Meh. It's there. And as long as you set a reasonable goal (52, a book a week, is usually a good starting point), it can be a great challenge, especially if you're not that experienced with completing them. Another great thing is that almost everyone does it, so you won't be short on community!

Retellings Reading Challenge 2017
Photo from Once Upon A Bookcase
I stumbled across this due to the fact that I have an obsession with retellings, but just don't read enough of them. And this is a shame. But what this challenge is designed to do is create a community of people who are clamouring to get their hands on as many retellings as possible - while helping each other to find the best ones, of course.


They're UK only, I'm afraid, but since I live in the UK I can get very excited about this - right? I'm also very excited about the fact that, not only are there a bunch of suggestions to get one started on the sign-up page, but everyone's going to be reviewing everything. Just think of all the amazing recommendations ... *happy sigh*

Diverse Books Challenge
Photo from Chasing Faerytales
Reasons it is important that you take part in this challenge:

  1.  Mish and Shelley have clearly worked very hard to make it happen, and we ought to support them because they are wonderful people.
  2. I CANNOT OVERSTATE not only how important reading diversely is, but also how much it will enhance your reading experience. This is an amazing way of helping yourself doing it.
  3. There is a reading list to help you choose some reads, which is absolutely priceless, especially when you're looking for a kind of diversity that isn't often easy to find (e.g. disability or world religions).
  4. I think you'll enjoy it. But you know me - I'm an overlord. I care more about the other three things than whether you actually enjoy what I tell you to do. ;-)

Read The Books You Buy Challenge
Photo from Book Date
The basic idea is that you sign up to read a specific percentage of the books that you buy - from 20% to 100% - and try to meet it. The tricky thing is that you aren't allowed (or supposed) to change your book-buying habits too much; you just have to bear in mind how you're going to attack your TBR when doing so. The aim isn't to hurt author's livelihoods by discouraging you to buy, but to give you an incentive to actually read what you've already got.

This one strikes me as the perfect challenge for those of you who, like me, are drowning in your TBRs and STILL BUYING BOOKS. If you're like me, you'll probably also absolutely hate book bans, so this is a pretty good alternative - I've always found that, because a book ban reduces the amount of books around me, it slows down my reading.


Sorry, I'm Booked
Photo from Sorry, I'm Booked
The thing I really like about this challenge is how well-crafted it is - the prompts are specific enough to inspire you and encourage you to read certain books / genres, but not so closed that you won't be able to find something you actually want to read. In fact, just looking at that list is making me itch to read stuff. Sure, there are a lot of challenges that have similar premises, but there's nothing wrong with tradition when it's done this well.

It just shows that the most important thing for a reading challenge isn't an inventive premise, but how well it's carried out.

Netflix and Books Challenge
Photo from Bookmark Lit
The basic idea of this challenge is pretty simple. There's a list of prompts that you can use to link together books and TV shows - for example, both contain a shared word or are set in the same time period - the entire list of prompts, once completed with books you want to read and TV shows you've been intending to watch, gives you a joint TBR and TBW list.

If you want to go the whole hog and become a Level Two competitor, then you can track points for books you read and shows you watch. If you're the one with the most points, then you win a PRIZE. (And everyone wants a prize, right?)

Reasons this is a fantastic, splendiferous idea:

  • Um, it gives you an excuse to watch Netflix! Netflix good. Excuse to watch Netflix even better.
  • The whole linking-together-books-and-shows premise is very useful because it encourages you to investigate specific topics through . So you can become an expert in ... 1970s pop culture. Or ... South Wales. Or ... I don't know. Murder?

I probably won't be taking part in all these challenges, simply because I am one person and I hate reading pressure. But I'd be happy to if I had six clones, if that makes sense. There is not one that I would dread having to participate in.

(If you're having similar trouble, I did write this handy little guide on how to get through a huge TBR. Just ... to let you know.

In the comments: What challenges are you guys intending to take part in next year? Which have you enjoyed in the past? What makes you want to join a challenge in the first place?
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  1. I ALWAYS take part in the Goodreads Challenge, of course, but this year I've been looking for a couple more to do too. I don't think I could do the Netflix and reading one - I just don't have the time with my course - but I'm definitely going to check out the Read What You Buy One.
    Great post! Super helpful! XD

    1. I JUST REALISED I WASN'T FOLLOWING YOU ON GOODREADS! *throws hands up in horror and rushes off to fix it*

      Phew! I've sent you a friend request now, so all is fixed. I see what you mean about all that Netflix being pretty time-consuming - but I hope you enjoy attempting to read what you buy! Thanks for reading, as always.

  2. This is perfect- I've really wanted to join more reading challenges outside of the Goodreads one. (That thing is the most stressful thing I ever agreed to do. I low key lowered my goal when I realized it was doing nothing for me.) I actually really want to make a TBR jar this year, but I'm not sure if I want to do titles of books on my TBR or challenges (or both???). This is a great post- nicely done!

    1. First of all - I wrote something perfect? *eyes fill with happy tears* Thank you for that, Julia. It meant a lot.

      YES - GOSH THE GOODREADS CHALLENGE IS STRESSFUL. I couldn't work out how to lower mine, so I was kind of stuck not succeeding. Ah, well. And a TBR jar? That sounds like an amazing idea. Maybe you could have one jar for challenges and one jar for titles, then try to match them up?

  3. Ooh, these look so fun!! I've always been a big fan of the Goodreads challenge because it's a classic and helps to organize the books I've read in order for my wrap-up posts. :) Being behind is always a little stressful, but I've never not met my goal. Next year with all the college classes I'm taking, I'll definitely have to scale back, though.

    Next year I'm thinking about doing a combination of lots of these. I want to mostly ban myself from buying any books (although if an autobuy author publishes a book, like Rainbow Rowell, I would of course buy that book) so I can really tackle the ones I already have, read as diversely as possible, and try to stay current with 2017 releases. Lots to keep in mind, but it should be fun!

    1. Goodreads is frankly amazing for keeping track of ... well ... everything. I honestly don't know what I'd do without shelves to do my list posts - panic, probably.

      I'm scaling back my challenge total too, just because I didn't meet it last year and that made me sad. What college classes are you taking? Probably something super-interesting, knowing you.

      Oh, and good luck with your book ban. I'm always in awe of the people who manage to stick to them.

  4. Oh gosh, I can't imagine not being organized. I'd panic right along with you.

    Human biology, public speaking, theater history, and Spanish. Guess which two I'm not so excited about. ;)

    1. THEATER HISTORY! Gah, American college courses are so cool. In England, we're only allowed to take one course - I guess you'd call it a major - and ... well, that's it. I don't know how you'll choose.

    2. ^I'll choose, that was meant to be. DARN TYPOS.


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