How I Read and 2020 Reading Challenges

In snatches of time between here and there, I read. Five minutes here, ten minutes there. Weeks go by and books get finished.

I don’t keep a standard to-be-read list.

Rather, I get samples of books I’m interested in sent to my Kindle from Amazon. I currently have 343 books (too many!) in my Samples folder (I create my own folders on my Kindle). These book suggestions come from other bloggers, podcasts, library shelves, friends, other books, etc.

After reading the sample, I decide if I want to read the full book. If I don’t, I remove the sample altogether.

But if the book does make the cut, I move it from my Samples folder to one of these folders:

  • My Borrow These folder (206 books, groan!)
  • Or, if I really like it and can’t find it at the library or on NetGalley, to my Buy These folder (47 books, and let’s be real, I’ll only buy maybe 5 a year).

When I’m ready for a new book, I look to those two folders on my Kindle to choose from. 

Occasionally someone will loan me a book or I’ll get a pre-published book to review on my blog or I’ll pick something off the “New” shelf at the library.

Sometimes they’re a dud. Sometimes they’re fascinating. And occasionally they’re life-changing.

So I’ll keep reading when I wake up too early in the morning or when I can’t sleep at night or as I’m folding towels at home or waiting in line at Walmart.

Almost every day I read. Definitely every week.

Reading books make me happy.

2020 Reading Challenges_pin

2020 Reading Challenges

This year I’m returning to reading challenges.

  • They’re fun.
  • They provide camaraderie among readers.
  • They push me to expand my reading selections.

Here are the 2020 challenges I’m participating in. With each, you choose the books you want to read in each category. And you choose your preferred level of participation.

You can also include the same book in multiple challenges (crossovers are usually encouraged). Books can overlap.

Most have a monthly or quarterly linkup if you want to add your book reviews and see what others have been reading.

You can also set your own goals and/or create your own shelf on Goodreads, or join several of these challenges on Goodreads or Facebook.

Look into one or more of these challenges for yourself if you’re interested. We can read together.

For the Love of Ebooks Reading Challenge

Details: Any number of ebooks from any source, any genre
My Goal: Pro Status, 20-29 ebooks
Host: As Told by Tina

The 2020 Reading Challenge

Details: 12 books total over 10 categories (such as, a book by a local author, a re-read, a classic you didn’t read in school, …)
My Goal: 12 books
Host: Modern Mrs. Darcy

Library Love Challenge

Details: Any 12+ books from the library
My Goal: Thrifty Reader, 24 library books
Hosts: Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and Books of My Heart

NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Details: Any book from NetGalley or Edelweiss
My Goal: Bronze, 10 books
Host: Reading Between the Pages

New Release Challenge

Details: Books released/reviewed in 2020, minimum 100 pages per book
My Goal: New Release Newbie, 1-30 books
Hosts: Linda and Brandee

Nonfiction Reader Challenge

Details: 1 book each from 12 given categories (such as memoir, disaster event, psychology, …)
My Goal: 12 books
Host: Shelley Rae at Book’d Out

* * *

I don’t always set reading goals. Do you? How many books do you want to read in 2020? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Here are my favorite books from 2019.

53 thoughts on “How I Read and 2020 Reading Challenges

  1. Barbie

    Thank you for sharing the challenges. I may jump into the ebook challenge. We shall see. In any event, I do plan to read on my Kindle as much as I can. I hope you are doing well!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Nice to hear from you, Barbie! Hope you are doing well also and can get into some great ebooks in the new year. I’ve been making a list today of books I want to read. πŸ™‚

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I had my life and reading plans,
    and it was all so very clear,
    but now I’m calling in the clans;
    There is a tumour in my neck,
    and now it’s in my throat,
    at the devil’s beck
    and call, and is this all she wrote?
    I need your help, I need your prayers,
    I need whatever you can give,
    I am not assuming airs;
    dear God, I want to live!
    Each flag I have is now unfurled,
    and please, PLEASE, roll the world!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks! I’m looking forward to the Nonfiction challenge because that’s where I’m most at home. I do appreciate a good novel, but I can never get too much nonfiction. πŸ™‚

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a great goal, Shannan! I’m sure you’ll knock it out of the park. πŸ™‚ I’ve never participated in Anne’s challenge before, so I’m looking forward to it and knowing you’ll be doing it as well.

  3. Barbara Harper

    I will have to look up some of these challenges, as my two favorite reading challenges aren’t continuing next year. I do read a lot of ebooks and nonfiction, so I will definitely look up those. I should make more use of the library.

    Most of my reading is done the same way–little snatches here and there. I listen to most of my classic books via audiobook while driving, dressing, doing my hair and makeup. Older classics tend to be more wordy, which I don’t mind as much if I am listening while doing something else. If I read those books, I skip forward a lot.

    I have a draft in my email folder for book recommendations I see while reading others’ blogs–sometimes I’ll link their review if I need to go back and refresh my memory. (I put it there because my email account is always open and handy when I am online.) Sometimes when looking at someone’s link to Amazon, I’ll click to add it to my Amazon wishlist. But then I forget who recommended it. But then I’ll look at both of those places at gift-giving times to put some titles on my wish list I give my family. I also follow one site that lists Kindle deals ( Their Christian umbrella is pretty broad–I wouldn’t recommend everything they offer. But I’ve tried several books by new-to-me authors when the Kindle version is only 99 cents.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I like your idea of keeping book recommendations linked with the recommendation. That would be helpful because sometimes I specifically want to read a book because someone I know recommended it, but then it gets lost in the shuffle as just another title amongst all the rest. I also love your idea of adding books to your Amazon wishlist. That’s something I should do! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing these tips here, Barbara.

  4. Pam Ecrement

    Thanks for sharing all of these. I need a boost back into some great books that inspire and pull along with lots of opportunity to reflect along the way. Our November was crowded with some health issues and too many doctors’ appointments and suddenly Christmas prep and Christmas with family was here.

    Now I am looking forward to this slower time of year and a few good books to journey with. I am eager to read some good fiction again (maybe historical fiction) before diving into anything else. I had so many things I needed to read throughout my professional career that was informational that I still have a yen to go back to the delight of some good fiction. Might try The Alice Network based on your brief comments.

    Have a blessed start to 2020!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “a few good books to journey with” – I love how you put that, Pam. I’ve been methodically choosing some books to “journey with” in 2020 to match my One Word Linger. I plan to read that particular stack slowly throughout the year so I can absorb the wisdom longer. Praying your 2020 is full of joy and less doctor appointments! πŸ™‚

  5. Martha J Orlando

    These all sound interesting link-ups, Lisa, but I’m feeling iffy about committing to anything else right now. However, I will keep on reading in 2020, and hope that my friend, Linda, will host her online book club again. πŸ™‚
    Blessings, and Happy New Year!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I hear you, Martha. I haven’t done a reading challenge in a few years myself. This year just seemed to be the time to jump back in, although I don’t know why because I’ve been on the road more than ever with the birth of our newest granddaughter in October. ha. We’ll see what happens. Happy New Year to you too!

  6. Daniela Ark

    You have a great way to choose your next read! So uncomplicated. I should do something like that (I go more by themes at this moment) oh wow look at all the wonderful challenges in which you’ll be participating Lisa! Good luck! Looking forward to all the reviews πŸ™‚ Happy reading in 2020 !

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes I’m more methodical than other times in how I choose books. I do like to leave room for whimsy too though. Just yesterday I was at the library looking at the “new” shelf and grabbed something I’d never even heard of (24/6), but so far it’s good! Happy reading to you too in 2020!

  7. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Thank you, Lisa, for a peak behind the reading scenes, showing us parameters and “how to’s”! Excellent. I remember once it took me a year of bathroom reading to read David Copperfield, and I’m glad I read it. I chose the location (ahem!), because it is a long book and I”m in there a lot! πŸ™‚ I have so many books now that I haven’t read. I always bought a book and read a book. But more and more (especially since the INternet), I’d jot down a title recommended. Or I’d find a great book sale and stock up. I excuse myself by saying that authors are readers, and I need ample resources. BUT . . . so now (mostly) I am ck’g out library books (unless of course I love one so much I know I must have it; then the book goes back to the library, and my fingers do the walking @ Amazon! πŸ™‚
    All best to you, dear Lisa, and a very happy new year of reading!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes those year-long books are the ones that stick in our memories the longest though, right? It usually takes me several weeks to get through a single book because I’m reading others alongside it, but because of the intervals, I *think* it helps me remember it better. The library and Amazon are some of my closest friends. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you, Lynn!

  8. Lynn D. Morrissey

    P.S. And the supreme irony? As a child, I hated reading, and read only what I was absolutely required to read for book reports!

  9. Joanne

    Thanks for this list! I love to read too and have been thinking I’d like to join another reading challenge this year; when I did that two years ago I found it really broadened my horizons and got me reading more than my typical set of books.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t do reading challenges every year, but this year I saw so many that I loved that it was hard paring them down. πŸ™‚ I hope it will broaden my reading horizons too. I love hearing about good books from other people!

  10. floyd

    I can’t say I’ve ever set any reading goals… I have writing ones and have fallen woefully short in the latter!

    Maybe this year…?

    Happy New (Reading) Year! ?

  11. Linda Stoll

    Lisa, happy new year, friend!

    I found this to be one of the most fascinating book posts I’ve read anywhere in 2019. Thanks for the inside scoop, the wise observations, your rich wisdom.

    Let’s see what God has for us to do, to be, to read in the months ahead.

    Bless you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Happy New Year to you, too, Linda! I finally, finally started The Listening Life this morning and thought of you. After finishing Introverts in the Church, I’m ready for more from Adam McHugh. I appreciate you sharing about his good books and so many other good finds so often on your blog. You’re a real treasure!

  12. Patsy Burnette

    I’ve never set a reading challenge, except maybe for reading through the Bible in a year. I guess you might call that a challenge. Great post, Lisa! Thanks for all these ideas. Reading opens a world of possibilities. It’s such a privilege to be able to read. I think we take that for granted sometimes.


    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements! Have a wonderful 2020!!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, reading through the Bible in a year is the greatest reading challenge. I set a 2-year goal each year for the Bible; sometimes I make it within 2 years but often it takes 3. In the end, I love that it doesn’t matter how long it takes us, but how deep it takes us!

      I am so, so grateful for the gift of reading as well. Such a luxury and an opportunity we’ve been blessed with. Happy 2020 to you, too, Patsy!

  13. Liz Dexter

    I’m doing my own Paul Magrs challenge then taking part in the Reading Ireland and Australia months (one book each unless the TBR changes), 20 books of summer, All Virago All August and Heaven-Ali’s Du Maurier week. Seems enough for me. I read 116 books in 2019 and want to read more this year. Happy reading!

  14. David

    Dear Lisa, my main reading challenges for 2020:

    – read more poetry (actually a kind of theme for the year). Will fit into “snatches of time”. Also starting a sleep hygiene pattern (always read poetry last thing before bed).

    – read more women: re-read Frankenstein; read Mary Shelley’s mother (Mary Wollstonecraft)’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Ursula Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, — Ruth Ware! — etc.

    – read more easy on iPad: currently I tend to read mainly technical journal articles, and it’s too tempting to skive off to Twitter or a game or the interwebs (also we have a very small house and too many books already).

    I was very slack with logging and diary last year so this year I aim to be more “mindful” about logging and about using what I read (somehow).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m trying to have better sleep hygiene patterns (again) in 2020. For me it means less TV before bed, more books instead, and don’t read for podcasts when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night.

      I like that you have on your list to read more women authors. My author ratio used to be far more men than women (they were simply published more, for one thing), but now there are many women who are publishing excellent books as well so I hope they find an audience among men as well as women.

      Keeping up with what you read is an excellent choice. I find it very satisfying to keep track.

  15. ~ linda

    WOW!! I am overwhelmed by the way you read because you are always sharing such great books and so many!! You remind me of the tortoise and the hard…you being the tortoise with one foot in front of the other until the book/race is done! Thanks for sharing this and the challenges and books! May your 2020 be filled with the peace and joy of the Lord. I love you, ~ linda
    PS…pray for me as I am feeling God drawing me back to “Being Woven” as I have been so very sporadic since Kenneth died (basically absent). Thanks.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I am definitely the tortoise, Linda! πŸ™‚ That makes me smile. Ironically, one of the books I’m reading now “Thinking Fast and Slow” has to be read very slowly for me to grasp it, and in small doses. I try to read only 5 pages a day in it. But I know, in true tortoise-fashion, that it will eventually get me to the end of the book. It will just take a few months! ha.

      Praying for you now that God will guide your words and fingers in deciding when and what to share on your blog in 2020. I admire your courage in both stepping away and in thinking about stepping back in to your blog. You and Kenneth were such a wonderful couple; I know the loss is still so tangible. Love you, too, friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love how we are all so unique in our styles of reading. My sister loves to read as much as I do too, but I’m guessing she would be like you, and never want to do a challenge either. Thankfully there are no rules we have to follow. πŸ™‚ Hope you find many satisfying books in 2020, Lauren!

  16. Esther Filbrun

    I’ve never heard of most of these reading challenges, but my goal for the year is simply to get 50 read by the end of the year. I went just over that number last year, but I haven’t managed it other years. So I’ll be trying! Thanks for sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a great goal, Esther. I’ve seen stats that say the typical American read 4 books the past 12 months. That number makes me sad because I love to read so much and I don’t want people to miss out! πŸ™‚

      1. Esther Filbrun

        I can’t imagine reading only one book per quarter! It’s hard to fit reading time in sometimes, sure, but… :O I agree; people need to find out how much fun reading is (and how relaxing, too, unless you read thrillers, of course!).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the nudge to do the Goodreads challenge, Barbara Ann. I keep track of my books there, but don’t usually do their challenge. So I have now added my number there this year to help me keep track easier!

  17. Jean Wise

    I had such good intentions last year to read more and didn’t read as much as I wanted or needed to reduce the number of unread books in my house. So I really appreciated this list you shared here. I like MOdern Mrs. Darcy and got some of her stuff. Then I discovered book snobbery and Jessica N Turner. I am going to take her challenge to read those books we have already and wait patiently to be open and savored. Thanks for this grand inspiration

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t heard of Book Snobbery so I just looked up Jessica Turner and am now following her on Instagram. So thanks, Jean!

      A few years ago I did a challenge to read the unread books on my own shelves, and it really made a difference. I’ve since tried to keep those to a minimum. But typically the books I own are the last ones I read because there’s no time pressure on them. My fastest reads are library books that I know I’ll have to return. πŸ™‚

      1. Jean Wise

        I agree that the library books get read first. I think I am going to go throughout the house and gather ( I have multiple piles) all the unread but want to read books. put them in one stack and honor my reading intention this year. Smiling – I should take a photo of the full stack before and after. maybe a good self challenge?

  18. Karen Friday

    Wow, Lisa. This is impressive. Even just the way you are able to receive that many samples and not get overwhelmed in trying to manage, sort through, and pick and choose. But I like how you’ve come up with a plan and challenges so you are less likely to miss the books that are truly life-changing.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I actually am quite overwhelmed by the number of samples on my Kindle. ha. I probably should take a month and read ONLY samples to weed them out. πŸ™‚ Sometimes the sample is enough to get the gist of the book anyway. Happy 2020 to you, Karen!

  19. Pingback: Reading Plans for 2020 | Stray Thoughts

  20. Elley

    *groooooan* Man, I said I wasn’t going to do reading challenges this year, but seeing peoples’ posts about the challenges they’re doing is REALLY pushing me, haha! I like your samples method, but am afraid I would spend all my time reading samples and forget to read actual full books, lol. πŸ™‚

  21. LisaNotes Post author

    I know exactly what you mean because I wasn’t planning on doing any reading challenges myself until I saw all the wonderful ones out there! πŸ™‚ The good news is that many of them will help me stay accountable with what I’d plan on reading anyway, and the others will nudge me out of my comfort zone.

    Sometimes reading the sample is almost as good as reading the full book. πŸ™‚ Those are the ones that I know it’s safe to delete and not look forward at the library.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m really looking forward to the discussion challenge this year. Thanks for hosting. I’m glad I found you.

      I am trying to make a significant dent in my samples folder on my Kindle this year. It has gotten out of hand. πŸ™‚

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