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popsugar 2021  -  50 categories

First and foremost, I look at challenges as a gateway to new reading paths, a way to nudge me in a new direction with my reading. It's not a competition and if I don't finish, I don't care; but, I'm going to give it a shot! Are you inspired to join me? If this one doesn't appeal to you, here's a comprehensive list of reading challenges.


The Popsugar reading challenge has been around for a while and last year was my first time joining. There's a GR forum with suggestions for some of the more challenging categories. They offer 40 categories with a bonus 10 for those who want the extra challenge and this year the bonus categories all relate to your TBR - which I love since I'm always looking for a way to whittle that down.

Here's where I'll track my efforts to complete the challenge in 2021. I'll be double dipping some of the books that will also fit categories in the Booklist Queen or 52 books challenge. I started by taking the lists and perusing my own bookshelves to see what I already own that will fit the challenge. Then, as I search the forums for ideas, I watch for books I know are already on my TBR list. Finally, I fill in with books totally new-to-me. Completed books will be in bold with a cover image and links (in purple) to the reviews.  (AOC, author of color)

gilded ones

1 - published in 2021

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, 432 pages

stone sky

2 - afrofuturist book

The Stone Sky #3 Broken Earth by J.K. Jemisin, 416 pages

3 - heart, diamond, club, or spade on cover

The Paper Magician #1 by Charlie Holmberg, 224 pages

4 - author with my zodiac sign (Sagittarius)

Verity by Colleen Hoover, 333 pages

5 - dark academia

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, 384 pages

6 - gem, mineral, or rock in title

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan, 312 pages

sorcery of thorns

7 - main character has my job or dream job

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, 456 pages

8 - women's prize (orange prize) winner

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell, 372 pages

9 - book with a family tree

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, 848 pages

10 - best seller of 1990s

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, 368 pages

11 - about forgetting

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab, 448 pages

12 - seen on someone's bookshelf


hunting party

13 - locked room mystery

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, 320 pages

14 - set in a restaurant

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, 361 pages

15 - black and white cover

Six of Crows #1 by Leigh Bardugo, 465 pages

16 - by indigenous author

Trail of Lightning #1 by Rebecca Roanhorse, 287 pages

17 - same title as a song

Vicious by V.E. Schwab, 366 pages

creative habit

18 - a subject I'm passionate about

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, 252 pages

19 - bk that discusses body positivity

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig, 256 pages

20 - from BLM list

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, 154 pages

21 - genre hybrid

Mexican Gothic by Syliva Garcia-Moreno, 301 pages

22 - set outdoors

Paddling With the Spirits by Irene Skyriver, 240 pages

23 - something broken on the cover

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James, 336 pages

24 - by Muslim American author

Thorn #1 by Intisar Khanani, 460 pages

25 - published anonymously

The Whisper Man by Alex North, 368 pages

26 - with oxymoron in title

The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow, 528 pages


27 - about a fresh start

Circe by Madeline Miller, 393 pages

28 - magical realism

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn, 376 pages

29 - set in multiple countries

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, 320 pages

30 - set somewhere I'd like to go in 2021



31 - by an online personality

Untamed by Glennon Doyle, 352 pages

32 - title starts with Q, X, Z

Z: Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, 310 pages

33 - featuring 3 generations

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, 343 pages

nickel boys

34 - about a social justice issue

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, 224 pages

lethal white

35 - a format I don't usually use: audio/e-book/graphic

Lethal White #4 Strike by Robert Galbraith (audio); 

36 - fewer than 1000 reviews on GR or Amazon


37 - book I think my best friend would like


38 - about art or artist

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, 343 pages

normal people

39 - book everyone seems to have read but me

Normal People by Sally Rooney; 273 pages

40 - fave prompt from previous Popsugar year


BONUS - all about your TBR

41 - book with most pages

Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, 750 pages

42 - book with fewest pages

Heating Cooling by Ann Fennelly, 112 pages

43 - prettiest cover


44 - ugliest cover


45 - oldest book on my list

The Whole Truth by David Baldacci, 406 pages

46 - book I meant to read last year but didn't

The Defense #1 by Steve Cavanagh, 320 pages

47 - book associated with fave person, place, thing


48 - chosen at random from TBR shelf


49 - a previous DNF book (change to romance)



50 - a gifted or loaned book

The Huntress by Kate Quinn, 530 pages

A trio of Nazi hunters track a Nazi woman criminal to America - told in two timelines - 1942 and 1950.

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