Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge discussion

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2016 archive > 2017 Popsugar Challenge prompt recommendations

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message 1: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments Guys! You won't believe this! At Brenna's and Sara's recommendation, I reached out to the team at Popsugar to tell them about our fabulous group and (here's where the cool part comes in) they want us to give them recommendations for 2017!

Tara, the content director at Popsugar has joined our group. She's interested in hearing our ideas for 2017. Plus she's interested in using some of our experiences with the challenge(s) at Popsugar! (Do the exclamation points adequately convey my excitement?)

Tara wrote: "I am beyond excited to collaborate with you and the group for the 2017 challenge!!! I'd also love to feature some of the responses from the group members on how the challenge went in some way on the site."

This thread is for us to post our ideas for 2017. Suggested prompts for 2017 is one of the questions in the "I've finished!" thread for those who complete the challenge. Let's add them here as well to make it easy for Tara to find and for those of us still winding our way down the list to pipe in before she publishes that list!

P.S. We're so cool.
P.P.S. Thanks, Tara.


message 2: by Juanita (last edited Oct 14, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments A book with a number in the title (I really loved the book I read in 2015 for "with a color in the title" The Red Tent)


message 3: by Tanelle (new)

Tanelle Nash | 128 comments I'm not a fan of the prompt "Set in your State". Very few books are set in my province (Canada) so I wouldn't like to see that one again.

I would love to see books encouraging reading from your TBR pile of books you already own but haven't read for whatever reason.

Other prompts Id love to see is are classic books, something non-fictional, business or self-help book, a book you remember from childhood, previous bestsellers, etc


message 4: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Juanita wrote: "A book with a number in the title (I really loved the book I read in 2015 for "with a color in the title" The Red Tent)"

2nd this! Finding titles with numbers and colors was easy and fun.


message 5: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Eads I'd like to see them add an item/items specifically for re-reads. Like, a re-read that changed your life; a re-read that never fails to make you smile. I'd love to see one for a book that changed someone you love's life too. Specific topics would be neat too--a book about elephants, or a book having to do with water.

I'm the opposite of the person suggesting more non-fiction. Those were the ones I really slogged through.

I had two main struggles: many of the books I wanted to read fit for many categories, which in turn made it hard for me to find one that fit for the one left behind. The other one I had was that, as a well-read person, I had to REALLY stretch on certain prompts. I realize that that probably suggests making the lists both narrower and more broad, LOL!


message 6: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments Sabbysteg: I remember struggling in 2015 with "a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't." There were several of us who did our school reading. #lifetimebookworm


message 7: by Brenna (new)

Brenna (bhawleycraig) | 66 comments This is so cool! Thanks Tara! I totally talk up the challenge to all my friends who read a lot. I did it with one of my best friends last year! Excuse me while I list a bunch of ideas now :)

- I really liked the book with a blue cover from this year, so I would say something like, a book with a red spine (being someone who organizes her books by color, I know that's a decently common color).
- A book by a person of color would be one I'd love to have on there.
- A book with a subtitle (such as Salt: A World History, that sort of format).
- A book that takes place over a character's lifespan.
- A book that takes place in the country/rural area (versus a city), or vice versa.

I'm a big nonfiction reader, so in general I'd like to request categories that can be applied in that way. I've been able to pull it off the past two years, but it's definitely a challenge!

Last but not least, I'd love to provide feedback. I absolutely adore this challenge and it keeps me entertained for the majority of the year.


message 8: by Nadine (last edited Oct 14, 2016 02:38PM) (new)

Nadine Jones | 5474 comments Mod
That is so cool!!! I'm so glad you contacted them! Very awesome of you.

The ideas I threw out when I'd finished were: something international, like: "book by an author from a country you've never visited." Or something that is fun to search for, like: "two books with the same word in the title."

Also, I've been trying to read books from the list "1001 Books to read before you die," so I'd be happy if that was also a Challenge category.

