Devoted readers and aspiring readers: want to get more out of your reading life in 2018? We’ve got a challenge just for you, and a free reading challenge kit to help you see it through.
Here on Modern Mrs Darcy, we love reading, but don’t believe it’s a competitive sport. We care about quality way more than we care about quantity: reading well doesn’t necessarily mean reading more.
We’re entering our eighth (!!) year of helping readers get more out of their (reading) lives. The goal of the 2018 Reading Challenge is to read amazing books in 2018. To do that, you need amazing books and time to read them. We can help.
Step 1: Choose amazing books.
This is our fourth annual reading challenge, and every year we collect feedback on what works for our readers. We’ve carefully created a new category list for 2018, with twelve categories that have a phenomenal success rate when it comes to delivering a fantastic reading experience.
On our list, we won’t ask you to read a book that’s periwinkle blue, or that’s by an author who shares your name, or that has a vegetable in the title. Instead, we’re focusing on twelve categories that have delivered best-of-the-year reading experiences to thousands of readers over the years. Our supporting role here on MMD is to share amazing books on this blog and on my podcast, What Should I Read Next, so you have plenty of excellent titles to choose from, all year long.
These categories are diverse and doable, varied in style and scope, structured enough to avoid decision fatigue but broad enough to offer numerous options. (The Reading Challenge Kit includes a printable planning sheet.)
We’ve chosen twelve categories—for twelve books—because that’s far more than the average reader reads in a year, but few enough to let you choose those titles with care. More is not necessarily better, although we’re providing tracking tools for those of you who want to read more in 2018. Keep reading.
Step 2: Make time to read.
For a great reading year, you need amazing books and time to read them. For some of you, reading is already a habit. High five! For others, reading is a habit you would very much like to develop in 2018.
The best motivation to read more is to have amazing books waiting on your literal or metaphorical To Be Read pile. (See Step 1.) Next best? The reminders and tools we’ve created for you in our Reading Challenge Kit.
- A category checklist for you to check off and document your books as you read them.
- Our #IdRatherBeReading phone wallpaper (illustrated by my amazingly talented friend, Jenny of Carrot Top Paper Shop): download this and set it as your home screen wallpaper to remind yourself to pick up a book instead of scrolling through Instagram, again. (It’s sooo pretty—visit Instagram to see Anne’s in action.)
- Our daily habit tracking bookmark printables. Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Mark off the days you read (it’s up to you to decide how many minutes it takes to “count” a day) so you can see at a glance how many days you make reading a part of your life in 2018. The goal is awareness, not perfection.
Step 3. Track your reading.
Record what you read. The title and date read are sufficient, but you’re free to make your log as simple or complex as you’d like. We’re providing simple printables to track your progress in our Reading Challenge kit.
If you don’t track your books, now’s the time to start. I note mine in my bullet journal, but other readers use dedicated reading journals, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, or Excel to track their books. Choose whatever method you like—just choose one. (Inspiration abounds in Episode 64 of What Should I Read Next: How 15 WSIRN listeners track their books. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.)
For our journalers: the Reading Challenge kit includes bookshelf sketches that you can print and paste or trace into your journal to visually track the number of books you’ve read. Choose from three options: some of the shelves hold barely more than a dozen titles; one shelf holds closer to a hundred. Decide how ambitious you want to be, quantity-wise, print the drawing that’s right for you, and color in the books as you read them.
Let’s get started! Enter your email below to join the 2018 Reading Challenge and we’ll immediately send you your free Reading Challenge kit. Plus we’ll stay in touch throughout the year with tips and encouragement to help you meet your reading goals.
Pin the challenge graphic for inspiration and share it with your fellow book-lovers. We’ll revisit the challenge periodically here on the blog to share what we’re reading.
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 #IdRatherBeReading, #MMDchallenge and #MMDreading on Twitter and Instagram and you can tag me @annebogel). But most of all, enjoy the challenge.
It’s so good to be among people who are reading, and I’m looking forward to reading with you all in 2018. This is gonna be great.