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Reading Challenge: One Book per Month

Updated: Jan 26

Are you ready to transform your reading experience? Reading challenges are an excellent way to achieve a growth goal, often trying something new. Anyone can participate - from a novice reader to the professional reader. Changing things up or aiming for a new goal often sparks additional interest and enjoyment, driving passion for the activity up.


There are several types of challenges to participate in, depending on what outcome you desire.


Person laying down reading a book.
Reading Challenge

Individual Reading Challenges

For an individual, there are several ways to encourage growth with reading throughout the year. For a new reader that's just getting started, the goal could be as simple as obtaining and reading that first book. More seasoned readers may be looking at broadening their collection or adding volume.


  • Time based challenge: If you are a newer reader and want to make reading a part of your lifestyle and create a habit, a good recommendation is to carve out time every day to dedicate it to reading. Start small - one chapter or 10 minutes a day - until that feels natural. Of course, if you are reading and have extra time that day or the book is in a captivating spot, continue on! But never force it. And keep in mind that if you don't like the material you are reading, it's ok to put it down and try a different book!


  • Overall volume based challenge: This one is simply looking to beat your previous level of activity. Let's say you have been reading one book a month pretty regularly. Making a goal of reading 18 books in the next year would be very realistic to try to achieve.


  • New Genre challenge: Are you always reading a specific genre? Continue doing so, but with this challenge, incorporate a genre that is new to you in between your normal reads. For example, if you typically read only thrillers, you'd try sprinkling in a romance, historical fiction, young adult, paranormal, non-fiction, etc. among your selection to see if there is any interest in expanding your reading preferences. Sometimes we discover new likes. Other times, it only further secures our original position - and that's ok, too!


  • Alphabet challenge: This is a fun challenge that I discovered a few years back on "Bookstagram" (following other book lovers and bloggers on Instagram). Essentially, you seek out books and select one to read one that would correspond with each letter of the alphabet (the letter coincides with the first letter of the title OR you could line it up with authors name). This would net 26 books in whatever time period you choose. You can further customize the challenge by reading them truly in alphabetical order, or allow the order to be random. A sample start is listed below:

    • All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

    • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

    • Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    • Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson

    • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    • Final Girls by Riley Sager


  • 12 Books Recommended by Friends Challenge: Ask your friends, peers, coworkers, neighbors or family what their favorite recent or all time favorite books have been and create a list. Keep a note of who recommended each book so that you automatically have a person to reach out to discuss the book as you are reading or when you are finished. A huge portion of the fun for people is being able to talk about the book with others. I LOVE when my friends read my recommendations and text me while they are in a good part! It is also fun for me to know that if I read their recommendations that I can connect with them without worrying about giving away an ending or plot twist, so I can speak freely as I read.


  • Color Challenge: With this challenge, you are reading a book with a color in the title. You can also substitute "color" with several different options such as animals or numbers. Here are a few starter examples:

    • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


  • Geography Challenge: Select books set in different locations. Authors often write about areas that are familiar to them such as Nicholas Sparks and the Carolinas, or Elin Hildebrand and Nantucket. Broaden your reach by seeking books set abroad or even places that you'd like to visit.


Actions that assist in hitting your Reading Challenge goals

There are several tips that can play a substantial role in hitting your personal goals. Consider incorporating one or several of these as you develop your own reading strategies.


Schedule - Try to schedule your reading time into your calendar. By making it a priority, your focus remains razor sharp and the goal stays front and center. However, being completely authentic with you, as a parent this was an impossible strategy until my boys became teens. If this doesn't work for you, no worries!


Carry your book EVERYWHERE - It is amazing how much time you may find to read with this strategy. This one worked particularly well for me when my boys were in travel sports. They always had to arrive 30 minutes before a game, so I found that to be a great time to enjoy a few minutes of quiet reading in the car before finding my seat to watch their game.


Buddy Read - Reading with a friend, coworker, family member, or even an online buddy is a great way to encourage each other. This support tactic has been widely used for health and nutrition results, and it's no different in this context. It could be loosely supporting each others goals. Or in the more traditional sense, this Buddy Read concept means selecting a book together with a goal of reading together in roughly the same timeframe.


I've had so much fun doing this with friends - it often leads to lots of text exchanges when you hit an unexpected twist in a thriller or a hilarious spot in a rom com. It's not unusual to see a text from me like "Kaitlyn!!! Have you read Chapter 23 yet? PLEASE TEXT ME when you do - I was NOT expecting that!"


