Because life is meaningless without rules and spreadsheets, I've set myself a challenge to fulfill the following 50 prompts with my reading this year! Books can count for as many prompts as they fit (so I might not need to read 50 books, though that's also my target number for the year).

My goal with this challenge is partly to read things that I wouldn't otherwise have picked up, but mostly to push myself to think frequently about reading.


A little bit of variety

  1. A volume of poetry
  2. A book that won a Hugo or Nebula
  3. A book I love re-reading
  4. A Gothic novel NOT from the 18thC
  5. A book that I hear people talk about a lot
  6. A work of non-fiction (not a literary monograph)
  7. A random book from my Goodreads to-read shelf
  8. A book I meant to read in 2018
  9. A book mentioned in another book
  10. A book with a nun
  11. A comic book
  12. A book set in a country where I have never been
  13. A book involving a non-Christian holiday
  14. A book that revolves around a bet or game

Judging a book by its bibliographic metadata

  1. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter:
  2. A book published in 2019:
  3. A book with a question in the title
  4. A book that’s been the title of my newsletter
  5. A "birthday book": released during my birth month, or by an author who shares my birthday
  6. A copy of a book printed before 1830
  7. A work published at one point as an incunabulum
  8. A book by an author whose name is also an animal

Making things complicated

  1. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (1)
  2. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (2)
  3. Three books by authors of three different ethnicities (3)
  4. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (1)
  5. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (2)
  6. Three books recommended by friends from different friend circles (3)
  7. An author’s first and last books (first)
  8. An author’s first and last books (last)
  9. A five-book "title chain" (each book's title must share a word with the preceding book)
  10. A five-book "title chain"(2)
  11. A five-book "title chain" (3)
  12. A five-book "title chain" (4)
  13. A five-book "title chain" (5)

Can't take a guy out of the 18th century

  1. Something published in the 1770s
  2. Something published in the 1780s
  3. Something published in 1789
  4. Something published in 1790
  5. Something published in 1791
  6. Something published in 1792
  7. Something published in 1793
  8. Something published in 1794
  9. Something published in 1795
  10. Something published in 1796
  11. Something published in 1797
  12. Something published in 1798
  13. Something published in 1799
  14. Something published in the 1800s
  15. Something published in the 1810s

Books Read

  1. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger (2016).
  2. The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse (1923).
  3. Katherine, by Anya Seton (1954).
  4. Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress, by Frances Burney (1782).
  5. Lord Peter Views the Body, by Dorothy Sayers (1928).
  6. Carry On, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehose (1925).
  7. Wrong About Japan, by Peter Carey (2004).
  8. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy Sayers (1928).
  9. Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers (1930).
  10. Japan, by Lonely Planet (2017).
  11. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813).
  12. Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell (2015).
  13. Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back, by Janice P. Nimura (2015).
  14. The Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy Sayers (1931).
  15. The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner (2006).
  16. Stag's Leap: Poems, by Sharon Olds (2012).
  17. Very Good, Jeeves!, by P.G. Wodehouse (1930).
  18. The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu (2008).
  19. Charlotte Smith in British Romanticism, ed. Jacqueline Labbe (2008).
  20. Augustus: First Emperor of Rome, by Adrian Goldsworthy (2015).
  21. This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone;(2019). (I super recommend this novella for anyone who is "sci-fi curious".)
  22. The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry (2016). Prompts filled: 5, a book that I hear people talk about a lot; 8, a book I meant to read in 2018; 27, second book recommended by friends from different friend circles
  23. Thank You, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse (1933).
  24. Mr. Denne's observations on a triple stone seat at Upchurch in Kent, by Samuel Denne (1795).
  25. Thank You, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse (1933).
  26. The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide, by Peter Fleming (2019). (I don't really recommend this book.)
  27. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear (2003).
  28. Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones (1986).
  29. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (2015).
  30. The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2000).
  31. Paladin of Souls, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2003).
  32. Penric's Mission, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016).
  33. Mira's Last Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2017).
  34. The Hallowed Hunt, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2005).
  35. The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. Mark Goldie (2006).
  36. The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse (1938).
  37. Joy in the Morning, by P.G. Wodehouse (1947).
  38. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation, by John Guillory (1993).
  39. Marcus Agrippa: Right-hand Man of Caesar Augustus, by Lindsay Powell (2014).
  40. Penric's Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2015).
  41. Penric's Fox, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2018).
  42. Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016).
  43. The Prisoner of Limnos, by Lois McMaster Bujold (2017).
  44. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (2014).
  45. The Comical Fellow; Or Wit and Humour for Town and Country, by Tim Gape (1791)