January 11, 2022

A Look Back At My 2021 Reading Challenges

Please Note: This post is pre-scheduled. I’m caring for a loved one receiving treatments, so my replies to comments and return visits to bloggers will be delayed. I will get to it eventually, though. Promise. Thanks for your understanding! And prayers and healing vibes for positive results to the treatments would be much appreciated. ❤️

In my last blog post I celebrated 10 years blogging and announced a reading challenge for writers that I am hosting called Read With Fey. You can join it on The StoryGraph here. But you don’t have to be on The StoryGraph to participate! Check out all the details here: Read With Fey: Challenge For Writers

I love reading challenges!

Last year (2021), I participated in FOUR different reading challenges. The most I've ever decided to participate in, and I joined them at all different times throughout the year. Because I participated in so many, I wanted to highlight them and the books I read in a post. I'll share them here in the order of when I joined them.

I hope you enjoy viewing my 2021 reads/challenges.


I set a Goodreads goal to read 30 books. Thanks to graphic novels, short books (middle grade and YA), and picture books, I exceeded this goal. I read 95 books.

REMINDER: All reading counts as reading. Graphic novels are real books. Picture books are real books. Reading graphic novels, short reads, and picture books certainly do count toward reading challenges. Don't let anyone tell you that only novels of 300+ pages count. All reading is valid.

You can view my Goodreads challenge here.





THE GOAL: Read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet (J, V, X, Z had to be somewhere in the title to count). There were also a few extra challenges like: a color in the title, one-word title, starts with the same letter of your first name, and #, which I took to mean a number in the title/subtitle.

Here’s my completed graphic we were given to use to share our progress to our Instagram stories:


A - Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

B - Beyond the Gender Binary by Alox Vaid-Menon

C - Code Red by Lisa Lister

D - Displacement by kiko hughes

E - Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

F - Florida History by Bob Knotts

G - Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

H - Heart Talk by Cleo Wade

I - Inner Witch by Gabriela Herstik

J - Meg, Jo, Beth, And Amy by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

K - Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

L - Love Your Lady Landscape by Lisa Lister

M - March by John Lewis

N - Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

O - On Palestine by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe

P - Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Q - A Quick Spell by Patricia Josephine/Patricia Lynne

R - Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

S - Speak (the graphic novel) by Laurie Halse Anderson

T - Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

U - Unseen by Ronel Janse van Vuuren

V - Thrive by Arianna Huffington

W - We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

X - The Exile by Diana Gabaldon 

Y - You Got Anything Stronger by Gabrielle Union

Z - From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Color in the Title - The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

One-Word Title - Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Starts with the Same Letter of Your First Name - Cinderella is Dead by Kaylnn Bayron

# - Life and Death at Windover: Excavations of a 7,000 Year old Pond Cemetery by Rachel K. Wentz





- Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday (Native nonfiction)

- Pemmican War: A girl Named Echo by Katherena Vermette (a book that is red)

- Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (fiction published before 2000)

- Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection Vol. 1 & 2 by Hope Nicholson (collection)

- Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard (children's books)

- We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell (children's books)

- We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom (children's books)





- A vintage Black feminist/Womanist text (published before 2000) 

- A contemporary Black Feminist/Womanist text (published 2000-present) ✅

- An LGBTIQ+ author - Fiction ✅

- An LGBTQIA+ author - Non Fiction ✅

- A book by a revolutionary, organizer, activist, or abolitionist ✅

- A romance or erotic novel ✅

- A book that centers relationships between women ✅

- A YA or middle schooler's novel ✅

- An award-winning novel or classic ✅

- A debut or famous author's first ✅

- Any book by Octavia Butler ✅

- Any book by Toni Morrison ✅

- A book by a Caribbean author ✅

- A book by an African author ✅

- A book that classifies as Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, or Fantasy ✅

- A book on spirituality, religion, faith or ritual ✅

- A book with a name in the title ✅

- A book with a one-word title ✅

- A book that was published within the past year ✅

- A graphic novel or series or comic books ✅

- A memoir or autobiography ✅

- A book where characters speak Patois, Creole, Geechee, or AAVE ✅

- A book set in your hometown

- A collection of poetry, short stories, essays, letters, recipes, or prose ✅

- A book on body politics, trauma, autonomy, or acceptance ✅

- A book on migration, travel, or location✅ 

- A book on parenting or child advocacy (fiction or non) ✅

- A book on disability or neurodivergence (fiction or non) ✅

- History, historical fiction, or slave narrative ✅

NOTE: I read many books that combined two or more of these categories.


1. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (LGBTQIA+ author - Non Fiction)

2. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (romance, disability)

3. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (romance)

4. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (romance, neurodivergence, book published 2021)

5. Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing (poetry)

6. Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers (graphic novel)

7. Mother by Maya Angelou (parenting, poetry, one-word title)

8. Heart Talk by Cleo Wade (self-care, collection of essays/prose)

9. Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall (graphic novel, history)

10. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight For Their Rights by Mikki Kendal (graphic novel, history)

11. Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred: a graphic novel adaptation (book by Octavia Butler, one-word title )

12. When They Call You A Terrorist: A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele (adapted for young readers—a book by an organizer)

13. Perception by Selena Montgomery (romance, one-word title)

14. You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union (memoir, body politics/trauma/autonomy, book published 2021)

15. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (debut, middle grade)

16. feminism is for everybody by bell hooks (contemporary Black feminist text)

17. Cinderella is Dead by Kaylnn Bayron (LGBTQ+ author - Fiction, young adult, fantasy)

18. Reckless by Selena Montgomery (romance, one-word title)

19. Rules of Engagement by Selena Montgomery (romance)

20. This is The Rope: A Story from The Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson (migration)

21. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (African author)

22. Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden (centers relationships between women, one-word title)

23. Sula by Toni Morrison (book by Toni Morrison, character speaks Creole, classic, centers relationships between women, one-word title)

24. Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney, Robyn Smith (Caribbean author…Robyn is Afro-Caribbean, graphic novel, book published 2021)

25. Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: graphic novel adaptation (faith, a book by Octavia Butler)

My 2021 reading stats from The StoryGraph:

QUESTIONS: Did you participate in any reading challenges last year? Do you plan to participate in any this year? What were your favorite reads of 2021?


  1. Hi Chrys - I intend to join you with some of these challenges - but I'm so interested in what you've been reading ... fascinating post - thanks for sharing ... all the best for you - take care and see you anon. Have a better year ahead - Hilary

    1. I'm glad that you found this post fascinating, Hilary. I really anted to share all the books I'd read. :)

  2. Those are some great challenges. I hope you have fun with any challenges you choose to do this year.

    1. Thanks, Liz! I don't think I'll be doing many this year. I'll be doing my Read with Fey challenge, of course, and aiming to read at least 50 books.

  3. Wow, lot of books. I like the idea of challenges that focus on learning in a particular area (Native American, African American, etc). I only participated in Goodread. My goal for the last year was the same as the year before (48--or 4 a month) and like the previous year, I read more (54). I just posted my 2021 reading summary. Have a wonderful 2022.

    1. That's what drew me to those two challenges. I really wanted to expand my knowledge, learn, and unlearn...be a true ally in every way I could, and reading is powerfuly. :)

  4. 95 books is AWESOME! WOW!!

    I love that you had such a variety of challenges, too.

    I joined the Read With Fey challenge on StoryGraph. Picked out a book...and it looks great sitting on the table in my living room because I haven't started reading it yet. That's my next challenge, apparently. :)

    1. Thank you so much for joining Read With Fey! I wonder which book you picked out...

  5. I too count all reading. When I vlog about my Goodreads challenge on YouTube, I used the word "titles" and let my audience know that I plan to read a certain number of titles, not necessarily novel-length books. The ALPHABET BOOK CHALLENGE sounds fun. It's amazing how you kept all the challenges organized, not sure I'd be up to that. I'll be sticking to my Goodreads challenge, trying the #ReadWithFey challenge and implementing a few self-imposed challenges.

    1. I may have to get into the habit of saying "titles," as you do.

      I hope you have a wonderful reading year, Toi!