Read Along With Emilie 2018: A Reading Challenge.

This past year I participated in a reading challenge at Better World Books  Now it’s your turn for a challenge.

In 2017 Better World Books, an online bookstore that works to support literacy, created twenty-five reading categories. Those of us who accepted the challenge had a year to find books that fit and read them all by year’s end.

What’s the real point of a reading challenge?

Reading challenges are designed to broaden our reading horizons. This year I read so many books I never would have found an excuse to pick up. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. Miss Marple Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie. I read twenty-one books altogether, not including two I started and for different reasons decided not to finish. I just didn’t or couldn’t get to the other categories.

I loved this challenge. I loved choosing my own titles, sometimes books like Prince of Los Cucoyos, which I’d never have picked up. That category was “A Book About Immigrants.” Richard Blanco, the author, is a poet, and I liked his memoir so well that for “A Book of Poetry” I read his collection Looking for the Gulf Motel.

While I was working my way down their list, I began thinking of more categories that might be fun, and, of course, the next thought was, why not do a reading challenge here?

Welcome to Read Along With Emilie 2018.

I took the idea to my Krewe of Review, who are great at giving feedback. We came up with eighteen categories, in honor of 2018. While I considered doing a giveaway for participants, I realized that keeping lists of who read what would take as much time as writing another book. And I’d rather entertain you than spend hours keeping score.

Besides. Truthfully? Participating in a reading challenge should be a big prize in itself. It was for me. Instead of a giveaway, at year’s end let’s see how people did, and to honor them, I’ll list participants who read twelve or more books here. Those last six are something of a bonus for my hardcore readers.

So today, the categories and a question. First one, then the other.
The categories will be:
  1. A book set on the water.
  2.  A novel that features a character with a disability.
  3.  A classic you always promised yourself you would read.
  4.  A novel with a person’s name in the title.
  5.  A travelogue.
  6.  A novel featuring a woman over sixty as a major character.
  7.  A novel set in a different century and in a country not your own.
  8.  A family saga.
  9.  A novel from a genre (romance, sci-fi, etc.) that you rarely or never read.
  10.  A novel by Emilie Richards.
  11.  A non-fiction “how-to” book.
  12.  A young adult (YA) book.
  13.  A book you choose just because.
  14.  A time travel novel.
  15.  A novel that’s been made into a movie.
  16.  A book that’s been in your to-be-read pile for more than a year.
  17.  A memoir.
  18.  A book by a local author.

By the way, the Krewe made me include one of my books. Aren’t they great?

We’ll take stock here monthly to see how you’re doing–and I’ll be reading through the list with you.

For in-depth discussions of what we’re reading for each category we already have Read Along With Emilie Richards, a Facebook group, and it will be the perfect venue. If you haven’t joined, click on that link and I’ll buzz you in–it’s a private group so we won’t have spammers in our midst.

Now the question. Does this sound like fun? Is it worth exploring? There are no rules, no restrictions, no reasons you must read in every category–remember, I didn’t. The list is fluid. If you aren’t sure whether a book is a memoir or an autobiography, for instance? No one will care. The point is to help each of us broaden our reading horizons.

So let me know if you’d like to participate. I’ve created a printable pdf so you can download the categories to fill out as you go. Keep your list handy and note what you’ve read.

I can guarantee that by year’s end your list will be rumpled and scribbled and something of a disaster. You’ll note that mine was.

I still treasure it.


  1. Jane Dougherty on January 17, 2018 at 10:51 am

    I really enjoyed last year’s challenge and because of it read some books that I may never have read. So with that in mind , I will gladly join this year’s challenge.

  2. Carol McIntosh on January 17, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I didn’t join in last year but I just printed the categories list and I’m ready to jump in for this year.

  3. Marjorie Roberts on January 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I’m in for the challenge! I may tweak some, like you suggested. I’ll let everyone know what I pick as I go. Maybe on your Facebook page, Read Along with Emilie Richards, there can be somewhere to have each category as a topic where we can fill in the books we are reading under that heading. That would give us ideas, too and keep every idea together.

  4. Kim B. on January 17, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    I’m in – this will be an adventure!

  5. Terri Kirkham on January 17, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    I already have my first book of this challenge to read. Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir. #7

  6. Merlene N. on January 18, 2018 at 12:59 am

    I’ll give it a whirl as I just did the Goodreads challenge last year. This year I shall try both.

  7. Lucy Reynolds on January 18, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I would love to, but have already filled up my time to read this year with promises to authors, but will try to fit some in. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Terri Kirkham on January 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I posted yesterday…or so I thought…that the book I chose for my first read was #7. I have since discovered that it is a biography so I am going with #16.

  9. Ginny Andersen on January 18, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I printed out the list. Hmmm….I am currently reading your book Wedding Ring again, so I think i have just filled the bill for “…a woman over 60…”. Ya gotta love Helen! My kind of feisty with a heart of gold!
    I like the idea of sharing what we are reading. It may help some of us with a category we are struggling with.

  10. Terri C. on January 18, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    I’m in! It looks a lot less daunting than a lot of reading challenges.

    • Emilie Richards on January 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Good. That was my hope.

  11. Cathy Norton on January 19, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I have printed off the list and have been planning the books I was to use to fill in the categories. I enjoyed doing tje Goodreads challenge with you last year but did not complete it. So many new books out to read also. One book I am currently listening to fills a couple of categories. Can I list one book on a couple of lines or do they all need to be different books?

    • Emilie Richards on January 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      The fewer rules the better, so I’d say do it any way that feels right to you. With eighteen categories, you’ll be busy no matter what you do. So glad you’re reading along.

  12. Kathryn Trask on January 20, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I am certainly on for this and will be hoping to fill most categories. My first read of the year The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White was about a character with a disability – OCD. Excellent read.

    • Emilie Richards on January 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      This sounds like the perfect book for this category. I need to figure out the best place to list suggestions so that people can get ideas for book for each subject.

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