I love a good challenge!


This page may contain links to Amazon.com or other sites from which I may receive commission on purchases you make after clicking on such links. Read my full Disclosure Policy

I joined Goodreads late in 2010, and loved the way it allowed me to organize my past, current, and future reading activities, as well as the social aspects of the site.

During 2011 I noticed that other members of the site were in a reading challenge where they set a goal to read a certain number of books during the year. I decided to participate in 2012, and set myself a goal of reading 50 books. My sister said that wasn’t a realistic goal, and she turned out to be right. About halfway through the year, I was so far behind schedule that I reduced my goal to 25. I ended up making it to 32.

In 2013, I increased my goal to 40, and read 42. Last year I kept it at 40, and barely squeaked through. I did manage to finish I Know This Much Is True on New Year’s Eve. (Who needs a party?) I’d started it on December 3rd, but at nearly 900 pages, it wasn’t exactly a quick read.

In case I wasn’t able to wrap it up that night, I read The Man with the Violin during the afternoon to ensure I reached my 40-book target. You might think that counting a 32-page picture book is cheating, but as winner of the TD Children’s Literature Prize for 2014, it counts. By the way, if you haven’t heard, the author, Kathy Stinson, is my amazing sister, who knew I wouldn’t read 50 books in a year.

Kathy has also said that it’s pointless to have a target number of books to read, probably because it doesn’t account for the fact that a 30-page picture book is not an equal challenge to reading a 1000-page novel. She suggested that targeting a number of hours would be far more meaningful. However, since it’s easier to let Goodreads keep track for me, I’m going to stick with my goal of 40 books again this year.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a blog called The Introverted Reader. Jen, who is the blogger behind it, hosts and participates in a number of different reading challenges with interesting themes such as Books in Translation, Immigrant Stories, and Banned Books. I was tempted to sign up, but hadn’t actually taken the time to find out what was involved.

In the meantime, I spotted a post by Julie Bestry in my Twitter feed about the 2015 Reading Challenge on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.

I checked it out, and it’s so fantastic I decided right away to do it.

It’s very simple: read 12 books in 12 different categories in 12 months. But the categories aren’t connected at all to specific genres; they’re far more interesting. The first category is a book you’ve been meaning to read, and I’m going to finally get to The Happiness Project! Of course, with topics this broad, you can choose just about anything; it’s really just about having some structure. And I do like structure!

Do you take part in any reading challenges? I’d love to hear about it!


Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Kathy Stinson on January 12, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for the shout-out here, Janet, my also-amazing sister. 🙂

    I like the idea of a challenge to broaden one’s reading, rather than simply challenging oneself to read more books. Have fun with your reading!

  2. Broken: A Paranormal Romance [book review] on April 26, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    […] third category listed in the 2015 Reading Challenge is “a book in a genre you don’t typically read.” Since I’ve broadened my […]

Leave a Comment

You might also enjoy...

A Great Year for Reading

2018 books

Challenge completed!

Silver and Gold