Reading Challenges 2021

It’s technically possible to squeeze in another couple of books before midnight on December 31, 2021 but unlikely, so I think I can safely draw a line under the reading challenges for the year.

I participated in six challenges this year – finished three; one is ongoing; and I failed two – (one miserably, one by a whisker).

Australian Women Writers – I read 27 books by Australian female authors (the target was ten). AWW delivered some stand-outs year – Kokomo by Victoria Hannan; Loner by Georgina Young; Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down (still reading but her writing is breathtakingly good); Fathoms by Rebecca Giggs; and Witness by Louise Milligan.

Memoir – I read 22 memoirs (the target was five). It’s difficult to pick favourites because nearly every book I read for this challenge was fantastic, but Rosie by Rose Tremain; Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton; The Salt Path by Raynor Winn; and My Mother, Munchausen’s and Me by Helen Naylor stood out.

What’s In a Name – this challenge is always good fun, and an excellent way to reacquaint myself with titles in the TBR stack. I finished the challenge late this year, and the highlight was the book I finished with -David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

Mount TBR – it’s as if I didn’t even try… I only read 25 of the pledged 48. I will be signing up in 2022 though – it keeps me ever-ever-so-slightly reading from what I already own. Happily, this challenge delivered some rippers – Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart; French Exit by Patrick deWitt; Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon; and Us by David Nicholls.

Around the World in 80 Books – my fifth year of an ongoing challenge and I managed to add seven countries to the 19 I covered in 2017, 18 in 2018, nine in 2019, and five in 2020, bringing my total to 58. It’s getting increasingly more difficult! Glancing down the list, my pick for the Netherlands, The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, was the winner.

Nonfiction Reader Challenge – the aim was 12 books over 12 nonfiction categories, and I read eleven, falling short on a book focused on Indigenous Cultures (I have Trauma Trails by Judy Atkinson picked out but not sure I’ll manage it in two days). My favourites (Winn and Giggs) have had mentions in other challenges.

As for reading challenges in 2022, I’m planning on participating in all of these again and perhaps looking for one or two new ones (GirlXOXO has lots of suggestions).

Are you trying any new challenges?


10 responses

  1. No thanks! not for me. Too limiting. Our Library stocks are not always that great, and neither is the budget. But you enjoy. Whatever blows your hair back, baby! Happy reading!

    • Totally get that challenges can feel limiting. I meet them almost exclusively from my TBR stacks, and find it’s a good way to reacquaint with what I already own.

    • I have a couple in the TBR stack but it’s getting very difficult. Think I will have to find countries I haven’t done and seek out their writers – hopefully they have English translations.

  2. I’ve read none of the books you’ve listed (I did take a detour to Africa – Zimbabwe and Nigeria – which I should do more often) Re ‘reading glasses’ did you see the story in the paper that reading glasses may be replaced by eye-drops? I think I’d prefer glasses.

    • I didn’t see that article. I don’t actually wear glasses yet, although this year had to succumb to some of those chemist-bought magnifiers – seemed overnight I couldn’t read small print! I’m sure I’ll finish 2022 with a prescription 🙁

  3. Haha, that cartoon made me laugh.

    Interesting comment re challenges too limiting. For me they would be just the opposite, which is why I’m always tempted, but my reading is limited by review copies and reading group selections, so that after that there tends to be not a lot of room left. However, if there were, I would use it to focus on the TBR.

    I tend to like to do “reading weeks” or “months” rather than challenges, because these tend to feed into specific interests and aren’t really challenges, like ILW, Non-fiction, Novellas.

  4. I’m also doing Around the World in 80 Books and only on 56. I did make it harder for myself by deciding I wanted each book to be written by an author from the country, but I’m glad I decided to do it that way. It is getting harder though! I want to try and crack on with it a bit more in 2022. I’ll look forward to seeing where you visit next year!

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