2020 Reading Challenges

Recently I sat my overachieving ass down to really think about my priorities and goals, instead of just jumping on every challenge that looked fun. (Because let’s face it, they all look great. And I love collecting accomplishments.)

So this year I’m playing it somewhat safe — at least for a start — and we’ll see how it goes. With that disclaimer out of the way, though, I’m excited to share the challenges I’ll be participating in this year!

Graphics associated with each challenge were created by the host(s).

Last updated January 1, 2021

Goodreads Reading Challenge

PROGRESS: 403 / 365

Yes, 150 is lower than I managed last year, though it is simultaneously higher than many of my friends are aiming for. (I tend to read relatively quickly and frequently, so I’ve exceeded 150 for the past three years.)

I’m okay with surpassing and/or increasing my goal; since I’m not sure what my schedule will look like this year, this is more realistic than reach.

MARCH UPDATE: Increased goal from 150 to 250.
JUNE UPDATE: Increased goal from 250 to 300.

Beat the Backlist Challenge (+Bingo)

PROGRESS: 262 / 200

Coupled with #StartOnYourShelfathon [see below], this should be a breeze: over 50% of the books I read last year were backlist.

I could honestly fit in with any of the Beat the Backlist teams — Borrowers, Re-Readers, TBR Stackers, and Multi-Taskers — and, quite honestly, in 2019 I constantly forgot to submit my titles for points. So I won’t be participating in the mini competition, but I’m cheering on everyone who is!

MARCH UPDATE: Increased goal to 200 (was 75).


Last year I managed to fill every prompt on the epic bingo board, but for 2020 I’ve decided to start with the regular bingo board. Though if I finish early — say, by May or so — I may upgrade to the epic bingo.

MARCH UPDATE: I’d been tracking my progress with the epic bingo prompts (because I didn’t want to have to go back, halfway through the year, if/when I changed my mind about which bingo I wanted to use), so I decided to just go for it.


PROGRESS: 167 read, 36 DNF’d

CW @ The Quiet Pond launched this readathon in December 2019, so I already have a post up — you can check it out to see the details, including my monthly reading lists and star maps!

I still have way too many owned-and-unread books to get through, and I’m definitely hoping to make significant progress towards demolishing my owned TBR. So I’m really glad that I’ll have the rest of the year to work on it.

Year of the Asian 2020

PROGRESS: 57 / 51
Final badge: Bengali tiger

Every year is a good year to read books by Asian authors, but especially when you’ve got the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge for extra motivation! Last year I read 58 books by Asian authors, earning the Bengali tiger badge, but this year I’m aiming a little lower: 31-40 books, for the Giant Panda badge.

APRIL UPDATE: Increased goal to 51 (Bengali tiger badge).

Books and Tea Reading Challenge


I love prompt challenges, especially when they’re so manageable — these prompts are straightforward, and it’ll only take one a month to stay on track.

✓ Match the Dragon Queen: a purple book – Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
✓ You Might Not Have Known: an author’s lesser known book / a lesser known author – Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
✓ Why Haven’t I Read This Yet? a book you’ve owned since 2017 – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
✓ Awesome, Of Course: a book by author(s) of color – There There by Tommy Orange
✓ In Satan We Stan: a book with 666 pages or longer – The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
✓ Full of Pride: an LGBT+ book / author – These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
✓ Highly Recommended: a staff member’s favorite – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
✓ A Fresh Look: a book that has an adaptation this year – The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
✓ Star’s the Limit: set somewhere otherworldly – The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
✓ New Kids on the Pub(lisher): 2020 debut author – Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
✓ IM DYING TO READ THIS BOOK … yet you haven’t! – Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
✓ Small Stories: an anthology or book that’s shorter than most – How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

PROGRESS: 50 / 50

I had initially decided to opt out this year because the very niche prompts didn’t really pique my interest, but in August I noticed I was quite close to completing my other challenges so I figured, why not?

A book that’s published in 2020 – The Night Country by Melissa Albert
A book by a trans or nonbinary author – Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
A book with a great first line – We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
A book about a book club – The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, Piper Kendrix Williams
A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics – A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A bildungsroman – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed – The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
A book with an upside-down image on the cover – This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
A book with a map – The Fever King by Victoria Lee
A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (rec. by Dear Hank & John podcast)
An anthology – All Out ed. by Saundra Mitchell
A book that passes the Bechdel test – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it – Deadline by Mira Grant
A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name – The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane
A book about or involving social media – A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green
A book that has a book on the cover – The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
A medical thriller – Parasite by Mira Grant
A book with a made-up language – 1984 by George Orwell
A book set in a country beginning with “C” (Chile) – The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende 
A book you picked because the title caught your attention – Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary
A book published the month of your birthday – Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
A book about or by a woman in STEM – Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
A book that won an award in 2019 – The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
A book on a subject you know nothing about – Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics – Frankly In Love by David Yoon
A book with a pun in the title – A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins – Pride by Ibi Zoboi
A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI character – Crier’s War by Nina Varela
A book with a bird on the cover – Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leader – Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the title – Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
A book by a WOC – How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads – Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
A book you meant to read in 2019 – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
A book with a three-word title – Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
A book with a pink cover – Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
A Western – Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
A book by or about a journalist – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Read a banned book during Banned Books Week [Sep 27 – Oct 3] – The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: A book about a road trip – The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