And I'd be happy to give more feedback, if Tara has specific questions. I've really enjoyed participating in the Challenge last year and this year and I'll for sure be back for more next year.


message 9: by Nada (new)

Nada (njmom3) | 13 comments What a wonderful collaboration! Here are some ideas:

- a book that has won the Pulitzer
- a book with a title that is a character name
- a book set in another world
- a book set in the wilderness
- a book that is a story within a story
- the book at the bottom of your TBR pile
- a foodie book
- a book set in two different time periods


message 10: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments One I did this year (I made my own list because I didn't want to do the repeats) that I liked was "give an author a second chance" so I read a book by an author I'd read but didn't like the first time.


message 11: by Marta (last edited Oct 14, 2016 03:12PM) (new)

Marta (gezemice) | 78 comments Well, I am in another group that is voting on categories this year. There are so many great ideas - some of my favorites:

- a book with a funny title
- a book with multiple authors
- a book by a Poc (non-white) author
- a book about a famous historical figure (fiction or non fiction)
- unreliable narrator
- a not well known book (on Goodreads under 1000 ratings)
- a science book
- book from a genre you don't normally read
- a short story collection
- a book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
- a classic book
etc etc

I generally dislike categories that might be difficult for some people - your initials or name, might be easy for some but if you have a rare name, difficult. First book in a bookstore, I had to change that to library. Family members - some of us do not have living relatives. Birth year - good for you if you were born in a good year, but mine kinda sucks. Home town - I live in the corn fields! etc, etc.


message 12: by Marta (new)

Marta (gezemice) | 78 comments Tara wrote: "One I did this year (I made my own list because I didn't want to do the repeats) that I liked was "give an author a second chance" so I read a book by an author I'd read but didn't like the first t..."
I like that, Tara!


message 13: by Tara (new)

Tara Harrison | 11 comments I don't like two books in one prompt. I like being able to check books off the list. So a book and it's prequel messed up my sense of order lol. Like there are 41 checks but 42 books. But overall I loved the challenges. By far the best yearly challenge out there.


message 14: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 617 comments I don't know if it's possible, but it would be great if the creators of the PopSugar list had a way of looking at some of the other challenges (ie. BookRiot, or even the GoodReads Around the Year challenge), to make sure the prompts don't overlap too much. Obviously they can't avoid overlap with every single challenge out there, but BookRiot and ATY (which consists of categories voted on by the challenge participants) are both pretty big ones.

I like prompts that encourage diversity (ie. authors/characters of different races, cultures, abilities, etc). In general, I like prompts that are broad enough that everyone can find something they like that might fit, but still narrowed enough that it's not just a free choice category. I don't mind prompts about specific characteristics of the title or cover, although I don't generally choose my books based off their cover.

I'm with Marta about the dislikes. I don't like prompts that are based on my name, my initials, family members' names, etc. or about my year of birth. In terms of the year prompts, I've already had quite a few about my year of birth and I've read everything I want from that year. Same goes for hometown. I'm generally not a fan of those books, and there aren't very many either. I'm not really a fan of books that require recommendations from others since I find it hard to get people to give me the recommendations.


message 15: by Sara (last edited Oct 14, 2016 04:37PM) (new)

Sara | 1508 comments This is amazing! I need to get my thoughts in order and remember all the ideas that have been popping into my head all year:

New prompt ideas:
-book set during a specific decade/century/era
-book set during a war (you could specify or leave it open)
-an author's final book (contrast to last year's first book prompt)
-a middle grade book
-a book with pictures (not necessarily a picture book ;), but left open to interpretation)
-a book whose title starts with a pronoun
-a book about a subject you want to know more about
-a book set in the country of your last name's origin (this may be complicated for some but could be really interesting!) OR maybe a book set in the country of your family's heritage?
-a book that a musical or play has been based on
-a book set in the south/north/east/west
-a book with an animal on the cover
-a book recommended by a child (not necessarily your own)
-a book about a historical figure
-a book with a 4 syllable word in the title
-a book whose author is dead
-a book from Modern Mrs. Darcy's summer reading list (she has done 5 lists so far so lots of choices)
-the first book in a series
-a book set in Asia/Australia/South America/Africa
-a book set in a school
-a book set during autumn/winter/spring

Repeats that I love:
-a book based on a fairy tale
-a book about a culture you know little about
-a translated book
-a book you love (guaranteed to bring you joy)

