One of my goals for 2021 is to join more community-based reading challenges and read-a-thons to connect with the wider book world and what better than the year-long PopSugar Reading Challenge?
I checked out some wonderful GoodReads lists to get ideas for books to read for each challenge as well as my own divine inspiration.
For me, as completing this isn’t a total priority rather just a way to guide my reading, I will only complete one prompt per book. Although I listed certain books a few times, it’s just for flexibility purposes. I listed books in order from more likely to less likely to read and marked ones I already own or are likely pubic domain with an asterisks.
Let’s do it!
PopSugar reading prompts
01. A book that’s published in 2021: I don’t really keep up with new releases, meaning it’s not often that I buy a book as soon as it comes out. For this prompt, I will probably wait until the reviews come in before deciding, but some books by authors I’ve read before that are coming out this year are Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert (I have a signed copy of The Sixth Extinction!), Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Surviving the Night by Riley Sager and The Project by Courtney Summers. I’ll likely choose between one of those based on availability, reviews and price.
02. An Afrofuturist book: I’m not going to lie, I’ve never even heard of this genre. But hey, that’s what this challenge is for! I’m going to trust the voters and either read The Fifth Season or The Unkindliness of Ghosts.
03. A book that has a heart, diamond, club, or spade on the cover: I’ve already read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for this, review to come.
04. A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign: I’m a Taurus and so is Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita*), Daphne de Maurier (Rebecca), Charlette Bronte (Jane Eyre*), JM Barrie (Peter Pan*) and Shakespeare.
05. A dark academia book: Bunny*, The Secret History, Picture of Dorian Gray, Ninth House
06. A book with a gem, mineral, or rock in the title: Brighton Rock*, The Golden Compass
07. A book where the main character works at your current or dream job: My dream job is pop-science writing. I don’t think there are a lot of fiction books out there about science writers, so I’m hoping to perhaps find a popular science book that also has a personal narrative… but I won’t likely know until I read it. Sigh.
08. A book that has won the Women’s Prize For Fiction: We Need to Talk About Kevin*, An American Marriage, Half of a Yellow Sun
09. A book with a family tree: Commonwealth*, One Hundred Years of Solitude*, The Red Tent
10. A bestseller from the 1990s: Man, so many to choose from! I’m resisting the urge to re-read one of my all-time favorite book Into Thin Air and choose between Memoirs of a Geisha*, A Secret History, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Tuesdays with Morrie
11. A book about forgetting: Recursion*, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue*, The Time Traveler’s Wife*
12. A book you have seen on someone’s bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.): Right now, I have a few books that I took of my grandma’s and my dad’s shelves to read, so I’ll probably pick one of those! Or raid my new roommates’ books.
13. A locked-room mystery: Anxious People, Nine Perfect Strangers, The Guest List
14. A book set in a restaurant: Tweet Cute, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
15. A book with a black-and-white cover: I’ve already read My Dark Vanessa for this prompt! Review to come.
16. A book by an Indigenous author: Braiding Sweetgrass, Elatsoe, Code Talker
17. A book that has the same title as a song: I’ve already read One by One by Ruth Ware for this prompt, review to come.
18. A book about a subject you are passionate about: I’m probably most passionate about the natural world, sustainability and animals, especially ocean-dwelling ones. That gives me a lot to play with.
19. A book that discusses body positivity: Anything by Talia Hibbert, One to Watch, Dumplin’
20. A book found on a Black Lives Matter reading list: Citizen, White Rage
21. A genre hybrid: Kindred, Slaughterhouse Five, Mexican Gothic
22. A book set mostly or entirely outdoors: The Poisonwood Bible, Station Eleven, A Walk in the Woods, Into the Wild, The Little Prince, Into Thin Air*
23. A book with something broken on the cover: Floodpath, The Silent Patient, Wilder Girls
24. A book by a Muslim American author: The Kite Runner*
25. A book that was published anonymously: Frankenstein*, Pride and Prejudice*, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre
26. A book with an oxymoron in the title: Midnight Sun*, All The Light We Cannot See, Say Nothing
27. A book about do-overs or fresh starts: A Man Called Ove, Siddhartha, Eat Pray Love, Again But Better
28. A magical realism book: Coraline, One Hundred Years of Solitude*, The Night Circus
29. A book set in multiple countries: The Da Vinci Code*, The Glass Hotel, Americanah*, Less*
30. A book set somewhere you’d like to visit in 2021: My biggest travel hope for 2021 is to go back to England, Scotland and Ireland, so somewhere that takes place in any of those counties such as Notes From a Small Island*, Brighton Rock*, The Pull of the Stars*
31. A book by a blogger, vlogger, YouTube video creator, or other online personality: Savannah Brown (as I actively watched her), Doing It!, Again But Better
32. A book whose title starts with “Q,” “X,” or “Z”: The Queen’s Gambit, Queenie
33. A book featuring three generations (grandparent, parent, child): I’ve already read The Vegetarian for this prompt, review to come.
34. A book about a social justice issue: I’m currently reading The End of Policing for this prompt, review to come.
35. A book in a different format than what you normally read (audiobooks, e-books, graphic novels): I’ll choose a graphic novel for this like Sapiens: The Graphic Novel, Fun Home, or a graphic novel based on a book I’ve already read
36. A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads: As new reviews are pouring in everyday for books, I won’t make anything solid for this prompt and see where my reading takes me
37. A book you think your best friend would like: I asked my good friend Lilli (who is one of the few people I know that actively reads) what sounds best to her and she turned up with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue which is high on my list too! My boyfriend Grant and I also have similar tastes, but that seems like too much of a cop-out
38. A book about art or an artist: The Silent Patient, Get a Life Chloe Brown, A Picture of Dorian Gray
39. A book everyone seems to have read but you: I’ve actually read most of the suggested list on GoodReads, but some I should get around to are Pride and Prejudice, Becoming, Rebecca and Little Women*
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: As this is my first year participating, I had no idea what some past prompts were but after some digging the ones that most interested me were book by/about women in STEM or a book with a book on the cover
The longest book (by pages) on your TBR list: It’s hard to readily sort by page count on GoodReads, but probably a Stephen King book (It, Under the Dome*, 11/22/63*)
The shortest book (by pages) on your TBR list: I’ve already read Fantastic Mr. Fox for this prompt, review to come.
The book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover: For these two I’ll just use my physical books (~50 books) bcause I can’t be bothered to scroll through my TBR. Either The Origin of Species, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Little Women
The book on your TBR list with the ugliest cover: Hands down Rage with McDonald Trump’s face on it. I can’t bear it
The book that’s been on your TBR list for the longest amount of time: Much to my dismay, it’s It by Stephen King. The next longest is The God Instinct by Jesse Bering, both for over three years now, woof
A book from your TBR list you meant to read last year but didn’t: All Creatures Great and Small, Cod, The Story of Stuff, Beartown
A book from your TBR list you associate with a favorite person, place, or thing: I’ll go the most direct route and pick a book that takes place in my favorite place in the world: Brighton. The obvious choice would be Brighton Rock but other options are The West Pier and Pride and Prejudice
A book from your TBR list chosen at random: I was thinking of doing a special wrap-up where they are all randomly chosen!
A DNF book from your TBR list: I’d love to revisit Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, The Alienist, 1984 or Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
A free book from your TBR list (gifted, borrowed, library): Easy mode as most of what I read is from the library.
Photo by Sylvia Yang.