Monday, December 28, 2020

Bookish Jay and the Reading Mermaid: 2021 Reading Challenge!


Good Morning, friends! Here we are in the twilight of 2020. I have wrapped up this year's reading challenge, if you missed what all I read you can find that (here). Despite the turmoil that the year brought, it did give me ample time and reason to retreat into the world of books. I am currently reading my 52nd book of the year and I think I may even squeeze in one more before midnight tolls on the 31st. I mean, that is what winter break is for right? Thankfully, Jay at The Scented Library, was up to collaborate for our fourth annual reading challenge. We had several that overlapped in similarity so I think we have finally hit that hive mind connection. :-) 

In total there are 31 prompts for 2021. Feel free to join us for one or two, a dozen or even all 31. We hope you find some prompts that bring you to a new favorite.

1. It’s the end of the world as we know it…—an apocalyptic tome, dystopian nightmare, or something set in/about the year 2020.

2. Choose a book from an independent book store.

3. Reclaim her name— choose from a multitude of titles which feature generic pronouns; “girl”, “woman”, “wife”, “lady”, or “she” in the title, and discover the true story of the character. Or, select from the sponsored list by the Women’s Prize for Fiction of 25 authors who used male pseudonyms to publish.

4. Shelf control—pick up a dusty, neglected book that’s already sitting unread on your shelf.

5. Big Book Energy😉—level up with an 750+ page.

6. Bright lights, big city—get lost in a Metropolis, real or fictional.

7. Small town vibes— find yourself in a cozy village setting, where everybody knows your name.

8. Don’t you, forget about me— relive the 80s, whether it was your glory days or decade of excess, choose a throwback book from that time, either set in the 80’s or published in the 80’s.

9. Embrace your elemental—align with a fiery, earth, air or water feature in title/cover.

10. Rule of 3—three main characters, a friendly trio, love triangle or 3 objects on the cover.

11. Font geek—if an appealing typeface catches your eye, give the book a try.

12. Book that bites—snakes, bones or teeth on the cover or the title.

13. Go to the dark side—villains, rogues, bad bois or anti-heroines--pick your reading poison.

14. Note your improvement—read up on your favorite hobby, or new interest.

15. Book with a map.

16. Story set in, or written during the 1920s.

17. Comfort read—need a feel-good story right now, who doesn’t? The cozier, the better.

18. 2021 is the Year of the Ox, read a story with themes of hard work or manual labor. “Without labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom can accomplish much.”

19. The UN declared 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables- pick a book that has a cover ripe with edible plants.

20. Choose a book with regency couples- the art of smoldering eyes while maintaining social distancing.

21. Space Force, astronauts back on the moon and missions to Mars- read something out of this world.

22. Social Justice- read a book to provide more perspective.

23. Animated film adaptation.

24. Cooking up something more than just food in the kitchen: a chef inspired tale.

25. Poetry: Lyrical limericks, buried metaphors and big feelings. Dive right on in.

26. Find small moments of adventure with some short stories.

27. Christmas in July anyone? Find a holiday centric story to read out of season.

28. Brush up on a Native American tribe or historical event involving Native Americans.

29. Pick a candy read, a fluff read, a junk food read. You know the kind. The guilty pleasure you can fly through in a day or two that makes you smile and reminds you that not every book has to be top shelf literature to be enjoyed.

30. Royalty reading: monarchies of the past, present or fantastical times.

31. Thinning of the veil- tales involving ghosts, spirits or spectral phenomena.

I hope if you do decide to join us for even one book, please tag us on IG at #bookishjayandthereadingmermaid
We love to see what you are reading! I usually update my readings two or three times a year, and regularly on IG. This year I would like to finally read The Name of the Wind. I have owned it for several years at the recommendation of a friend but have held off. I also have lots of Atwood to read, some books about trees, and a ton of unread randoms on my shelves. My stepdad bought me Beach Music by Pat Conroy and wanted me to read it. I am looking forward to that one too. 

Are there any books you hope to crack open in 2021? Will you be joining Jay and me for a book or two?


  1. Yea! There is nothing more fun than a reading challenge. I'm all in. Unfortunately, I won't be able to post to Instagram. my adaptive software doesn't like that site at all. So, I haven't learned how to anything on it.

    But I'll be right there in spirit and book covers reading along with you. Okay, audio book "covers". Love my audio books.

    Have a great New Year full of fun, fragrance and fiction (or nonfiction). Blessings. Stay safe.

    1. Hi Karla!! I am so glad you are joining me!! That makes me so happy. <3 I would love to hear what audiobooks you are loving when I do book updates on here. Do you have any in particular you are looking forward to reading for next year? Anything on your wish list? I hope you have a beautiful and healthy 2021 too. Blessings to you and yours.

  2. I love the challenge titles! Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas and best wishes for a blessed 2021 <3

    1. Thank you, Kate! We had a very nice and quiet time spending the holidays just the four of us tucked into the home nest. I must say I could get used to it. I hope you have a wonderful 2021 as well! Any fun reading planned? I keep wanting to dive back into Harry Dresden again. Maybe this summer. He is a fun beach/fluff read.

  3. 52! Well done! You have unlocked the advanced reading challenge skill, me thinks, if we had one that is, lol. I have to check-in to your "read" list for 2020 soon, I will need to take notes, certainly. As you know, I came nowhere close but had too much turmoil and a bit of sadness to concentrate on reading much. I did complete 1463 pages of Les Miserables, though, so that's a feather in my cap. Now that I'm back full-time at work (phew) I am already diving into audio books again, as I gratefully chug on throughout my day. I'm not messing about either, started off with Big Book Energy ;) and will update it on Instagram soon.
    Thanks for the collaboration, I really look forward to it as the end of the year rolls round. Hope to tap into that hive mind again for some recommendations--stumped on Animated adaptation...Howl's Moving Castle? Anything else??


    1. I was so happy to read that much! And shocked. I set my GoodReads goal for 50 but if I don't make it I will be fine with that too. 1463 pages?! Holy cow!! And I thought The Stand was a beast. Was it good? Was it worth it?? I am so happy you are working and things are going better. I hope this new year is very very kind to you. You deserve it.

      Yes! I will need inspo and recs too. Yep. Howl's Moving Castle is sitting on my shelf waiting for me. You know me too well.