Reading challenges seem to be all the rage these days. The annual PopSugar Reading Challenge is especially popular, which prompts you to read an impressive 40 books in a year. The list ranges widely, from ‘a book from a nonhuman perspective' to ‘a book involving travel'.

In theory, I love the idea of a reading challenge; it encourages you to branch out, expanding your literary horizons.

But I've never done one. Nor do I ever want to do one. Because the last thing I want to do is turn reading into a chore, yet another task I have to tick off a list.

Truth be told, reading is one of the only good-for-me habit I don't have to force myself to do. Since childhood, I've been a bookworm and still read about 25-30 books a year. Unlike flossing or strength-training, reading is a good habit that I do purely out of enjoyment.

I could be wrong, but I'd like to think I already read a wide variety of books. Here are some of the books I've read this year and loved:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neopolitan Novels, Book Three by Elena Ferrante (2014) (the third Neopolitan Novel)

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance (2016) 

 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adiche (2007) 

Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates (2015) 

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino (2016) 

The Underground Railroad by Coleson Whitehead (2016) 

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016) 

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovani (2016) 

East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity” by xxxxx (year) 

Without You, There is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Philippe Sands (2016) 

How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly's Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky (2016) 

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman (2011) 

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy (2017) 

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden (2013) 

I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections by Nora Ephron (2011) 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them by Meg Jay (2013) 

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sara Botton (2013) 

Ask Polly’s Guide to Your Next Crisis by Heather Havrilesky (2017) 

I'd love to know your perspective on this – do you enjoy reading challenges? Do you find they don't turn reading into a chore? Which ones have you done?

Oh and what books have you read recently that you'd recommend? I am going to need a lot of reading material on the camino!

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.)

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein

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