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Reading Challenges for 2023

By Lauren Jones, Amy Wright, Rowan Jackson, Zoe Doyle and Ana Matute

Reading Challenges are becoming increasingly popular and are a fun way to step outside your comfort zone while still doing something you love. With such a wide variety of challenges around, it’s easy to find something that will suit your lifestyle and your personal reading goals. From reading the alphabet to XYZ, read on to discover some fun ways to diversify your reading choices for 2023. The most important thing is to enjoy reading and hopefully discover new favourites in the process throughout the year.

The A-Z Reading Challenge

The A-Z Reading Challenge invites readers to make their way through the alphabet, typically over the course of a calendar year. This challenge is very relaxed because the only rule is you have to read twenty-six books, one beginning with each letter of the alphabet. This means that you have free rein over everything else: you can read any kind of book that takes your fancy. From poetry to novels, children’s books, memoirs, non-fiction, graphic novels and even picture books – they all count! Of course, some letters are harder than others – Q, X and Z are notoriously tricky, but hunting down a book starting with these letters can be a fun way to find a book you wouldn’t ordinarily give a chance.

Oxfam’s Monthly Reading Challenge

If you’re like me and are a huge mood reader that likes to read what feels right in the moment, then this challenge offers a great way to stick to a structure whilst maintaining an element of mood-reading freedom. Oxfam has introduced a reading challenge that gives readers genre suggestions for each month: readers only need to read one book in this genre to meet the challenge requirements, meaning you can still read other genres around it. This type of challenge is a brilliant way to diversify your reading habits and introduce you to genres you may not have considered previously. January’s goal is to read a thriller, a great genre to get lost in on a cold winter’s night!

Clear Your Physical TBR Challenge

If, like me, you own what feels like an endless amount of books that you have never read, this reading challenge can help to clear some of the backlog. The challenge encourages you to read books on your to-be-read pile that you already physically own, not including rereads or new releases. This makes it a great challenge to do at the start of the year so that you will have the space for any 2023 releases or new recommendations that you acquire throughout the year. You could set mini deadlines for each individual book, set a goal for the number of books you want to get through or even set challenges within your TBR pile, such as starting with the book that has been there the longest.

Shimmering Worlds Reading Challenge

The science fiction and fantasy genre is known for being dominated by white, male authors and books by authors of colour are often underappreciated and underrepresented. The Shimmering Worlds challenge started by @afantasysky on Instagram is dedicated to promoting diversity within the genre and championing authors of colour. The challenge is flexible with twelve prompts to follow that allow for a variety of reads from mythology and folklore to time travel and LGBTQIA+ representation. You may choose to challenge yourself to pick one book per prompt or double up – the aim is to have fun with it! The only rules are that the books must be science fiction or fantasy and written by authors of colour. You can use the hashtag #ShimmeringWorlds on Instagram to share your reads or track your progress and see recommendations for various prompts on Storygraph.

Read Around the World Challenge

At the end of every year, I like to check all the wraps of the year that arrive in my inbox, see what I listened to and set goals to explore more from what I didn’t manage to get around to that year. The Read Around the World Challenge is perfect to start exploring books from different regions of the world like Asia, South America, Africa and more. It is great if you don’t want to feel stressed about the number of books you have to read to achieve the challenge but about exploring the world through your reading habits. This challenge has a website where you can set a goal and find different books of each region, in which some are classics and others more contemporary. Also, you can find more people doing this challenge with the hashtag #read around the world challenge on Instagram.


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