Hello Readers! This will be my fourth year to participate in the Popsugar Reading Challenge! If you’ve never heard of the challenge, you can learn about it here. There’s also an informative Goodreads group here, as well as a Facebook group—but I’m not currently using Facebook. What I like about this challenge is it pushes me out of my comfort zones a bit, but I can almost always find books off my own shelf to fill the prompts. The list creators are always encouraging readers to make the list their own and to interpret the prompts in the way that is best for their own use, as well.
The day they release the prompts is always a little bit like Christmas morning for me. I always have way too much fun planning out my reading year—even though I rarely stick to it too closely.
I try to pick out existing books on my physical and digital shelves first and then fill in any other spots with books I’ve been wanting to read but don’t own yet. What usually causes my list to change the most are my ARCs. It’s usually while I’m reading them that I discover they’ll fit a prompt on the list. But I do also like to allow some room for mood reading.
After browsing through 2021’s prompts, I think I was most excited about the Advanced Prompts! All of them involve our abundant TBRs. Hopefully it will help me tackle some of my backlist. Here’s what I’ve “planned”. We’ll see at the end of the year how well I stick to what I’ve picked. 😉
- A book that’s published in 2021 – The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous
- An Afrofuturist book – Slay by Brittney Morris (alternate – The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin)
- A book that has a heart, diamond, club, or spade on the cover – The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (alternate – Heartless by Marissa Meyer)
- A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign – (Aquarius) Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (who shares my actual birthday) or one of the several Edith Wharton novels I still need to read.
- A dark academia book – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- A book with a gem, mineral, or rock in the title – Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
- A book where the main character works at your current or dream job – (Bookseller) The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
- A book that has won the Women’s Prize For Fiction – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (alternate – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith)
- A book with a family tree – Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- A bestseller from the 1990s – Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (alternate – Naked by David Sedaris)
- A book about forgetting – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- A book you have seen on someone’s bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.) – Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (alternate – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, a reread for me) I saw both of these books on an author’s shelf during a YALLWrite panel.
- A locked-room mystery – One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (alternate – Anxious People by Fredrik Backman)
- A book set in a restaurant – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
- A book with a black-and-white cover – Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (alternate – The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith)
- A book by an Indigenous author – There There by Tommy Orange
- A book that has the same title as a song – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (alternate – Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury)
- A book about a subject you are passionate about – (traveling/Greece) Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
- A book that discusses body positivity – Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen (alternate – Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins)
- A book found on a Black Lives Matter reading list – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- A genre hybrid – (YA, Historical Fiction) We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (alternate – [Romance, Thriller] Verity by Colleen Hoover)
- A book set mostly or entirely outdoors – Force of Nature by Jane Harper
- A book with something broken on the cover – Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
- A book by a Muslim American author – An Ember in the Ashes by Saaba Tahir (alternate – A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini)
- A book that was published anonymously – Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (originally published anonymously)
- A book with an oxymoron in the title – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- A book about do-overs or fresh starts – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- A magical realism book – Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
- A book set in multiple countries – A Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
- A book set somewhere you’d “like” to visit in 2021 – (New York, but only if it were safe!) Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford
- A book by a blogger, vlogger, YouTube video creator, or other online personality – The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
- A book whose title starts with “Q,” “X,” or “Z” – Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- A book featuring three generations (grandparents, parent, child) – Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- A book about a social justice issue – The Smash-Up by Ali Benjamin
- A book in a different format than what you normally read (audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels) – Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audiobook)
- A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads – Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker
- A book you think your best friend would like – It’s typically while I’m reading a book that I’ll think someone else would enjoy it, so I’ll leave this blank for now.
- A book about art or an artist – What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz (alternate – Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater)
- A book everyone seems to have read but you – Circe by Madeline Miller
Your favorite prompt from a past Popsugar Reading Challenge (I like to challenge myself by choosing a book from each past challenge, and I added one to round out my TBR to 60 books.)
- Overall – Reread – I’ll leave this blank for a mood-read choice.
- 2015 – A book from an author you love but haven’t read – The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
- 2016 – Takes place during the summer – Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield (alternate – Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand)
- 2016 Summer Challenge – A road trip book – Hadley & Grace by Suzanne Redfearn
- 2016 Fall Challenge – A book set in Fall/Autumn – Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans (This seems like a strange choice, but it’s my current read and so far it’s mostly set in the fall, which I wish I would have known before I read it.)
- 2017 – A book by a POC – The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
- 2018 – A book with a LGBTQ protagonist – Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (alternate – Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins)
- 2019 – A Debut – Prepped by Bethany Mangle
- 2020 – First book you touch with your eyes closed – I’ll save this one for later!
- 2020 Summer Challenge – A book set on vacation – People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
- 2020 Fall/Autumn Challenge (posted on Popsugar Facebook page) – A book that includes someone falling – Float Plan by Trish Doller (I’ll have to wait until I read it, but this one could be someone literally falling or “falling” in love.)
- The longest book (by pages) on your TBR list – (830 pages) An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7) by Diana Gabaldon (This is the longest book on my 2021 TBR, but only about the fourth or fifth on my overall Goodreads shelf. I have a feeling if I try to put something else here, it won’t happen. :))
- The shortest book on your TBR list – (75 pages) Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer (This is the shortest book on my physical shelf, but may get changed to digital shelf.)
- The book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- The book on your TBR with the ugliest cover – The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah (alternate – [on my digital shelf] The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred)
- The book that’s been on your TBR list for the longest amount of time – The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkein (Technically, I have about 70 books that have been on my Goodreads TBR for the same amount of time, so this could change. But hopefully I’ll finally read this one.)
- A book from you TBR list you meant to read last year but didn’t – The Last Star by Rick Yancey (alternate – Three Women by Lisa Taddeo)
- A book from your TBR list you associate with a favorite person, place, or thing – (place) Astoria by Peter Stark
- A book from your TBR list chosen at random – The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (I set my Goodreads TBR to random and this was the first book that came up!)
- A DNF book from your TBR list – The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (I started this one in 2020 but couldn’t get into it at the time.)
- A free book from your TBR list (gifted, borrowed, library) – (gifted/giveaway) Love at First by Kate Clayborn
Are you participating in the Popsugar Reading Challenge? Did I include any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!