Hello 2023 and Happy New Year!

2022 was a great year for both travel and reading, and I’m hoping 2023 gives it a run for its money.

I did a lot of reading in 2021, completing 96 books. There were a dozen or so long-haul flights where I got some reading done, but there was still a lot of time reading on the couch, lounging in a bubble bath, or my nightly habit of reading before bed.

I’m generally a Kindle reader. I like having dozens of books (actually hundreds) at hand. It makes for light packing, it slips into a purse, and with the reading app, I can synch it up to all my devices. I have the Kindle Paperwhite. It adjusts to various light situations, so I can read it in a darkened airplane cabin or in the bright light of a beach. You can click on the photo above to learn more about the specs and see if it’s a good choice for you.

Because I’m also a frugal reader, I get a lot of my e-books from my local library (where I usually have 10-15 books on hold) and only purchase when I absolutely can’t wait to read a new release. Check your local library’s online services, I bet you have this available as well.

I always purchase hard copies of guidebooks, though. There’s something about having one that I can write in, underline, and refer back to on future trips.

Speaking of guidebooks – you know that I wrote one, right? Secret Seattle was released during covid so you might have missed it.

Five years ago, I started a Travel Reading List Challenge, founded out of my love of reading and curiosity for the world – and as a means of exploring new topics, writers, and points of view. It’s also a way to decide what to queue up on the Kindle so there’s always something to read. I invited a few other travel bloggers and avid readers to join me in the Challenge. We’ve kept at it, and today we launch the 6th Annual Travel Reading List Challenge.

You can take a look at the results of my 2022 challenge here.

The reading challenge is designed for those who enjoy traveling and learning more about the world. It seems I’m always queuing up a book about someplace I’m going or someplace I’ve been. And on a recent trip to Ireland, I spent time sipping tea and talking about books and books clubs with my Irish soda bread teacher.

The basic reading challenge has a pace of two books per month, for a yearly total of 24 books. The advanced portion of the reading challenge adds on another six books, bringing the yearly total to 30 books. It’s a doable number and gives you a way to be mindful of your reading choices.

The challenge is self-paced. Read what you want, when you want. There’s no order you must follow. Fiction or non-fiction, both are great. Feel free to interpret the list in any way you wish, choosing the type of books that you enjoy. However, I also hope you’ll be encouraged to try some new authors and genres, and will add new voices to your reading list – that’s part of the fun of the challenge.

For suggestions of what to read, lively discussions about our favorite books, and recommendations of what to take along on your next trip, please join the Facebook Group. We talk about books, authors, reading, travel, and all the great stuff of life. You’re welcome to join us there. And don’t worry – it’s a no-spoiler kind of place.

You can also sign up for our monthly (or more likely quarterly) newsletter here. We anticipate quarterly updates with recommendations on what to read, new releases, and more. Of course, we say that every year but it seems we are too busy reading to send out a newsletter. We’ll try to be better about that in 2023.

Are you up for the challenge?

Basic Challenge (an average of two books per month)

  1. A book that has had a movie/TV adaptation.
  2. A book by or about a chef.
  3. A book that includes time travel
  4. A book set in New EnglandVerity (set in Vermont)
  5. A book set in the South Pacific
  6. A book set in SpainI’ll Push You
  7. A book set in a former Soviet bloc country
  8. A book that takes place over a holiday (not Christmas)
  9. A book about friendsFriends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing
  10. A book featuring mermaids
  11. A book set on borderlands (real, magical, or imagined)
  12. A book featuring an arranged marriage
  13. A book with a two-word titleDistant Thunder; The Bodyguard
  14. A book in a genre that you seldom readThe Power of Positive Thinking (religion)
  15. A book set in a healthcare settingThe Future You
  16. A book set on a plane, train, or automobile
  17. A book with a character who’s a veteran
  18. A book with a character who’s a teacher
  19. A book set in a coffee shop or about coffee
  20. A book with a protagonist over 50Livid;
  21. A book with a rural setting
  22. A book set in a bookstore
  23. A book set in a time period you know little about.
  24. A book about a hobby or skill

Advanced Challenge (an additional six books)

  1. A book with a red cover
  2. A book that is Southern noir
  3. A book set in a country that you aren’t keen to visit
  4. A book set in winter
  5. A book set on or about a boat
  6. A book set on or with an island theme

Click on the link below for a printable check-off list and keep track of the books you are reading in the challenge. 


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