Advanced Prompts
A book written by an author in their 20s – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
A book with “20” or “twenty” in the title – Veinte poemas de amor y una canción de desesperada y cien sonetos de amor by Pablo Neruda
A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision) – The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
A book set in the 1920s – These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
A book set in Japan, host of the 2020 Olympics – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
✓  A book by an author who has written more than 20 books – Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
A book with more than 20 letters in its title – Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
A book published in the 20th century – The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
A book from a series with more than 20 books – The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
A book with a main character in their 20s – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Tarot Black Lives Matter Book Bingo

PROGRESS: 25 / 25

Given my resolution to read more books by Black authors, and my love of book bingos and of tarot, joining this reading challenge was an easy decision. You can check out the bingo rules, the titles I picked out, and my bingo card in this post.

Of course there are tons more awesome challenges out there, including the POPSUGAR Challenge, which I’ve done in past years but am opting out of in 2020. However, my life only gets busier and busier every year, forcing me to be more selective about my commitments. (Probably a lot of y’all can relate.)

I’m sure that I’ll end up increasing my goals and joining more challenges and readathons as the year goes on, just like I did last year. But I think this is a pretty good start: both achievable and exciting.

  • What reading goals do you have for 2020?
  • Which challenges and readathons, if any, are you participating in?
  • Do you have any titles picked out (whether for a prompt or monthly TBR or just to read soon), or do you prefer to leave your options open?

28 thoughts on “2020 Reading Challenges

  1. Goodluck with thoses challenges!

    I once attempted #BeatTheBacklist and erm… I kinda forgot about it in a whole with tracking & updating it xD
    #StartOnYourShelfATon interrested me alot; I mean- I usually do a mix of loan/on my shelves anyway so it should’ve been easy right? yeah.. that’s what I thought with #BTB on my first year of blogging and it turns out to poop because I discovered arcs ahaha so i’m not risking it this time x)

    I’m still not too confident about challenges, so i’m just gonna keep the goodreads one. As of which i’m aiming low with only 20 books- but heyy I’ve already has 2 books read and we’re only the 10th!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Kristina! honestly, keeping my challenges updated is definitely an ongoing struggle; last year I mainly just added books to GR shelves for challenges which I think worked okay? so that’s what I’m doing this year and hopefully it’ll continue to work 🤞🏻

      but keeping your goals achievable for low-pressure is definitely a valid way to do it, and I wish you continued good progress!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wow, you are a reading BEAST, and I have no doubt that you will demolish all of these challenges! the only one i’m participating in this year is YARC, and I’m aiming for the Malayan Tapir! Last year, I read 30 books for YARC, falling one book of short of my goal of the giant panda, so it’s amazing that you were able to get the Bengali tiger!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha thanks Caitlin! honestly I probably just got through a lot of books because I was procrastireading instead of studying, so honestly I might need to consider actively aiming to read fewer books this year 😅

      I was surprised and a little ashamed to find how few Asian authors were initially on my TBR, but it’s been so awesome to find other bloggers’ recs (including yours!) and pick up a few more auto-borrow authors; it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to with a second year of YARC! best of luck with your challenge too 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. omg then you’re better at procrastinating than I am! Even though I procrastinate a lot, I always just mindlessly scroll through my phone :((

        ahhh, i’m so glad that some of my recommendations helped you out! and same.. i’m kinda disappointed in the amount of books I read that are by POC authors, and i love that YARC helped me change that!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! Love your challenges! I’m in the YARC and StartYourShelfathon as well! I’m also doing the Fairyloot one in the reading journal they included.I think YARC and Start your Shelf are the only ones I actually tried to make a tbr for and they crossover too, thankfully lol


  4. I am doing my own challenges this year – continuing my one year buying ban, I’ve been reading only books from my shelf and library in that case and I also am reading more backlist books titles than anything else. I hope these challenges go well and that you can achieve all of them! You’ve got a good range here ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

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