The 2016 Reading Challenge.

The 2016 Reading Challenge.

Devoted readers and aspiring readers: this list is for you if you love to read (or want to read more) but don’t believe reading is a competitive sport. If you need structure in choosing your books but don’t want to be pinned down. If you want to stretch a bit instead of forever reading the same author/genre/plot line.

For the MMD challenge, read 12 books in 12 different categories in 12 months. It’s simple and doable, but it provides the structure you need to approach your reading list with intention in 2016.

Make 2016 your best reading year yet with this reading challenge. It’s simple and doable, but provides the structure you need to approach your reading list with intention in 2016.

The 12 categories are practical and flexible. They’ll bend to fit your TBR list, but they’ll also challenge you to explore new territory, revisit old favorites, and finally read those books you’ve been putting off for years.

Make sure you track the books you’re reading: Download the printable to track your progress.

If you don’t use a reading journal, now’s the time to start. I use a good old-fashioned paper reading journal (I made my own printable journal to suit my needs, and you can get your free copy here), but I still update my Goodreads account because I love to search and sort my titles.

I’m also continuing last year’s group Pinterest board for the reading challenge for inspiration and motivation. To join the board, follow me on Pinterest (or Pinterest won’t let me invite you). Then leave a comment below with your Pinterest email address. (If you’d rather not leave your email address in comments, email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com.) (If you participated in 2015, you’re already in: no action required.)

Let’s get started! Pin the challenge graphic for inspiration and share it with your fellow book-lovers. We’ll revisit the challenge periodically to share what we’re reading.

Join the Pinterest board, browse the book list archives here for reading ideas, and start making your lists. Share this with your fellow book lovers (I’ll be using the hashtags #MMDchallenge and #MMDreading on twitter and instagram @annebogel). But most of all, enjoy the challenge.

I’m looking forward to reading with you all through 2016. This is gonna be fun.

Are you in? What are you most looking forward to reading in 2016?

P.S. Click here to see MY picks for the Reading Challenge.

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  1. Jeannie says:

    These are great criteria. Still, I think my first 2016 reading challenge will be making it through all the amazing books that just came in for me at the library in the past 2 weeks: The Lake House (Kate Morton), Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed), Out of Sorts (Sarah Bessey), and Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Steve Silberman). I also got Lorilee Kraker’s book Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me for a Christmas present. So, see you in June or thereabouts…. 😀

  2. Jami says:

    I’m so glad you are doing this again! I just finished my 2015 Challenge on Sunday and had so much fun with it. Twelve is the perfect number. Thanks, Anne!

  3. Katrina says:

    Every time you post a picture of the colorful children’s set on the right, I drool. How I s the binding/covers/craftsmanship on those books? (Likewise on the Jane Austen set?)

    In this new year, I’ve resolved to send snail mail again. I ordered the Flow Book for Paper Lovers to get me started!

    Last year I read tons of middle grade books so I could make better recommendations to my fourth grade class. (The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller completely changed my approach to teaching reading.) This year, my
    main focus is the classics that have been on my to-read list! (With a smattering of genres on the side.)

  4. Caroline says:

    I really love the 2015 challenge and added a couple of books I wouldn’t have otherwise made time for because of it. Definitely looking forward to this challenge! Love the categories!

  5. Ariel says:

    For 2015 I checked off every book on this challenge when I was reading for the 52-book popsugar reading challenge. I’m not doing another big challenge like that for 2016, but I haven’t decided yet whether I want to do this small one.

  6. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I laid out some of my plans for reading in 2016 last night and I think many of them will fit these categories! Now if I can get some of our book club picks to line up, it’ll be easy.

  7. Lindsay says:

    Yay! I found your blog too late in the year to get on board with 2015, so I’m pumped to be able to join the 2016 challenge. So many good books to read!

  8. Meghan says:

    YAY. So excited! I finished about 50% last year, but some of my favorite posts were the ones where you blogged about each category. I really hope you do that again! This year I’m trying to get my BFF to do it with me (we read books together all the time anyway!) so maybe I’ll actually finish 🙂

  9. I’m in! I am looking forward to reading my books on writing as I get focused on writing again, as well as my home magazine subscriptions! But very much looking forward to reading new reads, and stretching myself out of my box of regular reads.

