This 2023 reading challenge is all about where reading hits the road.
In addition to being a book nerd, I am a recovering bookseller and travel-lover. I believe strongly that books and travel go together. Books inspire travel and travel encourages reading.
Reading a book with an atmospheric setting can give you an acute sense of place…which has often inspired me to travel. Conversely, when you travel, you gain that insider knowledge which is later rewarded when reading a book set there.
It’s a perfect pairing, like wine and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. And that’s why I co-host the annual Travel Reading List challenge and hope that you will participate.
Here’s how it works:
We’ve designed this challenge to encourage you to read more…and read more diversely. And we mean “diversely” in the broadest term. This challenge encourages you to read outside of your go-to genre, with books from authors who belong to different races, cultures and lived experiences. It has 24 basic prompts (2x books a month), with an additional 6 prompts for the advanced challenge.
- Check out the book challenges below. I’ve listed all thirty reading prompts with some book suggestions for each.
- You can get a printable copy of the list of prompts here. It’s designed as a check list with space for you to keep track of the books you’ve read.
- Join our Travel Reading List Facebook group where you can engage with other book nerds and get ideas ideas for your reading goals.
2023 Reading Challenge- Travel Reading List
Let’s get started with the reading prompts. In addition to the list itself, I’m also suggesting either two books that go along with the prompt or I’ll link out to some round-up articles.
Basic Challenge: 24 Prompts
- A book which has had a movie/TV adaptation: Where the Crawdads Sing (we also have a Crawdads book club guide), and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry.
- A book by or about a chef: The Soul of a Chef, and Kitchens of the Great Midwest.
- A book that includes time travel: Sea of Tranquility (we have a Tranquility book club guide), and The Future of Another Timeline.
- A book set in New England: The Secret History, and Olive Kitteridge.
- A book set in the South Pacific: The Sex Lives of Cannibals, and Castle of Water.
- A book set in Spain: No sweat! We have a whole list of 50 books set in Spain.
- A book set in a former Soviet bloc country: The Sandcastle Girls.
- A book that takes place over a holiday (not Christmas): Seasonal cozy mysteries by author Leslie Meier, and Oona Out of Order (New Years).
- A book about friends: Girl, Woman, Other (for which we have a Girl Woman book club guide), and A Man Called Ove.
- A book featuring mermaids: The Mermaid of the Black Conch,and Things in Jars (for which we have a Jars discussion guide.)
- A book set on borderlands (real, magical or imagined): In Other Lands (magical), and Solito (very real).
- A book featuring an arranged marriage: A Woman is No Man (for which we have a No Man discussion guide), and The Kiss Thief.
- A book with a two word title: So many for this one. Some of my recent faves include The Sentence (book club guide) and Winter Counts, both by Native American authors.
- A book in a genre that you seldom read: For me, that would be business productivity (A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot to What Matters), and social criticism (The Nineties: A Book).
- A book set on a plane, train, or automobile: The Talented Ribkins (car), The Underground Railroad (train).
- A book with a character who’s a veteran: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and Jack Reacher series.
- A book with a character who’s a teacher: Miss Benson’s Beetle, and Teaching Lolita in Tehran.
- A book set in a coffee shop or about coffee: Before the Coffee Gets Cold, and Moments like This.
- A book with a protagonist over 50: The Thursday Murder club series (Murder book club guide), and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
- A book with a rural setting: The Salt Path, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (we’ve got a book club guide for Ocean).
- A book set in a bookstore: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, and The Little Paris Bookshop.
- A book set in a time period you know little about: I’m quite weak on Ancient Rome and the post-colonial period in India.
- A book about a hobby or skill: Well, since you are here to read books, how about this list of books about reading.
Advanced Challenge: 6 More Reads
- A book with a red cover: The Library Book (and the book club guide for it), and The Power.
- A book that is Southern Noir: The Black God’s Drums, and Where All the Light Tends to Go.
- A book set in a country that you aren’t keen to visit: This is highly subjective, but we do have quite a few lists set in various destinations, which may be a good starting point.
- A book set in winter: We’ve got you covered with a whole list of 20 books set in winter.
- A book set on or about a boat: Zeitoun, and Life of Pi.
- A book set on or with an island theme: Island Beneath the Sea, and Unfamiliar Fishes.
Get Inspiration From Our Book Lists
- Thoughtful mediations and advice on going on Pilgrimage (23 great reads).
- Fantastic audiobook memoirs, that are read by the author.
- Brrrrracing books set in Winter.
- Catnip for booknerds with books about librarians, and about books and manuscripts.
Have a listen on Audible. Try audio books for free for 30 days.
The the 2023 reading challenge with your friends: