Make America Read Again: Eight Reading Challenges that will Make Your Spring Perfect

So much better than yard work

Paul Combs

--

Photo by Gaman Alice on Unsplash

Winter is almost in our rear-view mirror and good riddance to it. With spring nearly upon us, it’s time to start pondering which teams you’ll pick during March Madness (for my friends outside the U.S., this is the annual insanity that is the NCAA college basketball tournament), put off mowing the lawn as long as possible, and start a new reading challenge. Yes, I just mentioned basketball and reading in the same sentence. The two can go together, as the excellent Giant Steps: The Autobiography of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar proves.

Most readers don’t need either a new season or a specific prompt to motivate them to read, but even the most voracious readers enjoy the occasional reading challenge to spice things up (it also triggers our competitive side, which is great when not taken to extremes). There are a number of long-running challenges out there, most notably the Rory Gilmore Reading List (from Gilmore Girls) and the Lisa Simpson Reading List (from The Simpsons), and I thought I would once again share a few reading challenges that you might enjoy (I’ve been on this site long enough for this to become a regular seasonal article).

All of the challenges here are easily adaptable to your own reading goals or preferences, so feel free to take what you like and toss the rest. There’s no prize for finishing any of them either, unless you value knowledge, wisdom, joy, and guaranteed entrance into the gates of heaven; as Borges said, it will be a kind of library.

Here are eight challenges to consider:

1. The Around the World in 80 Books Challenge. I dedicated an entire article to this challenge back in 2023, so I won’t go over all the details again here. I do want to mention it though, as it remains one of my favorite reading challenges ever and it’s the one most likely to truly impact your view of the world. The title sums it up pretty well: compile a list of 80 books from 80 different countries and start reading. I can suggest titles like The Shadow of the Wind (from Spain), The Master and Margarita (from Russia), Suspended Sentences (from France), and The Moor’s Account (from Morocco) but half the fun in the exercise is looking up books on…

--

--

Paul Combs

Writer, bookseller, would-be roadie for the E Street Band. My ultimate goal is to make books as popular in Texas as high school football...it may take a while.