2021 READING CHALLENGE:
Diversify your reading list & read outside your comfort zone
21 categories to expand your reading horizons! Complete the challenge by reading at least 21 different books (fulfulling only one category per title read) by the end of the year. We ask that at least 1/3 of the books you read for the challenge (7 out of 21) are purchased from A Novel Spot.
Once you've read all your books and filled out the official ballot, snap a picture and email it to us, and we'll enter you to win a $40 store credit.
Share your progress on social media with the hastag #novelspotchallenge, and download and print out your own checklist of the categories here.
Below you'll find each category, which books our staff members have picked to fill the various requirements, and some additional ideas. Note that the specific titles listed below are just a few of our suggestions—feel free to choose any books you like to meet each challenge.
Good Luck, and Happy Reading!
An Award-Winning Book
Katie read Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead (Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction 2019, CBC Canada Reads Winner 2021); Helen read Five Little Indians (Governor General's Award for Fiction 2020); Sarah read Hamnet (Women's Prize for Fiction 2020); Susan read Shuggie Bain (Booker Prize 2020)
A Book by a Toronto (or GTA)-Based Author
Sarah read Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson; Helen read Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson; Katie read Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan; Susan read Downfall by Robert Rotenberg, Chris read The Very Marrow of Our Bones by Christine Higdon; Laura read The Push by Ashley Audrain
Historical Fiction Featuring a Female Protagonist
Helen read Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan; Katie read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams; Chris read The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin; Mary read The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne; Sarah read The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
A Memoir By Someone With A Different Life Experience
Katie read We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib; Kathleen read Wintering by Katherine May; Laura read Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad; Sarah read Dancing in the Mosque by Homeira Qaderi
A Police Procedural or Psychological Thriller
Diane read When She Was Good by Michael Robotham; Susan read Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi; Sarah read When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain; Laura and Kathleen read The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave; Katie read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
A Book About the Environment and/or Climate Change
Sarah read The Climate Diet by Paul Greenberg; Mary read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah; Chris read The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan
A Book by an Indigenous Author
Helen read Five Little Indians by Michelle Goode; Susan and Chris read Sufferance by Thomas King; Katie read The Removed by Brandon Hobson; Laura read Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
A Fantasy or Sci-Fi Novel
Susan read Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro; Katie read Piranesi by Susanna Clarke; Laura read Gutter Child by Jael Richardson; Mary read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab; Sarah read Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
A Book You Picked Just Because the Title or Cover Caught Your Eye
Helen read The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams; Katie read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones; Sarah read Mary Jane by Jessica Anja Blau
A Novel by a Woman of Colour
Katie read The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk; Sarah read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones; Chris read Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi; Kathleen read The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris; Helen read Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
A Book About or Set Somewhere You Would Love To Travel
Sarah read Songbirds by Christy Lefteri; Katie read Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood
A Story Told from Multiple Points of View
Helen read Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano; Sarah read Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce; Katie read The Bride of the Sea by Eman Quotah; Laura read Malibu Rising, Chris read The Boy in the Field
A Book by a Trans, Non-Binary, or Two-Spirit Author
A Book Inspired by Mythology
Katie read A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes; Laura read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
A Romance or a Rom-Com
Katie read Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston; Kathleen read Hana Kahn Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin; Sarah read Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
A Debut Novel by a Male Author
Sarah read The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.; Helen and Mary read Firewatching by Russ Thomas; Laura read I'm Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjørk; Susan read The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
A Book That Engages With An Issue You Care About
A New Book Published in the Month of Your Birthday
Mary read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (February); Katie and Sarah read The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (March); Susan read Shiner by Amy Jo Burns (May); Chris read Sufferance by Thomas King (May)
A Book At Least 400 Pages Long
Katie read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (1232 pages); Mary read The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (464 pages); Sarah read The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (816 pages); Susan read The Cellist by Daniel Silva (480 pages)
A Book in Translation or a Classic Novel
Katie read Persuasion by Jane Austen; Sarah read Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Staff Pick from A Novel Spot
Katie read The Liar's Dictionary (Helen's pick); Chris read The Dictionary of Lost Words (Katie's pick); Diane read The Maidens (Laura's pick); Sarah read West with Giraffes (Susan's pick)
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