The Books That Can Save Your Reading Challenge

Posted by Hayley on November 28, 2018

Have you already surpassed your 2018 Reading Challenge? That's fantastic. Congrats!

But then this isn't for you. This is for the rest of us. You know, the dreamers. We starry-eyed readers who set a reading goal—a good goal, a challenging goal!—at the start of the year that was perhaps disconnected from what we could realistically achieve.

And now, as the end of the year draws near, we're woefully behind.

We're not panicking, though. On top of short reads and audiobooks, there are entire categories of books underrated for their ability to entertain, enlighten…and be completed in a single sitting. Fellow Reading Challenge strugglers and stragglers, say hello to graphic novels, comics, poetry, and picture books. (Yes, they all count. There's no room for reading shame here.)

We've rounded up some of the most highly rated of these books. Bonus: Each one is written by a Goodreads Choice Award nominee. Add the titles that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf and recommend your favorite short reads in the comments.


Graphic Novels & Comics

For a visual treat of unknown and uncanny wonders

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For intensely relatable journeys of self reflection

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For literally saving the world (spandex optional)

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For offbeat adventures through time and space

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Poetry Collections

For a dark reimagining of classic fairy tale worlds

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For a celebration of daily triumphs and revelations

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Picture Books for Any Age

For silly and satirical flights of fancy

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For politicians and pundits of any age

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

For a reminder of the power of stories and imagination

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

How is your Reading Challenge going? Let's talk in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
44 Short Books to Help You Reach Your Reading Challenge Goal
36 Short Audiobooks to Help Boost Your Reading Challenge
Hot Reading Challenge Tips from Pros Who Read More Than 100 Books a Year


Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Eli (new)

Eli The picture for the sun and her flowers links to Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?


message 2: by Ash (new)

Ash Wow, that's crazy, I just picked up a few graphic novels two days ago, including Hawkeye and a complete collection of Black Panther. What are the odds lol


The other Sandy The picture for Depression & Other Magic Tricks links to Adulthood Is a Myth.


message 4: by Katsuro (new)

Katsuro I wouldn't say that The Princess Saves Herself in This One is a dark reimagining of a fairy tale world. It's more like a real-life story that references fairy tales.


message 5: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Sagaaaaaaa


kittykat (Jo Tortitude) Totally agree on Saga.

Would add Cat vs Human Another Dose of Catnip by Yasmine Surovec for cat lovers... so true to life with felines!


message 7: by Laura (new)

Laura Hawkeye is so good, I'm pleasantly surprised to see it included on this list! Also Monstress and Saga. My reading challenge amount is always so high each year cause I read a HUGE amount of graphic novels, so I adjust it higher to compensate.


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Vander Linde My goal is 24. I've read 22. Just finished Beartown and I honestly don't know what other book will top it. I'm stuck on what to read next that can come close to Beartown.


message 9: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Sancho The Deal of a lifetime


message 10: by Holly (new)

Holly Taylor The Deal of a Lifetime and And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman should be added to this list!


message 11: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Holmes My favorite fast read is The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil - George Saunders at his best!


message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I Love these and all fast reads. Mr. tender’s Girl is a bit longer, but a fast and awesome read.


The Room by Jonas Karlsson

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

The Vegetarian by Han Kang by

Mister Tender's Girl by Carter Wilson by Carter Wilson


message 13: by Karin (new)

Karin Jenkins for more short reads the Chronicles of St Mary's short stories are great though I think they're only available as audiobooks. Sherlock Holmes books are quite short. Matt Haig's children's books such as A Boy Called Christmas are good for adults too or classic children's series like Little House or Narnia


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Ramos Been wanting to read "Depression and Other Magic Tricks"!


message 15: by Max (new)

Max Monstress is really, really good, with a great art style. Highly recommended, doubly so if you like cats.


message 16: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Max wrote: "Monstress is really, really good, with a great art style. Highly recommended, doubly so if you like cats."

Which one?


message 17: by Fred (last edited Dec 01, 2018 07:55AM) (new)

Fred Dameron Poetry as a catch up for your reading challenge? Poetry requires thought and musing on. Any poet must be rolled around on the tongue , slowly swallowed and tasted through out your body, mind and soul. Poetry can not be read quickly it must be savored slowly. No more than five to ten pages a day. Read with a hot cupper, a warm spot, and friends or family to discuss the reading with. Just my opinion and thoughts, but I use books of poetry as my second read on my list so I can do just these things I mentioned above.

