The Two Reading Challenges I Tackled in 2016


I set a big reading goal for 2016. 80 books. I had gotten through 85 in 2015, but wasn't sure I could maintain that momentum. LITTLE DID I KNOW, I would hit 80 before summer, raise my goal to 100, hit that by September, and then have to raise it again to 150 to keep myself motivated... and then I crushed that too. GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU SET GOALS, PEOPLE. Who knew. (Probably everyone, but I'm a stubborn rebel okay.)

Somehow, in the fall, I stumbled upon some reading challenges that seemed to be the perfect motivation to keep cruising toward that twice-increased goal, so I decided to tackle two: The 2016 Reading Challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy and the Read Harder Challenge from Book Riot. While I didn't complete either one entirely, I'm pretty proud of the things I read and how these encouraged me to keep stretching in my reading during the homestretch of 2016.

Stay tuned for a post about what challenges I'm going to tackle in 2017!

Here's how things wrapped up in 2016 for these challenges:

(The "buy here" links throughout this post are affiliate links -- you won't pay a cent more, but you'll help fund future book buying for me, so MANY THANKS!)

It was in 2016 that I really fell in love with all things Modern Mrs. Darcy. Her Kindle deals, her podcast, her blog, her Instagram... all GOLD. So much bookish goodness. This challenge was a fun one, and right up my alley. I had planned to tackle the Hamilton bio as the book that intimidates me... but that's going to have to wait for 2017. Pretty proud I crossed everything else off this list!

Here's what I read for Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge:

  • A book published this year: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (my review/buy here)
  • A book you can finish in a day: Wild and Free: A Hope-Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan (my review/buy here)
  • A book you've been meaning to read: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (my review/buy here)
  • A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller: --
  • A book you should have read in school: East of Eden by John Steinbeck (my review/buy here)
  • A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner -- thanks, Amber! -- (my review/buy here)
  • A book published before you were born: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (my review/buy here)
  • A book that was banned at some point: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (my review/buy here)
  • A book you previously abandoned: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (buy here)
  • A book you own but have never read: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (my review/buy here)
  • A book that intimidates you: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (my review/buy here)
  • A book you've already read at least once: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (my review/buy here)

Book Riot created this "Read Harder Challenge" and when I saw it pop up on my social media radar this past fall, I knew I wanted to dive in. I was needing a little refresher with my reading, and this prompted me to get out of my comfort zone with books and try reading some new things!

Here's what I read this year for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge:

  • Read a horror book: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (I know, this isn't really horror... but I cannot do horror. So, thriller it is.) (my review/buy here)
  • Read a nonfiction book about science: Cooked by Michael Pollan (my review/buy here)
  • Read a collection of essays: The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book out loud to someone else: too many to count-- thanks, babysitting! 
  • Read a middle grade novel: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (my review/buy here)
  • Read a biography: Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis by George Sayer (my review/buy here)
  • Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel: The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book originally published in the decade you were born: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (my review/buy here)
  • Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award: Bossypants by Tina Fey (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book over 500 pages long: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book under 100 pages: Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender: ---
  • Read a book that is set in the Middle East: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossini (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia: ---
  • Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (my review/buy here)
  • Read the first book in a series by a person of color: ---
  • Read a non-superhero comic that has debuted in the last three years: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie: The Martian by Andy Weir (my review/buy here)
  • Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes: Spinster by Kate Bolick (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction): The Essential Henri Nouwen by Henri J.M. Nouwen (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction): Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (my review/buy here)
  • Read a food memoir: Delancey by Molly Wizenberg (my review/buy here)
  • Read a play: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (my review/buy here)
  • Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (my review/buy here)

Soon, I'll be sharing my 2017 reading challenge plan -- stay tuned!