  10. Kelli says:

    Perfect timing ~ I’m finishing the 2015 challenge today! This has been such a great thing – it got me to read some really great books this past year that I never would have chosen otherwise. Very excited to get going on this one!

  11. B J says:

    I’m already doing a Classics Challenge for 2016, because I am not a classics kind of reader and am trying to broaden my horizons. Take a look at this challenge at to see the monthly categories. I think I’m going to read Emma for January. I would love to do this one too. Find me at In 2015 I did a Snagged at the Library challenge and read almost 100 books from the library. My goal for 2016 is to read some of my own books from my shelves and my Nook/Kindle. Looking forward to more recommendations from you, Anne, and the other readers here.

  12. Dawn says:

    I have so many books on my ‘to read’ I am sure if I follow this challenge it will get me through some of them. Looking forward to this challenge.

  13. Susan in TX says:

    Looking forward to doing this again. As for what I’m most looking forward to, I don’t even know how to answer that – there are too many. Just a few sitting on the shelf are The Lake House, The Bronte Plot, Dead Wake, and Being Mortal.
    Happy Reading!

  14. I’ve been trying really hard to read through books I own (but often get sidetracked by goodies from the library). As for books I’m looking forward to next year, there are a number of fantastic middle-grade novels coming that I’m especially excited about. Here are a few spring titles:
    Paper Wishes — Lois Sepahban (January 5)
    Sweet Home Alaska — Carole Estby Dagg (February 2)
    The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price — Jennifer Maschari (February 23)
    The Key to Remarkable — Natalie Lloyd (February 23)
    Hour of the Bees — Lindsay Eagar (March 8)
    The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle — Janet Fox (March 15)
    Counting Thyme — Melanie Conklin (April 12)

    It’s going to be a great year for children’s literature!

  15. Sonya says:

    Hi Anne,

    Love the list! Would it be possible to make it a printable pdf that I can print off and put in my planner to remind me of the categories throughout the year?


  16. Yara says:

    I’m a moody reader so sometimes I am not as intentional as I want to be. Hopefully, this challenge will help me make better choices, since I haven’t accepted the fact that I will not be able to read every book on my “to read” list before I die.

  17. Gillian says:

    Exactly what I’m needing this year! I have the goal to read every single day in 2016 (because, unfortunately, reading is something I convince myself I ‘don’t have time for’ but tv is not…), and I can’t wait to supplement it with this. So excited to be sharing on Pinterest and Instagram.

  18. Terri says:

    I’m excited to join the 2016 Book Challenge. I followed the 2015 Challenge without actually doing it; I thought I didn’t have enough time. Well, my Goodreads self-challenge for 2015 was to read 45 books this year. I exceed that by 4 books. I guess I do have the time! My daughter, my daughter-in-law and I are starting a “book group” and we’re using your Challenge to pick a book each month.

    BTW, I read your Free Kindle Books for today. The only Agatha Christie I ever read was also And Then There Were None. My mom was an avid Christie reader, but I never got into it.

    I follow you on Pinterest, so don’t know if you need my pinterest url, but here it is:

  19. Donna says:

    Hi Anne!
    I am so excited.:) If I am already on the 2015 reading challenge board, I’m good to go, right? I shared my winter 2016 reads on the blog last week.
    I’m so excited to explore new genres!
    In 2016, I’m most excited about reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – a book I’ve been meaning to read.
    A few 2016 releases I’m looking forward to reading:
    The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston (publication date: January 5)
    The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee (publication date: January 12)
    The Travelers by Chris Pavone (publication date: March 8, 2016)

  20. Aoife says:

    Did this last year unknown to myself – can’t wait to start 2016’s offering! Thank you so much, I’ll be featuring my progress on my blog from time to time too.

  21. Marina says:

    Fun challenge! This list may not be structured enough for my brain but I’m definitely going to figure out some type of challenge for myself. 2016 will be my third year doing a Goodreads reading challenge and I’m excited to make a new list for next year. Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Amy says:

    Count me in!! 🙂 This challenge sounds just right for me! Downloading your reading journal and heading to Target tomorrow to buy a cute binder for it!
    Loved listening to you on the RAR podcast!

