12 Ways to Make Your Reading Challenge MORE Challenging

12 ways to make your reading challenge more challenging

For some of us, reading fifty-two books in a year is challenging enough. But there are also a few 52 Book Club members who whiz through this challenge every year, completing all the categories by April.

So, for those looking for a way to INCREASE the difficulty of your reading challenge, here are 12 “mini-challenges” to add to any 52 Book Club challenge.

**If this is your first year here, or if you’re not sure you’ll be able to read 52 books, we suggest starting with the basic challenge. (Work your way through the list and match whatever books you like.) These are just some ideas for those who want an extra challenge this year.**

12 ways to make your reading challenge more challenging

1.

Complete the challenge in order.

At first glance, completing the categories in order may not seem that difficult — BUT we would argue that this is one of the trickiest mini-challenges on the list.

Part of the reason it’s so challenging is that you lose a lot of flexibility. (You don’t have the option to shuffle books around to different prompts after you read them, and you can’t just read “what you want, when you want.”)

But, for those who love order and enjoy being “strict” with their reading challenges, this may be a fun option to add to the challenge.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

2.

Limit yourself to one prompt per week.

Some of our participants read through hundreds of books a year, meaning that we usually have people who wrap up their challenge in April or May.

For this mini-challenge, limit yourself to just ONE 52 Book Club challenge prompt a week. Fast readers would intersperse these reads with regular reads. (Example: You may still be reading three or four books a week, but only one of those would be a 52 Book Club read.)

We tried this mini-challenge in 2019 and can attest to the fact that it adds to the intensity! It draws out the challenge, slowing it down and adding to the tension. You also have to pay attention to your weeks as you don’t have a “buffer” to fall back upon if you get behind.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.

Try to include at least 17 non-fiction reads.

For those who mostly read non-fiction, this is an easy mini-challenge to complete. However, for our fiction lovers, this is a GREAT way to branch out your reading and add to the difficulty.

We suggest at least 17 non-fiction reads for this mini-challenge. (About 1/3 of your challenge reads.)

Want to up the intensity even more? Try to evenly split your challenge with fiction/non-fiction reads. (26 of each) OR complete the entire challenge with just non-fiction books. (With the exception of the specific author prompt, you should be able to do so.)

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

4.

Have at least (half) the challenge composed of authors of color.

This is a specific prompt on the 2021 challenge and one that we believe to be important every year. We recognize the importance of diversifying our bookshelves and supporting those who have been overlooked within the publishing industry. We believe it is important to be deliberate in seeking out and sharing books by authors of colour across all genres.

And so, we invite you to participate in this mini-challenge — to have at least half (26) of your 52 Book Club challenge reads written by POC.

To increase the difficulty of this mini-challenge, you could also aim to read all 52 books by authors of color.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

5.

Do the challenge twice: once with regular reads, once with kids books.

This is a cute mini-challenge, inspired by one of our admin, Lindsey! We love it because it highlights the flexibility of this challenge.

Check each category off the list with both a “regular read” and a children’s book. (52 of each.) Some will be easy, some you’ll have to get more creative with!

Example: For the 2021 category “Related to the word ‘fire‘” you could read “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” as your regular read and “Curious George and the Firefighters” as a kid’s book.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

6.

Join our “read it, now watch it” challenge.

This is a fun, Facebook group challenge hosted by our 52 Book Club member, Melissa!

Each year, twelve different books are picked. These books have corresponding movies and/or TV shows. Every month, participants read that month’s book and watch the movie. Discussion occurs within the group!

Each of the book picks will fit at least one of the challenge prompts. You can choose to incorporate these into your regular 52 reads or add them on as a bonus 12.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

7.

Each book has to match at least two prompts.

For those who can’t read 52 books in a year but still want to check off all the categories, we often suggest doubling up the prompts. (Example: The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock would fit both the 2021 categories, “A family saga” and “a book with discussion questions.)

This mini-challenge is a spin on that. In this case, the goal is to still read 52 books. The added challenge? Each book should match at least two prompts.

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

8.

The letters of the alphabet “book title” challenge.

For this mini-challenge, work your way through the challenge list using book titles that start with each letter of the alphabet.

Example: For “Found via bookstagram” you would pick a title starting with the letter A, “an epistolary” uses a title starting with the letter B, “a character with a disability” uses a title starting with the letter C, and so on…

It doesn’t matter which letter of the alphabet goes with which prompt — simply make sure that you have one of each. (26 letters of the alphabet, matching 26 different prompts.)

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

9.

The letters of the alphabet “author” challenge.

This is essentially the same as the mini-challenge above, except instead of using book titles, use the last name of authors!

Example: For “Found via bookstagram” you would pick an author whose last name starts with the letter A, “an epistolary” uses an author whose last name starts the letter B, “a character with a disability” uses the letter C, and so on…

It doesn’t matter which letter of the alphabet goes with which prompt — simply make sure that you have one of each. (26 letters of the alphabet, matching 26 different prompts.)

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

10.

Complete the challenge using only one genre.

This mini-challenge was inspired by a 52 Book Club member who completed the entire 2018 challenge using only comic books!! Talk about impressive.

While we encourage members to use this challenge to diversify their reads and find new genres or authors, this could still be a really unique way to mix things up. (Particularly, if you’ve participated in the past.)

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

11.

Complete the challenge twice.

While this is a “mini-challenge” there isn’t anything really “mini” about it. For this, you’ll complete the entire 52 categories TWICE in the same year. This means that every category will match two books.

This is a fun one because it shows how the books picked for the same prompt can be vastly different. Perhaps the first time through you want to stick to more “traditional” interpretations of each prompt, while the second time, you want to get wildly creative. It’s up to you!

(For those who may be participating for the first time, you could also choose to do one of the past years’ challenges instead. You can find them here: 2018, 2019, 2020.)

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

12.

Participate in a *BONUS* monthly challenge.

Earlier this month, we released our December mini-challenge. This is specifically for those who have finished their challenge early and want something extra to tide them over to the new year.

Mini-challenges are composed of 2-3 unique prompts and will be shared sporadically throughout the year. Sign up for 52 Book Club e-mails to ensure you don’t miss out on any of these bonus categories!

Added Difficulty:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Which mini-challenge are you most interested in trying?
Which one sounds the most challenging?

12 ways to make your reading challenge more challenge

4 thoughts on “12 Ways to Make Your Reading Challenge MORE Challenging

    1. Thanks, Jan! Especially for those who’ve participated in the challenge for three or four years now — always fun to mix things up a bit more!

  1. I’d like to try reading more non-fiction… 17? yikes.
    I also like trying to have each book fall into two categories.
    And finally, trying to have the book title…or author last name….match every letter of the alphabet.
    Oh… and the monthly challenges – these for sure these!

    1. I am considering the non-fiction, writers of color and mini-challenges. Admittedly I already have a lot of them already on my list, but want to go back and check.

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