Book Club - Join a local or online book club. There are several benefits in participating in a book club including having guidance on what to read next. Just the act of having the book picked out for you removes the uncertainty that holds a lot of people back. Another huge plus is the socialization and discussion with peers, enhancing a fondness and appreciation of reading. And finally, it broadens your library with books that you may not have otherwise known about or selected.


Audio - Supplement your reading with audio! Initially, I did not want anything to do with audio books. I thought I wouldn't be able to concentrate, but I've shocked myself and truly enjoy listening now. I personally like to start by reading my books, but whenever possible, I also check out the audio version (Libby is free, or you can get an Audible membership).


I listen to my books whenever I'm driving, cleaning the house, or going out for a walk. It makes doing mundane activities so much better. Then when I do have time to sit down at night after work, I simply pick up my book where I left off with my audio and continue! It's a win-win!


Reading Challenge - Book a Month book list

If you aren't sure where to start, please see the list below that I've curated for my local book club. We have a nomination and voting process that incorporates our groups opinions. Then I take the nominated works and strategically assign them to a month, trying to separate genres a bit and assigning relevant books with respective holidays whenever applicable (romance in February or paranormal in October or snowy holiday in December, for example).


I've added a very light description of each novel as this is my own personal list for next year and I have not yet read the novels. A full summary can be found by clicking on each title.


January = When All is Said by Anne Griffin (Fiction - Elderly man toasts most impactful people in his life)


February = The Good Part by Sophie Cousens (Contemporary Romance - wishing machine and time travel)


March = The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose (Thriller - Wife defends husband accused of murdering his mistress)


April = The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand (Contemporary Fiction - Trip celebrating each phase of life)


May = None of This is True by Lisa Jewell (Psychological Thriller - True Crime Podcast)


June = All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin (Contemporary Fiction - scandalous picture changes everything)


July = Don't Forget to Write by Sara Goodman Confino (Historical Fiction - summer of 1960)


August = Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave (Contemporary Romance - Love, marriage and family)


September = The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh (Love story combined with mystery)


October = The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (Paranormal Romance - ghost with unfinished business)


November = Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra (Young adult - Three students in competitive dance)


December = A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss (Holiday - Stepsisters come together after their fathers death)


From diverse genres to timeless classics, buddy reads to BookTok inspiration, this blog is your gateway to unlocking a year of captivating stories. Discover how 10 minutes a day and the power of audiobooks supplement your journey through the pages. Join the challenge, set goals, and explore uncharted literary territories—let's embark on an unforgettable reading adventure together!



Looking for the perfect way to keep track of your reading challenges?




Designed for avid book lovers, this thoughtfully crafted Reading J0ournal invites you to rate, review, and immortalize key thoughts and memorable quotes for up to 100 books as you devour them. The first page is a Reading Challenge for you to determine a new goal for the year and helps you track your progress. Plus, stay organized and manage your lists all in one convenient journal.



Looking for Book Recommendations?


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I just wrote about my book challenge I plan to follow in 2024. I'm doing one fiction and one nonfiction book a month throughout this year. I also picked out my books too.

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Replying to

That's a fantastic challenge! And kudos to you for already mapping out your books!

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Guest
Dec 19, 2023

I typically set time challenges for myself, but I want to set a volume challenge for next year! Thanks for the inspiration😊

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Dec 20, 2023
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You are welcome! Moving from time challenges to volume challenges is the perfect approach! I'm sure you will crush it next year!

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Guest
Dec 11, 2023

I am normally not very into any challenges, but these kind I actually would really love to do! Planning to challenge my sister with the Alphabet challenge, so that we can both come up with the suggestions to fill up the list. Thanks for this post - it gave me a lot to think about!

Sonja

www.blueteatile.com

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Dec 15, 2023
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Best wishes for you on your challenge! It's so fun! Keep track of your books and it's ok to do them out of order. Be sure to grab any of those weird letters if you can so you don't save the hard ones for last! (V = Verity, for example)

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Tibisay Felida
Tibisay Felida
Dec 09, 2023

What an incredible reading challenge guide! And the audio supplements are a game-changer. Thank you for this delightful guide and the well-crafted reading list.

Tibisay

www.tibisaytutoring.com

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Dec 15, 2023
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Yes, the audio has dramatically changed my own activity! Activites that had been mundane (cooking, meal prep) go by so fast now!

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Guest
Dec 09, 2023

Love these ideas! I started reading 1 book a month by aiming to read just 10 pages a day as for the average 300 page book it means I would automatically get through1 book a month! :D Taking your book with you is a great tip too! 😀

Katherine

https://katherinemclee.com

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
Dec 15, 2023
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It's amazing how every little bit adds up!

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