7 Really Cool Challenges to Get You Back into Reading This Year

Have you heard of the ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ reading challenge?

dead poets society reading challenge

One of the New Year’s resolutions I make every year is to read more (as we all do). With university in my life, it’s hard to find a place books to read that I actually enjoy rather than textbooks I’m forced to read. But now seems as good a time as ever to get back on track, and I’m sure a reading challenge will make me excited to crack open a book again. In fact, I’ve found a couple.

Some of the challenges are ongoing, take a lot of time and dedication—two things I’ve learned this year. Others are more 2017-centric, and you don’t lose points for taking longer to complete them, either. Some have specific titles to them; do-it-yourself topics, requiring you to fill in suggested categories of your choice; and even have pop culture components to them.

No matter what, with the seven challenges on this list, you’ll be able to find one that’s just right for you:

1. The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

rory gilmore reading challenge

The Dauntless Dreamer‘s challenge is comprised of every book title mentioned in Gilmore Girls, and is inspired by Rory Gilmore’s obsession with reading; in nearly every scene of the show, she has a book in her hands. So it’s no surprise that the challenge is made up of over 300 books, from childhood reads like Stuart Little to more challenging titles like Proust’s Swann’s Way.

I’ve been working my way through this (albeit slow-going) challenge since I started watching the show. I’m still at work on it now, but my mission is to check off the final book on the list (which, in all likelihood, might be Voltaire, since he scares me most). Cujo by Stephen King, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and even Goldilocks and The Three Bears appear on the list, and have all been mentioned on the show at least once.

2. The Gilmore Girls Revival Reading Challenge

gilmore girls reading challenge

After Gilmore Girls concluded, the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge became a popular dare among book lovers and GG admirers alike. So it came as no surprise that a new challenge arose once the reprisal hit Netflix last year. In fact, Bustle created a personal challenge that references all the books mentioned in the show’s eighth season.

Some of the titles included in this challenge are Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to name a few. Just like the challenge associated with the original series, this new reading dare proves just as witty and creative. Once you’ve completed Rory’s challenge, definitely try out Bustle’s Gilmore Girls one, too!

3. POPSUGAR’s 2017 Reading Challenge

popsugar reading challenge 2017

For their annual challenge this year, POPSUGAR has created a do-it-yourself style reading list. This one has 40 different categories that you can fill with your choice of book. The list was created to help participants “diversify and expand” their reading experience. There’s even an “advanced” section for readers looking for more of a challenge.

Some of the categories from this year’s POPSUGAR reading challenge range from books with characters who have disabilities to books with nonhuman perspectives, to more random themes like books with hotel settings. If you’re looking to up the ante, try out their advanced level challenge, which requires participants to read a book almost every week for the entire year. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and intense challenge, this one is for you!

4. Dead Poet’s Society Reading Challenge

dead poets society reading challenge

Dead Poet’s Society is one of the best movies to watch if you’re a complete bookworm. John Keating, the fervid teacher who introduces his students to a new take on knowledge, tosses out a number of book references in the film. So you can thank Book Riot for rounding up a list of 10 fantastic reads that are cited throughout Robin Williams‘ legendary flick.

Some books you’ll read during this challenge are Walden by Henry David Thoreau (which Keating uses to encourage his students to think freely), The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and of course O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman. If this list doesn’t make you want to stand up on a desk and shout your love for literature, I’m not sure what will.

5. Back to the Classics Reading Challenge

books and chocolate back to classics 2017 reading challenge

This year, Books and Chocolate created a reading challenge that comes with a prize! The challenge encourages participants to re-read and rediscover classics they might have skimmed in high school (we have a few recs. of our own!). The Back to the Classics challenge is separated into 12 categories and much like POPSUGAR’s challenge, you are asked to fill in as you go.

Some of the categories you’ll be asked to read from include romantic classics, 20th-century classics, and even a Gothic or horror classics. If you want to buff up your reading resume, this might be the challenge you’ve been looking for.

6. Book-to-Movie Reading Challenge

book to movie reading challenge the circle

Gather Together and Read, a “community for reading challenges and read-alongs” created an entire reading challenge out of books being adapted for a film this year. This challenge is a great choice if you plan on hitting up the theater for any of these flicks, too, or if you just want in on some of the year’s most popular books being made into movies in 2017.

Some books you’ll find in this challenge are titles like Hidden FiguresThe Circle (starring Emma Watson, which releases April 28) and The Bell Jar, also rumored to be adapted to film sometime this year. This is definitely the challenge for you if you’re a the-book-is-always-better kind of reader or someone who enjoys the movie version just the same as the original.

7. Modern Miss Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenge

miss darcy reading challenge

As a self-described Austenian, Modern Miss Darcy‘s reading challenge got me super excited. This reading challenge is unique to this list as it is divided into two different categories: reading for fun and reading for growth. The creator refers to this challenge as a “choose-your-own-adventure” reading list. The Reading for Fun list (“put the oomph back in your reading life”) is comprised of books chosen for their cover, books from genres you usually avoid, and my personal favorite, books you don’t want to admit you’re actually dying to read. While the Reading for Growth list (“stretch yourself in 2017”) includes books in translation, books nominated for acclaimed awards in 2017, and books that feature immigrant narratives.

Personally, I think both challenges sound really exciting. They’re both perfect if you’re someone who likes reading challenges to follow that DIY format or books you’ve been hoping to read. Modern Miss Darcy even details the best way to go about the challenges, whether you decide to complete both or just one. They even have a free downloadable kit that comes with the challenge so you can track your progress.

Which reading challenges are you participating in this year?

Tell us some of your reading goals with us in the comments!

Written by Lena Gilmour

My name is Lena Gilmour. I'm a second-year university student passionate about reading and writing. I live in Canada and yes, it's as cold as they say it is.