Blast out of Your Comfort Zone With a Reading Challenge in 2018

Ramona Mead

I’ve loved books since before I was literate. My mother tells of me playing with my books, pretending to read while I made up my own stories to go with the illustrations.

At the start of 2015 I followed the lead of a bookish pal, jumping into Book Riot's first annual Read Harder  Challenge. It sounded easy enough for a nerd like me: read a book to fit into each of the 24 categories. Two books a month? Piece of cake.

I approached my book shelves with my challenge list in one hand and a pencil in the other. I scanned through categories such as: a book that takes place in Asia, a book by an author from Africa, a book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture, and a book by or about someone who identifies as LGBTQ.

I came to a startling realization, my book shelves are not exactly diverse.

2017 is the third year I’ve participated in the challenge, and to be extra nerdy, I did a second one, the  PopSugar 2017 challenge (including the advanced categories, of course!) The challenges have expanded my horizons as both a reader and a writer. They have pushed me far out of my reading comfort zone and busted many of the misconceptions I had about certain genres such as fantasy and romance, and YA writing.

As the years have gone on, I’ve become increasingly frustrated with Read Harder’s categories. This year I’ve found them to be painfully specific. I’ve had a hard time completing some of the categories as they’re written so I’ve put my own spin on them to be able to mark it off.

It was this frustration that led me to create my own reading challenge for 2018. I enjoy categories that are more personal to the reader.

I've come up with 12 categories, because while some of us can get through a much larger number of books in a year, this isn’t realistic for the majority of readers I know. I have a few friends who have been intrigued by my completion of  challenges past but too intimidated by the large number of categories to give it a try.

All you have to do is read, no other participation is required. If you start and don't finish, that's okay. However if you do complete the challenge, you can email me your list to be entered to win a prize at the end of 2018!!

    •    Read a book that takes place in one day.
    •    Read a memoir or biography of a musician you like.
    •    Read a collection of poetry.
    •    Read an audio book with multiple narrators.
    •    Read a self published book.
    •    Read a book you received as a gift.
    •    Read a book about a historical event you’re interested in (fiction or non).
    •    Read a book written by an author from the state where you grew up.
    •    Read a book recommended by one of your parents (in-laws count).
    •    Read a book with your favorite food in the title.
    •    Read a book with a child narrator.
    •    Read a book you chose based on the cover.

If you wish to participate in the challenge please shoot me an email at

You can download a printable list of the challenge categories here.

I've created a Facebook Group and a Goodreads Group for participants to gather for discussion and brainstorming!

I am excited to have you all along with me on this new venture! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, ideas, or suggestions.

This was made by

Ramona Mead

Ramona Mead is a freelance writer and jack of all trades. She is passionate about books, music, pets and living life to the fullest here in Montana. Her blog can be found at

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