By The Book (List): Kicking Off The 2017 Ultimate Reading Challenge


With the end of 2016 comes, unsurprisingly, the end of the 2016 Ultimate Reading Challenge. Introduced to the Compulse staff by Sr. Director Antonia DeFeo at the start of last year, the competition challenges participants to read a list of forty books in a single year.

Rather than explicitly listing titles to read, the Ultimate Reading Challenge asks participants to read books that exhibit certain qualities or characteristics that apply to many different books, like “a book with a blue cover” or “a book that’s part of a trilogy.”

Antonia started the book club because she wanted to give people a chance to come together through shared interests, but she chose this specific format because she wanted to maximize enjoyment and participation.

“I don’t want to read science fiction all of the time, and maybe someone else doesn’t want to read ‘chick lit’ or whichever genre I prefer. This approach encourages everyone to step outside their usual choices without sacrificing their preferences or personal tastes. After all, if everyone had to read a specific book that didn’t appeal to them, they might not want to be part of the club at all!”

In 2016, no one completed the challenge but Joe Mann and Brianna Bolling got pretty close. Participants met roughly once a month to talk about their progress over some cookies, and readers who hit special milestones (10 books, etc.) received Amazon gift cards.

The book club will continue into 2017 with one exception: now, the list of characteristics is a mix of suggestions from Popsugar’s official 2017 Reading Challenge and suggestions from those who participated in the 2016 challenge. Some of our suggestions seem pretty standard – a book with a subtitle, a book you haven’t read since high school – but a couple raise eyebrows: what is obviously Jon Care’s suggestion of “A Star Wars book” seems suspiciously specific 😉

Suspicions aside, I’m excited for the 2017 challenge. May the force be with me!