Prompts I didn't like:
-celebrity/comedian books. I've read a couple of good ones, but overall I really don't think most celebrities have lives worthy of reading about. The few celebrities that have written a fiction book are iffy.
-biography/autobiography/memoir - this is a good prompt, but maybe limit it to one variation per year. Those that love these types of books can fit them into some of the other categories.
-format vs content - format-based prompts such as graphic novels and poetry are very limiting to those who don't enjoy that format (me), but choosing more prompts based on the content of the book (or something arbitrary like cover color or words in the title) gives the reader flexibility to choose books they are interested in while still meeting the challenge. I know the goal is to stretch our reading tastes, but I really don't want to read another graphic novel... :)

Looking forward to another great year of Popsugar's reading challenge!


message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 617 comments I forgot to mention the translated book prompt. I liked it in the past, but I think it's been a bit overused. I've done it at least 3 times in the past two years across different challenges. I guess that's less of an issue for people who only do one challenge at a time.


message 17: by Brenna (new)

Brenna (bhawleycraig) | 66 comments @Sara that is such a great list!!!


message 18: by Katie (new)

Katie | 63 comments This is so cool! Thanks to all who made it happen.

A few suggestions for prompts are:

-A book with a family member term in the title (eg. wife, father, daughter)
-A book with multiple narrators
-A book about a historical event or time period you don't know much about

Tara, I also want to express how much I love the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I've always loved reading; I even studied literature in school, but I found it hard to make time for reading. When I found the challenge in 2015, I decided to try it even though I didn't think I'd be able to finish it. The challenge element was just what I needed. It got me energized about reading again and I've read 100+ books a year for the last 2 years all because of the challenge.


message 19: by Portia (new)

Portia (portia_brn) | 1 comments -Book set in a specific decade
-book with multiple POVs
-book with a non-white main character


message 20: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments The ideas keep coming:

-a book set in at least two time periods
-a book with a type of food in the title
-a book involving travel
-a book set in New York City
-a book of letters (Alek suggested this on another thread. Love it!)
-a book involving a mythical creature
-a book based on mythology

Ok, I'll stop! Love everyone's suggestions!


message 21: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments Katie wrote: "The challenge element was just what I needed. It got me energized about reading again and I've read 100+ books a year for the last 2 years all because of the challenge."

Me too! The Popsugar reading challenge has re-energized my reading life! I read 91 books last year and have already read 79 this year. Having specific goals helps me stay motivated.


message 22: by Clare (new)

Clare (-clare-) | 9 comments Sara wrote: "
-a book of letters (Alek suggested this on another thread. Love it!)"


^ If I could have just one topic it would be Epistolary novel. I find those impossible to put down and my TBR list is full of them.


message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara Block (tarablock) | 13 comments Thank you, Juanita! And a HUGE thank you to all of you for participating in our reading challenge! I'm in awe of your dedication and love all the thoughtful discussions. I'm especially impressed by those of you who finished the challenge in, like, May. We may have to include an additional "advanced" challenge for all the overachievers out there. Maybe with some of the favorite prompts from the 2015 and 2016 challenges?

Speaking of the 2017 challenge, thank you for all of these creative prompt recommendations! It's not easy coming up with fresh ideas every year (as someone in a past thread pointed out!), so your help is very much appreciated. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of this month or early November at the latest, so stay tuned! All of your feedback is very helpful. I'll cut out the personal ones this year, since those seem to be the least popular (the ones that have to do with your name, birthplace, state, etc.). Keep the ideas coming!! <3


message 24: by Siobhan (new)

Siobhan (notphonetic) | 46 comments Maybe a prompt could be an author's additional pseudonym (ie: JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant). Or just an author that used/uses a pseudonym (ie: George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte/Currer Bell


message 25: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments Yes Siobhan I love that, I did that on my list this year. Epistolary, book by an author who writes under more than one name, book set in more than one time period are all great.
I personally like that there are some very specific and others that are broader so I could read some books on my Tbr and fit them into the broader categories (as well as my book club books) but others I really had to go outside my comfort zone. I agree with others that love the challenge for helping them get back into reading. I was less ambitious this year due to a difficult pregnancy (and then having a newborn) but I plan on jumping back in for 2017! This year I did my own set of 20 prompts with a 30 book goal.


message 26: by Rachel (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 617 comments I would love a category that has to do with disability in some form. It's the one kind of diversity I haven't seen yet in any other challenges. I've really loved so many of Sara's suggestions too!

