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2021 Reading Goal and Monthly Challenges | #amreading

Monday, January 18, 2021

After feeling like I lost most of 2020 due to . . . well, not keeping track of things well, and after bingeing a bunch of videos on YouTube watching people set up or flip through their reading journals, I decided that I wanted to keep a paper reading journal this year, in addition to logging my reading stats in Goodreads. But once I got into Goodreads and noticed I had ten years’ worth of reading tracked, I couldn’t just ignore that and start with 2021. I dug up an old, hard-cover, full-size journal I’d picked up a couple of decades ago and started filling it in. It’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I’ve finally finished all of the archiving of 2011–2020 and gotten my tracking pages for 2021 set up. Here’s video walkthrough!

In creating this book, I learned a lot about my reading habits, not least of which is that I’ve started consuming a lot more books via audio than I used to. But my biggest takeaway is that I’ve read a lot more in years when I set specific, categoric reading challenges and goals for myself. Since I really need the stress relief this year that escaping into a book gives me, I’m setting a few specific goals and challenges for myself in 2021.

My first challenge is the number. I challenge myself to finish three titles each month, or 36 books in 2021. Since I’m currently in the midst of three books right now in mid-January, this shouldn’t be a problem!

I’m also going to do another A to Z challenge this year — try to read a book by authors with names running the alphabet (X is optional, as always!).

And I’ve also set category challenges for myself for each month. The idea is to pick two or three from the categories in addition to re-reading a “lifetime favorite” each month. I’ll list the monthly challenges below.

What’s your plan for reading in 2021? Do you keep a reading journal? Are you on Goodreads? Are you participating in any group challenges?
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My Monthly Reading Challenges for 2021

January
Long read (more than 500 pp)
Short read (less than 120 pp)
Backlist title by an author I like
Goodreads winner from 2020 (any genre)
Acquired in 2020 but not yet read
Historical Era: Medieval (937 – 1484)
Nonfiction: Biography
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

February
Recommended/review posted by a friend
Published in the 1970s
Adapted for screen
Non-romance with strong themes of platonic love
Historical Era: Dark Ages (402-937)
Nonfiction: Travel
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

March
Genre I don’t usually read
Cover design incorporating purple (favorite color)
Children’s Classic
Book purchased used
POC/Indigenous author
Historical fiction in an era/setting I’m unfamiliar with
Historical Era: Gilded Age (1880s -1890s)
Nonfiction: Self-help or psychology/sociology
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

April
YA Fiction
Last book in a series
Published in the 1980s
Award winner
Autistic main character
Classic literature
Historical Era: WWII/Boomer (late 1930s–early 1960s)
Nonfiction: Essay collection
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

May
Classic I’ve never read (Rory Gilmore Challenge?)
Historical romance (not U.K., not 19th Century)
Nurse Main Character
British crime/mystery
Fan Fiction
Book from “Sounds Interesting” Goodreads List
Historical Era: Industrial Revolution (1850s – 1870s)
Nonfiction: Professional Development (CPTM certification studying)
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

June
Suspense/Thriller
2021 bestseller
Coauthored (not an anthology)
Published in the 1990s
Romance
Humor
Historical Era: Stuart – Early Georgian England (1600s – early 1700s)
Nonfiction: Science-related
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

July
Set in Tennessee
From DNF list
One-word title
Fairy tale retelling
Christmas theme/setting
Contemporary fiction (not romance)
Historical Era: US Revolutionary Era (1760s-1790s)
Nonfiction: History/biography
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

August
Celebrity author
First read in high school
Set at a school/teacher main character
Indigenous culture
Published in the 2000s
Historical Era: Tudor Era (1485 – 1603)
Nonfiction: Hobby, art, writing, etc.
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

September
Set in a country I want to visit (not UK)
Local author
Time Travel
Fiction based on real person/event
Historical Era: Ancient Ireland, Wales, or Scotland
Nonfiction: Food (book, not cookbook)
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

October
Book with the color orange in the cover design
Supernatural or paranormal
Science fiction/Star Wars/Other Media tie-in
Set in autumn
Published in 2010s
Historical Era: Witches/witch trials
Nonfiction: Halloween/other unusual holidays or observances
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

November
Book with autumn scene in cover design
Recommended to me by Amazon
Own but have not read
First book in a series
Outside my normal genre
Historical Era: Arthurian/Fantasy/Supernatural Historical
Nonfiction: Mental Health
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

December
Christmas setting/theme
Long-term TBR
Bestseller from 2021
Shortest (page length) from TBR
Backlist title (never read) from a favorite author
Fantasy
Romance published in 2021
Historical Era: Pirates and/or Royal Navy
Nonfiction: collection of historic figure’s letters
Unused category from previous month
Not optional: Lifetime Favorite reread

One Comment leave one →
  1. Carol permalink
    Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 am

    Very interesting way to breakdown the reading challenge! I am doing Goodreads challenge this year. But I’m not as structured as you. I want to read at least one nonfiction per quarter. My challenge to myself is to read more women authors, especially horror. I’m struggling a bit to find many-especially since I don’t read a ton of hardcore or extreme horror. I prefer cosmic, quiet, and/or literary horror-think Mary Sangiovanni, King, Koontz, Straub.

    Liked by 1 person

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