2020 Reading Challenges and a No Buy

A good quarter and then some of 2020 has passed, and just because I haven’t posted about my reading challenges for 2020, doesn’t mean I still don’t have them, or that I haven’t been working on them. Well, I’ve really only been working on my main challenge, which is my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Anyway, I’ve decided to call this my Reading Challenges, unlike past years where I have been titling these posts Book Challenges, because that kind of sounds weird to me, and I don’t know why it sounded okay to me before. Maybe I was in a weird place and didn’t really notice, that happens sometimes. But since this is a fresh start, I guessed I could go ahead and tweak that detail. As also seen in the title, I also decided to do a No Buy this year, which I will talk more about below.

Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge

This is my main reading challenge, because this is simple, just a number of books I want to finish this year. As I still haven’t reached my goal last year, I am further reducing my goal to eleven books. I have been reading, so I’ll show where I’m at right now:

Status/Goal: 2/11 books (18%)

Books Read:

  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  2. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Book Riot’s 2020 Read Harder Challenge

This challenge is mostly to help me branch out the kinds of things I read, but I don’t really work hard on this challenge. I just use this to monitor what I read, if they end up qualifying into one of the categories, or maybe if I have something that would qualify, it would encourage me to go read that title instead of something else that is more in my comfort zone. Below is an overview of the tasks included in the challenge. There are 24, which means that if you really want to tackle this, you can do so by reading two books every month, and this isn’t strict too, a book can qualify for as many tasks as it can!

  1. Read a YA nonfiction book
  2. Read a retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color
  3. Read a mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman
  4. Read a graphic memoir
  5. Read a book about a natural disaster
  6. Read a play by an author of color and/or queer author
  7. Read a historical fiction novel not set in WWII
  8. Read an audiobook of poetry
  9. Read the LAST book in a series
  10. Read a book that takes place in a rural setting
  11. Read a debut novel by a queer author
  12. Read a memoir by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own
  13. Read a food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before
  14. Read a romance starring a single parent
  15. Read a book about climate change
  16. Read a doorstopper (over 500 pages) published after 1950, written by a woman
  17. Read a sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages)
  18. Read a picture book with a human main character from a marginalized community
  19. Read a book by or about a refugee
  20. Read a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK
  21. Read a book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non)
  22. Read a horror book published by an indie press
  23. Read an edition of a literary magazine
  24. Read a book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author

You can see based on the tasks why I don’t really pressure myself with this challenge, because the tasks require really niche books at times, and sometimes I do not have access to those (for example, I am not sure what qualifies as an indie press in the Philippines, if there even is one). This may also require me to buy books, which I can’t really do at the moment, as I will share more about in the next part. It’s fun to have some reads that qualify, though, so I still keep track of these tasks. Click here to see more about this challenge, as Book Riot also has some suggestions on what titles qualify if you’re curious and want to actively participate in this.

Going on a Book “No Buy”

I was thinking of making a separate post about this, but as I started this post I thought that in some way, this is also a challenge for the year, so why not include it here?

If you have been reading my blog posts for quite a while now, you may have read this particular blog post where I talked about the books I bought in a book fair the year prior, and how I hadn’t really read the books I bought, a year later. At this point, I still haven’t read all the books in that haul, which is appalling, but to be fair to myself, I only have two books left to read, I think, so there was progress. The thing is, I have been to, I think one more book fair or book sale since then, and I also bought some books for my birthday, plus my partner also bought some books (with me and on his own). The point is, between the two of us, we have a lot of books. That alone would have been fine, but between the two of us, we also have a lot of unread books. Realizing this, plus being aware that we do have a lot of expenses and things we want to save up for, we have decided to go on a book “no buy” this year.

I am someone who loves watching beauty/makeup videos, and these kinds of videos are the ones that interest me, more than hauls (although I do enjoy a tastefully done haul video). Thus, the idea of doing something similar but with books was a little exciting. Ours is not an extreme “no buy”, which I rarely see but I think does exist, but quite a reasonable one, which means there are exceptions. In beauty/makeup “no buys”, replacement or essentials are usually not counted, unless they are excessive, which makes sense. Thus, in our book “no buy”, books that are necessary for our work and career development are generally excluded, meaning we can buy those. I believe for “career development” the purchase must really make sense, and the more concrete its contribution to any plans we have, the more justified the purchase is. Fiction is definitely out of the picture, unless there’s a really exceptional circumstance, and I can see myself being very strict on myself, at least, on that. Nonfiction is also mostly out of the picture, with the exceptions already stated. In our field of work we do need to get some updated books from time to time, so that really is a necessary exception.

This challenge will help us keep our spending focused on books we actually need, and for those that are more for general knowledge and reading pleasure, it’s a chance for us to focus first on what we already have. Which is a lot, so I have no room to complain. Not only do I have unread books I purchased, I also have books from my partner since we now have a shared collection, so it’s really an adventure to be quite honest, and there is a lot of material I can go through.


Anyway, I think I have rambled quite enough about that. Do you have any reading challenges for 2020? How have you been with your reading challenges during these uncertain times? I hope reading, or any hobby, has been a respite from all the issues brought about by the pandemic. I have been able to read some, but not really more than usual. I’ll update when I have a milestone or when it makes sense, but I’ll also have a page on this blog dedicated to my reading challenges, so check in from time to time if you’re curious. I hope you all keep safe and sane during these times, and if you have any reading challenges, happy reading!

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