My husband walked into the lounge yesterday, looked around and said, with a sigh, “We have a lot of books.”
“Yes,” I said, “Isn’t it wonderful? We can pick them up and walk around with them whenever we like.”
He eyed the teetering pile by my computer and by the window and was no doubt thinking about my bedside table when he responded that this is not, in fact, the purpose of books.
I’ve heard it said that buying books and reading them can be regarded as two separate hobbies. That’s definitely the case in our household. Both of us (despite his grumbling) like the potential that shelves and shelves of books hold, even if the demands of everyday life mean we don’t get to read them as often as we’d like.
One way to get through these to-be-read piles is taking part in community challenges, or readathons. Problem is, I usually only find out about them when they’re already well underway. So this year I’m planning early (yes, super early!) and I wanted to share the list with fellow readers. So grab your diary, open your calendar and make a note.
Here are some of the readathons to look forward to in 2020.
The Goodreads Reading Challenge
First and foremost, this is the one that even I manage to do every year. What’s great about the Goodreads Challenge is you get to set and adjust your own goals. I set a goal of 20 books this year and then upped it to 25. Other people I know consistently reach 100. It’s all about what you can personally manage and it’s automatically updated every time you mark a book as finished on the website or app.
To take part, all you have to do is log in to Goodreads and go to Reading Challenge under your profile.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
Every year, entertainment website Popsugar, releases a list of book prompts. There are 50 books on the list and the challenge is to read at least 40 of them.
You can find the 2020 reading challenge here and keep up-to-date by following the #popsugarreadingchallenge hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.
This is an Instagram hashtag that challenges participants to read a book for every week of the year. It has no organiser and no rules. To participate all you have to do is post about it on your own Instagram (or Twitter!) account using the hashtag.
O.W.L.S Magical Readathon
This Harry Potter themed challenge was started by Book Roast in 2018 and now takes place every year. The premise is that each book you read counts as Hogwarts exam in a particular subject. For example Care of Magical Creatures may require you to read a book with an animal on the cover. A new list of exam requirements is released every year and you mix and match your exams based on a careers booklet to determine what you qualify for. (Download the beautiful 2019 careers booklet here to get a better idea)
The readathon takes place over two months of the year, mimicking the Hogwarts exams:
The O.W.L.S happen in April and require you to read at least two books for a “passing grade”. The more advanced N.E.W.T.S readathon happens over the month of August and technically you’re only allowed to pursue subjects you’ve already passed your O.W.L.S for (like with real school subjects).
Here’s the announcement video for 2020. You can follow Book Roast to keep up to date!
Year of Epic Reads
The HarperCollins YA team ran this challenge for the first time this year, and they’re going to run it again in 2020… with a few secret changes.
As it is currently, you can choose from three tracks: a new book quarterly, a new book monthly, or a new book weekly. Every week a new challenge (or topic) is issued in the newsletter and on the Facebook group, and you can chat with other book nerds should you choose to take part.
This is a week-long challenge to read as much as you can. It’s been going since 2013, although it was originally known as booktubeathon. You can sign up on the website to take part and track your progress. There are also a bunch of mini-challenges and sprints that happen over the course of the week that you can take part in. This year it happened in July. Here are the founders explaining more:
You can follow Reading Rush on Twitter for updates.
Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon
If a week isn’t enough of a challenge for you, how about a day? This readathon was started in October 2007 by a blogger named Dewey who sadly passed away in 2008. Her friends and fellow organisers decided to continue the readathon in her honour and named it Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. The challenge takes place twice a year, in August and October. You can find info about it on the website or by following the official Twitter account.
Banned Books Week
This takes part in the last week of September every year as a way to honour freedom of expression and celebrate access to information. To participate all you have to do is select one or more books from the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom most challenged books list and talk about them on social media using the hashtag #BannedBooksWeek. You can also post a YouTube video of yourself reading from one of the challenged books and stand a chance to be featured on the official Banned Books Week channel.
Do you know of any fun reading challenges I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments.
Tallulah studied journalism at Rhodes University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010. She now works in marketing and focuses her writing efforts on fiction. When not behind a keyboard, she can be found holding a paintbrush, designing book covers, or moderating the Dragon Writers Facebook group for writers.