Last year I started a year-long reading challenge that focused on travel and books perfect to read while you’re traveling. It was premised on a yearly total of 24 books, an average of two books per month, with an advanced challenge of another six books for a combined total of 30 books for 2018. You can see the books I chose for the 2018 travel reading challenge here.

I set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books for the year. I knew the reading challenge list was much less than I’d typically read and I wanted to stretch myself a little. Since I usually read on my Kindle – it’s easy to sync up with Goodreads and track books, but I found that often forgot to add those that I read in print. I think I’ve got everything added in now and you can see that below. I love the way that Goodreads creates a graphic representing your year in books, but don’t get caught up in ratings and readers – I choose small press books with niched readerships as well as New York Times bestsellers.

Mary Jo’s Year in Books 2018 Goodreads


Get more information, as well as meet the other travel colleagues who are leading this year’s challenge on the Travel Reading List website (here).

The challenge is self-paced. Read what you want, when you want it, there’s no order you must follow. Feel free to interpret the list in any way you wish, choosing the type of books that you enjoy. 

We’ve set up a Facebook group here to discuss what we’re reading, get ideas for the prompts, and share our favorite books. Whether you’re doing the challenge or not, please join us there. Note that the group requires approval to join, we’ve done that to prevent spam, but our moderators will get you approved as quickly as possible.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter here.

I’m starting the 2019 Reading Challenge with The Tattooist of Auschwitzfor the prompt “A book set in a war or conflict zone.”

Basic Challenge (an average of two books per month)

  1. A book by an author of a different nationality than you – The Night Tiger
  2. A book with a destination in the title (country, city, state, geographic area) – The Little Perfume Shop Off the Champs-Elysees; The Paris Seamstress; A Paris Apartment
  3. A book about food –  The Chef
  4. A book published in 2019 –  The Lost Girls of Paris; The Au Pair;
  5. A book set in a destination you want to visit – Nine Perfect Strangers (Australia)
  6. A book about a controversial topic – November Road (a fictionalized version of the JFK Assassination); A Spark of Light (a shooting at an abortion clinic);  Shadow of Night (magic and the occult); The Book of Life (magic)
  7. A book that inspires you to travel – Assassination Vacation (Presidential libraries)
  8. A book where the main character is female – In This Grave Hour, A Dangerous Place, and Journey to Munich (all part of the Maisie Dobbs series); Notorious RBG (about Ruth Bader Ginsburg); Small Fry (an autobiography by Lisa Brennan-J0bs)
  9. A book on the New York Times Best Seller List – The Wedding Guest
  10. A book that is a debut novel – The Silent Patient
  11. A book that is the first in a series – Ask Me No Questions; Winter in Paradise
  12. A bestseller from 2018 – The Reckoning
  13. A book written by a person of color – Becoming (Michelle Obama’s autobiography)
  14. A book with a one-word title – Inheritance 
  15. A book about a historical event that happened in your lifetime – The Jell-o Girls
  16. A travelogue – An Embarrassment of Mangoes
  17. A book published by a small press-  My Brilliant Friend
  18. A book set on the continent of Africa – Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
  19. A book about a quest – The Motion of the Ocean
  20. A book on one of your hobbies – Wine Country Table (wine and cooking)
  21. A true crime story – The Devil’s Defender
  22. A book about books (bookstores and/or libraries) – The Little Paris Bookshop
  23. A book with a red cover – A Delicate Touch (Stone Barrington Series)
  24. A book that is next in a series you enjoy – Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs series); Desperate Measures (Stone Barrington series); To Die But Once (Maisie Dobbs series); The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs series)

Advanced Challenge: (an additional six books)

  1. A book with a Muslim main character – The Occasional Virgin
  2. A book published before 1900 – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. A book set in a war or conflict zone – The Tattooist of Auschwitz, We Were the Lucky Ones
  4. A book set in or about a natural disaster – The Stormchasers
  5. A book that won a literary award – The Perfect Nanny (Goncourt Award)
  6. A book in the humor genre – French Exit (dark comedy)

Click here to download the list

Pin to your favorite books and reading boards and find great books all year long.