For short reads as a catch up Turgenev and or Gogol's short stories. Also will make your friends think you have become a classic's reader when The Inspector, Father and Son's, The Nose are all short, funny, in some case's, one sitting reads.


message 19: by Maureen (new)

Maureen I would say stop counting the number of books you read and enjoy reading for the sheer joy of it. What experiences are you missing while racing to reach a certain number? Quality, folks, not quantity.


message 20: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia You can also adjust the number in the GR Challenge downwards...


message 21: by Dan (last edited Dec 01, 2018 01:16PM) (new)

Dan Yes there are too many good books to be worrying about reading goodreads propaganda


message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth For those who use the reading challenge as a personal challenge to just get themselves to read more in general, I would suggest such smaller books like The House on Mango Street because it gives both quality and quantity. It's a short read, but also entertaining and enlightening, so it propels you to finish it in one sitting. I personally see no problem with participating in the challenge to get your book reading numbers up.


message 23: by Brian (new)

Brian Bakker Kathy wrote: "My goal is 24. I've read 22. Just finished Beartown and I honestly don't know what other book will top it. I'm stuck on what to read next that can come close to Beartown."

it has a sequel that is almost as good, Us Against You


message 24: by Cindy III (last edited Dec 01, 2018 05:59PM) (new)

Cindy III "Yes, they all count. There's no room for reading shame here." Love it.


message 25: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra That's how I won my challenge, I read a few picture books that I read all the time as a kid. And even a few manga that I've been slowly make my way through. Even single issue comic books are great, I read a few those not thinking they would count until I searched for them in my search bar.


message 26: by Topher (new)

Topher Colin this is the first year i've done the reading challenge. is it normal that by this point in the year, barely 20% of the pledged books (from all members/participants) have actually been read? that's an awful lot of eyes-bigger-than-their-stomachs readers on here.


message 27: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Maureen wrote: "I would say stop counting the number of books you read and enjoy reading for the sheer joy of it. What experiences are you missing while racing to reach a certain number? Quality, folks, not quantity."

Exactly!


message 28: by Jackie (new)

Jackie The link for Black Panther is for issue #1 rather than volume #1


message 29: by Nullifidian (new)

Nullifidian Eli wrote: "The picture for the sun and her flowers links to Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?"

Well, can't we talk about something more pleasant than Rupi Kaur's alleged 'poetry'?


message 30: by Nullifidian (last edited Dec 02, 2018 06:53AM) (new)

Nullifidian Antonomasia wrote: "You can also adjust the number in the GR Challenge downwards..."

Exactly. Or just fail to meet your reading challenge. If you don't meet it, there will be no national disaster.

I'm twelve books away from my reading challenge goal of 52 books, so what am I reading? Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It's 1,264 pages long in this edition (the Tobias Smollett translation published by Modern Library). I may not even finish it this year. I'm also reading the 756-page The Portable Renaissance Reader and Robin Lane Fox's The Classical World at 672 pages. Who cares about reading goals? I just use them as a handy way of keeping track of what I've read for the year.

The premise of this article is really quite silly. Those who are inclined to read the recommended books will already know about them or ones like them, while people like me who would sooner open up an artery than read any more Rupi Kaur aren't going to be sufficiently swayed by the fact we've got a GR challenge to meet to overcome our distaste for her writing. I have nothing against poetry in general, but if I'm going to read it I'd sooner read my copies of books such as Robert Lowell's For the Union Dead or Louise Bogan's The Blue Estuaries than something that seems like it should have "Burma-Shave" tacked on the end of every poem except it doesn't rhyme and isn't even mildly amusing.


message 31: by ✨ Y.♡ˎ´ (new)

✨ Y.♡ˎ´ Don't read Saga!!

It will break your heart <3


message 32: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Y.♡ˎ´ wrote: "Don't read Saga!!

It will break your heart <3"


Yes but it's worth it.


message 33: by ✨ Y.♡ˎ´ (new)

✨ Y.♡ˎ´ Elyse wrote: "Y.♡ˎ´ wrote: "Don't read Saga!!

It will break your heart

Yes but it's worth it."


of course it is! we will all cry together :D <3


message 34: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Y.♡ˎ´ wrote: "Elyse wrote: "Y.♡ˎ´ wrote: "Don't read Saga!!

It will break your heart

Yes but it's worth it."

of course it is! we will all cry together :D <3"


Absolutely!


message 35: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Richter I will chime in with Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric and Desdemona novellas available in E-Book form for about the price of a cappuccino. The are set in Bujold's World of Five Gods series but prior knowledge is not needed. The novellas start with Penric's Demon, #2 is Penric and the Shaman, #3 is Penric's Fox #4Penric’s Mission #5 Mira's Last Dance and the last so far The Prisoner of Limnos. Each will take a couple of days to finish but will give your total a boost and your heart a chuckle.


message 36: by James (new)

James Owens The Malazan book of the fallen.A ten book saga with each one on a different continent. I Have read them all tree times.Dont think there is a pollished sword in any of the books..


back to top