Reading Challenge year 5! Bookish Jay and the Reading Mermaid

Hello bookish buddies. I’m back to celebrate year number 5(!) of the Bookish Jay and Reading Mermaid challenge with Julie from The Redolent Mermaid. Our collaboration has outlasted many a celebrity marriage, and I’d argue, possesses more substance than most. We look forward to generating these lists for you, and for us, every year.

What we have in store for year five–a mix of fun, thoughtful literary ideas. We believe it to be our most versatile challenge yet:

1. Join the Resistance– whether subverting Nazis in WWII-era France, opposing a current oppressive state or ideology, or fighting the patriarchy in a dystopian future, be a rebel with a cause.

2. The lost art of handwriting– choose a book with the title written as script.

3. Daughters– explore the complex sibling relationships so often a theme in literature.

4. Atomic Elements– book with an element from the periodic table in the title (carbon, oxygen, gold, silver, neon…)

5. Mist, haze, or fog-like cover.

6. Reuse, recycle, regift– a thrifted book.

7. Back to the future– bridge time and distance with a dual timeline narrative.

8. Neurodiversity– seek to gain a better understanding of mental health and the diverse abilities of those who process the world differently, in fiction or non-fiction.

9. Protagonist over 50.

10. Summon your familiar- read from an animal character’s perspective or from its close human companion.

11. Book maze– get lost in a twisty plot that keeps you on edge.

12. Heartsqueezer.

13. Inner child- pick up a children’s or youth book.

14. Memoir or Biography– dive into someone else’s journey.

15. Opening sentence hook that reels you in.

16. Green. Because it is an amazing color.

17. Read your bliss– any topic or genre that makes you happy. 

18. We might not get out of here alive- Survival fiction or non, fantasy or reality.

19. Book of secrets– whether the international intrigue of a spy novel abounds, or dark family secrets are waiting to be unlocked; there’s destined to be subterfuge afoot.

20. Gothic horror– I’m not saying it’s haunted, but there’s something going on in with house…

21. Missing link– a book that you want to read to finish up or continue a series.

22. Hearth & Home– nesting, homesteading, tending.

23. Memento Mori– death, grief, mourning.

24. Booktok, Booktube, or Bookstagram– discover what real readers recommend, and find out if that book is worthy of all the hype.

25. #Ownvoices– books about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. 

26. The moon as muse– inspired by the moon; depicting moonlight, the night sky, or heavenly bodies on the cover. 

27. Never have I ever…read a book about ___. Fill-in the blank with a new topic or genre.

28. Honoring ancestors– reading deeper about native lands or personal lineage

29. Dark Academia– An academic aesthetic that can be found in many genres, including contemporary fic, historical, mystery, fantasy, or horror. Book Riot categorizes DA as this: “The definition of it can be broad, but it requires some kind of an academic setting and a dark undertone or overtone to its story.”

30. Forged in friendship– a tale of companionship.

Aww, yeah. Nothing like a juicy reading challenge to ponder and pore over when embarking on a new year. My brain is buzzing with bookish possibilities and I hope you enjoy these prompts as much as we do. Julie and I love to chat about books; so feel free to comment here all year, or on my Reading Challenge pages in the menu dropdown at the top of the blog. I’ll update my challenge reads and ratings right there. Share over on The Redolent Mermaid blog, and of course, I’m always down to discuss any and all book topics on Instagram @the_scented_library.

Instagram is also a great place to hang out and discover books together, or just lurk about. Don’t forget to tag #bookishjayandreadingmermaid *Remember, this is a no-pressure challenge. You may read one book per task or count one title for multiple prompts. (Multi-tasking has gotten me through a few reading challenges too).

Thanks Julie, for another year of thought-provoking possibilities. And thank you, readers, for visiting, for sharing, and for taking on more bookish shenanigans with us in 2022. Until next time, I wish all participants a year of good health, a comfy chair, and great reads.



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