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2021 Book Reading Challenge

2020 has ended and we are all happy to be heading into a new year which, I am sure, we are all hoping will be a lot different than 2020. Though, I imagine the 2020 situation gave some of us more reading time than we might have had if the year had turned out differently.

With the coming of a new year many of us set out our annual book challenges or plans. Maybe you do this through Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, or goodreads annual Reading Challenge, or something from the master list of reading challenges at However maybe you create your own idea of what you want to read going into 2021.

Several years ago, I started using the goodreads challenge. At the time I wondered how many books I actually read a year. Turned out to be more than I thought and, even when I set the challenge, higher than previous years, I almost always end up reading the same number of books each year. This challenge is great for keeping track of what you read.

In late December 2019 I decided I was going to make up my own reading challenge. I only put 8 books on the list but they were the books I really wanted to make sure I read (plus, I didn’t want to turn my joy of reading into a chore). The list was an easy task to complete and even though a couple of them were not really to my liking, others turned out to be better reads than I imagined – The Testaments by Margaret Atwood being one of the unexpected enjoyable reads.

In 2020 I learned about the World Reading Challenge from my friend Rachel. The goal is to read a book set in or by an author from each of the UN countries. On excel I made up a list of these countries and quickly realized I had read from more of them than I imagined – at least 32. I also realized my reading habits really do lean toward Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Shockingly Nigeria is high on the list of countries I have read a number of books from too and all very enjoyable. I would love to hear recommendations from those of you who are doing the Read the World challenge or live /have lived in countries I may not have read from.

During December 2020 I laid out my reading plans for 2021. One item I am adding to my challenge is to read more world books. Another goal is to read books with my mother (I must admit my sister and my friend Karen are partially responsible for this idea). The distance between us is huge and hopefully reading books with her will make it feel smaller.

Below is my list. It is mostly made up of books I really just want to make sure I read at some point.

MJ’s Reading Challenge for 2021

(in no particular order)

1. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abe Dare

2. Brother by David Chariandy

3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

6. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

7. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi – Ghana

8. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

9. The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk – Estonia

10. Milkman by Anna Burns

I would love to hear about your 2021 reading plans, or if you would like to read along with me, that would be a lot of fun. I know Karen and I are already reading a book together with our moms and we will be sharing our thoughts with each other.

I would love to hear about your reading plans for 2021.

Happy New Year everyone,


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Great post! I decided I would expand my genres as far as my reading goals. I have typically read historical fiction,.then after a couple of those, I read a whimsical romance just to break it up.

I added thrillers into my mix. Oh! I love them. So long as they are not too gory. I do use Goodreads too. I have 60 for the year. We'll see, no biggie if I miss my numbers.


60 books! That is a lot. I average between 30 to 36 a year. Glad you are enjoying branching out. I really like to read a variety of books.



I do think having reading goals could take the fun out of reading and therefore should be considered with care. This is why mine leaves lots of room to read whatever I feel like too.



I like the idea of setting reading goals MJ. My reading list usually consists of whatever books Chris or mom or Kayli lend to me :) I read "Brother" and really enjoyed it, but I must admit I don't recognize most of the other books on your list. Let me know how they are as you go, maybe it will inspire me to join you and mom on your reading journey. I noticed you have your first Jodi Picoult book on your list for this year. I'm also interested to hear your thoughts on it when you are finished. Enjoy !!!

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