If you’re a reader, you probably have no trouble finding books to put on your TBR. But if you’d like to add a little intentionality to your TBR, you should create your own book bucket list challenge.

an open book next to a cup of tea with lemon and the text "How to Create Your Own Book Bucket List Challenge"

“But Marisa,” I hear you say, “I already have a ton of books I need to read. I can’t be adding more to the list.”

I feel you. That’s why I created this guide to help you create your own book bucket list challenge. You don’t have to add books you don’t care about, and you can populate the list with titles that are already on your TBR! It’s a win-win.

This is probably one of my favorite bucket list ideas, and I love the idea of having a list of books to conquer.

If you’re really hardcore and want to give up consuming other forms of media, you could totally do a 1000 book challenge. But no pressure. Your book bucket list challenge is your own, so create the challenge that works for you.

How to Create Your Own Book Bucket List Challenge

It’s no secret that I don’t just read classics or critically acclaimed books. (For more, check out why I why I read and write romance.) So if you’re ready for a book bucket list challenge that’s a joy to complete, here are some tips for ways you can make your own.

001: Peruse a top 100 books list.

Of course you’ve seen these lists. There are lists of books you should read before you die, and there are even genre-specific 100 books lists. If that sounds good to you, grab a 100 books bucket list PDF off of Pinterest and go to town.

If you’re a reader like me, I’d recommend taking a look at the list and pulling books from it that you actually want to read. You’re not in school anymore, and you totally don’t have to read the books that you don’t want to read anymore.

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If you ain’t getting a Book It! personal pan pizza, what’s the point in reading books you don’t want to read?

002: Take a look at your unread books.

Yes, she has read too many books, but her TBR ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.

When I sit down at my computer, I can see my bookshelves in front of me. And that’s been a huge reminder that I need to read more. Also, it helps me not sit on the internet all day wasting time because I remember I could be reading.

If you have a lot of unread books on your shelves, make a list of the books you want to read and tackle them.

If you want a little more inspiration and community around this, check out The Unread Shelf for a free guide and eCourse to help you finally read all your unread books.

003: Do an author deep dive.

Is there a prolific author out there that you’d like to read more of? Do it. Make a list of this author’s books and get to work.

Depending on the author, there may be more books that you can read in a year. For example, instead of reading all of Nora Robert’s books,  you may try all the witchy Nora Roberts trilogies.

Of course, your book bucket list challenge could be a lifelong reading list and may not be bound by a single year. So pick an author that fits with your particular challenge.

004: Read some book blogs.

God bless book bloggers. They are truly doing the lord’s work.

I love to read book blogs to see what others are reading. But I’m pretty careful about the blogs I follow. I try to avoid blogs only about new releases, though I do appreciate reading about those on occasion, and you do learn which book bloggers you can trust to steer you away from popular books that aren’t going to be your thing.

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Find a book blogger that values the same things in books that you do, and peruse their favorites. You may just find a new author that you’ll fall in love with.

005: Peek outside your comfort zone.

If you always read a specific genre or only read books by men, or only read books about white people, you need a little diversity.

A book bucket list challenge is a great way to make a TBR list that includes authors and books you wouldn’t normally read. And it’s a great way to open your eyes to a world of books that may show you something new about the world you’re living in.

Of course, you don’t have to only read outside of what you normally read. For me, reading is a comfort activity and I like to keep comfort books on the list. But adding something outside your reading comfort zone is always a good idea.

006: Finally tackle those classics.

I’m just putting this on the list because occasionally a chode will find this blog and leave a comment about how writers should only read classics. That’s false and bad advice.

But, if you, like me, have a few classics that you’ve never read and have been meaning to do so, why not add them to the book bucket list challenge?

Again, I cannot stress enough that this is your challenge, so you don’t have to read books you hate. In fact, you should absolutely only add books to this list you know you can enjoy. Sure, some may challenge you, but you can still enjoy them. So keep that in mind when you’re adding some classics.

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No one has to read Moby Dick or The Canterbury Tales if they don’t want to.

007: Find a theme that resonates with you.

Maybe you want to have a book bucket list challenge around a theme. You could find all the fiction, nonfiction, and memoir books out there on that theme.

I think this could be a great way to learn about a particular topic or to expand your knowledge on a particular area in your life. For example, you could do a spirituality-based book bucket list challenge. Then, you could read memoirs by people finding or questioning their spirituality. You could read some nonfiction books on the topic of spirituality or faith. And you could read some fiction books that feature themes of spirituality.

This may be the most doable challenge idea on this list, and you could easily add elements of other list items into this particular challenge.

008: Travel by story.

Maybe you want to visit a particular place but it’s not in the budget right now. Why not read books set in that particular location? You could even pick books from different time periods and get a historical perspective on the place.

I also recommend trying to create a grand tour of an entire continent, if you feel so inclined. Start in one country, and work your way around. And by creating this sort of challenge, you’ll definitely find yourself reading outside your comfort zone to make sure you hit all the locations on your literary travel itinerary.

Have You Ever Tried a Book Bucket List Challenge?

What sort of books would you put on your book bucket list? Is there an author you’d like to read more of? Have you ever created a reading challenge around a theme?

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