Devoted readers and aspiring readers: want to get more out of your reading life in 2020? 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 tenth (!!) year of helping readers get more out of their (reading) lives here on Modern Mrs Darcy, by sharing great books, seasonal reading guides, and tips and encouragement for the reading life. Maybe your reading life is amazing, and you want to keep a good thing going. Maybe your reading life needs some serious rehab. Either way, we can help.
Why a reading challenge?
Our reading challenge is not quite as old as this blog: this is our sixth annual reading challenge. Believe it or not, these challenges—now plentiful on the internet—were rare when we posted our first one in 2015. They’re so common these days that I debated even posting our own here on Modern Mrs Darcy.
Here’s why we decided to post our own once again: we know how to help readers get more out of their reading lives, and our challenge is designed to help you do exactly that. We’ve carefully created a new category list for 2020, with ten categories that have a phenomenal success rate when it comes to delivering a fantastic reading experience.
On our list, we focus exclusively on categories that have delivered best-of-the-year reading experiences to thousands of readers over the years.
We’ve chosen ten 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. Those categories are:
- A book published the decade you were born
- A debut novel
- A book recommended by a source you trust
- A book by a local author
- A book outside your (genre) comfort zone
- A book in translation
- A book nominated for an award in 2020
- A re-read
- A classic you didn’t read in school
- Three books by the same author
More is not necessarily better, although we’re providing tracking tools for those of you who want to read more in 2020.
To create a vibrant reading life, you need good books, and time to read them. Let’s get to it.
Step 1: Choose good books
For many readers, the best motivation to read is an enticing stack of books calling your name. So let’s get you loaded up with promising titles!
Now, tastes differ widely: just because I loved a book doesn’t mean that you will, too. That’s why I aim to describe books in such a way that you will know if they sound like they might be right for you, and provide you abundant options.
Our supporting role here on MMD is to share great books in our plentiful book list posts and on my podcast, What Should I Read Next, so you have plenty of excellent titles to choose from, all year long.
Step 2: Make time to read.
For a great reading year, you need good 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 2020.
The best motivation to read more is to have great 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, which includes:
- A category checklist for you to check off and document your books as you read them, in both worksheet-size and journal-size. (Print as many copies as you’d like and go bananas with the dreaming and planning process!)
- Our printable bookmarks, including one to track your reading challenge progress, and one to be used as a habit tracking tool. 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 2020. The goal is awareness, not perfection.
Over the next week, we’ll also send you more bookish tools and goodies, including our “I’d Rather Be Reading” phone wallpaper that you can use to remind yourself that perhaps you would rather read than scroll social media, plus our printable reading journal, ready for you to put to good use because step 3 is ….
Step 3: Track your reading.
If you don’t track your books, now’s the time to start. I note mine in my 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.
Tracking your reading gives you a way to examine your reading habits OVER TIME. When you have your reading history captured in one place you can see habits and patterns that are hard to perceive up close, day by day, or book by book. When you track your reading, you can zoom out and see the big picture—and that does good things for your reading life.
Make 2020 your best reading year yet!
Sign up now to get started. We’ll send your Reading Challenge kit immediately, then over the next week you’ll get emails with my best reading tips and fun bookish tools. After that you’ll get regular reading news and inspiration to help you meet your reading goals.
What happens next? First, check your inbox. Then browse the book list archives for reading ideas, and start making your lists. Pin the challenge graphic for inspiration; share it with your fellow book lovers on Instagram and Facebook. I’ll be using the hashtags #MMDchallenge and #MMDreading. (You can find me on twitter @annebogel, on Instagram @annebogel and @whatshouldireadnext, and at Facebook.com/ModernMrsDarcy.) But most of all, enjoy the challenge of reading with purpose this year.
It’s so good to be among people who are reading, and I’m looking forward to reading with you all in 2020. This year’s gonna be great.