    Oh…and here is my email for the Pinterest board….
    kempfyre21 @ yahoo dot com.

  23. Rosemary Murphy says:

    That sounds like a great plan. I already well ahead on the the Category for reading what i didn’t read as a child. My son has a huge book collection and i read a book a night to him. My husband just got me the last book in the Divergent Series which is fours story cant wait to crack it open. I kinda think its funny with the rout 12 books in 12 months not including my son i read roughly 3 books a month from Mystery to Fiction and everything thats in between Im a visual reader. i love books that are detailed that i can really sink my teeth into.. and that i know i will pick it up again and again.. I am always asking people for there recommendations you never know there may be a book out there that i shy away from just by the title but i always love a good read.. I am looking forward to this challenge

  24. Stephanie says:

    I was in desperate need of a new reading challenge for this coming year, thanks! The “I’ll read at least 100 books” challenge I always do has become to easy and also I found myself trying to hit a number and not enjoying what I was reading as much.

  25. Tracy Stoller says:

    I loved last year’s challenge and look forward to this one. I am also doing a more personal challenge of reading/finishing a list books I already own. This has become a bad habit of mine in recent years and I am trying to change it.

  26. Stephanie says:

    I’m thinking about trying the Rory Gilmore challenge this year. Last year my Goodreads goal was 75 books and I think I’m ending in the 120s. I’d love to connect on Goodreads! I’m also thinking I need to read more classics – I’ve only read half of the Austen I’d like to and am currently finishing Jane Eyre for the first time (I blush to admit)….

  27. Jo Yates says:

    I’m looking forward to the 2016 Reading Challenge. Really enjoyed the 2015 and reading books I might not have read otherwise. I’m also going to create a reading journal, and I am giving myself another challenge also: each month to read a book from a Dewey Decimal main category (000s in January, etc.) I should be able to read at least 2 books per month!

  28. Anna says:

    Excited about books for the new year. I already have a long list of books that I’m currently reading, or started to read, stopped, but still want to finish. Then it continues with other categories. 🙂

  29. Monica says:

    This is one I will definitely do! I’ve decided to lessen my reading challenge load this year because I love to read, so having a number to hit has been stressing me out for the past year or so. This, however, will give me more motivation to read different things and it’s less intense. Thanks so much for doing this every year! I’m glad I can participate in 2016. I already have ideas for most of these!

  30. Gracey says:

    I’m going to join and follow along with my blog. I don’t belong to Pinterest and don’t plan on joining….its another time suck, I don’t need…..but I have an email and a blog and will check in…

    • Anne says:

      Pinterest wouldn’t let me add your user name so I sent an invite to this email address. Let me know if that doesn’t work and we’ll figure it out.

    • Anne says:

      I’ll blog through the categories in order, one per month (and will have plenty of banned books suggestions!) Feel free to read them in any order that works for you.

      • B J says:

        Thanks! I just think I’d like to do a book published this year, later in the year, although one I would like to read is being published in January, I’d like to let a few more books come out first before doing that one.

  31. Jennifer says:

    I’m excited to start this year’s reading challenge! I found your site a few months back and really enjoy it and your reading list challenge is such a fun way to diversify my reading. I’m not sure what book I want to start next but I downloaded a bunch on my kindle and am ready to beat last year’s goal! (I managed 52 books out of my 55 goal)

  32. Quenby (Gaijinmama) says:

    I can7t say no to a good challenge! I’m not on Pinterest, but I’m very active at Goodreads so I will subscribe to this post and join the Goodreads group. Is that OK?

  33. Jeanette says:

    I’ve been looking for a good reading challenge for 2016. I’m in. Do we need to start at the top of the list or is it our choice?

  34. Heather says:

    This looks like a great, attainable, interesting challenge (I hate the crazy long ones that make me feel tired and defeated before I ever get started!). I just downloaded _The Magicians_ by Lev Grossman, which I’ve been meaning to read for at least a year now, so it’s a perfect beginning. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s choices!

    • Anne says:

      It wouldn’t let me add you so I sent an invite to this email address. Let me know if that’s not the right one and we’ll get it straightened out.

