5 Reading Challenges to Help Get Through Your TBR

Don’t worry, your TBR doesn’t need to be any longer. These reading challenges can help you cross titles out and finally make a dent in your ever-growing list.

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As you finish up your summer TBR or get started on your brand new fall list, consider changing it up by putting those books into a reading challenge. Bookish people are notorious for having too many books and not enough time to read them. Reading challenges turn it into a sort of game and might make it easier to finally make significant progress. I’ve gathered five challenges that are pretty flexible in terms of time and customization but still provide some structure. Feel free to use them as your next guide for accomplishing all your reading goals.

Clear Out Your Backlog

reading challenges

We’ll kick off the challenges with one meant to encourage you to read all the books you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet. The catch? They should be books you added to your TBR before this year. Those new releases that aren’t so new anymore are calling your name. All book lovers have those bucket list books they keep moving down their list for one reason or another. Space it out at your pace but keep track, and you can reach the satisfaction of finally crossing off some of those older books you’ve been putting off.

Found in Translation


If you’re looking for something entirely fresh and perhaps even a little bit out of your comfort zone, go for this translation challenge. The main rule is to read books that have been translated from one language into your preferred language. Keep in mind: It doesn’t have to be English! If you can read another language, feel free to take that on. There’s no requirement for a number of books, but more translated books might broaden your horizons in terms of language and culture.

Branching Out


This year-long challenge focuses on genres and follows a pretty loose timeline. Pick out 12 genres (maybe Romance, Horror, or Fantasy are among your favorites) and assign each one to a month. The goal is to dive into genres you typically avoid or just have never caught your eye before. Read at least one book from the assigned genre, and if you find yourself struggling to get through it, keep some notes! Writing down what you like or don’t like about what you’re reading might help push through some of the genres you aren’t a fan of. And who knows, you might come out with a few new favorites by the end.

Through the Decades


This challenge will require you to set your own timeline, but the idea is fairly simple. Research literature from each decade going as far back as you’d like, and pick a book or two that you think was most influential each decade. Take on some classics from a few decades in the 1800s or more contemporary work from the mid to late 1900s. Whether you stick to one genre or explore several, you can discover some hidden gems no one seems to talk about anymore.

Read Every Book from One Author

Pick your favorite author or an author you haven’t read yet, but have heard great things about. Do your best to read every novel they’ve published! This might work best with authors who have decades of work behind them, as you can see how their writing developed. But new authors are a great choice, too! This challenge is a fun way to get into new writers.

Hopefully, these inspire you to feel renewed as you read or at least push you to think of your own challenge. Grabbing a few friends and forming a book challenge club isn’t a bad idea either. For a huge master list of reading challenges put together by different creators, click here. Though some include very specific timelines, feel free to adapt them to your needs and preferences. There’s no wrong time to read, after all.

And if you want to see more recommendations from Bookstr, keep reading here!