We’ve all been there: staring at our towering stacks of unread books and unsure of where to start. This year, we’re taking control and making a plan. Here, we have 12 reading challenges (one for each month of the year) designed to help you knock out titles on your TBR (to be read) shelves.
Check back in every month for tips on how to accomplish that month’s goal and for updates on how our editors are doing on their challenges. Then share your progress using #killyourtbr2016 on social media.
January: Read whatever you want
First things first: We at Bookish believe that life is too short to read books that don’t interest you. If you’re a completist, by all means, read the way you want. But we don’t want anyone feeling pressure to read a book they just can’t get into. With that in mind, take a month to read the books you’re most excited about.
February: Read books you’re embarrassed you haven’t read yet
We’ve got them too: books we’re ashamed we haven’t read yet. We even made a list of our reading regrets. To lift your spirits, finally tackle those titles that have been gathering dust for far too long.
March: Read based on the cover
Pick out the books that you bought because you were so captivated by the cover and see if the content within is equally stunning.
April: Read the genre you own the least of
Take stock of your TBR and you’ll likely notice one genre coming up short. Reading through an entire genre in a month is a great way to feel accomplished in your reading goals.
May: Read the classics
This may overlap with embarrassing reads, but the two are not mutually exclusive. For example, I am not ashamed that I haven’t read Les Miserables, but it’s a major work of literature that I’d love to say I truly read. Also, keep in mind that you set the rules. Junot Díaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is considered to be a modern classic, or you could tackle the most influential books in a specific genre. Let this month be fueled by what you view as the “classics.”
June: Read the adaptations
You likely have books on your shelves that have inspired films or television shows. Tackle those books and, for an added treat (or headache, depending on your view), check out the adaptation to see how it stacks up.
July: Read diversely
Diverse reading challenges have become more and more popular in recent years and have helped readers explore the world of literature in brand new ways. We’ll let you decide what you want this challenge to mean. Maybe you’ll read only female authors for a month, or authors who identify as LGBTQ; maybe you’ll read books with protagonists of color, or protagonists with disabilities. We’re sure you’ll end the month with a new view of the world around you.
August: Read chronologically
Once again, we’ll let you determine the specifics of this challenge. You can start with the books published in the far past and work towards more recent titles, or you can start with books that were published more recently and work your way backwards.
September: Read the books with the least number of pages
If you own a lot of books that are less than 200 pages long, this will be a great month. Short books usually allow readers to quickly fly through them, meaning this might be your most well-read month of the year.
October: Read books people gave or lent you
Once again, don’t force yourself to read anything you don’t want to. But we think taking a month to get around to the titles that are on loan to you or were gifted is necessary. Those books can pile up fast and this is the time to clear them out.
November: Reread the books you can’t remember
I read Pride and Prejudice in high school, which was long enough ago that I don’t feel right placing it on my “Read” bookshelf. If you have titles on your TBR shelf that you once read, or started but never finished, take this month to get around to them.
December: Read what other people recommend
My friends love browsing my bookshelves when they come to visit, and very often they comment on the books they’ve read themselves. During this month, ask each guest if they’ve read any of the books on your TBR and what they’d recommend for you. It may be tough giving up control of what you’re reading and listening to other people, but it could be the perfect way to read titles you would’ve have picked up otherwise.