2021 Reading Challenge Categories

Hello and welcome to the fourth annual While I Was Reading Challenge!

A few friends have reached out recently to tell me how excited they are about the new categories. That made my heart happy, and I hope you like what I came up with this year.

 My goal is to create categories that are challenging and personalized, yet not too difficult as to be extremely limiting or frustrating. I stuck with 12 categories to keep it realistic and accessible to people with less reading time than myself!

All you have to do is read, no other participation is required. If you start and don’t finish, that’s okay. And if you want to interact with me and other readers, I’ve got some ways for you to do that at the end of this post.

I don’t want to make you wait any longer, so here you go…

2021 Reading Challenge Categories

  1. A book published before 2000
  2. An essay or short story collection
  3. A book you’ve been looking forward to
  4. A book you’ve been avoiding
  5. A book of magical realism
  6. A book with alliteration in the title
  7. A book with food or drink on the cover
  8. A cozy mystery
  9. A book with a dog on the cover
  10. A memoir
  11. A book by an author who has written more than 10 books
  12. A debut novel

You can get a printable list of this year’s categories here.

There’s a Facebook Group and a Goodreads Group for participants to gather for discussion and brainstorming.

I can’t wait to hear from everyone who is planning to participate in 2021! I had fully intended to send out a monthly newsletter this year, but life was really hard and I never got around to it. So that’s one of my biggest goals for 2021. I’ll be in touch with category suggestions, and other reading related tips, and recommendations.

**And if you’re still working on the 2020 challenge, remember to send me your completed list no later than December 31, 2020. Everyone who submits a list will be entered in a drawing to win an Amazon gift card – That will give you a head start on buying titles for 2021!


  1. Jamie

    November 12, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I’m joining again!

  2. Bev Baird

    November 12, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Almost finished this year’s challenge and now looking forward to 2021 challenge. Great categories.

  3. Traci

    November 14, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Just about finished with this years. Excited to do again next year. Great topics

  4. What does it mean to be a book blogger: Guest blogger Ramona Mead | Book reviews and more

    November 15, 2020 at 6:41 am

    […] And if you’re up for a challenge when it comes to your reading habits, check out my 2021 While I Was Reading Challenge. […]

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