The 50 Book Challenge

by sockii

Can you read 50 books in one year? That's what the "50 Book Challenge" is about - encouraging us all to discover learning, entertainment and enlightenment through reading.

It all began in 2003 in a small LiveJournal community for book lovers, and those looking to re-awaken their love of reading:

Could you challenge yourself to read 50 books in one year's time?

Since then, the challenge has continued and spread around the internet to many other communities, websites, forums and personal blogs. People around the world are pushing themselves to get back into reading and rediscovering the joys and knowledge that reading books can bring into our lives.

Does the idea of reading 50 books in one year seem impossible to you? Or is it something you already do as an avid book-reader and lover of literature? What are some of the obstacles keeping you from reading books regularly, and how can you tackle them? I have tried to take on the 50 Book Challenge several times before, and always failed in the past - but I'm trying once again in 2015. Want to join me, or simply learn more about the challenge? Then read on as I share information and links about the 50 Book Challenge, as well as continue to update this page as I take on the 50 Book Challenge myself and share book reviews and personal progress along the way.

What's Your Reading Frequency?

Would reading 50 books in a year be a challenge to you?

On average, how many books do you read annually?

About the 50 Book Challenge

How it began and where to learn more

LiveJournal user jadis began the 50 Book Challenge community in 2003, for people interested in joining her in a quest to read and complete 50 books in one year's time. Today, 9 years later in 2012, the community has more than 7000 members and similar groups have formed elsewhere around the internet, all with the goal of supporting each other in reading 50 books a year.

Why is it important to read more books? Because today we let so many other things keep us from exploring the wonderful experiences, pleasure and knowledge that come from reading good books. We spend too much time on the computer engaging in mindless social media interactions and games. We turn off our minds in front of the "boob tube", watching junky reality tv shows instead of savoring good literature. We tell our children how important it is to read and then do not set an example for them by doing the same.

Reading books is in danger of becoming a lost art and skill. Now, more than ever, it may be important to remember how wonderful it is to read a good book and share that experience with others.

Links to learn more about the 50 Book Challenge:

What Keeps You From Reading More Books?

A survey...

The biggest obstacle I face in reading more books is:

Tips For Reading 50 Books In One Year

Need help getting started?

1. Allow yourself to leave books unfinished.

It's very likely that you may start reading a book and very quickly find out that you don't like it. Maybe the author's prose isn't grabbing you, you don't like the main characters, it's just not a kind of book you enjoy. Don't force yourself to keep reading it and struggling with it if it's only going to slow down your 50 book progress. Put it down, move on to something else, tell yourself you'll return to it later if you decide to. But don't feel any obligations to do so.

2. It's not cheating to start with smaller, shorter books.

Start the challenge easy. Don't grab that 600-page fantasy epic or 700-page historical novel if you are worried about getting through 50 books in one year. Start with shorter, easy reads just to build your reading momentum. Enjoy the accomplishment of finishing your first few books quickly - that will help you work up to the challenge of reading longer, more involved books later on.

3. Indulge in guilty pleasure reading.

No one demands you have to tackle high literature to complete the 50 Book Challenge. So go on, pick up that trashy-looking romance novel for a "guilty pleasure" escape. Why not find out what all the fuss about "50 Shades of Grey" is for yourself? No one is going to judge you based on what you are reading. The goal is to simply start reading books again.

4. Explore subjects you already enjoy.

Are you an avid home chef or "foodie"? Then why not check out some of the fun food-related mystery novels out there, biographies of famous chefs, or maybe a travel book spotlighting the food of a particular country or region? If you're a music fan, perhaps pick up some rock music autobiographies and learn more about your favorite artists. Make it fun to find out more about your favorite passions and interests.

5. Limit your time on Facebook and other social websites.

Think seriously about how much time you spend during the day on Facebook, Twitter, reading messageboard forums, etc. Could you turn some of those minutes or hours into bookreading time instead? Bring a book with you to read on your lunch break instead of obsessively refreshing your friends' "newsfeed". Make books more of a habit in your daily relaxation routines.

6. Bring a book with you to the gym.

Why not catch up on some reading while on the exercise cycle or treadmill? If you can't focus your eyes while jogging along, consider listening to an audio book - it can really help pass the time while working out. Audio books are also great if you have a long daily commute; it's another chance to get reading back into your regular routine.