  35. Kathy Grey says:

    I’m looking forward to re-reading The Secret Garden, a favorite from my childhood. Also looking forward to The Book Thief. Afraid to set my sights further than that — don’t want to overwhelm myself! Love your list, and I’m excited to get back into my first love — reading!

  36. Julia says:

    This is such a cool idea. Our library’s adult summer reading program was a reader’s bingo and it had a similar concept – I discovered that short stories are great antidotes for a short attention span or busy brain that cannot focus on a novel and that science fiction isn’t always obscure and boring . . . Look forward to participating here and shaking up my normal repertoire.

  37. Shari says:

    Hi Anne,
    I would love to be a part of your 2016 Book Challenge. It is a fun list and I’m excited to read along with you all!

  38. My friend linked me to this challenge and we started a Facebook group to keep up with our progress, share with and invite others and talk about the books they read!! Thanks for hosting! I be blogging my reads too!

  39. Erika says:

    I had a great time quietly playing along in 2015! I hope to actually pin and post as I complete this challenge in 2016 🙂 I know that for the 2015 challenge you posted about the challenges in order, which I loved, because I was able to follow along with my own selections and add to my TBR list. This leads me to ask if “a book published this year” means a book published in 2015 or 2016? Thanks!!!

  40. Carl says:

    Looking forward to the reading challenge! Reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” as the book I should have read in school.

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  42. Amanda Sue says:

    Well considering I hopped on Twitter to beg you to do it again in 2016, so I could redeem my pitiful efforts, I’m obviously in. hehehehe

    I also made a brand new blog for reading challenges this year… I’ve been DYING to blog about books, but didn’t feel like it meshed well with my main site, so now I have a brand new book blog. I’m so happy!!!!

  43. Karen says:

    I think I’m going to give this a try. I like how you have the categories much better than the one I attempted to try for 2015 (and ended up not completing even though I read quite a few books last year). I’m excited to try this challenge! One of the previous commenters asked about the category for a book published this year wondering if that’s for 2015 or 2016. I was wondering the same thing. I know what I would pick if it’s 2015. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      2016! Don’t worry: you have almost the whole year to figure out what to read, and I’ll have plenty of suggestions for coming books this week. 🙂

      • Looking forward to your book suggestions. I’ve been thinking about various books for the challenge. My youngest daughter (7yo) is a voracious reader and so I read a good bit of children’s books both pre-reading and as read-alouds. I like that a number of the categories in this challenge are compatible with that! I also have jotted down several books I’d like to read for myself. I have heard a lot of good things about Quiet by Susan Cain and have added that to my list of books to read this year. Being an introvert myself, I am looking forward to reading this book. 🙂 For the category of a book that intimidates me, I think I would probably choose Les Miserables. It was a book that my oldest daughter was skeptical about reading when she was a junior in high school and it turns out that she loved it. It ended up being one of her favorite literature reads that year. She has also recommended that I read Frankenstein. So that’s on my list for the category of book chosen for you. I’m not on pinterest; but I do blog and so will try to get a post up this week about the challenge. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Pinterest wouldn’t let me add your user name to the board so I sent an invite to this email address. Let me know if that doesn’t work and we’ll figure it out.

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  45. Terri says:

    I’m excited about this reading challenge. I didn’t do well last year, but I’m hoping this year will be different. I am scheduling time for reading this year instead of waiting until I happen upon time to read. I got three e-books and 2 regular books for Christmas that I’m going to read this month!

    • Anne says:

      Pinterest wouldn’t let me add your user name to the board so I emailed an invite to this address. If that’s not right let me know and we’ll figure it out.

  46. Lily Luty says:

    I’m in, getting my reading focus back after a long period of depression and looking forward to the challenge! My pinterest is @liwwwwwwwwwwww (sorry can’t get the link as on the app but I’ve followed you!)

  47. Regina says:

    Add me as well, please.
    Just one question – is the first book on the list the January challenge? If so, can the book be one published in the last year? can I do the challenge in any order?


    • Anne says:

      Read a book published in 2016! I’ll have ideas for you next week. You can do the challenge in any order, but I’ll be blogging through the categories in the order of the list, one each month.

  48. Michelle says:

    I told myself I was stopping with the challenges I found already, but I don’t think I can pass this one up. It looks fun! thisquietmorning @ gmail dot com