Reading Challenges That Are Based on Quality not Quantity

Setting reading goals is great, but full of pressure. Instead of challenging yourself to read an impossible number of books, try these reading challenges.

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Alarm clock sitting on a pile of books.

Picture this: It’s the beginning of a new year and it’s time for a new book challenge. You decide to up the number of books you’re going to read this year even though you didn’t complete last year’s challenge. Skip ahead one month: It’s now the end of January and you’re already behind on your goal to read 100+ books this year. This situation has happened to a lot of us at one time in our lives, and it can be disheartening and even discouraging. But perhaps instead of setting ourselves up for failure, we should set ourselves up for success. Instead of challenging yourself to read X number books, perhaps it’s time for some alternative reading challenges where we focus on quality over quantity.

Read Your Friends’ Favorite Books

Your friend has been raving about this particular book for years now. You’ve had this book on your TBR for a while but you haven’t really given it a shot. Well, it’s time! Instead of reading 1000 books this year, challenge yourself to read your friends’ favorite books/authors.

Two friends reading a book with Irving Stone quote, "There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books."

I think this is an amazing challenge for few reasons:

Your friends may have completely different tastes than you and this challenge will get you to read books you never even thought about.

Your friends may have very similar tastes to your own and they help you discover a book/author that you’ve never read before.

The challenge will allow you to become closer with your friends because now you’ll be able to discuss the things they love with them.

Reread from the Past

Some may say that rereading books does not count for a reading challenge, but I say they’re dead wrong. Rereading books you read when you were younger can reveal how much you’ve grown as a person and how much more you understand now.

Person reading at a picnic with C.S. Lewis quote, "Re-reading, we always find a new book."

Here are a few things to try for this challenge:

Reread a book that you hated as a teenager: I hated Wuthering Heights when I had to read it in high school, and I haven’t touched it since. Yet, I’ve read the other Brontë sisters’ books and I love them, so this year I’m challenging myself to reread Wuthering Heights to see if I can appreciate Emily Brontë’s style as well.

Reread an old favorite: For my birthday one year my grandma gave me a book called Shug by Jenny Han. It came to me at point in my life when I needed it most and I related to the main character so much. I haven’t read it in a long time, mainly because it is a middle-grade book, but I think it would be cool to reread it and think about all the things that were important to me when I was 12 and how that has changed now.

Read Out of Your Comfort Zone

Perhaps the reason why you were having trouble completing those previous reading challenges is because your TBR was not exciting enough for you to want to read it. Instead of focusing on the number of books, challenge yourself to broaden your scope to books and authors outside of your usual tastes.

Person reading on a mountain with Fred Devito quote, "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you."

Here are some ways to try new things:

Read more diverse authors: Reading books from authors who are from different cultures and backgrounds from our own can be a great way to challenge the way we think about the world. Reading books with different perspectives on topics like love, magic, family, war, etc. can also be enjoyable and expand our imagination to different possibilities.

Read different genres: I love reading 19th century classic literature, but I sometimes felt left out when my friends or my favorite Bookstagrammers would talk about the latest romance novel or the newest YA fantasy trilogy. So, last year I challenged myself to read more contemporary romance books and I fell in love with the Love Hypothesis.

Read different mediums: If you’re still hellbent on completing that 100-book Reading challenge then this challenge will be great for you. Long lengthy novels are not the only books that count towards your New Year’s reading challenge, instead try reading different book mediums such as graphic novels, manga, or poetry collections. Don’t discount these books just because they are short and have pictures, these types of mediums can offer new forms of storytelling that can pack in so much emotion and imagination.

Whatever challenge you choose to do, remember it is not about winning or losing but about challenging yourself to discover more books you enjoy reading.

For more reading challenges or ways to get through your TBR list, check out these fun and helpful articles.