13 fun reading challenges to set yourself this year

Travel around the world, connect with your family and make exciting new discoveries with our suggestions for kick-starting your reading habit this year. 

Image of three people sat around a pile of books on a yellow background
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You may have been tracking how many books you have read on sites such as Goodreads for some time, using social media to share the amount of books you've devoured in 365 days. Or perhaps reading challenges are a new concept to you altogether, but you'd like to expand your reading.

Either way we have some interesting, fun and creative suggestions to help you set your reading goals for the year and feel a sense of pride when you've completed it. Ready, set, read! 

1. Set a reading goal

One of the most popular challenges for bibliophiles is to read a set amount of books each year. Whether its one book a month or one a week, having a number in mind to reach before New Year's Eve certainly gives you some incentive to keep picking up a book instead of the TV remote. To help you along the way, try some of our recommended short stories or have audiobooks at the ready for when you are out and about.  

2. Complete a series

If you love to binge-watch TV shows then why not binge-read through the greatest book series of all time - and even dare we say it - complete the ones you haven't finished. You'll never be wondering what to read next and a huge sense of accomplishment awaits. Here are the first books in some of our favourite series to get you started...

3. Read everything by one author

Think of your favourite book and read everything else the author has written. We have some handy guides to help you through cannons from some of the world's greatest authors. 

4. Ask your local librarian for a reading list

Channel literary's most famous bookworm, Matilda and make use of your local library. Make friends with the librarian and ask them for their book recommendations - a tailored book service and all for free!

5. Explore a country you would like to visit

Read books set in your favourite country or one you have always wanted to explore. You could read novels, biographies of famous figures, history books or even poetry. By the time you’ve finished you won't even need to visit.

6. Read around the world

Explore the literature that defined a decade and read your way through the stand-out bestsellers of the time and discover some forgotten gems along the way. To get you started we have some handy reading guides below to take you on an adventure through the 20th century. Let the time-travelling commence. 

8. Read 100 of our favourite classics

If you love classic literature and are desperate to read more then work your way through our 100 favourite classic books reading list as chosen by Penguin readers. 

9. Explore classic retellings

Alternatively, if you are an avid classic bibliophile and can quote most of the stories by heart then explore your favourites through modern retellings. Here are some suggestions to get you started….

This one will take a little self-control. Take another look at all those unread books on your bookshelves (we all have them), those shiny hardbacks we bought and are now gathering dust. Now, organise them all onto one or two shelves and start reading from left to right. Once you have completed this challenge, you have our permission to treat yourself to a trip to the bookshop to restock. You're welcome! 

11. Involve your friends and family

Ask your friends and family to share their favourite book with you and read through their suggestions. Not only will you get an insight into the books your nearest and dearest love most, you can have a great bookworm chat the next time you see them. 

12. Create your own celebrity bookclub

If your friends and family aren't seasoned bookworms then perhaps you can turn to your heroes. Barack Obama shares his recommended reading list each year and plenty of celebs use social media to boast about their favourite books. Read your way through their recommendations and you'll probably feel like their new best friend. 

13. Follow the awards

Embrace the glitz and glam of award season then delve into the long-lists of this year’s prestigious book awards. From the Women’s Prize for Fiction to The Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing there are plenty of interesting lists to explore. Here are some of our previous award-winning books to get you in the mood.

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