I'm hoping the final list doesn't turn out too similar to the Goodreads Around the Year list, since I'm seeing many of the same suggestions in both groups. I was hoping to do both challenges again next year.


message 27: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Very cool!


message 28: by Gisela (new)

Gisela (giselaelizabeth) I enjoyed this challenge, as many categories forced me to branch out from what I typically read.

I think a fun category would be to read a book published the year you were born.


message 29: by Patricia (last edited Oct 14, 2016 09:27PM) (new)

Patricia Bergman (marshop) | 112 comments A book featuring an animal
A Western
A cozy mystery
A biography of a former President
A ghost story
A book set in Asia
An historical fiction of the Civil war
A legal thriller
A biography of an entertainer


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Meadows (lizziefaye) | 9 comments How fun! This is my second year doing this challenge and while I haven't been very active in the group, I really do enjoy being a part of it. I'm also a booktuber so last year I did wrap-up videos about what I read for each challenge and plan to do the same this year.

I have one suggestion. Since there has been a past prompt to read a book by someone under 30, I think it would be fun to read a book written by someone over 80. I don't know if there are very many to choose from, but I do know of some that I could suggest.


message 31: by Shilpi (new)

Shilpi | 21 comments Hi all, This is such a cool idea! Thanks Juanita, Brenna, Sara and Tara!
My suggestions are:
A book on feminism
A book on/by LGBTQ community
A non-fiction book by an investigative journalist
A non-fiction book on science.

Among the prompts this year, I liked the following especially:
A graphic novel (a first for me and I loved it)
A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with
A book set in your home state (it made me discover the beauty of my linguistic heritage)

And surely I too did not like all the similar prompts, example, memoir/autobiography.
I really look forward to do the challenge next year too. :-)


message 32: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5474 comments Mod
Some more ideas:

An espionage thriller
A book with a month or day of the week in the title
A book I wouldn't normally read (I know that's kind of vague, but I have a bookshelf just for books I wouldn't normally read - I add books when friends rave about them but I'm giving the book side-eye)
A book I remember from childhood
A book of short stories
A book set on a different planet
A book from a mystery series I haven't read yet
A book set in a fictional country (this one might be difficult to search for)
A book about an assassin
A book about an interesting woman (fiction or non-fiction)


message 33: by Hanna (new)

Hanna (pipochu) | 1 comments Ooooh this is so cool! I haven't really been active in this group but I did the challenge last year and I'm very much enjoying the one for this year! These challenges have really broadened my horizons as a reader.

I think overall the challenges have been pretty balanced with both broad and specific prompts (as I think it should be!) and my only problem has been the most likely unintentional Anglo/Ameri-centrism in some of them. A book set in your home state? Don't have those in Finland. A book translated to English? Can do, but should I rather interpret this as A book translated to [insert-native-language]? A book that was originally written in another language? Again, other than English or other than [insert-native-language]? A National Book Award winner? Didn't know this was a thing until I googled, thought this was _A_ national book award, not _THE_ National Book Award. Oprah, the New York Times etc. I know of and can google, but even surprising stuff like 'high school' can require some interpretation, because school systems are different. Actually, in 2015 the libraries in my city used the Popsugar challenge as a basis for their own challenge, and basically they just translated the list and only changed the few "culture-specific" and therefore difficult ones.

What I'm trying to say here is, keep up the good work and remember you have an international audience :)

(Oh and please, although someone just suggested it, nothing as specific as "a book set in New York City"!)


message 34: by Kim (new)

Kim Williamson | 48 comments A book that was adapted into a screenplay that won the Oscar for best screen adaptation.
A book that was on the best seller list the year you graduated high school.


message 35: by Juanita (new)

Juanita (juanitav) | 723 comments Wanted to add that the "gimme" prompts as I call them are much appreciated. It's nice to have "a book from the library" or "a book by a woman (2015)" to use for those (in my case) book club picks that don't meet your remaining prompts.


charlottebibliophile | 3 comments I've added a whole load of categories over the years on my blog, www.charlottebibliophile.com - here are just some:

- A book about self-discovery
- A co-authored book
- An audiobook
- A book with alliteration in the title
- A book you were given
- A book written by an author using a pseudonym
- A book about books
- A debut novel


message 37: by Fannie (new)

Fannie D'Ascola | 409 comments This is fun! I saw many suggestions that I like. I'm looking forward to January to make my plan.


message 38: by Ylyth (new)

Ylyth Maeve | 3 comments A book for children or from your childhood!


message 39: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Carey (nancycarey) | 32 comments I am not that creative about thinking of prompts but I disliked the ones:
-recommended by whomever
-the first book you see in a bookstore- lots of people use the library

I loved all the other prompts. It's been so fun.


message 40: by Tara (new)

Tara Bates | 1008 comments A book from a non-human point of view or narrator, a book whose movie won an oscar, I also really liked the prompt a book that you've seen the movie but not read yet.


message 41: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Eads Tara wrote: "I don't like two books in one prompt. I like being able to check books off the list. So a book and it's prequel messed up my sense of order lol. Like there are 41 checks but 42 books. But overall I..."

100% agree! Plus for me, since I wasn't allowing re-reads or repeats, I had to search hard for something I was willing to read both.


message 42: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Eads Nancy wrote: "I am not that creative about thinking of prompts but I disliked the ones:
-recommended by whomever
-the first book you see in a bookstore- lots of people use the library

I loved all the other pro..."


I loved the 1st book you see, but only because I lucked out!


message 43: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Eads Sara wrote: "This is amazing! I need to get my thoughts in order and remember all the ideas that have been popping into my head all year:

New prompt ideas:
-book set during a specific decade/century/era
-book..."


Agree 100% with all your dislikes!


message 44: by Patricia (last edited Oct 15, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Patricia Bergman (marshop) | 112 comments I have enjoyed a book about a road trip. Accidentally, I discovered a trip made by Harry and Bess Truman after he left the White House, Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip. It was funny as well as informative.

I know I wouldn't have read it had it not been for the challenge.


message 45: by Katherine (new)

Katherine - A book where the main character has a disability (either mental or physical(

-A book that's over 1000 pages

-A book where the main character is of different ethnicity than you

-A book that teaches (or inspires you to learn) a new skill

-A book that tends to over describe things (food, clothes, landscape, etc...)

-A book that makes you laugh out loud

-A book that has an animal you've never seen in person

-A book you've never heard of

-A book about a traveler

-A book with a strong purpose/message/moral

-A book that you have read at some point but don't remember anything about

-A book that contains poetry

-A book where the main character is decades older/younger than you

-A book set around a holiday other than Christmas

-A book you got from a used book sale

-A book set in a hotel


message 46: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Hall Read a book by or about a famous politician no longer in power

Read a Non-Fiction book about a Historical Period before 1900

Read a Steampunk Novel

Read a Jane Austen Novel that has been adapted more than once


message 47: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Hall As for feedback for the challenge ... I've enjoyed broadening my horizons! I've had a bit of trouble with the challenge set in your home state - I live in Newport, South Wales, UK and the closest I could get was Cardiff ... But I have really been enjoying it - Just hoping I can make it to the end


message 48: by Rachel (last edited Oct 15, 2016 05:58PM) (new)

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 617 comments In general, I enjoyed this year's challenge but I thought there were too many non-fiction categories (autobiography, self-improvement, political memoir). I was actually a bit hesitant to take on the challenge this year as a result, since I'm really not a fan of non-fiction. I had a really, really hard time finding a book about a character who had the same occupation as me.

Just updating to include some more suggestions, now that the nominations are all in for the GoodReads ATY challenge. There were some amazing prompts suggested that didn't make it, so it would be great to see some of them here:

- A book with a pronoun in the title
- A book about social justice
- A book in first person perspective
- A book with a family member word in the title (son, daugther, husband, wife, etc)
- A book about an immigrant or refugee
- A book by or about a person who has a disability (this was one I suggested since it is the one kind of diversity I haven't seen reflected at all in any challenges)
- A book with an eccentric character
- A book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of or read from before


message 49: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5474 comments Mod
I think I would run away with my tail between my legs if one of the categories was more than 1000 pages. I find even 600 pages to be a challenge.


Thegirlintheafternoon Juanita, I don't have any suggestions, but this is so cool! Thanks for doing it!


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