Happy Wednesday! The 2018 Reading Challenge is here, and I’m so excited to share it with you!
Last year’s challenge was a lot of fun, and I grew as a reader by following the 50-book checklist I made and shared with y’all. I’ve also heard from friends and family that the lists were a great way to stay on track and to read outside your normal comfort zone. The 2017 challenge definitely forced me to read books I might not have ever picked up. That being said, some of the categories were pretty arbitrary, and I felt locked in to reading some books I didn’t really want to read.
That’s why for 2018 I decided to go in a different, more flexible direction for my reading challenge. I’m calling this year’s challenge “Twelve Months of Books,” and here’s why:
This year, instead of 12, 24, or 50 categories of books to choose from, I’ve selected a theme for each month of the year–big ideas that I believe can be found in fiction and nonfiction alike. I’m challenging you to read at least one book each month that fits the theme. If that thought scares you, don’t worry! On the first of each month I’ll post a list of books that I think fit this theme. I’ll try to pull from different genres and subject matters so that everyone can find something to enjoy.
So why themes instead of checkboxes? Well, I hope that this will spark some conversation in the comments each month about how different types of books and authors have some universal themes in common. I also think this gives you more freedom and flexibility. You aren’t locked into reading about the founding fathers if you don’t want to, and there’s no requirement to read a book with a magenta cover that was published in 1972. You get to decide what you read on your own terms, with suggestions and thematic ideas from me!
I’m also looking forward to sharing my favorite books with you in more than just book review form. This challenge will let me sift through old favorites and recommend books that I think you’ll love. And in addition, I’ll be GIVING AWAY my favorite books through Instagram each month. That’s right–each month I’ll be hosting a giveaway with one of my favorite books for that month’s theme. The first contest starts tonight at 6:00 pm over on Instagram, so be sure you’re following along!
Now, I’m sure your next question is, “What are these mysterious themes you keep mentioning?” Well, here they are:
I’m planning to write a post on the first of each month explaining the new theme, why I think that theme matters to us as readers, and which books I think interpret that idea in new or interesting ways.
On a personal level, I’m going to try my best to read several books each month that fit the theme. Why? Well, sometimes when I read my 50 books they feel very disjointed. I jump around in time, place, and genre. This year, I’m hoping that this challenge gives me a way to really connect books and ideas with each other. So instead of reading a book about birds and a book about prayer in January, I can read several books about new beginnings and think about how that applies to my own life. I’m hoping that this challenge will take my 50 book goal to the next level–for me, this year is going to be about making connections and not just reading to check a box.
I also totally understand that I’m a little bit of a nut when it comes to reading, and you might not be as interested in connection and application. That’s totally fine! Luckily for you I’ll also have some very practical ideas to share each month. Plus, the possibility of free books. Did I mention that?
So let’s get started!
Three Steps for Reading More in 2018:
1. Set a Goal.
Maybe this is a little obvious, but you need to set a goal if you want to reach a goal! So think back over 2017. How much did you read? Do you want to read more or less? Do you want to read the same types of books or different books? If you’re stuck on how to set a reading goal, here are some helpful tips.
2. Prepare for Success.
Start off on the right foot by downloading everything you need to read more this year! I’ve created a free reading log with spaces for you to record titles, dates, and ratings. The log also includes each month’s theme as a reference. I’ve also created a bookmark to help you remember each month’s theme while you’re reading! You can download both from the resources page, or click these links:
3. Don’t Go it Alone!
Find someone to be your reading buddy, join a book club, or follow along here on the blog or on Instagram. If you’re intimidated by the thought of reading more, there are great resources available for you online, and if you’re a reading pro, it’s always fun to connect with other bookworms and see what they’ve been reading lately. Don’t forget to check in here to hear more about each month’s theme, get recommendations, and find out how you could win free copies of some of my favorite books. There’s going to be so much good stuff happening here in 2018–you don’t want to miss it!
Let me know what you think of this plan, and don’t forget to download the resources you need–if you are a checklist person and this doesn’t appeal to you, you can always use last year’s resources, too!
Whatever your goal, Keep Reading!