Reading Challenge 2020 Update

Reading Challenge 2020 Update

2020 Reading Challenge Update

We are almost half way through the year, so I thought it was time for an update on our 2020 Reading Challenge. How are you doing? I am slightly ahead of our one book a week mark. So far this year, I’ve finished 29 books, and am partway through others.

This has been an unusual year though. Usually the fluffy stuff is the last I get to, but this year with COVID, I didn’t want too read anything too serious for a while in there. (See those types of books in the photo below.) It looks like I’ve left all the hard stuff for later in the year! (I may or may not make myself.) I also am not sure when I’ll be able to get back in the library to finish that category!

Below you can see how I’m doing. The underlined books are links to where I’ve reviewed them, so check them out. The other ones listed I remark on why they were not reviewed; some of those are finished and many are not. Not all my book group titles are yet listed for the fall, so it is pretty clear I will overshoot the 52 book goal. (The numbers in the parentheses are already beyond the parameters of the 52 book challenge.) Some categories I am clueless what I will read for them, so if you have suggestions, let me know. Here is my progress, together with my plans to date:

Reading Challenge for 2020:

(Yay!) Favorite Books of the Year:

  1. Braiding Sweetgrass
  1. So Big

Fiction (substancial):

1.  Rules of Civility (planning to read)

2. Half-Drowned King

3. The Sea Queen

4.  Warlight (scheduled book group read)

5. Before We Were Yours (scheduled book group read)

(6.) Island of Sea Women (scheduled book group read)

(7.) Nothing to See (scheduled book group book)

Fiction (breezy):

1. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe (almost finished; fluffy)

2. The Hideaway (finished; fluffy)

3.  A Week at the Shore (finished; fluffy)

4. Dance Away with Me (finished; fluffy)


1. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (recommended; planning to read)

2. The Nickel Boys (scheduled book group book)

General Nonfiction:

1. The Women’s Hour (book group scheduled read)

2. How Will Your Measure Your Life (book group book finished; not great)

(3.) Untamed (recommended; planning to read)

Essay or Memoir:

1. The Hare with Amber Eyes

2. Blue Like Jazz (finished for book group; didn’t like)

(3.) Notes from a Young Black Chef (planning on reading)


1. Da Vinci (own; am planning to read)

2. Hamilton (started but long and not finished)

(3.) Mary Baker Eddy (started but long and not finished)

Poetry or Cookbooks:

1. Defined Dish (good; photo above)

2. No Crumbs Left

(3.) Buck Naked Kitchen (good; photo above)

Art or Creativity:

1. The Art of Rivalry (read; not a fan)

2. Journeys to Abstraction

Self-Help or Self-Care or Inspiration:



Religion or Spirituality:

  1. The Universal Christ (started; not finished; will blog about)
  1. Retrospection and Introspection (planning on re-reading)

Science or Nature or Sustainability:



Outside Your Own Country:

  1. Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
  2. A Long Petal of the Sea

Something that Challenges Your Point of View:


Something Difficult:

  1. Long Way Down (scheduled book group book about gun violence)

Something Eye-Opening:

1. White Fragility (just purchased)

Professional Development/ Pursuing Interests

1. Old in Art School (reading; almost finished)

2. Painting the Landscape in Pastel

3. Painting Sunlight and Shadow with Pastels

4. Spirituality of Art (reading; almost finished)

5. If You Want to Write (planning on reading)

Older Books (Prior to 2000)

1. Think and Grow Rich


New Books (2019 -2020)

1.  The Book of Longings

2. The Dutch House

3. The Golden Wolf

4.  The Most Fun We Ever Had

Books Recommended by Someone You Know:

1. Oneness

2.  Circe

(3.) Forty Rules of Love (planning on reading)

(4.) A Fine Balance (recommended; planning to read)

Books You Own but Haven’t Read Yet:

1. Broken Open (book group scheduled book)



Library Books:

1. The Summer Country

2. (when will the library open up again???)


If there is a book you’ve read that you liked and want to recommend for one of these categories, let us know in the comments! Also let us know how you are coming on your 2020 Reading Challenge!

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John gregory 4 years ago

    I am impressed.

    My list:

    The Tin man

  2. Dilys 4 years ago

    Thanks for the update Polly!
    Your reading challenge has inspired me and given me permission to read again, as previously I had just fitted reading round everything else. Now it is a legitimate activity in my life and I am enjoying it immensely, especially during lockdown.

    I am just finishing The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd and like you, am a little disappointed with it. I loved The Invention of Wings and The Secret Life if Bees, she is a great writer. It’s my 29th book this year.
    I have read eight that you recommended, including A Gentleman in Moscow, which I loved and The Moonvine.
    I have reread some classics, like Pride and Prejudice and Little Women and several biographies.
    I enjoyed the new book Human Kind – a Hopeful History, by Rutger Bergman, which was on the Christian Science Monitor June Book. As the title suggests it is hopeful!

    Carry on the good work, I love your book reviews!

    With love x

    • Author
      Polly Castor 4 years ago

      So good to hear! I’m so glad!

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