7. Join a book club.

Reading can be a social activity! Get out and meet other people via a neighborhood book club, where you can read books and discuss them together with other reading enthusiasts. Or, join one of the many 50 Book Challenge communities on-line where you can support each other in your quest to read more on a regular basis.

8. Explore free Kindle books!

If you have a Kindle then you can regularly get Kindle books for free on Amazon! There's no excuse that books are too expensive when you can download many titles regularly at no charge at all. Sure, some might not be very good, but you never know what you might find...

9. Change up the types of books you are reading.

If you only read one mystery book after another, or books all by the same author, you might end up burning out and getting bored with the challenge. So try to mix up the kinds of books you are reading: different authors, different genres, biographies and non-fiction.

10. Get rid of the TV.

You will find yourself reading more and not really missing most of the mindless moments formerly spent in front of the tube.

Explore New Worlds and Ideas

Get lost in a book tonight...

50 Book Challenge Communities On-Line

Communities and forums dedicated to taking on the challenge

There are plenty of places on-line where you can join others in the challenge to read 50 books a year. Here are just a few of them:

  • 50bookchallenge - LiveJournal

    The original community that started it all on LiveJournal. Join today and share your reading progress and recommendations with others.

  • Groups - 50 Book Challenge

    Group community at Goodreads for those interested in joining in the challenge and sharing discussion and reviews.

  • 50 Book Challenge - LibraryThing

    Another community for those who want to take part in the challenge.

  • Fifty-Fifty Me

    Official website for the "Fifty-Fifty" challenge: to read 50 books and watch 50 movies in 2012.

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one."

 — George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

My Completed Books

Books I've finished for the 50 Book Challenge in 2015, with reviews linked when I've written them! (Reviews found at my website, Spacial Anomaly.) OK, so I haven't finished as many as I'd hoped I would this year...but I am still plugging along best as I can!

20. The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

19. Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

18. Tarbox Station by Rhonda Eudaly

17. A Little Too Broken by Brad Vance

16. Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

15. The Snow Garden by Christopher Rice

14. Sand by Hugh Howey

11 - 13. The Silo Saga (Wool, Shift, Dust) by Hugh Howey

10.  Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

9. No Souvenirs by K. A. Mitchell

8. Roughing It by Holden Wells

7. Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant

6. Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves by Dave Lowry

3 - 5. The Rain Trilogy by Joseph A. Turkot: The Rain, The Snow, The Blue

2. Zombie, Illinois by Scott Kenemore

1. Captive Prince Volume One by C. S. Pascat

Are you also doing the 50 Book Challenge right now? Sharing your reading list anywhere? If so, leave a comment and let me know!

Updated: 11/02/2015, sockii
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sockii on 11/03/2015

Yes, setting aside some time for reading every day definitely helps get one into the habit!

CarleyClagg on 11/03/2015

I loved your article and reading list! The most I have read in one year was 38. I was surprised how dedicating an hour a day made a difference in my reading habits. It definitely helped me as a writer too!

Mira on 09/25/2015

I think a challenge like this one can make one more aware of how many interesting books there are out there. I've been discovering new genres ever since I got my Kindle, and been reading more, too. At the same time, 50 books a year amounts to a book every 7 days. If you have a job that doesn't involve reading, this may be a difficult target to achieve. I'd say 30 books a year would work better even for people who like to read.

AngelaJohnson on 09/24/2015

I read books as a child and never stopped. I don't care for challenges, though. I read for pleasure and a challenge (to me) makes it seem like a job and something I "should" do.

frankbeswick on 09/23/2015

I think that it depends upon the size and kind of books that you read. Recently I was reading The Grammar of Assent by Cardinal Newman, not long, but written in ponderous Victorian prose. That was a slow read. I needed to take breaks and read in short doses. Some other books are lighter. There are also weighty tomes that take time because of their length.

It is important, though for writers to be readers. For example, when I was teaching English I could often tell not only whether a particular child read books, but also the kind of reading that they did, as it affected their style. Lads who read only the sports pages were clearly identifiable.

sockii on 09/23/2015

I think it's a good idea to set a high goal, even if chances are you won't make it. If I only set a goal to read 10 books in a year, I'd probably slack off and not get to more than a few. If I set a goal for 50 and then maybe only get through 10-20, I still feel like I was pushing myself to do better than average, you know?

WriterArtist on 09/22/2015

I was a voracious reader but I hardly read now. I think for the beginners, a small goal of reading 25 or even 10 books should suffice. It is amazing that you can read and challenge yourself to reading 50 books in a year.

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