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

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  5. Traci@TitleSurfingWithTraci

    December 2, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    i’m excited to join again-
    for some reason I cannot connect to the goodreads group from the above link am I doing something wrong?

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  8. Randi Robinson

    January 2, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I’m going to give this a go this year.

  9. Ramona Mead

    January 3, 2021 at 11:38 am

    I’m glad to hear that, welcome to the challenge! Don’t hestiate to reach out if you need some guidance!

  10. Tarissa

    January 4, 2021 at 12:47 am

    I’m very excited to join again this year. Thanks for the challenge!

  11. Ramona Mead

    January 4, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Excellent, thanks for joining! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need suggestions!

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  13. Indy_Chick

    January 21, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    I just joined and am excited for my first year of reading challenges! I agree with commenter Traci, though, I also couldn’t get to the Goodreads Group by the link above, nor could I find it by searching. I don’t have social media, so Goodreads is my spot to keep up with this. Does anyone know what the group is called on Goodreads?

  14. Ramona Mead

    January 22, 2021 at 10:20 am

    I’m sorry you have had trouble accessing the Goodreads group. Try this link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/362564-while-i-was-reading-annual-challenge
    I have updated it in the post and sent you an email as well. Happy reading!

  15. Indy_Chick

    February 6, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Belated thank you, Ramona! I was able to join the Goodreads group! I appreciate your help!

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  17. Jamie

    May 23, 2021 at 9:15 am

    I finished on the 12th. Sorry for not posting sooner.

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